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National Day should not be used as a show of military strength

by Shiro

If you think about National Day, the three things you think about are 'NDP song', 'Parade', and then 'Fighter Jets'. Isn't that a bit outdated in the 21st century?

If we go to another country, their National Day or equivalents are usually just celebrated with fireworks, songs, flags, and maybe a few hundred infantrymen marching in line through the streets. Singapore is one of the few countries that still make use of our national day parade – our Independence Day – to drive tanks through streets and fly fighter jets through the skies. Doesn't it show a bit poorly on us? Even the United States doesn't ask for the U.S military to drive tanks and fighter jets through Washington, D.C – they do fireworks.

In addition to that, isn't it an immense waste of money? Why are we asking the SAF to fly planes through that cost tens upon thousands to fuel, repair and maintain, or get people to parachute into Marina Bay? Not only is it dangerous, it wastes money buying the necessary equipment, filling the tanks, and rehearsing that – over four to six weeks in advance!

I don't object to patriotism, but come on. Parading around our military and exhausting the many people that are on duty for some ungodly reason isn't practical.

And finally – it reflects very badly on our country in general. Let me remind you - there are many countries around us who have far stronger militaries – Malaysia and Indonesia, who don't do this sort of thing. And to top it off, the countries that usually perform such displays have often been run by despots; from the time of World War Two Japan to present-day Russia, I think it is only prudent to remember that the first thing these countries have done is to unfairly annex and exert influence over their neighbouring countries.

Do we really want to be seen in this same light?