My wife and I put up the national flag on our balcony last night in anticipation of National Day. I use the term “anticipation” in the loosest way possible, because I’m not particularly excited. The flag idea was, after all, my wife’s; I probably would have conveniently forgotten all about it like the rest of my residential estate (last flag count was 2, including our own).
That being said, I never would have thought I’d see the day that I would fly the national flag on my very own balcony. It used to be my parents doing it back when we stayed in Ang Mo Kio, and they still do it today, at their lift landing (my family occupies the entire top floor of the apartment they live in, so they pretty much do whatever they want with the corridor and lift landings until the fire safety officers come). Do they have national pride? you bet your white short-sleeved shirt and white pants they do.
Am I proud to be Singaporean? Good question.
The first 18 years of any Singaporean’s life is anything but political. We gripe about our homework, bitch about our teachers, chase skirts and peep into blouses, beat up on other boys, get beaten up, … the days of juvenile gallivanting did not concern the welfare of the country nor its people, only of our own stamina, stomachs and a lot of times smell. And then comes National Service, where (to borrow a little inspiration from the famed author of the Teenage Textbook, Adrian Lim) the boys become men, and the girls also become men (if and when they choose to serve). After that, either more studies, or off to work we go; and this would be the moment where we start the slow and painful process of realising what politics means.
The local media propagates a lot of the government’s praises, while the Internet propagates its many downfalls (often much more effectively). Call it our