I was born in Kandang Kerbau Maternity Hospital (now known as KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital). I grew up in a Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) housing at Ganges Avenue. So I am a Singaporean by birth. My clearest memory at 3+ years old was the Bukit Ho Swee big fire. This was the most impactful memory when all others faded. I remember fearing that the fire might spread from across the road to our flats. That was the Singapore I knew.
Singapore moved from third world to first in one generation. We cannot stand foul smells from toilets today. The younger generation would not know nightsoil bucket latrine system was in use since Singapore’s independence up to 1987. We have progressed.
Like all Singaporean males, I served National Service (NS) for two-and-half years and went on to complete the full cycle of reservist trainings. I was a skinny chap and not a sporty person when I enlisted for NS. NS toughened me up. I was combat fit despite my weight. When I started, I did not know how NS stint would end up for me, whether I can go through it. Yes, I made it. I did my part for Singapore’s defence.
For us as a family, we stayed home to watch the National Day Parades year in year out. We do not travel out of Singapore. We had pizzas with salads and eat dinner in front of the TV. It will be the same tonight.
I end this post with this message. We are all Singaporeans regardless of race, religion, language, locally born or new citizens, social status and political affiliation. Let us celebrate this special day, our National Day, in our own ways.