Ah yes. I know this is going to be a basi entry. But I had a commitment to write this. I'd like to share with my international friends, the story of this little red dot (as popularised by former Indonesian Head-of-State, President Habibie), on our 42nd year of independence.
I watched the spectacular celebrations from home on the Internet. Before I left for Jakarta, honestly, I didn't see much in Singapore that I wanted to be associated with. I would prefer a life in Australia (I still do). But coming home from Indonesia helped me to better appreciate the little things I put up with growing up.
Looking at adik, I write this in restrospect, about our future Singapore, and Singaporeans. I grew up in a wonderful north-eastern town. Everyone was friendly, and I made all kinds of friends growing up. Yet, having said that, I hated the fact that the only single thing that unifies us Singaporeans, is our desire to win, and at all costs.
I lived in a highly competitive education system. It irks me that to be highly educated, meant that one had to score As, and nothing less was accepted. This mimicked how young Singaporean families then raised their children. Most Singaporeans parents at that time understood how important education was, and they all wanted their children to excel. They used to live an impoverished life, and were never highly educated. To our parents, getting a degree would mean that they had exercised their duty as parents and would reap its rewards.
To me though, getting a degree doesn't mean I'm educated. It just means I do well in exams. Education isn't about the As and the Bs. It's about your state of soul, not your state of mind. If at the end of a lecture, one doesn't feel enlightened, then one hasn't learned. To me, the best education worth having, is the education of life. We don't stop learning when we get our diploma. We only stop learning when we die.
I for one, even after a poly diploma, and pursuing higher education in a top class Aussie university, learn something new everyday. The single principle that I have in life is always to ask one question. For if I'm unable to have a conversation that enlightens me once a day, I have not learned anything new and therefore, I would not be educated.
Yet, when I looked at the state of the poor in Indonesia, I think about what I put up with, and I concur, at least we all got to go to school. And the fact that our government has enacted compulsory schooling up till primary 6 would mean that every Singaporean child has access to basic education, guaranteed. This basic human right is something that many Indonesians could only dream of.
I'm thankful for this right. But because I cannot agree with our government on other political issues which would make this country greater, I had dreamt of a life in the cities of Perth and Melbourne, Australia. A place where democracy was guaranteed. A country where Rugby, Cricket, Rules as well as Football has equal support.
But then, my country asked me a question. Will you?
This year's NDP song was extremely meaningful. And I simply loved it. For once we weren't romancing our songs. For once, our country asked us what we can do for our country, not what this country can do for us.
And I'd love to contribute my share to this land which raised me. If only our government was willing enough to relax its control on the people, and let us exercise our democratic obligations without fear.
I ask this in retort to my country. Will you do what it takes to keep a true red-blooded Singaporean rooted?
I hope so. I hope that one day, my adik will be able to ask this same question, and I hope that by then, this country would have done enough to keep us here.
In the meantime, lets enjoy the pretty fireworks.
The Light Show before the Big Bang!
Nice bright pyrotechnics fill up the night sky