(When I really noticed this flag for the first time a few months ago, I thought that the family owning it must have been a Turkish one. Big mistake..It was only a few weeks ago that the amount of flags suddenly mushroomed in town and I started to wonder where all those Turkish people came from all at once )
Singapore’s most important day passed just 9 days ago..on August 9th this small young country became 41 years old. Not an incredibly long time that has passed since the independence from Malaysia in 1965, but quite a considerable and visible change that this place must have gone through in the meantime..(for example a street called Beach Road, which used to be located somewhere close to the water according to what I heard…but now is quite in town..all due to massive landscaping since then..). I wonder what it must have been like to walk around Raffles Place or Orchard Road in the 60s..(did they even exist then? Or are they just an invention by the tourist board to please mall and glitter-hungry tourists/locals?)
Shops in town filled with red ‘Singapore’ shirts and I was told that on National Day most schools let their students show up in red shirts to respect the importance of the day. Also, the streets were marked by big election-like billboards announcing the NDP..which (as as German) I always but only for one second mistook as an ad for the German Far Right National Democratic Party (which definitely does not deserve any further commentary due to the mere stupidity and backwardness of their neonazi-agenda). According to firsthand information, I was not the only German who had to face this little psycho-effect. We are apparently pretty conditioned in this respect and that is also the reason why I always associated something ugly with the billboards. It is something one cannot influence..like upmarket shops that influence the mood and stay time of customer with special music and smells. And by the way, NDP of course stands for National Day Parade.
The biggest and most important event on that day was a parade that took place in the National Stadium. Unfortunately, I only lerned about its existence when all tickets were already given away, so I could not even attempt to find a way in there (would have been odd anyway for an Ang Mo to be inside, I guess.). The ticket issueing process was basically a lottery with not much chance to get in except you’re lucky or have the right connections, of course. The usual Singaporean is used to watch it on TV at home anyway.
The event itself (I had a glimpse at a few minutes while I ate my Laksa at a street stall) felt like a proud combination of the presentation of all army branches in finest service dress (plus a multitude of tanks, etc..) and the opening of the Football World Cup. Colorful lightshows and the presentation of Very Important VIPs were accompanied by a uniform mass of red-clothed spectators at the grandstands who fervently waved flags and pennants and even had the flag painted on the cheeks (as I said, like World Cup)..I found the effort taken quite impressive, but I still cannot understand why there is no way to let this parade use the streets of Singapore.
Fortunately enough, this has been a public holiday as well.