(The following article was written by an anonymous contributor)
While growing up in Singapore, being patriotic meant putting your arms around your classmates, belting out National Day songs, watching the NDP parade, supporting our football team during the Malaysia Cup… and then forgetting about patriotism the rest of the year.
As one becomes an adult, reality comes along and bursts the bubble of patriotic naivete that we once had.
This article seeks to analyse two key theories on why this happens and ways for us to bring back that patriotism.
Firstly, Singapore is not a political party. We have been told that the ruling party has done much for the country. I am not denying this and can see much good continues to be done.
However, PAP has now become synonymous with Singapore and this link needs to be detached if patriotism was to grow.
No party is perfect and there have been decisions that impacted society in a negative way. People then associate these flaws with the concept of the nation. Mistakes are inevitable, but should not be linked to nationhood.
This PAP=Singapore association is doing a great disservice to patriotism.
Secondly: Singapore is more than the 9th of August.
The 9th of August is a very important date indeed. However, just like how you would not neglect your partner every day of the year and celebrating only Valentine’s Day, you don’t want to be patriotic only on National Day alone.
We are familiar with the excitement leading to National Day. The flags that are flown, grassroots events are celebrated and finally the high energy parade complete with jets and military hardware.
But beyond all this pomp and ceremony, Singapore is much more.
We are a multicultural people. This itself should be celebrated and brought to the forefront of the festivities. I daresay that maybe for just one year, the parade should be shelved we celebrate multiculturalism alone.
If we could address these two issues discussed, I believe we would then be able to grow and redevelop patriotism.