A different National Day

I’m not sure I entirely agree with this author’s perspectives. Not because I believe or feel that Singapore’s government has done a great job, but because it seems to ignore the fact that life is not easy for a government anywhere anymore. No longer is it enough to be good, you must be unique, different, innovative, talented, and a whole list of attributes that are just plain hard to come by. To cap it all off, you have to protect freedoms, but maintain security, to be uncorrupt, but also deliver cheap, and efficient services to all. The thing is, these are problems facing all governments, and all governments have faced and will continue to face these problems. I do not deny that the government may have taken some misteps, or that the old paternalistic instincts have completely died away, but to expect perfection is the height of cynicism.

Maybe it’s because of my optimism, or at least my plain refusal to see everything as bleak, but to be cynical about our prospects is hardly a great starting point for any future government either, be they the same as our current administration, or one run by any other party. Wouldn’t the bar be set impossibly high for them as well? Wouldn’t they be expected to solve all that ails us immediately? Who is to say that some other party can or will be less authoritarian, or more able to face the challenges of an aging population. Maybe the time has come for a bit more optimism, and hope for the future.


It is 4 days to Singapore’s 48th National Day. Unlike other years, however, this year’s occasion seems to be different. There is a palpable sense of … disinterest among Singaporeans. A walk around the neighbourhood and observations made elsewhere around Singapore show that fewer households have put up the national flag this year. Of course, this does not mean that Singaporeans do not feel anything for the country – but it does raise the question of whether they indeed do.

I recall earlier years when my block of flats, for example, was decked out in flags, and this was not because of any “coercion” by grassroots members. I know friends who personally went out to buy the flag to hang at their balcony. Besides, it was not only about hanging the flag which gave you the buzz that Singaporeans were excited by the nation’s birthday. It was also the chatter…

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2 thoughts on “A different National Day

  1. I read a few replies to my comments above, as well as the author’s own comments.

    He said, to paraphrase: that he was in fact quite positive, esp. vis a vis political change. And well frankly I agree. Things are changing. And whilst they may feel slow, this isn’t something that happens overnight. So I think whilst fears should still remain, and hopes cautious, the truth is we can never be sure what is to come, and all we can hope for is something good at the end of the tunnel.

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