note: this entry is post-dated to national day. it should have been posted on that day itself, but i was too lazy (as usual) and so, i’m doing it today instead.
today’s our nation’s 40th birthday! happy birthday, singapore! we’ve seen forty glorious years, here’s wishing we would enjoy another forty fantastic years ahead!
i’ve always felt excited about national day and have always been yearning to attend the national day parade even though it means that i have to queue for hours and squeeze with several thousands of spectators in extremely uncomfortable surroundings. sad to say, however, throughout my 22 years, i’ve only been to the parade twice.
since much time has passed since both experiences, i can only vaguely remember how it feels like to be there where all the action was at.
a sea of red dotted with the odd whites here and there, a highly charged atmosphere with endless chatter and excitement, the endless kallang waves running throughout the spectator crowds and the frenzied waving of the singapore flag. it felt like all singaporeans were so strongly bonded together that i could almost reach out and grab hold of it with my hands.
the singing of the anthem, the national day songs and the stunning fireworks made me feel proud to be a singaporean, proud to be part of this country and of my fellow country men. for one day.
don’t get me wrong, i’m proud of singapore. she, as a little island, has indeed come a long way from the fishing village that she used to be. but, sadly, i can’t say the same for my fellow country men.
this year, or should i say today, i’ve heard many remarked on the stupidity of national day parade, complains on how rigid our society is, grumblings about the ever-increasing cost of living and our political scene. “living in singapore sucks” or “…living in country xxx is so much better…” are common phrases that fall on my ears.
i’m sick and tired. pissed. irritated with the stupidity of these freaking whiners.
these stupid whiners are blind. they’ve taken for granted alot of benefits that they’ve enjoyed and decided to concentrate on their so-called plights instead.
let me name some of the benefits that we’ve enjoyed but has not given the people who accomplished them their due respect.
we walk about on our city streets at night fairly confident that we won’t be mugged or murdered at every turn of the well-lit street.
we drive with confidence on our well maintained roads. (if you’ve ever been to a country that has roads with holes sized as big as manholes, you will seriously appreciated our hole-less roads.)
we are able to plan and go about our daily routine without disruptions such as riots and such.
at a flick of a switch or the turn of a tap, we get electricity and fresh water at our command.
you think all these came easy?
okay, on a much happier note now!
today, i embarked on a cycling expedition with my hallmates to pulau ubin. it was a first for me. not that i’ve never been to ubin in my whole life, but to go there voluntarily is a first.
i’ve always been afraid of ubin. to get offshore our mainland and step into this backward place with a seemingly bottomless quarry is really not my idea of fun. as a result, i’ve turned down numerous invitations to ubin outings and such. this time however, i agreed to go.
i decided it was time to end my ridiculous fear and the people i was going with gave me confidence. i knew that with them, i was in good hands and that they will take care and lookout for me. with sense of security boasted, it was time for the bumboat ride!
our cycling expedition team consisted of ten members and all were either assigned roles or buddies ala night cycling style.
army jargons were used as the guys were in charge.
ziping a.k.a bean a.k.a tut was front scout.
benjamin a.k.a ben-jia-minggggg was assigned to be my buddy and we were platoon one.
changfu a.k.a ahfu was chean’s buddy and were platoon two.
dazmond a.k.a dazzie-mon was olivia’s buddy (and boyfriend!) and were platoon three.
gR a.k.a the guru was slim’s buddy (and boyfriend!) and were platoon four on a double bike.
yongjun a.k.a junkor was the rear scout.
happily we set off, off to conquer the disgusting slopes of ubin and to bash through vegetation to take picture perfect photographs (gR was the official photographer of the day with his look-extremely-pro camera!)
we cycled and cycled. we got lost. we tried to overtake each other and make it sound like the initial d movie. we got so tired from trying to cycle up the slope when the girls decided that it would be more efficient (and not to mention, faster) if we got off the bike and just pushed it up the slope instead. we stopped at rest-points to take water breaks, pose for silly pictures and for tut to get out his field chair and eat his don’t-know-what-kuey and have a pinic. we went back to our orientation site and recollected our foc memories. we screamed (okay, i screamed) when flying down slopes at disgustingly fast speeds and complained endlessly when tut keeps bringing us to slope-ly routes.
but it was fun. everyone looked out for one another and warnings can be heard when there are slopes ahead or vehicles approaching. even as we were bashing through vegetation to get to this place with stunning view, the guys took their places and helped the girls to get through with minimal scratches and such.
it was the little gestures, the little acts of kindness, i realised that made me feel that these people can be depended upon.
during one of our rest-points, ben-jia-ming and junkor passed cds to me and inside one of the cds was a parting gift that they had prepared for me and chean who had just graduated and left hall.
the gift turned out to be a video, a music video which they had painstakingly produced themselves. scenes from our various memories in hall, photographs, the song, the lyrics and their singing were put together. in love and friendship. i was truly touched as i watched the video. to see the smiling faces and their words of blessings for my future.
there were tears. joyful tears. as i watched the video, i feel like i’ve been blessed. blessed with these people who have helped me in one way or another during my three years in hall, living away from home. their companionship, their friendships and their kindness have made such a large impact on my life that i can look back on my hall days and say that it was truly the best experience of my university life.
it sounds cliche i know but to these wonderful people i want to say. thank you, my friends – friends for life.
i know i’ve truly been blessed.