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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Hip-Hip-Hooray, It's our National Day

National Day has always been a big deal for me. Every year, we'd watch the National Day Parade, singing along with the songs and waving the little plastic flag. I never missed a single National Day Parade until I left Singapore for university. I'd watch the parade with my mates, laughing at the propaganda.

Even then, us overseas students tried to celebrate it in my own way.

The Singaporeans in my university would get together, throw a barbeque or steamboat party, and then huddle together in the autumnal cold, laughing and talking about the things we had in common - school assemblies and flag raising ceremonies, favourite hawker foods, moral education classes.
The boys, of course, would tell army stories until the girls complained. And then maybe we would have a little sing-along of all the National Day songs that we could remember - all learnt by heart during our formative years in primary school.

When I moved out of the dormitories and into Real Rented Property, I'd throw a party on the 9th of August and use it as an excuse to introduce my British chums to Singaporean Culture. I'd wear red and white and insist that everyone else try to follow suit to 'get into the spirit of things'. I'd pin up a plastic flag onto the door of my room, walk around humming patriotic tunes. I even got hold of a CD of National Day songs ('Muneru Valiba', 'Chan Mali Chan', 'We are Singapore' and other old favourites) and played it in the background. I'd tell all my friends about National Day propaganda and laugh.

The afternoon would be spent happily making Hainanese chicken rice, 'proper' fried noodles, pork dumplings and then torturing all my guests by making them eat using chopsticks. I taught them all to sing 'Stand Up For Singapore'. And I'd invite some of the Singaporean boys over so they could tell army stories to their hearts content.

Today, I'm working the evening shift, so there will be no National Day dinner. I wear green scrubs to work, and my plastic flag is far too battered and faded to hang up.

But I have spent the entire week singing patriotic tunes to my heart's content (and much to MSH's amusement). I still make fun of our National Day propaganda, but I sing our songs with gusto, nevertheless.

Happy 40th Birthday, Singapore. I miss you.



Anonymous spots said...

Happy National Day indeed! My friends & I spent it quite similarly to how you'd spend urs - watching the parade and heckling at the displays/dance items... heh heh. The fireworks were v brilliant this yr tho...

8:33 am  
Blogger oddlola said...

I was just thinking how i used to follow each year's NDP with gusto and now, i am trying hard to recall when was the last time i viewed the NDP but i remembered some of the songs nevertheless. Some songs, no matter how busy you get, never goes out of your system.

8:44 am  
Blogger tscd said...

spots: Yes! Heckling the parade is so much fun. I'm always impressed by the planning it takes.

one little twit: yes, we are well indoctrinated.

4:15 pm  

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