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August 2021 - National Day Parade Reflections

NDP has always been immensely meaningful for me. Sometimes it has even been emotional and it took me awhile to figure out why. I think it’s because NDP consists of many elements which make our nation significant and successful. Let me list some.

SIMPLE & DIGNIFIED: There is a simple but meaningful ceremony, usually in a location which has special significance, eg the Padang or National Stadium.

AUTHORITY is on display but not exaggerated. Statecraft there must be, but never in an ostentatious way. RESPECT and warmth are accorded to our national leaders who participate as celebrating citizens.

DISCIPLINE is conveyed by the marching contingents, especially the military, the coloured party, marchpast contingents, flypast and bands. We have seen skydivers land with precision on the padang or in open areas in the heartlands.

A sense of ORDERLINESS is evident as government leaders take their seats and the well-organised programme flows from first to last. So much to co-ordinate including media coverage.

PARTICIPATION: representatives from various grassroots organisations also take part in mass displays. All have to put in hours of rehearsals over several weekends to get it right on the day. Excitement overflows as citizens from all cultures and walks of life book their tickets, sit in the stands and even line the streets when in past celebrations, the contingents marched through the heartlands.

CULTURE AND THE ARTS are also part of the evening’s festivities. Music and dances showcasing our varied cultures are enjoyed throughout the performance section, usually held after dark. Singing has become one of the perennial highlights as everyone onsite or watching from home, belts out popular songs in different languages. Some songs, specially written for past National Days, and led by local stars have become entrenched in our collective memory.

JOY AND PRIDE are clearly evident on the faces of those present. While there will always be challenges on this road travelled together, I believe what has been forged together over the years through crises, will enable us to persevere and to overcome future trials. This past 18 months, COVID has taken its toll, but resilience, nimbleness to flex and courage to persevere are also clearly evident. It is this God-given spunk in our national DNA which will enable us to conquer.

I have told my children in the past and never hesitate to repeat to anyone: “If you had been born 100km in any direction from Singapore, your life would have been very different.” That is something which is totally not in our control. We are blessed because in God’s Providence, this little red dot is our home and it possesses some wonderful qualities not found in other places. So we must be thankful.

Romans 13.1 The [governing] authorities that exist have been established by God. [Rulers] are God’s servant to do you good. V 7 Give everyone what you owe him; if you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect then respect; if honour, then honour.

Thank You God, for Singapore our home!

Ps Graham


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