One people, one nation

August 8, 2013, 0 Comments

I am not sure what it means to be patriotic, but I hope I know what it means to love people.  I tell my children it is important to be kind and care for others. I try to be kind by giving up my seats to those who need it more than me. We give “Ang Paos” to the cleaner who sweeps our corridor every year. And when we see the cleaner, my children goes up to him and say “Thank you for cleaning.”

And we love friends who are different from us. My sons meet with a group of friends who are from different parts of the world regularly. The elder son’s good friend is an Indian and they both love animals and science. Yesterday, their friend wore red & white, to remember National Day.

I never really knew how to keep Singapore clean, but I do my part by not littering and teach my children to hold on to their used tissue paper until they find a bin.

We don’t usually look at the flag until it is National Day. The boys are more interested than the Aparche carrying the flag. We make a point as a family to watch for the jet fighter and Aparche during National Day rehearsals every year. Those flying machines excite the boys.  Flags are everywhere, we see them in the airport and we see them hung on the pedestrian bridge. Some are strung so nicely at HDB flats. Nice job branding Singapore. So it became an opportunity to find out more about our flag. We explained what the crescent moon and five stars represents. I think I must have forgotten what I learnt in school, and am now revising. Flag of Singapore – “The waxing crescent moon “represents a young nation on the ascendant”. The five stars “stand for the nation’s ideals of democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality”.

Who founded Singapore? How did an island became so prosperous. We were walking along Robertson Quay one day and saw these wonderful paintings along the wall. We walked and we talked about Singapore. I hope they remember Sir Standford Raffles. My son commented he saw his statue at Singapore River the other day. And then there is Major-General William Farquhar, which we will come to, in a little while.

It is not easy to love one’s country so as to die for it these days. People are so well-travelled. And people have more options these days. Perhaps it is because our generations had it too comfortable. Thanks to those who had gone before. Kids are given pretty toys, pretty clothes, pretty food and virtually pretty everything at their whims, at any given day, without knowing the true value of hard work and sacrifice.

We fear for a generation who knows about Singapore but could not stand up for justice and equality. We fear we have lost our past and forgotten how to be thankful in our progress.  We fear that peace comes in a form of indifference.

I don’t know what is patrioism. But I think, if we can help our children put others first, we might make a better people. And together we might say “One people, one nation, one Singapore.”

Happy 48th Birthday, Singapore!

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