Below is an email exchange I had with a friend, Edmund, a new member of TOC.
Andrew, I remember when I was much younger, in my school days and NS Days, the National Day Parade (NDP) was a must-see on TV. When I was a boy scout, I craved to participate in it.
That patriotism has long gone. In fact, I have not watched the Parade for more than 10 years already. The only thing that interests me is the fireworks, that's it.
When I was in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, in 2003, I read an article on the Internet that the spore's NDP attracted 120,000 people celebrating at Marina Bay (can't remember the exact location) - I told myself that is insane. Lethbridge (the 3rd largest city in the Province of Alberta) only has a population of 70,000. Our NDP alone attracted 120,000 ppl in one small plot of land?
There is really nothing for me to feel proud of in being a Singaporean.
The reason why I came back, is job, job, job - that's it. I basically have no sense of belonging to S'pore - mainly because of the Government. Singapore is too much intertwined with the PAP, as though they are siamese twins.
Singapore is so different now, compared to, say, 10 or 20 years ago, when one felt a sense of bond to the country. That part of me is gone, and lost. Sometimes, I wonder if those good old days will return one day.But that will never happen. I miss those days! I believe it is going to get worse. I often admire those who say they love S'pore as their country, but not the PAP. I do wonder how true that really is. No offense please, Andrew. That feeling of disgust and wearing of red on National Day to heed the PAP's call - really makes me sick and want to throw up.
So, that is my feeling for National Day.
That is all I have to say.
I can understand how you feel. At times I too feel the same. I wonder if it is because people like you and me have a too-deep sense of fairness, and whether that is a good thing. haha.
Nonetheless, I think a nation or a country is where you're anchored. The place of your birth, of your parents and grandparents. Yes, it is a relentlessly uphill task to preserve what we hold dear and close to our hearts, especially in the face of a determined government who seems hell-bent on all things economic and money-making. Perhaps what will keep us sane are our families and loved ones.
For me, maybe I am naive or idealistic, but I await the day when citizens' voices are loud enough to make a significant difference. Will I ever see that day? I don't know. But it's this hope that keeps me going. It's also why I'm doing what I'm doing - despite all the fatalistic and negative comments I hear all around me.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts.