Friday, August 09, 2019

National day as a parent

Normally, as a jaded adult in Singapore, you don't give two hoots about National day. I haven't been watching the parades since aeons ago, and I definitely do not wear red and white this day. Every time I hear the National day songs (except Home by Kit Chan), I cringe. I  might even escape the festivities by going for a short trip, especially this year when there is such a long weekend. Perfect for a short getaway to Bangkok or Phuket.


All that changed when my son was born. Who would have thought that I would play Mari Kita on YouTube just to watch him stand erect with hands straight down beside his body? Who would have thought that I would sing along the lyrics of our National song in order to inculcate some sense of patriotism and gratefulness for our homeland in him? Certainly not me 2.5 years ago.


But as I decked him in red and white, with his shirt showing the crescent moon and the stars, watching him wave his little hand-held Singapore flag excitedly whenever he spotted those big Singapore flags that dotted our neighbourhood, I can't help but feel a sense of belonging too. Before being a parent, I'm here but my heart is not here. I'm merely a participant but I'm not involved. After being a parent, I'm fully invested here.


It's a strange feeling. It's not the I ate the wrong thing and my stomach felt strange kind of strange. It's a warm fuzzy feeling that tingles down my spine kind of strange. I still don't wear red and white and I would rather die than be decked in those 2 colours to parade around the streets today. But I would teach my son to love his country religiously, to say the pledge, to sing the song and to be grateful for everything we have here. He might be a jaded old man in the future, aware of all the nationalistic brainwashing, cringe at all the national day songs he hears on the radio, but that can wait.


Who knows? Maybe his journey will be the same as mine, especially when he has his own kid who waves his little flags excitedly whenever he sees the bigger flags that dotted our neighbourhood.

6 comments :

Sillyinvestor said...

Hi LP,

I am decked in red. But it's just a form. Red doesn't mean patriotism.

We only know if we love the country in 2 ways.

Everyday u try to make it a better place in the little things u do.

U stick to it in crisis.

Much like marriage.

Wearing that ring is just formality

Singapore Man of Leisure said...

LP,

I've always loved watching the tanks and armour units during National Day parade.

This year I was like a kid all over again :)

So many new units and vehicles I've never seen before!!!

It was a nice touch to invite the pioneer generation of uniformed veterans at the end.


My primary schoolmates are showing pictures of theirs sons doing NS in Facebook.

If I were married in my 30s, yup, I would have sons doing NS now too.

I can sort of understand how you feel...

But then again, no.


I console myself that I come and go without making a print in the clouds ;)

la papillion said...

Hi SMOL,

Many ways to live in this world, and not one way is better than others :)

Regarding the NDP, I think maybe the new vehicles is a show to all the VVIP present there from around the region ;)

la papillion said...

Hi SI,

Very well said! Wearing black can be patriotic too :)

EY said...

Hi LP.

That's the wonder of parenthood. :)

I was like you, for many years. Then Shein took part in Chingay. I braved the afternoon sun and the humidity just to show up - for him.

Now that he is in NS and Shaun going in next year, I have been reminding them what and who they are defending for. They stand proud being the sons of Singapore. Majulah Singapura hasn't been sung in vain!

We live to make a better Singapore, if not for us, for our children then. :)

Happy National Day!

Cheers,
EY

la papillion said...

Hi EY,

Wow, NS already :) I still rmb them in secondary school :) They are good boys and they have the right values instilled by a good mum, haha! Let them find out the dark side of things when they grow older. Plenty of time for that.