There is still slightly more than a month before Singapore’s national day. But, thanks to my officer, I got tickets to the preview for the National Day Parade.
At the preview, I saw many primary 5 kids. Clad in uniformly red shirts, their bubbly disposition and their estatic faces were reminscent of how I felt back then.
National Day Parade was a big deal back then. To me, at least. Every year, my mum would try to get us tickets to the parade but lady luck hasn’t been on our side. So, when primary 5 came and I knew I would be going to the National Day Parade, it was like Charlie getting the golden ticket to the Chocolate Factory.
National Day Parade was about so many things. It was about the crowd, the cool goodie bag that had many things in it, the grandeur display of arms, parachutes and military capabilities, the iridescent fireworks and yes, I am not leaving the sing alongs out.
As much as I was a quiet boy, I loved the sing alongs as a kid. ‘Home’ and ‘Reach out for the Sky” are some of my favourite national day songs. I feel that these songs evoke the most patriotism in me.
That sense of belonging I had as a kid was somehow stronger. I felt so much more immersed in the local culture. Sadly, that sense of patriotism in me has died down over the years. Maybe because I have grown to be more discerning of what is going on in the country and started noticing its flaws.
Almost as if shaped by my slightly more skeptical perception of my country, everything in this year’s parade deemed dismal. The goodie bag was too kiddish, stuff in it were limited and the performances were boring.
I guess the magic was lost somewhere in between. I hope I will find it back some day. After all, I do share an affinity with this little island and its community.