Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Where are the National Flags?

In just one week, we will be celebrating OUR (note, deliberately bold to demonstrate that it is NOT only PAP's but OURS) Nation's 40th birthday. Many people have asked and even "cheered" quietly about the absence of National Flags in HDB heartlands (or isit the absence of the display of patriotism and National Identity?) as a form of "subtle protest" of PAP's governance.

I think only people who are willing to equate "Singapore=PAP" or "PAP=Singapore" would like to make such relations between whether Singaporeans are "happy" or "unhappy" about PAP's governance or not. So what if they are "unhappy"? I have spoken to taxi drivers who will go on and on lamenting about all those PAP's "bad policies" that affect their livelihood but the bottomline is, they say they will still vote for PAP in the end!

I would like to address this intriguing absence of the display of patriotism by looking at it from another perspective. Regardless of whether it is really "anti-PAP" sentiment that result in such pathetic display of flags, it just demonstrates that our National Identity is very very weak.

If one could be "persuaded" NOT to display their patriotism or respect for the country just because they dislike certain people, it means a few things:

1) Their patriotism or love or sense of identity/belonging to the country is not as strong as the hatred or dislike of PAP.

2) We are still NOT matured as citizens of the Nation.

3) Our National political mindset is stagnant and immatured. It is stuck at the phase of equating the Nation to a ruling party. We need more massive National Political Education to correct such naivety.

4) We are a young nation and our people has either not develop a strong pride of this Nation or that the initial passion of this Nation has dwindled during the past decades of PAP rule.

5) The rule of materialistic enticement, under the guise of "meritocracy", "asset enhancement" and "HDB upgrading" has failed miserably in building up a strong social/National fabric.

6) The sole focus of economic/materialistic development has resulted in the total neglect of development of the healthy political system, cultural and social framework has taken toll on this nation.

The lack of Flags during this period of National celebration implies something MORE serious than unhappiness or anti-PAP sentiments. If we do not take positive steps in correcting the heavily tilted imbalance in our Nation building as a people, we will face the danger of National disintegration sooner or later.

Goh Meng Seng

The following is a post written by me in Sammyboy.

Dear Dark,

I do not know why people feel so "shiok" about Singaporeans not putting up our National Flags. Is it a sign of "relief" that there are Singaporeans out there unhappy about PAP, resonating their own frustration?

To me, it just demonstrates that as a young Nation, we are not matured enough as citizens to recognise the differences between the Nation and the ruling party. It may be PAP's fault but as a political enlightened and awared Singaopreans, we should start educating our fellow men and women this important and distinctive difference.

It hurts me when there are anti-PAP people out here trying encourage citizens not to hang OUR (NOT PAP's) National flags during the National Day celebrating period. It just shows that the mindset of "Anti-PAP" is so strong that plural partisan politics will have difficulties to develop in a more matured and rational ways. I personally do not encourage "protest voting" during elections because this kind of "frustration venting" cannot be the long term foundation of our alternative political growth.

Our newly formed WP Youth Wing will continue what we have been doing in the past two years, celebrating OUR National Day in OUR very unique way, coming this 9 Aug. Instead of going round Singapore to tell people not to put up our national flags, we will be going ROUND ISLAND to shake hands and wish all Singaporeans that we meet a Happy National Day. Besides that, we will be giving out 900 National Flags to children that we meet on our way.

We will demonstrate that ALL Singaporeans, regardless of anti-PAP, alternative political parties or PAP, HAVE THE RIGHT to celebrate our Nation's Birthday.

Goh Meng Seng


Han said...

I agree with you. We should ALL love our country. The reactions of some just shows how childish and juvenile they are, trying to show their displeasure with the ruling party by not putting up flags.

It is precisely because we love this country which is why we wish to work towards a better Singapore. That is so much harder than just sitting by the sidelines, complaining and just being plain negative.

Many seem content to do just that.

coupdegrace said...

what's with this preoccupation with nation building anyway?

Admin said...

Dear Coupdegrace,

Nation Building is always an on going process for a young nation like Singapore.

Compare to many well advanced country, we are relatively young and there will be always issues on what type of social, cultural, economic and political structures that we want for our future generations. Even the United States have spent decades after decades in Nation evolution process to better their system.

Goh Meng Seng

coupdegrace said...

they don't coerce students, or anybody else for that matter, into listening tripe on how great their nation is.

to suggest that this poster needs to be taught to love/how to love his country is insulting.

Admin said...

Dear Coupdegrace,

The whole educational process is a tool of social engineering. Starting from the lightning kindergarten to "National Education" process, how much do our people know about other important political figures like David Marshall, Lim Chin Siong other than PAP politicians?

This process has created two extremes:

1) either people are made to believe PAP=Singapore and only PAP matters

2) people are disgusted with such social engineering process and turn into what we have right now, people venting their frustations of PAP onto the Nation aka National Flags.

Both cat of people need to be re-educated that PAP is not equal to Singapore and vice versa.

It is not their fault of going to the two extremes as their mindsets are moulded by the process and environment, so how could I be insulting them? I simply point out the folly of such thinking and the need for re-education, that's all.

Goh Meng Seng

Froggy said...

Hi Meng Seng,

Thanks for this enlightenment on Singapore not = PAP notion.

I just thought it could also that Singaporeans are unhappy with the state of Singapore's monoplolistic political scene. It is also easy to dislike the various social aspect of Singapore that they have attributed to the laws passed by the ruling party. Another thing I know that is piss some people off is the "You do wat we say" attitude that they percieve of the government. This is their of saying "We do not like the Singapore that U have fashioned for us!"

It seemed that many have reached the stage of resigning to the fact that there ain't a force strong enough to challenge teh present ruling party.

Ok this is really pessimisitic and negative. But look at how oppositions who have stood up, said the wrong things, and are mercilessly punished. Many actually question the wisdom to fight such a cause.

Compounding on this will be the fact that many Singaporeans have a "get a good job, work hard, get a good pay" mentality. And we all know that Singaporeans are renowed for their "high-productivity". Thus, leaving them with less time to worry about the important and focus on the urgent. Things like, HDB loans, car repayment, tuition loans, etc .. are a lot more pressing than .. say .. National Identity ..

Also, I agree with your point that Singapore is a very young society. But with the constant reminder that speed is everything .. it causes frustration and the myopism that many great nations today have fought numerous wars (Forign and Domestic). Citizens have been called upon to act on a cause, a belief, an ideology. Singapore had't really been involved (fortunately) in any conflicts that is intense enough to bind the nation as 1.

Lastly, I just gotta agree that it could also be the over-emphasise on meritocracy that causes us not to see that success is more than just hitting a goal. Like some charity campaign that encourages the nation to dial in to "win a condo" .. hey .. i mean this is a charity thingie .. so they hit their goals .. but are they promoting philantrophy amongst the people ..

.. this could turn into an endless comment .. so I guess I'll just leave it as such before I go too far off the main notion .. (like I often do)

Good work Meng Seng .. will chk in regularly.

Tattler said...

Why weren't you on the ground when you were needed?

Admin said...

Dear CryFreedom,

I do not believe that with the present situation and people we have in Singapore, organizing protest will result in any significant changes.

The political awareness is hardly there. I have attended protests elsewhere but I do not believe it will appeal to many middle class Singaporeans.

The ground is not protest, the ground is just knocking doors to increase awareness.

Goh Meng Seng

Anonymous said...

GMS fyi last yr I hanged the Singapore flag UPSIDE DOWN as a sign of defiant protest.

Since the ruling party is also termed Men in White (MIW), this symbolised the protest of the continuing oppression against the cowering local citizen population sweating their blood (red in colour) and tears towards daily living..

Those who are displeased with the Ruling party, just HANG THE FLAG UPSIDE DOWN on 9th August 2006!

Anonymous said...

We don't have enough $$ to buy rice ... where got $$$ to buy a flag