I love my land as I love my family – simply for what it is, as it is, because it is that place that God has decided in His infinite wisdom I shall be a citizen of.
No ranking can add to her, no wealth can deepen her attraction, no iconic skyline could make me love her more. Though hardship or opportunity may keep me away, I will always long to return.
Did my grandfather feel the same, the first of his line to be born and bred on these shores? Was he already, in those days before independence, no longer a child of China, but a British subject waiting to inherit his own? Was he, even then, a Singaporean Son, moulded by his enlistment in the civil defence forces during our WW2 siege, tempered by our tumultuous road to independence, sharpened by our meteoric rise to the First World?
Singapore was no less beloved then than it is today. A different generation stands with its hand on the tiller; different voices sing, “Majulah!” But the rakyat have loved the Lion City for centuries, and will love this old sea town still in the years to come. It is not a love of plaudits or rankings, but a love that knows that this, this, is our home, whether she is burning from a bombing campaign or shining through the airplane window as you land at Changi. Whether her children dig for yams in the jungle to survive, or fill their bellies at the finest restaurants. Whether she is just a little red dot, or a vibrant city – she is ours, and we are hers.
When we peel back the shell of success and wealth, we must find at her core something of intrinsic value, not a mere sum of her parts.
Thanks, Tong Yee, for sparking this piece.