post national day

National Day is over. But apparently, the festivities are not. I still hear the song ‘There’s no place I’d rather be” playing over and over again at Funan Centre where I was having lunch with a friend. It grated on my nerves. My friend was irritated too and he pointed out a pertinent point in the lyrics of the song. I have reproduced the lyrics for the uninitiated below:

 There’s No Place I’d Rather Be

I’ve walked the streets of Cairo and Bombay

I’ve seen the neon signs on ole Broadway

I’ve climbed the Eiffel Tower

The Great Wall in one hour

Experienced sweet and sour but that’s okay

 

Seen Hollywood, the sunsets in LA.

The London Bridge, Big Ben, the Thames, UK

I’ve crossed the River Kwai

Yet still I don’t know why

I think of you each night and every day.

 

There’s no place I’d rather be

You’ll always be a part of me

And even though I’ve roamed the world

It’s still my home I long to see

 

This is where my family 

And my friends grew up with me

So I’ll cross the skies and sail the seas

To be where I wanna be.

 

Cos there’s no place I’d rather be!

Notice the underlying presumption behind this song. It presumes that most Singaporeans are well-heeled and well-traveled and have seen the sights and sounds of most tourist spots. Personally, I’ve only been to Broadway out of the list of things stated above. I get the point of the song though, that Singapore is our Home with a capital H. I might be wrong, but I don’t think the majority of Singaporeans have been to all these places that they’ve said that we’ve been to. The song presumes wealth.

Maybe it’s because my pay cheque for last month is still pending, but I resent the fact that the song presumes that all Singaporeans are wealthy and we are all world weary travellers. My guess is that the song doesn’t connect with most Singaporeans, and maybe they should have re-sung the song ‘Home’ without changing its lyrics. Cos honestly, most people are still in the same economic strata they were 9 years ago.

On a slightly different note, I wonder when the community centre people are going to take down the flags they hung along the corridor outside my house. My estate is flushed with flags.  There’s a gigantic national day poster about 3 metres high complete with night lighting erected along the road. Very impressive but quite an overkill. I like Singapore as much as the next guy, but this is a little too much.

Oh well, whatever works I guess.

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Comments
7 Responses to “post national day”
  1. Izzy says:

    You know, I haven’t yet heard anyone who likes this year’s National Day song. I feel the same way as you do about it, in addition to the fact tt if I’d really visited all the above-mentioned places (which I haven’t, nor do I know anyone who has), I honestly wouldn’t come back here. Ben also notes tt this song isn’t directed at Singaporeans, but rather to immigrants, especially those of the extremely wealthy variety. You’ve heard our National Day message by DPM this year? It’s now all about immigrants – attracting and integrating as many new immigrants as possible into our society. Why? Because with every immigrant we attract, we add to the economic growth rate of our country. Of course, the ordinary Singaporean stays the ordinary Singaporean (except tt the ensuing rate of inflation may make his life all the more… ordinary), but the super-rich reflect this (rather false) impression tt Singapore is truly prosperous.

  2. humanoidinterface says:

    Yeah, I know what you mean. I think anyone who has went to all these places would sing a different tune along the lines of ‘Any Place I’d Rather Be’. Maybe as you and Ben said, it’s to attract immigrants, but then there’s not much of a national day celebration then. And even if they manage to attract all these immigrants they can’t prevent the outflow of the Singaporeans to else where. I’m not against attracting immigrants, I think Singapore needs it. Singapore started as an immigrant city anyway. It just needs to take care of its nationals more. If not, it’ll just be one of those rest stop stations for Singaporeans wealthy enough to leave. Maybe that’s it, since the poor can’t leave the nation, target the song at the rich who has a choice whether to leave the country or not. Except that I don’t think they’re convinced.

  3. Ned Stark says:

    Im quite sad. I actually intended to do a post on this but you beat me to it.:P That said I do agree this song kinda sux. I preferred last yrs song, My Island Home or something. Even Mother Stark made the comment that she had not gone to Egypt.:P

    There are however some interesting observations this year. It seems that the number of families hanging the flag is decreasing. I remember taking a walk round my neighbourhood and I was rather intrigued to find a relative lack of flags. This is also seen in certain HDB flats. There was one flat which was rather bare too.

  4. lingwei says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I actually do think of Singapore as Home. And though I haven’t been to all the places mentioned in the lyrics, I have seen sunset in LA, climbed the Great Wall (maybe not in an hour) and well, generally been around. And while traveling is nice, there’s a comfortable feeling of belonging-ness and familiarity that I don’t get anywhere else. Except maybe at SIA counters in airports, when the check-in staff speak to you in Singlish.

    Maybe I haven’t seen enough of the world to wish otherwise, but at this point in my life I am pretty happy with where I am. The 9 year old ‘Home’ more accurately captures my own sentiment (and I daresay, the sentiment of many others) –

    This is Home, truly

    Where I know I must be

    Where my dreams wait for me

    Where that river always flows

    This is home, surely

    As my senses tell me

    This is where I won’t be alone

    For this is where I know it’s home

    It doesn’t make any allusions about the cosmopolitain pretensions that Singapore might have or what not, but the message is simple – this is Home.

    However, on a sidetracking note, I don’t really buy in to the whole idea of NDP. In America they celebrate Independence Day by having cookouts in their backyards. Or alternatively, depicting their seat of government blown up by a giant UFO. Why do we need a parade? (which costs a whole bunch of money and the – albeit almost free – labor of hordes of NSFs) What does it prove? The whole month of celebration thing is a little bit too much for me. Bleargh.

  5. Hi Nedstark, yeah, the number of flags hung are decreasing. Maybe that’s why they get people from the community centre to hang them for the residents. Lol.

    Hi Lingwei, I think you’re one of the few ones whom the song was written for, hence you can agree with the song because you’ve been to most of these places and agree that hey, Singapore is ultimately home. The thing is, most people haven’t been to most of these places and hence the song is irrelevant to most. But I do think that most Singaporeans think of Singapore as Home. I’ve heard a friend that says that whenever she travels overseas and check out at the airport, she’s always very heartened by the sign ‘Welcome Home’. I think that captures the sentiments of most Singaporeans.

    Of course, whether it’s a happy home or not is a blog post for another day. 😉

  6. GJ says:

    ‘friend’?

    i would have thought that 4 years of law school would have taught u at least to footnote your sources. heh

  7. Hahahhaa… Okie, my friend GJ said this.

    Better now? 😉

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