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National Day = Negligible Down-the-ages? by Sim Jingwei

Commemoration of Singapore¡¯s 37th year of independence has just prodded some contemplation out of me. This August 9th, I joined many people in celebrating the nation¡¯s birthday (as the hypocritical couch potato).

I was at the parade in spirit ¨C stood to wave at the President (I just know he looked my way¡­), blinked at the exploding fireworks (rather glaring and messy towards the last part), but it left a less-than-life impact as I retreated to my bed. The organizers and choreographers did a notable job, but perhaps the effect of time has made it grander but worn it more artificial. I was told that in the past, NDP was celebrated in the late morning, with only marching and community singing involved. What a great change, but is talk about youth, vibrancy and loyalty being transformed into something too far-fetched, just as we begin to splurge more money (not real sensitivity) on celebrating? Commentators now harangue about these qualities without flinching and knowing they are lacking in our disregard for traditional values? Symbolism and representations (think little girls with garlands of love) are meant to be fulfilled. Let us wait a mundane wait for that time while basking in affluence.

Wonder if the spectators cheered their spirit out for the items and left none to muse upon the country¡¯s success? How many actually brought the immediate sense of belonging and national pride back home? Looking at the number of dissolving scholarship bonds, the way we shy away from other races, or even the way we deface Singapore overseas, I doubt there would be many. And where did those heartlanders get that (rather-synthetically-imitated) American accent?

If someone were to be asked the significance of National Day to himself, I think he would speak about contributing greatly to the country¡¯s GDP (I-like-to-shop! psyche) or a student slogging humdrum towards our Thinking Schools, Learning Nation goal. I would not consider myself classically patriotic, but I prefer my bedroom to somewhere along the sunny isle of Bintan (that still was plagued, upon my last visit, by housefly hordes). Optimistically, let us start thinking about how to ease our national consciences. But hey, no dream, goal nor writing in this world is realistically real.