National Day Rally: Stand Up and Sing!

Yo, new writer shout-out! Yes, this is the new writer doing a shout-out for herself *waves!*

So who am I? I am the sensy and emotional one, the one with all the feels. The one who will rant, whine, ramble and provide you with the occasional bimbotic posts of whatever makes my blood boil. Or makes my pulse race. Or sometimes whatever makes me drool. I hereby guarantee you that my posts here will be full of flesh, blood, tears and/or angst, hurhur! (I am human, no robot’s gonna replace me, yo!)

 

My first post will be a ‘patriotic’ one. I am here to talk about the National Day Rally.

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Were you one of the 1.62 million who had tuned in last Sunday evening to watch the National Day Rally? Wah, apparently, this is a record high! *cues the applause*

Yours truly was one of the 1.62 million people who sat glued to my screen to make sure I hear about all the NDR goodies firsthand Sunday night. And… there was a surprise performance!

Home by Kit Chan! *screams!!!*

Don’t you just love love love this song?! I cannot believe that this song dates back all the way to 1998. That’s 17 years ago, like two centuries ago in Internet time. OK, I made that up, I have no idea how long or fast or whatever things move in Internet time. I even wish I was on that train that special day when all of those special people sang this special song!.

Now if you had watched the National Day Rally live, then you would have noticed this girl. (For simplicity’s sake, let’s call her… GIRL. Ya, I am unimaginative like that.)

NDR enthu girl

 

Here’s how it went… At first, GIRL was just sitting there, obviously hyped up by Kit Chan’s appearance, and she was singing along quite enthusiastically.

fan-girl-1

Then GIRL really got into the mood… yes, she stood up! *YAY!*

fan-girl-2

 

I can still remember the thoughts that sped through my head as I watched GIRL swaying and singing along.

‘Wow! She’s really into the song!’
‘I wish I was right there standing and swaying along with her! It’ll be like a concert, me likes!’
‘Woo, she’s in red. She probably dressed for the occasion, hehe!’
‘I wonder if her companion’s embarrassed…’
‘Is that guy her boyfriend? Wasn’t she touching his hand earlier?’
‘Is she blocking the people behind her?’
‘Nay, probably not. I don’t see anyone upset or waving for her to sit down.’
‘Hellooooo… Why aren’t the rest standing up too?’
‘Oh man, is she gonna get slammed online for standing?’
‘Hope not! I love the spirit!’
‘Don’t cower, GIRL!’

(Yes, I talk to my head A LOT.)

 

Of course, just like what happened with that (I-don’t-really-think-she’s-a) chiobu at National Day Parade, GIRL got CSI’ed and it did not take long at all for her to be identified and interviewed.

GIRL told the media she was just “swept up in the moment” when she stood up and sang along. Perfectly understandable, if you ask me. She shared that she felt compelled to rise to her feet and sing her heart out. Yes, I feel you, GIRL. I would totally stand and be there with you if I were there at the National Day Rally!

She also said, “I would like to apologise to those behind me for blocking their view when I stood up, but sometimes I feel we should be unapologetic when we’re standing up for something that we believe strongly in.”

I think so too! Unfortunately, there are some who tore her apart online. I read the comments on the articles that came out right after National Day Rally, and let me tell you, they aren’t pretty at all. But I thought I’d just let it go and that it’d all die down in just a couple of days.

 

Then I saw this post, and my blood boiled. NO, DO NOT CLICK AND GO THERE. I am not done ranting here, and I will share the offending (to me) parts here.

Quotes are from that blogpost.

I may be old-fashioned but I suspect this is symptomatic of the narcissistic and self-centered “Look at me! Look at me!” generation who thrives on being social media whores, the generation who derives their highs by accumulating as many Facebook likes as possible.

GIRL‘s actions did not amount to ‘Look at me! Look at me!‘ She stood up quietly, and merely swayed and crooned along. ‘Look at me!‘ actions would mean waving emphatically, maybe singing terribly loudly, making a lot of noise, drawing attention to oneself when there’s a performance going on, or generally making a ruckus of oneself to the point of distraction.

She did not disturb the performance, the performer nor the audience, did she? Calling her a ‘social media whore‘…?! Helloooo, who the heck do you think you are to call someone a whore? Whatever did she do to warrant that mighty offensive label?

 

Given the solemn nature of the occasion, was this appropriate behavior? Sure, express your patriotism and love for Singapore blah, blah, blah, but there’s a right place for the right thing. Call me an antediluvian fuddy-duddy, but my dear Miss Wu, what makes you think you can do anything you like, as and when you feel like it? This place will be an absolute chaos if everyone thinks he or she can just be spontaneous and do anything that catches his or her whim or fancy when they are “swept up in the moment.” No sense of propriety here, is there? And if there’s one thing that your generation needs, it’s a sense of propriety.

 

Yes, antediluvian fuddy-duddy you most certainly are.

Who uses words like these anyway? In case you’re wondering, ‘antediluvian‘ means ridiculously old-fashioned, and ‘fuddy-duddy‘ refers to someone who is old-fashioned and pompous.

Yes, blogger, you know yourself pretty well. I wonder how you go through your days. Doesn’t your head hurt from shaking your head at the going-on’s all the time? Doesn’t your hand hurt from wanting to lash out at the ‘misbehaving’ generation all the time? Haven’t you heard of ‘keeping up with the times‘?

It is a National Day Rally, an important event undoubtedly, a platform where the head of state addresses the nation. But the format doesn’t have to be antediluvian, you know? A rally simply refers to an event where people gather together, there’s no saying it has to be prim-and-properish. It can be dignified and yet still fun and with a bit more human touch. No, I’m not at all suggesting that National Day rallies should be rowdy, or even a noisy affair, but it should be something that connects with the people.

After all, it is FOR the people.

 

And I would think that the epitome of a successful National Day Rally will be one where the leader connects with the people, and where the people feel so moved. Moved to their feet, that would be the best.

 

Besides, if it’s meant to be so formal and officious, perhaps PM Lee shouldn’t even have introduced the increasingly entertaining multi-media elements over the past few years. And perhaps PM Lee shouldn’t have sung at the last one. Perhaps he should have just stood at attention and delivered a speech, word for word, from his script.

But no, PM Lee didn’t do that at all, did he?

The fact that he introduced all these new elements into his rally speech over the years is proof enough he wants to connect with the people, he wants to move the people. This year, he even invited Kit Chan to sing a song before he started the English segment of the rally speech. So is the blogger saying PM Lee took the event too lightly because he had gotten a professional entertainer to go onstage and sing?

 

And no, GIRL did not do just about anything she liked, as and when she felt like it. She merely stood and sang along. That’s all. How wrong was that to actually call her a social media whore?

To say she did whatever she liked if she had disturbed the performance, gone onstage, cheered boisterously during the performance would be appropriate. But GIRL did NONE of those. In fact, I think Kit Chan would have been moved to tears and I think it would have been fantabulous if everyone in the audience stood and sang.

 

Almost as an afterthought, Wu also said “I would like to apologize to those behind me for blocking their view when I stood up, but sometimes I feel we should not be unapologetic when we’re standing up for something that we believe strongly in.”

Call that a half-ass apology, if there’s one.

I don’t see what’s wrong with what she said. I, for one, can totally understand where she was coming from. On the one hand, she felt sorry if she had blocked anyone, but she also felt that we should all stand up and be counted if we truly believed in the cause.

I find it saddening, maddening and even conflicting if we were to say she’s wrong. We’re forever saying that Singapore students are exam-smart and we only do what we’re told. We’re such conformists that we can only strive and thrive in an orderly environment such as Singapore where everyone aims not to draw any attention to themselves. And once we’re thrown into a world that is less organized and more chaotic, we would fade into nothing. Why? Because we’re not taught to stand up for something we believe in, and we’re not taught to fight. And because we’re not taught that it’s OK to stand up and be a little different from the rest.

And then when we have someone who doesn’t quite conform, or someone who doesn’t mind sticking out a little more, what do we do? We slam them and call them whores. And we tell them it’s wrong to be over-enthu.

At this point, I feel upset enough to have to borrow these words from a certain antediluvian fuddy-duddy to describe how I feel.

That thought almost makes me brown my boxers knickers.

 

P.S. GIRL has been identified as Wu Jiezhen of The Hidden Good.

Image credits: Sgag.sg, Mothership.sg

 

About the author

rene neo

Hi, I'm Rene! Mostly in Singapore and loving it, I also have an unwhettable appetite for travel. I prefer my coffee black, my champagne dry, my days short and my nights long. I do a fabulous job of manifesting my awkward ISFP personality.

And yes, I'm still searching for my unicorn, and chasing that rainbow.

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3 Comments

  • The writer did qualified himself by saying he “suspects” this the singer’s behavior is symptomatic …

    You have quoted him excessively out of context and attacked and mocked him personally. This is un-called for.

    I am not defending him, not knowing him from Adam, but everyone is entitled to his views, whether fuddy-duddies or people like you.

    Have a good day.

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