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Patriotism - Soaring High in Harmony

Joined: 5/26/2013
Posts: 10
"Maktab sedia! Luruskan barisan! Maktab diam!"


Everyone stood still at attention. No one was moving. All eyes on the commando. If one were to look across the island from a bird's eye view, he would unmistakably see a huge mass of human wave at approximately 7.30am. There were thousands of lines or "Barisan" as we call them, in all other institutions throughout the whole island. The flag raisers were ready. The band conductor now held up his hand. It was time. The National Anthem. And our red and white flag with its crescent and stars fought against the wind, up the pole, in harmony with the anthem. Well, this is the normal school life here.

Ask any Singaporean student and he'll tell you the same thing he does every morning assembly in school. This is Singapore. Put us on the globe and we are nothing more than the size of an atom. But our hearts are big. Here, it is a daily routine to assemble together and sing the national anthem and thereafter recite the pledge while our meaningful flag soars high in the sky. It is an act of respect to the country which is done daily.

One would often equate patriotism to shedding blood for the country, or work in the camouflaging green uniform, or even killing anyone who hates the country. Some might associate patriotism to cheering and applauding at National Day Celebrations at the world’s biggest floating platform every 9th of August, without actually understanding why we’re celebrating. These are the extremes which are always portrayed in the media to invoke the sense of patriotism in us - one might even argue that these could seem like a farce, something perfunctory, superficial. That’s definitely not what patriotism is about.

Being genuinely patriotic means you stand up for your country and care for what is happening within the local boundaries. Identify societal and political problems and analyse the underlying issue and its implications. Critique actions and provide better suggestions through forums and discussions to constantly improve the society. Analyse with the critical skills the nation has educated with. That's my way of genuine patriotism.

In all honesty, I sometimes find that the younger generations have been taking the daily morning assemblies for granted. We tend to be ignorant about the meaning behind the pledge and anthems. Maybe, that is because we have gotten used to simply singing it since such an ostentatious age where we don’t even understand what we are pledging. We complain about having to queue under the suffocating humid air. We complain about how incompetent the diplomats are. We complain about the little mishaps that happen in the country... Sometimes we forget. Our flag, our nation, our country; these would not have at all been possible without the hard work of our ancestors. We need to learn to appreciate.

We need to keep in mind that we young generations are tomorrow's future leaders. Our new generation needs to think for ourselves. We can't just keep depending on other people to lead us. What would happen when the key leaders leave? Are we just going to give up our land of hard work to foreign people so that they would lead us; like how it was in the historic times?

It's about time we respond to the wake-up call each time the national anthem is played. Contribute back to the community and embed that sense of pride and patriotism for the country. It doesn't have to be superficial cheering and applauding at international events like the Olympics. It's a small individualistic role of thinking for the country, of which everyone has to play in order for the nation to progress.

"Maktab keluar baris!"

Translated, that final command meant one is dismissed and can leave the line. But in my words, that command meant more than that. Dismiss, now do good to the country and when everyone gets back in line the next day, together we can watch the flag soar harmony.
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Comment by thiegsr

Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
Thank you for submitting such a beautifully written essay that really glows with patriotism. I enjoyed your words so much, and in reading international essays I am always impressed with the similarities (and differences) our countries possess.
Posted: Monday, August 19, 2013 4:37:15 PM
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