Read a comment in the news by the Chief Guards Officer in charge of Singapore’s National Day Parade 2012. Colonel Desmond Tan commented on the theme for this year’s National Day which is “Love Singapore, Our Home”. He said: “It is inspired by our belief that National Day is a time when Singaporeans can express their love unreservedly for the country.” Not being a cynic but my immediate thought was why do we have to wait till National Day to express love for the country? Do we zip up this love the rest of the year? Worse still, why do we still need such government orchestrations to show our love for Singapore?
Sometimes, when we read things like this, we really can’t be blamed for wondering if our Government and their army of planners understand the meaning of patriotism and true love for the country.
True love for the country is nurtured deep from within, and it is expressed joyously when we feel real ownership and gut-bursting pride for our country which goes beyond love for the food, lifestyle and infrastructure. The hardware of our nation has indeed progressed and we have one of the most comfortable standards of living in the region. But one has to factor in other important things that matter to many of us too. And unfortunately, many of these things tend to douse the fire in our hearts – like the suppression of our rights in insidious ways, a deliberately cultured fear of speaking up in our own country, high runaway cost of living, ridiculously expensive housing, holding our CPF to ransom with more and more regulations, gerrymandering, an arrogant government that doesn’t seem to think highly of its own people and our sense of being overwhelmed by the surge in foreigners.
If our Government sincerely wants the people to “love Singapore, our home” they should seriously look into all the issues that are troubling Singaporeans deeply these days. The flame of our love for the country is still there for many of us. It just needs to be stoked the right way, sincerely.
And while they are at it, can the organisers of NDP please do a proper job of the National Day buntings and islandwide NDP decorations this year and in the future? Please accord our nation, our people and the Singapore flag the due respect in all the NDP designs by not over politicising them with humongous photos of the MPs and logos of the Government-related grassroots organisations. This may seem like a great way to gain free publicity (paid for by public funds) for the ruling party but we hope that they will remember what National Day is really about – it is to celebrate the nation and the people.