Of internal conflict on National Day

The flags have been meticulously hung out by the town council; there are no faded, upside-down or mirror-image flags in sight. People have flags on the side mirrors of their cars, and everyone’s sending out “Happy Birthday, Singapore!” tweets. Even the sushi store by my local Cold Storage is having a National Day sushi set.

Some years I’ll participate, letting myself get swept up in the festive feeling. Or I might complain about the quality of the song (okay, I have done this fairly often). Sometimes I find myself getting teary during the fireworks, while other times I feel little more than a vague discomfort. My feelings about National Day have not remained constant. As I get older I find myself feeling more and more conflicted, unsure how to feel, how to react, what to say.

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May 13 and Singapore Today

On 13 May 2014 I was invited to attend the lunch commemorating the May 13 Student Movement of 1954 – a movement that became an important part of the struggle against colonialism in Singapore.

I brought my granddad as a date, and we had a great time feasting and hearing the stories of the activists who had fought so hard for human rights and civil liberties in Singapore – and who had paid the price for their dissent.

I wrote about the event, the movement, politics and activism in Singapore today. Thanks to Medium I’ve managed to incorporate images beautifully into the piece. Click below to read it!

May 13 and Singapore Today

Drawing the line

I thought long and hard about writing this. I wanted to, but hesitated; would it be wise to add more fuel to the fire?

I’ve read many comments and responses since my post on Yahoo! Singapore was published. I am simultaneously an opposition blogger and a PAP lapdog. I am a “Pretender” (it comes with the capital) and I disregard the hardship that my fellow countrymen have been through. My husband is a foreigner.

The last one, at least, is more or less correct (we’re not married yet), although I cannot understand its relevance.

This is, somehow, meant to be an “understandable” reaction.

This is, somehow, meant to be an “understandable” reaction.

These comments are easy to take. Even expected. What really bothers me, though, are the other comments. The ones that claim that there is no xenophobia here at all, no racism. That this is an “understandable” reaction from frustrated Singaporeans, and that we should not call them out for their language and behaviour. That they use such language just so that they can have their anxiety heard by the Powers That Be. We should excuse their reaction, and turn the blame on to the PAP and their policies.

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