We tend to think the grass is greener on the other side, that Singapore isn’t good enough a country to live in and that like everything we complain. Even free parking at HDB carparks can also kena complain.
But on the other hand, we are also quick to defend our home whenever someone else comes close to misrepresenting us – like when we’re asked if Singapore is in China. There’re gazillion things that we do complain about, but deep down, we still call Singapore our home.
With Singapore’s 52nd birthday just a day away, we reminisce on 9 symbolic National Day moments. Throughout the years, these are moments that have not only brought out the Singaporean Spirit in even the least patriotic of us, but are also important moments that are significant to the history of Singapore and her birthday.
1. When Mr. Lee Kuan Yew Appeared For His Last NDP
We all know how devoted our late founding father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, was to Mrs Lee. As much as it was a private affair, the nation watched as Mr Lee gradually grew frail after Mrs Lee’s passing.
With reports surrounding Mr Lee’s deteriorating health leading up to National Day in 2014, rumours spread on whether he was going to attend the National Day Parade (NDP). And when Mr Lee did make his appearance, many of us were filled with a comforting sense of relief to see him. As we would for our own ah kong (grandfather), we were also concerned to see that he had aged substantially.
2. When It Rained Heavily On The Parade But Nobody Left
For as long as most of us millennials can remember, every NDP has been ‘blessed’ with good weather, with the only exception in 2008, where it started drizzling before the parade started.
However, for the older folks, it was a reminder of how stoic everyone was at the 1968 NDP in the face of a storm. Even with a heavy downpour, everyone stood their ground.
As Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong best puts it, “Those of you who were there will never forget it. It was a downpour, we froze, we were drenched. Our instruments had to be turned upside down to pour the water out. We watched to see if we stood or if we ran for cover. Nobody ran for cover, we shivered but we stood there and we marched with pride.”
3. When There Were No Red Lions At NDP
Of all the highlights of an NDP, one of the most popular segments is when the Red Lions make their jump.
So when their segment got cancelled in 2015 due to poor weather, we were really upset.
On one hand, we were sad for not being able to witness a critical part of NDP. On the other, we felt sorry for the Red Lions – can you imagine having trained for months to perfect your jump yet not be able to perform it on the actual day? Moreover, for something as monumental as SG50.
Yet again, we were pretty bummed that Red Lions was forgone at SG51 due to safety concerns of parachuting down to the National Stadium. That’s two years in a row that we’re missing them. And we’re really looking forward to seeing them this year.
4. When Mr Lee Kuan Yew Wasn’t Around At SG50
On the first NDP after Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s passing, we couldn’t have Mr Lee here with us, so in his seat taking his place was a bouquet of yellow orchids – a heartwarming act by the organisers (or whoever it was).
This video tribute dedicated to Mr Lee tugged at our heartstrings as well:
Watch from 21:21 onwards.
Also, a recording of Mr Lee reading the Proclamation of Independence was played for the first time ever to public. What makes the message even more meaningful is that this recording was played at exactly 9am on 9th August through local radio, TV channels, and across 82 grassroots-led National Day observance ceremonies islandwide.
5. Whenever We Do The Kallang Wave
Legend has it that it all started with a football match at Kallang Stadium.
If you’ve ever had the chance to watch the parade live, you’d know how fun it is to be part of a Kallang Wave. No matter how ‘old’ or cliché this tradition is, since NDP has already ‘outgrown’ Kallang Stadium for years, the feeling of doing the wave altogether with the crowd gives you an inexplicable sense of pride and joy.
6. Whenever They Bring Out The Big Guns At The Parade
Another popular favourite of ours is the Dynamic Defense Display. Probably the only time most of us get to marvel at tanks, helicopters, and a myriad of other special land, air, and sea vehicles that we will never remember the names of.
We got even more excited when some of the troops down the aisle right beside the audience at the parade, even though we may be watching it from home.
7. Whenever “Home” Comes On
“Home” is still, hands down, the best NDP song, ever. It’s the only song that everyone knows and remembers by heart.
Discounting the songs before the 2000s, there are really only a handful of other catchy ones that we remember off the top of our heads, like We Will Get There and Where I Belong. But ultimately, nothing can compare to the familiarity, happiness, pride, and love of the nation when you sing the legendary chorus, “This is home, truly, where I know I must be…”
8. When You Catch The State Flag Fly Past Wherever You Are
Not everyone gets the privilege of seeing our state flag fly past with its Chinook entourage. But those who do, love it.
Young or old, we’d run to the window to catch a glimpse of the flag as the Chinooks fly past our house before running back to the TV to continue watching the parade. And if we caught it on its way to the parade, we’d point at the TV in excitement when it appears on TV, and we’ll feel damn proud that we saw the flag before everyone else did.
9. Wearing Red Or White On 9th August
It doesn’t matter that you’re not going attending the parade, or that you’re merely out to da bao your dinner home to watch the parade on TV. But when you see everyone in Red or White, you’ll feel proud of Singapore and Singaporeans.
For once, you’ll be proud of yourself for dressing up like the rest of Singapore, even though you’re spending the day at home.
Not forgetting the annual Giordano T-shirt sales for national day – where else are you going to get cool tees perfect for 9th August right?
Happy 52nd Birthday Singapore!
It could be the fireworks at the end of NDP, or as simple as watching the parade at home with your family, but there are definitely a lot more little moments that have brought out the Singaporean spirit within us.
How about you? Share with us the moments that have brought out the Singaporean pride in you!
(Top Image Credit: Singapore La)