9 August 2015|| Today is a Special Day. It is Singapore’s Golden Jubilee. We got all dressed up in Red and White as a family, as with a lot of many other Singaporeans. Everywhere I turned, I saw a sea of red, all ready to celebrate our 50th National Day, all ready to proudly state that “We are Singaporeans!” by the colours we wore.Like may Singaporeans, I had hoped and prayed that Mr Lee Kuan Yew would stay well enough to attend the National Day Parade this year but it was not to be. This was to be the very first year that the parade will not see the familiar gentle face of the Founding Father. And so it was a bittersweet happiness that some of us felt today as we celebrated our nation’s 50th year of Independence.
We decided to catch the 1965 movie, not knowing exactly what it was about although I did hear some critical reviews about it. Still, it seemed like a good idea to spend the afternoon going to watch a movie about Singapore before heading home to watch the National Day Parade.1965 was a bit of a long show, 2 hours 10 min to tell the story of a troubled Singapore where racial riots and distrust and danger was real and even life threatening, in the era leading to the separation from Malaysia and the independence of Singapore.
The politics in that tumultuous era was life threatening and real fear was pervasive, quite unlike the keyboard warriors of today talking politics safely behind a computer screen. Then, children were abducted, bombs were set off, different races clashed, people died.
The star studded cast certainly managed to make the characters very real and kept the interest going for the long story. I was quite surprised (disappointed) that the movie hardly had any Lee Kuan Yew parts other than re-enacting familiar scenes from old news runs and documentaries of Mr Lee’s speeches. One wonders why they bothered asking Lim Kay Tong to take on the role since he had no other lines except for re-enacting everything that we’ve seen before. Simply showing the original Mr Lee speeches would have sufficed, really! Because we are so familiar with Mr Lee’s speeches, it made the role even more difficult for the actor to portray. Such a pity that the character of Mr Lee was not allowed more in depth exploration, leaving Lim Kay Tong with nothing more than only mouthing and re-enacting the role.
As expected, I cried when I heard those familiar words that Mr Lee spoke as he announced the separation from Malaya. Yet what are tears worth if one doesn’t realise the gems in Mr Lee’s vision of a equal Singapore.
Mr Lee’s promise was for a multi-racial nation in Singapore. For us to set an example that every race would be equal and everyone would have a place here in Singapore working hard for the progress of the nation. Yet, today, many of us dislike the foreigners that live and work amongst us. We look at new citizens or foreigners with distrust and disdain because we see them as taking our jobs, our top schools, our opportunities or just quite simply, our space.
If Singapore was founded on meritocracy that defined her success today, should we fear competition so much that we become so afraid and antagonistic? We say we dislike their behaviour and culture because only we are the ‘real’ Singaporeans. Yet, when we step out of our comfort zones to befriend these foreigners amongst us, we can have real friendships.
Just as how the Chinese and the Malays were manipulated into distrust and hatred for each other during the racial riots by unknown parties, we should all be discerning. There are many haters and keyboard warriors out there, who thrive on stating untruths, stirring anger and making people believe that life in Singapore is miserable because of the government and foreigners. Who are these haters and are they really Singaporeans? What agenda do they have, if they are? And if they are not Singaporeans, who is supporting the hate? Should we join in to walk in their discontentment and stirring, if we truly love Singapore?
I count my blessings everyday, that I am born in Singapore. As we celebrate SG50, may we never lose sight of the values of equality, tolerance and hard work that the Pioneer Generation built our nation upon. Life in Singapore is not all that bad, in fact it is pretty good. Sure, the government is not perfect but which one is? Take a look around our neighbouring countries and I think it’s easy to conclude that we are blessed. I am Pro-PAP because I am Pro-Singapore and I find no competent opposition yet that can do a better job than the party that has brought Singapore through the past 50 years. In the next 50 years, things may change but until PAP proves to intentionally harm Singapore and mess things up and my son’s future, they have my support.
I tell my 6 year old to be thankful for being born in a country that is safe and secure and gives us freedom – Freedom to live as we choose, Freedom to walk around safely in the wee hours, Freedom to go on holidays and not fear for our homes or loved ones, Freedom to pursue education and individual aspirations, Freedom to worship etc. The peace and stability in the Singapore cannot be taken for granted, I tell him. Appreciate it. I teach him to have a kind attitude, to stop blaming others and complain less, to work hard for what he aspires in life.
Counting Blessings ~ Less Complains, More Hardwork for Progress
I hope that our next lap will be just as blessed and that our people will be hardworking and resilient, just as the Pioneer Generation was in those difficult uncertain times. I will not be around to celebrate SG100 but my son will be 56 then. May he celebrate SG100 with the joy that he had today and remember Mr Lee Kuan Yew and all that he stood for, even then. His, will be the last generation that has seen Mr Lee alive and experienced the tremendous outpouring of grief of his parents and other Singaporeans at the passing of Mr Lee earlier this year.
May our next 50 years mark a beautiful society, that is less complaining, more tolerant towards one another, united as one people regardless of race, language or religion; looking out for each other and working hard to achieve a better life together.
“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong,
but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
Be joyful always… Give thanks in all circumstances.”
1 Thessalonians 5:15-16,18
Thank you Mr Lee Kuan Yew that we are able to stand proud with heads held high to celebrate SG50 today. We were kicked out, left to struggle and fail, but today anyone would be amazed at what we have achieved in the short 50 years of your lifetime. For your righteous noble ways, you have been favoured by God and blessed in your tireless work for Singapore. You will always be in our hearts and may your legacy live on in the people of Singapore. Indeed, may those who come after us, never take what we have today for granted.
HAPPY SG50 GOLDEN JUBILEE Everyone! Majulah Singapura!
Sharing here, a touching song tribute by a friend’s brother.
~ SAys! Audrey
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