Sunday, August 10, 2008

Singapore's 43rd Birthday - A National Day worth Celebrating

Whenever Singapore celebrates its birthday, Singaporeans are reminded of how the state gained its independence in 1965. Then, it was considered a "political joke". Nobody thought such a small state, naked of resources, could survive and prosper in the international realm.

The People's Action Party (PAP) would always remind Singaporeans that it brought Singapore to where it now stands. Being the only government that we have seen, it has to be the case. However, the Opposition parties would argue that many other factors contributed to the nation's success as well, and the PAP had its blunders too.

As Malaysian politics gets increasingly dramatised, its neighbour island state is not getting spared too. Almost every day, there are articles and commentaries debating the authoritarian style of the PAP. Even in the morning of National Day, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) was distributing flyers and selling books for its Tak Boleh Tahan campaign in Toa Payoh.

Singaporeans have every reason to celebrate the 43rd year of Independence. Generally, we are sheltered, well-clothed, able to feed ourselves for each meal. We worry about different issues as compared to developing states. We live happily with our families, we travel around freely, knowing that this is a safe and secure environment for our children.

Yet, not many would appreciate how fortunate we are. I can sense a prevailing herd mentality towards supporting the Opposition for the sake of Opposition. The most common hyped up keywords are "Human Rights", "Democracy", "Freedom of Speech and Assembly". Some fans are supporting these like they are "Britney Spears".

I'm not saying that we should not have Opposition parties. They are essential to any governments in the world. Just as we don't want to have Opposition parties opposing for the sake of opposing, I frown upon people who join them for the sake of opposing to certain measures by the PAP government. There are plenty of feedback channels available. It's just a choice of whether one takes action through them.

It's hard not to celebrate Singapore's birthday. We never know whether we could do it 5, 10, or 20 years from now.

Happy 43rd National Day to ALL!

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