To many Singaporeans, this year’s National Day is so special. I think subconsciously, many of us wanted to celebrate it one way or the other because of our Founding Father. For me, I wanted to make it memorable for the kiddos because I have this idea that they should have some form of memory of SG50 because they will be the ones contributing and seeing SG100. So my preparation for the memorable Golden Jubilee celebrations started quite early.
As part of the grassroot efforts, my committee got to give out, in person, the Fun Packs to the residents in our neighbourhood. Interestingly, the girls, especially the little one, were very excited. They totally enjoyed the door-bell ringing and the ‘hello, is there anyone home? We are giving out the National Day Fun Packs!’
We also got to print our very own Siglap limited edition SG50 Tees that became their OOTD on 9 August.
Then of course, came their celebrations in school on 6 August with hand-crafted paper plate visors and tattoo.
Finally the Golden Jubilee weekend started on 7 August which unfortunately was too rainy for anything. We spent the day at home, conserving our energies for the madness of the next few days.
We began our actual celebrations at the Kampong Chai Chee – Kembangan National Day Dinner, like previous years. The girls joined games on the stage and saw fireworks firing live and very near us. And this was when we realised how much the little one loves the community singing.
Then came 9 August when real patriotism hit us, me to be exact.
We attended the National Day Observance for Siglap and together with residents of Siglap, we listened to the Independence Proclamation. The voice of our Founding Father probably brought quite a bit of sorrow to many of us. I guess it hit many of us that this year, he is no longer around with us to celebrate the Golden Jubilee.
We also took part in the record breaking effort to form the largest Merlion picture in Singapore. To the girls, it is something rather meaningless, but at least I have a story to tell later on in their lives.
The highlight of the whole weekend came in the very afternoon of our beloved nation’s birthday. After much ordeal, anticipation and effort, we count ourselves very lucky to be able to attend the National Day Parade at the Float. Although I had to exchange my Padang tickets for us sitting together at the not-as-happening Float, it was still a very proud moment for all of us. It was the FIRST time EVER that we attended the NDP on the actual day and even more meaningful that it was SG50 one! It was such exhilarating experience seeing the jets zooming above your head. We also witnessed the guns cruising to firing spot and seeing them fire the 21 salute shots on Singapore River was indescribable. The touching moment when the tribute was given to our first PM Mt Lee Kuan Yew and of course, that empty seat brought about so many teary eyes. Then the whole crew of tanks and army vehicles rolling onto the Float was too amazing. The chorus singing of National Day songs with 26000 people was crazy and the joy of seeing the girls dig in the Fun Packs was just too funny. Not forgetting the fireworks blasting 360 degrees around us, it was just madness! I hope in the years to come, the girls will remember little bits and pieces of this and be proud as Singaporeans.
Two days after National Day, the fervour patriotism felt was still very much hovering around. When I was in my twenties, I admit I wanted to go away. But with kids and commitment, I realise how lucky I was born and raised here. How proud I am that I am 3rd generation (or is it 4th?) locally born and bred Singaporeans (yep I know I don’t look like it). I also realise how much I love Singapore. As the festivities die down in the weeks to come, another major event would be coming up. The keyboard warriors will once again rise in full force and all that negativities will be back to haunt. The mature eligibles would realise by now that it is no longer an easy decision which concerns only the neighbourhood, it’s also about the whole country.
Till then, let’s just STAY CALM and move on from the long weekend.
Happy belated Birthday Singapore! Cheers to the 50 years and the many years to come.