Today, we read about the news that some of the bodies of the students missing from Mt Kinabalu during the earthquake 2 days ago, had been found. As at time of writing this post, a teacher and a student are still unaccounted for.
As I read the news, tears flowed and my heart sank together with those who has lost a child, a friend or a teacher in this unfortunate incident.
No words will ever be able to describe what the parents are going through. I may not have a child, but I totally feel their pain and my heart goes out to them.
These young lives had promising days ahead of them. They are gone far too soon. For the ones who made it home alive safely, it was traumatic what they had experienced. Adults would have felt traumatic if we had gone through something like this, let alone young 12-year olds.
Our PM has announced tomorrow to be. Day of Remembrance, and flags at national buildings will be flown at half mast.
It is sad. We had been having hot and sunny days this week, but today just about the time the news came that bodies of the children were found, the skies were grey and rain fell, as if crying with us.
Rest in peace little ones. Families of those who have lost their lives, we are grieving with you.
Yesterday was National Day.
We have an unusually long weekend this year, because Thursday was Hari Raya, Friday was National Day, and then we have the usual Saturday and Sunday weekend.
Needless to say, many people will be out of the country for a getaway. In fact, many have been, since last weekend. You can take 3 days of leave and get 9 days of holidays. Woohoo!
Nah, I did not get away. In fact, I was getting bored to death.
Thursday was a good break at home most of the day. D and I did not have any idea where to go and hung out at a nearby mall for a while. We were out for only 3 hours, but by the time we were home, we both felt drained.
Friday was another headache on where to go.
“Let’s go to Funan and look at the electronics stuff!”
“Nah, I’m not going anywhere near City Hall/ Marina area. The NDP is there, there will be huge crowds and heavy traffic in the area.”
We went to Orchard in the end. We spent most of the time in Kinokuniya browsing books. That brings back memories of some 7-8 years back, where I also spent National Day one year at Borders, reading almost an entire novel.
Anyway, there was a larger shopping crowd in the afternoon, but by evening, the streets were empty and quiet, as if some curfew had started. Everyone must have been at home watching the parade on TV and ordering fastfood deliveries. We, were eating out and not wearing red.
It isn’t that I am not patriotic.
For years, I had always seated myself in front of the TV in anticipation of watching the parade. I would even stand up when the National Anthem was sung and pledge was recited. I can’t remember when it began, but there came a point when I seemed to suddenly lose interest in watching the parade. Perhaps I would just catch glimpses of the reruns. It probably also set me thinking how much of tax payers’ money had been put into putting up something superficial and so time-consuming to train and practise for. Oh yes, I still enjoy the fireworks at the end, but all the marching contingents, displaying of military equipment etc, were boring.
As I grow older, it also got me thinking what is it that we are celebrating for?
Those people who have experienced the transitional times that Singapore went through would be more emotional about the celebration perhaps. It was those times that made the lyrics of “Count on me, Singapore” and “We are Singapore” meaningful and more relevant. But to the younger generation? I’m not sure.
As I was driving back home on Wednesday night, which was the night before Hari Raya and also the first day of the Hungry Ghosts Festival, I saw Chinese lining the paves with candles and burning incense paper. Not more than 20 meters away is a group of Muslim men saying their prayers in preparation for Hari Raya. I would have loved to take a picture, but I did not have my camera with me (the phone camera doesn’t really count, especially for night shots). I was reminded at that moment, that is the biggest blessing that Singapore has, that we can live in harmony with one another despite different races and religions.
Since then, over the past 2 days, I had been thinking what I cherish about living in Singapore.
– racial harmony
– we have electricity and clean water all the time, everywhere (remember that we only drink bottled water when we go to foreign countries?)
– we do not have hurricanes, earthquakes, snow storms, volcanic eruptions whatsoever (even though I kind of like the idea of having to spring, autumn and winter as seasons, just for some variety)
– our healthcare and security forces are reliable (well, at least we don’t have to bribe our ways around and you won’t need to suspect the police is in cahoots with the mafia or something)
– local food (no explanations needed I’m sure)
– Singlish (who says it is not its own language? It has its own set of grammatical rules. I speak and write Singlish much more often than I do in English, the language I read in university. And remember it is the easiest and fastest way to recognise a fellow Singaporean when overseas?)
Oh yeah, I have my share of complaints about living here but I’m not going to be a nag today.
And I just read that the parade yesterday was spectacular, not with some big celebrities, but with performances put up by ordinary people on the streets, with some parts of the show evening showing some light humour and laughing at ourselves. Well, the last part itself sounds probably like what I would like to catch. Now on to check when is the revised telecast.
We had our first case of dengue fever death yesterday.
When I heard the news, there were many questions as to how this could have happened, especially when the patient was a 20-year old young man, who would presumably have a higher chance of being able to fight against the virus. Was there somewhere lacking in the healthcare that he received? Reading the news article did not shed a lot of light on this. But the question of how his blood platelet count dropped to dangerously low levels while being admitted in hospital remains in my head.