Saturday, 3 January 2015

Singapore 2015 (1) - The Beginning

Singapore 2015 The Series
Some Ramblings of a 50-year-old Nation

In a flash, we will be celebrating our beloved Singapore’s 50th (SG50) Birthday.  For a nation, our history is very brief and yet so exciting and rich for one little boy who lived through this epoch.  Having passed my own half-century a while back, I can understand the festive joy amidst the angst, trepidation and expectations accompanied by our perennial national past-time of worrying about important trivia and inconvenient mundane stuff, punctured occasionally by serious matters of the heart, community and the world in that order.

This Post shall kickoff a series of free flowing thoughts through the events and policies in the past 50 years, before capturing the transformative imagination for our beloved country in the next 50 to 500 years.  

We shall begin, as usual, from the beginning.

9 August 1965 – The Day of Infamy which No Singaporean should Forget.
We were at the edge of our Hope, the end of our Destiny and the Dissolution of our Vision. Earlier, we had fought and won our Battle for Merger with Malaysia.  It was to be our finest victory!  But, it was short-lived.  Looking back to my 2 years as a Malaysian “Singapore” Citizen, I am glad that it was not a very long victory.  I was not even entitled to Malaysian citizenship!  A longer victory would have been very bad for me and millions of fellow Singaporeans.   

It was better this way, Really. The early joy of Merger Victory had been followed by two years of love-hate, bittersweet honeymoon disputing the conflicting visions of a meritocratic, multicultural “Malaysian Malaysia” vs a Malay-dominant, racist, ethnic supremacist “Malay Malaysia”. With no ethnic group then exceeding 50% in the population, a Malaysian Malaysia would have made the most sensible choice, but not to the powerful Malay political elites and their interest groups.  A saline mixture of fresh and sea water would still taste salty, even if we had remained in Malaysia.

The Promised Land of Malaysia two years earlier had turned into a Desert of Acrimony. The Mirage of Mutual Prosperity clouded the Reality of sandy Political Interests.  We could not be forced to drink the sand of political racism to quench our thirst for justice and equality.  And we refused to mistake it for the precious water needed to nurture our dream of Nationhood.

National Day 9 August 1965 – Leaving Our Future Behind
From the Ashes of a Failed Vision, we had emerged more Prosperous, Stronger, more Rugged, more Resilient, more Robust and Independent.  Our RIGHT to Survive with Independent Sovereignty CANNOT and MUST NEVER be compromised or sacrificed. Our Authenticity as a Nation providing Exceptional Value to the World MUST Always be visibly Demonstrated without Any Equivocation.

Our Greatest Moment as “One People, One Nation” was in picking up the Pieces of our young Nation when so Many had written us Off.  We had Believed in One Another when we Failed in our Merger Victory, and we Prevailed.  It is always easier to keep our faith and believing when we are succeeding.

In 2015 as we approach our Jubilee 50 years old, and grappled with new Survival issues, let it not be forgotten that we once had a Difficult Birth, a Risky Delivery, a Vulnerable Existence And a daunting Struggle to continually assert Our Right to Live among the Nations as a Sovereign Nation Deserving of Their Respect, Friendship and Admiration.   

We must continue to believe in Each Other and Ourselves as we march into the next 50 Years and beyond.  Together, our strengths always synergise in the face of Adversity, and we become stronger, more united and more resilient when we trust and depend on one another.  


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