The Singapore Spirit. This year’s NDP theme was all about the culture we share that makes us all one united people, regardless of race, language or religion. It tugged at the heartstrings of Singaporeans living locally and abroad. The message it was trying to bring across was short and sweet, which is, home is where the heart is. As a young adult living in Singapore, I feel proud to be part of this young rising nation. An affection for their motherland that many would chose to hide.
For me, this year marked the first time of not celebrating National Day at all. In fact I was halfway across the globe, 15,000km away from home. Being on vacation in USA, it never crossed my mind that I would miss the feeling of National Day.
On 9 August, my emotions ran high as I recalled the times in school we were made to learn patriotic national day songs, including those in horrendously cheesy national day songs and not to mention the occasional crowd pleasers and taking part in mock parades held in schools. Most importantly, I will never forget the overwhelming pride I felt in my little body when I performed for NDP in Primary 5.
That was the merely the tip of the iceberg. The safety, cleanliness and convenience of our city-state are aspects all overseas Singaporeans will miss. The fact that you can walk on the streets at 3am and have nothing to fear is a comfort in itself (well, only the recent phenomenon of random parang-wielding gangsters, compared to thugs carrying guns on the streets, is considered mild). The efficiency of our transport system is something that we often take for granted as well. This is the effort of the government to instil traits of law-abidingness and determination, hence portraying the ethos aspect.
All these are the comforts of home and the spirit that defines us is close to the heart. Which leads me to believe that the organizers are invoking the concepts of Pathos and Logos as well.
So, what is this culture that we share? The unofficial language, Singlish, that we are proud of. Locals embraced local sitcoms like Phua Chu Kang, which had a strong local flavor injected. Show it to an American and I assure you, he will be bewildered. Another simple situation is in out coffee-shops. Comparing a Caucasian and a local ordering food, it would be clear that we would get our message across in with minimal speaking while we’re already tucking into our lunch, the Caucasian would probably still be struggling. I think we all secretly gloat in the fact that no one else can understand Singlish like we can.
Food is another defining culture of Singapore. We have a unique food culture that blends the flavours of the four distinct races in Singapore that one cannot find anywhere else. Our love for chilli is something unique to us as well. It’s something that you will not find easily in America or European countries. Devouring our beloved Chicken Rice without chilli or even MacDonald’s fries without garlic chilli is simply unforgivable. Our love for the durian, an exotic fruit only for the acquired, is unconditional.
This year’s national day campaign was such a success because they managed to make use of the concepts ethos, logos and pathos. Even through the uproar where a popular Lady Gaga song was modified, Singaporeans rallied to drop the song as it was a shame that we had to modify someone else’s song instead of coming up with an original piece. It demonstrated the immense pride, the ethos aspect, Singaporeans have for their country that we all have and that we are indeed one united Singapore.