Friday, March 27, 2015

We Are Singapore

Prime Minister, I wonder if it is true that when you were leaving Cambridge your tutor said "Well, Mr. Lee, when you get back I hope you will keep the flag flying" and that you replied "When I get back I will make it my duty to get the flag down".  
If that is true, then you succeeded in this as in so many other things. 
But running up your own flag you were wise enough not to break the links which matter. 
~ so said Margaret Thatcher to Lee Kuan Yew towards the end of her speech at a formal dinner on 8 April 1985, held at the Istana Dining Room of the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore. (Link to full speech.)

Felt an emotional wrench each time as I stare up at the many state flags flying at half-mast. They don't just speak of the passing of one legendary statesman. They also remind us that many many of us share similar sentiments of quiet mourning, and for some, deep sorrow, and others, ambivalence. Singapore has never felt so subdued, sombre, sad, reflective, united and cohesive all at once, regardless whether one chooses to observe the declared mourning period.

We've outdone ourselves in possessing this amazing ability to queue. In this humidity and blazing sun. It's nothing short of magnificent. I'm so pleased that Singaporeans don't just queue for freebies, burgers and Hello Kitty items. A big thank you to grassroots volunteers, civil servants, public service officers, and ordinary citizens who simply reached out to help one another. You put in extra hours to keep this country running efficiently, holding it all together so that we could go about daily affairs without interruption. We definitely appreciate you doing what you do. This is the efficiency we're known for. We get things done. This week of national mourning, we also celebrate us, Singaporeans.

There's a massive amount of kindness going around. Very touching, really. Singapore, you do have a softer side even though you show so little of it. The whining too, has impressively lessened. And dare I say this, a fair number of gracious words and acts. I see graciousness everywhere. It's lovely. If this is SG50, then this is the sort of camaraderie I want, the naturally warm and sincere people-to-people vibes. This is the Singapore I love. This week, I've never felt prouder of fellow residents, and to be Singaporean.

Tribute center at Tanjong Pagar Community Club within Tanjong Pagar GRC.
My GRC. And yes, I've never voted. Dunno about 2016.

1 comment:

D said...

Indeed. The whole of Singapore touched me this week.