Today marks the 50th Anniversary of Singapore's independence. Rather than taking the easy way out, and joining Malaysia, my forefathers chose to preserve our sovereignty and chose the long arduous road, declaring us, a small country with no natural resources, an independent nation.
We were scoffed at. Nobody believed we could survive, and it was only a matter of time before we slunk back to Malaysia, begging for basic neccesities. National identity? We couldn't even decide what type of nation we were, Chinese? Malay? Indian or Eurasian? We would tear ourselves apart with our differences, if Comunism didn't get us first.
But we were fortunate.
We were hardworking.
We were tenacious.
We had the wisdom of great leaders to guide us, convinced us we had a future beyond being a third world cesspool.
We had him.
And he, and in turn, we, had a vision.
We were not a Chinese nation, not a Malay nation, not a Indian nation, not a Eurasian nation, but one UNITED nation, whose many different cultures and religions ARE the national identity. Everybody would be included, and nobody would be excluded, as one people, and one nation.
And on this day, 50 years later, on this historic day, we stand tall. Not to gloat, but to remember the past and to survey the future. We are not a perfect nation, and we had a long, bumpy road. Clashes with other nations, race riots, the SARS outbreak. It costs a literal arm and kidney to buy a car here, much less buying a house, and our homemade TV shows are terrible.
But yet we look back, and marvel how far we've journeyed as a nation. That despite all we've been through, we stuck and kept to the promise we and him had made so long ago.
That we will be one united people, regardless of race, language or religion.
So we celebrate on this day, both to honor and remember our past and the people who built us up, and together as a nation, so that we will strive towards a brighter future.
Happy 50th Anniversary Singapore!