Yesterday was the 9th of August 2015. The 50th birthday of Singapore. And what can be more inspirational then the birth and progress of a nation who triumphed above all odds? The late PM Lee Kuan Yew, considered to be the founding Father of Modern Singapore did not live to see the jubilee celebrations but he had been present at every National Parade from 1966 when we celebrated our first year of birth until birthday #49. But in truth, he was present yesterday too. We all remembered him. And we all felt the sadness of his passing even as we celebrated.
For those growing up in the 1980s, our theme song for National Day were about progress, and about standing together. The songs were a cry to battle, to push us all to build something. Propaganda really, if you think about it, to whip us all into shape, to continue to forge a path ahead, as ONE NATION. They were catchy tunes, designed to make us march and clap and move!
Hands up those who remember perennial crowd favorite : stand up stand up for Singapore!
and then the other 1980s favorite: Count on me Singapore!
Back then we were still in the throes of nation building. We were all struggling to survive, to carve out a National Identity.
But in the late 1990s, when I was struggling to remember who I was as a person, to remember where I came from. Singapore reminded me. I am Singaporean. My heart is where my home is. This was no longer a nation that needed building. It was already built. We already have a home.
This year’s theme song was not about building a nation or about telling us that we have already built our home. This year’s theme song was about reminding how far we have come and how we have to learn to appreciate all that we have achieved as a nation. Our home. Our Singapore.
Happy 50th birthday Singapore. Still young. Still beautiful. A little older. A little wiser. But still very young. Battle weary perhaps but still triumphant. And may you continue to do so.