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It was with pride as I took in the beautiful night view of our skyline. We have indeed come a long way. It’s by no mean feat that we have turned 50 and we can’t rest on our laurels if we want to celebrate SG100. 

Once upon a time, I used to cringe when I heard Singlish. After living in Germany for a year, listening to German or German accented English every single day, I was actually delighted when I caught Singlish being spoken in a foreign country. Ah! My fellow countrymen, I beamed. The familiarity and the longing (to my surprise) for this unique language made me want to go home. 

I knew, at that moment, that there’s no other place that I would call home. It’s through living in other countries that I realized how lucky I was, to be born a Singaporean. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it’s home. 

The National Day Message which was read by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, summed up the hardships and struggles our forefathers have been through. It totally resonates with me. Thank you our forefathers and I’ll endeavor to forge on and aspire to make a difference in the lives of the people around me. 

A reminder to myself, lest I forget. Here’s the transcript of PM Lee’s National Day Message 2015. 

National Day Message 2015

My Fellow Singaporeans

50 years ago, on this very night, Singapore was on the eve of a momentous change. The Cabinet had already signed the Separation Agreement. The Government Printers were busy printing the Separation Agreement and the Proclamation of Independence in a special Government Gazette. The Commissioner of Police and the Commander of the army units had been told by the Malaysian Government to take orders from the new government the next day. But all this happened in strict secrecy. Our forefathers went to bed oblivious of what was about to happen, still for the time being citizens of Malaysia.

Then morning came. The 9th of August 1965. Our world changed. At 10 a.m., a radio announcer read the Proclamation. Singapore had left Malaysia and would “forever be a sovereign, democratic and independent nation”. The Republic of Singapore was born.
People were apprehensive. No one knew if we could make it on our own. Our economy was not yet viable, much less vibrant. We had practically no resources, and no independent armed forces. Around noon on that first day, Mr Lee Kuan Yew gave a press conference on TV. He broke down halfway, unable to contain his emotions. It was, he said, “a moment of anguish”.

But that moment of anguish turned into a lifetime of determination to forge a path for this island nation. At the end of the press conference, Mr Lee made a promise to Singaporeans. He said: “We are going to be a multi-racial nation in Singapore. We will set an example. This is not a Malay nation; this is not a Chinese nation; this is not an Indian nation. Everyone will have his place, equal: language, culture, religion.”

From that break, we began building a nation. And what a journey it has been. It started with the first generation of leaders convincing our pioneer generation that Singapore could succeed as a sovereign country. Together, leaders and the people – the lions and the lion-hearted – fought with unwavering determination to secure our foundations. After them, younger generations picked up the baton and took Singapore further.

Year after year, Singapore progressed. Along the way we overcame many problems – the British withdrawal in 1971, the Oil Crisis in 1973, SARS, the Asian Financial Crisis, and then the Global Financial Crisis. We grew our economy and created jobs, built homes, schools, hospitals and parks. We built a nation.

Year after year, we have kept the promises that Mr Lee Kuan Yew made on the 9th of August 1965: that we will be “one united people, regardless of race, language or religion”; that we will always have a bright future ahead of us.

Therefore on our 50th birthday, we have ample reason to celebrate.

Let us celebrate 50 years of peace and security, underwritten by the blood and sweat of generations of NSmen.

Let us celebrate how we turned vulnerabilities into strengths. How a struggling economy with no domestic market made the world our market and created jobs for our people. How without any domestic hinterland, we made PSA and Changi Airport the best in the world. How from being utterly dependent on Johor for water, we turned the whole island into one catchment area, and developed NEWater. 

How while we had no natural resources, we educated every Singaporean and created opportunities for their talents to thrive. We have proven that together, we are greater than the sum of our parts.

Most of all let us celebrate how we journeyed from Third World to First, as one united people, leaving no one behind. Every citizen has benefitted from Singapore’s progress. Life has improved for all – for Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians; for blue collar as well as white collar workers; for HDB as well as condominium dwellers. We are a nation of home owners. Everyone has opportunities to improve themselves. Everyone can look forward to a brighter future.

At 50 years, as we stand at a high base camp, we look back and marvel how far we have come. We are grateful to those who made it happen.

From this base camp, we can also look forward to new peaks ahead. The journey ahead is uncharted. But we must press on, because we aspire to do better for ourselves and our children.

We know that we will get there, because we will always be there for one another. We are stronger as one people. For example, we instinctively gather to lift a truck to save someone trapped underneath. Even if the music fails, we go on singing the National Anthem with gusto. We are proud of our past and confident of our future. Together we believe in Singapore; together we belong to Singapore; together, we are Singapore.

I am speaking to you from Victoria Concert Hall, a place that holds special significance in Singapore’s history. In 1954, this was called the Victoria Memorial Hall. It was here that Mr Lee Kuan Yew launched the People’s Action Party, and inaugurated the long struggle for a fair and just society. It was here in 1958 that “Majulah Singapura” was first performed. It was at the Padang nearby, after independence, that we held our National Day Parades, and sang “Majulah Singapura” together as a nation.

50 years on, on our Golden Jubilee, we will gather again at the Padang. We will sing “Majulah Singapura” proudly, and recite the National Pledge. We will rejoice in the success of our last five decades, and commit ourselves anew to work together as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion, to build Singapore, so as to achieve happiness, prosperity, and progress for our nation.

Happy 50th National Day!

It all started because of this. 

  Me : Let’s chat! How’s your day?
宝贝 : Mommy, I’d like to finish reading my book first. (In a sternly reprimanding tone)

Gosh… For a while, I felt like I was the wayward daughter. 😓

Sigh…! With the no gadget rule, I had nothing to occupy myself with. I had to resort to eavesdropping on the conversation at the next table. Well, not exactly eavesdropping because they were rather loud and expressive. 

Son (probably in secondary school) : What’s this in the jug?

Mother : That is the salad sauce to go with your salad. 

Son : Can I drink it?

Mother : Don’t be STUPID!! That’s for your salad. 

By the way, the poor woman is surrounded by stupid people and things, namely her stupid phone, her stupid husband, her stupid son etc. And she announced to the whole restaurant about them. My heart goes out to her. I can’t imagine myself surrounded by so much stupidity…
Son : Ok!!

I imagined if I were her, I would probably tell him, “Yes! Drink it! Make sure you finish the entire jug!”

Oh well, that’s just me. 

Ok, you are right… I was indeed, very bored…. 😂😂😂

It was a shocking news that rippled through my Secondary school’s whatsapp groups. First, it was the shock.  When the shock had passed, questions surfaced. But then, no one knew the answer.  Anyway, the answer was inconsequential, because it didn’t matter anymore. I have not seen her since we left school.

In my memory, she was a warm and friendly person.  She always wore a smile on her face and was ever approachable to all. She always had something nice to say to everyone. Her results were superb and I assume that she was also extremely capable at work because she was holding a c-level post at a renowned medical institution. She was only 40 when she passed on, leaving behind a 9 year old child. Many people were grieving for her because she was such a warm and loving person.

She was one of the few people who have passed away in their prime.  It was always unexpected. I guess they didn’t expect that themselves either.

It’s always these shocking events that make me drop everything that I was doing, take a break from my ever hectic schedule (this is self-inflicted), to ponder over what I have achieved and what I really want to attain.

Life is too short :

To be doing things that don’t make me happy.

To be spent on undeserving people who are ungrateful.

To be complaining about every single things that doesn’t go my way.

To be pandering to the whims of people who don’t matter to me.

To be wasted on fighting over little things with petty people.

It’s time :

To say no to things that don’t bring me joy.

To be with my loved ones and people who matter to me, especially my grandmother and parents who are getting on in years.

To ignore nincompoops and beasts.

To fulfill my bucket list.

To indulge in some self pampering.

It’s time to live every single day as though it’s my last. Live life with no regrets!

Rest in Peace, my friend.

All it took was a slippery ground after water play and the metal floor track of the sliding door. Humpty Didi slipped and landed his shin on the metal track. 

He said that he cried “not very loudly” and no one paid him any attention so he picked himself up and limped into the classroom. 

My heart went out to him when I heard it. The teachers probably didn’t think much of it since he didn’t bawl his eyes out. But he was unable to rest his weight on his left leg. 

I googled his condition online and read that there’s a possibility of toddler fracture (hairline fracture). 

   
 
Still as cheeky as ever. 

Ming Ming : Caroline’s 奶奶 (grandmother) said I’m buat Toh (with an English slang). But, Mommy, I’m not Buat Toh. I’m Cheng Ming!! (Indignantly)

*Buat Toh is hokkien for fall down. 

Ever since 宝贝口水妹 was born, I’ve already made up my mind that she would study at my alma mater. I’ve imagined that she would don the white-shirt-blue-pinafore uniform in her china doll hairstyle like how I wore mine for the 10 years I was there. 

I brought her to the school during the school celebration and showed her around, pointing out my favourite spots, telling her that would be where she would spend 6 happy years of her life, or maybe more. 

Yet, on the registration day, I made the decision not to register her there. Everyone (except for a handful), even myself, thought I was mad. To give up a place at such a “branded” school. I made the decision to enroll her in a co-ed school, which was nearer to my home, and one that would enable her younger brother to get in with ease. 

It was painful. It felt like the end. It felt like turning down the boy whom I liked lots lots, but knew that he simply wasn’t right for me. 

It wasn’t the pain of giving up a branded school, like what everyone said. To me, it has never been so. It wasn’t a branded school, it was simply MY school. It was more of giving up a dream that I’ve always had. To see a mini me, running happily around in school in her white and blue. 

Maybe it’s because I wanted to relive the most carefree years of my life through her, in the same school. The life I had, when things were still white and black, good and bad, when the biggest problem was someone “not friending” you. 

So now the curtain has fallen. Lucy can never go back to Narnia because she’s grown up. I’ve never thought that I would be overwhelmed with emotions. But I am. What a dork! 

Inertia…

It’s been soooo long since I last posted. Thought I’d post something short to get my butt off the ground and get going!

  
Me : Wow! Cool! Darth Vader!

Barista : Erm… It’s not Darth Vader… It’s a minion…

Me : Oh! Erm… Cute… Hehehe *sheepish laugh*

I scrutinized it when I brought it back to the table. 

I still think it looks like Darth Vader leh….

During the USA presidentially rally (the one that Obama was first elected), many fellow Singaporeans and I were glued to the screen. After all, USA was, and still is, our biggest trading partner, so who the USA president would greatly mattered to us. 

My friends would lament, “Aiy! See how eloquent and charismatic the American candidates are! We don’t have such eloquent politicians in Singapore! The ones in Singapore are so boring with a capital B!”

My dear friends, that was so untrue! We had one of the most eloquent and charismatic politicians of all times! What’s more! He delivered what he promised! It wasn’t airy fairy promises made, just to gain votes! 

We had the most passionate, rousing founding prime minister who rallied the people together and brought us from third world to first! He had the wit and intellect to answer any question posed to him and at times, sent the questioner scuttling away in shame.

Lee Kuan Yew is Singapore. Singapore is Lee Kuan Yew. Look around, you will see his legacy. He’s touched each and every one of us. He lives on, in us. 

Watch this excellently compiled mini series of interviews with him. It’ll be the most fruitful 30 mins spent. 


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