In response to Gilbert Goh’s National Day Post

A letter by reader Ben Tan…

 

So.. Mr. Gilbert strikes again, giving us 10 reasons why Singaporeans are not celebrating National Day!

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Here’s what he said:

1. Same rhetoria – its the same rhetoria all over again year after year and many Singaporeans can memorize the whole format by hard if they are at least ten years old. Nothing fresh comes out of the programme, even the beautiful fireworks seem the same as before.

2. PAP propaganda – the whole programme and march-pass smells of PAP propaganda and many people are turned off because of this. There are more shots of the whole PAP cabinet on TV than the event itself!

3. Cloudy sentiment – many Singaporeans are also feeling uncertain about their future as jobs are scant and wages low. At 5.3 million population now, we all feel suffocated to the core, what if it hits 6.9 million! The country is now seen as a haven for the rich to enjoy in…

4. Weekend – many also take the opportunity to go for a long weekend break somewhere else than stay at home and watch the event on TV. Its their most precious time of the week and destressing is the name of the game for many weary Singaporeans.

5. LKY factor – many people also previously watched the programme due to the LKY factor – will he turn up or not? When he kept turning up faithfully despite some bad health condition, people simply know that he will be there – come what may.

6. Tickets for new citizens and foreigners – tickets were also allocated to the new citizens in the dirty name of integration and many people are unhappy because of this as they have to ballot hard for the tickets. There are also less flags being hoisted out at the HDB blocks and it could be a historical low as people refuse to celebrate a day that they don’t feel happy about.

7. Nothing much to celebrate – Singaporeans basically feel that there is nothing much to celebrate nowadays – life is hard and sour faces are everywhere. The rich are getting richer and the poor poorer plus the skyrocketting cost of living is now at its worst.

8. Worst Prime Minister of all – Mr Lee Hsein Loong is seen as the worst PM of all as his pro-economic policies favour the foreigners and country more than the people. The mere fact that he may be seen on TV has put many people off. Basically, people also don’t feel proud to be a Singaporean anymore.

9. Bad timing – the timing of the event close to dinner time also puts many people off as some families have dinner gathering and people just watch the snippets on news later.

10. Opposition getting stronger – as celebrating national day is seen as a pro-PAP event these days, many pro-opposition people are turning away from the event on TV and celebrate it in their own quiet way with friends.

But Mr. Gilbert sir, I’d like to say you’re missing the point:

1. It’s not about the programme. It’s about the people you celebrate a special day with. And there are many people who know National Day means something deeper for them; more than just a nation’s birthday but a rebirth from a difficult struggle.
By the way, I celebrate my birthday every year, and it is the same programme. A dinner followed by a birthday cake with candles and the birthday song. I still celebrate it.
Lesson 1: “format by heart” not “hard”

2. The programme and march-past is not about the PAP. It is about our people who are part of the celebrations, our citizens, our SAF, fellow Singaporean, including our cabinet.
Lesson 2: “march-past” not “march pass”

marchpast

3. You must be reading data from 2008 after the financial markets crashed? The last we read, Jobstreets reported “Job outlook report indicates hiring climate is positive for 2014”. Manpower (the firm not the Ministry) reported “2014 hiring prospects favourable”. Randstad reported “Young Singaporean employees upbeat about job prospects”. Robert Half Employment reported “Singapore job prospects up amid high business confidence”. By the way, even Nielsen which reported “Job security tops list of Singaporean concerns in Q2” (or similar), highlighted that the data was based on Singapore consumer confidence dropping by one point to 98 instead of 99 over one quarter.

4. Not watching the National Day Parade does not equate to not celebrating National Day. Many of my neighbours will actually be on the rooftop hoping to get a glimpse of the fireworks!
Lesson 3: “It’s their most” not “Its” and “De-stressing”, not “destressing”

Marina Bay Countdown 2013 fireworks 148

Picture source: thewackyduo.com

5. Sometimes your crystal ball gazing moments are off the mark but we’ll let pass on this one. It’s fantastic that you think Mr Lee Kuan Yew will join us for NDP2014. He’s an exceptional leader and the crowd cheers for him when he turns up. And hey, people will cheer for him – come what may.

lky_selfie

6. Integration is not dirty. You need to improve on your general knowledge of global issues to know what happens if no effort is made to integrate society. There are also other ways to fly the flag – vehicle side mirrors, car decals, t-shirts and even Facebook photos. I’ve even seen celebratory cakes decorated with our Singapore flag.

7. Wait, this paragraph just repeated what you intended to explain with the post. Repeating your point doesn’t really count as a justification you know. By the way, there’s plenty to celebrate. We celebrate our Pioneer Generation, we celebrate our Youth Olympians, many universities have just celebrated their Convocation, and there are wedding celebrations, that new-born etc. etc.
Lesson 4: “skyrocketing” not “skyrocketting”

8. We’re celebrating National Day, not our Prime Minister. Just going by the number of fans he has on his Facebook, versus yours… I think you get the drift. *well I hope (?) you got the drift?*
Lesson 5: “Lee Hsien Loong” not “Hsein Loong”

9. Your arguments get weaker as we move down the list. Let me suggest something else: “some families have dinner gathering and people watch the NDP together”.

10. Just so you know, I don’t think any opposition party plans to shy away from celebrating National Day. When you start politicising National Day, that’s when it just gets ugly.

 

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