Sunday, 9 August 2015

The Singapore That I Know And Love

There were many moments that I had enjoyed with Singapore's 50th National Day celebrations.  I loved to watch as the night sky lighted up with fireworks that lasted awhile longer than usual.  I loved  the spectacular aerial display performed by our Air Force.  Even my social media feeds seemed more colourful than usual.  Plastered cross all social media platforms, were photos of the Marina Bay Sands, skyscrapers at the central business district and people togged in the flag colours of red and white.  

You know, I thought about how much I enjoyed the aerial display by the Black Knights not just because they were technically superb but because even when the sky was grey and threatened to rain, the crowd stayed for hours to wait for the jets.  This was typical of Singaporeans, determined, tenacious and resilient.

This is a picture of the Black Knights taken by Joel right at the start of their aerial display on National Day. As you can see, the weather was bleak. 

And this was one taken by David when the Knights were practicing their moves about a week before National Day amidst sunny skies.

While I appreciated that the  pictures of skyscrapers, concrete skyline and airplanes told a story of how we had evolved from the backwaters of political and economic instability to a country that is stable and full of  economic opportunities, what I had appreciated most was that our country was more than this concrete jungle of urbanisation.  It left plenty of room for our children to ride a bike in the park, enjoy a stroll by the river, fly a kite at the barrage, have a picnic at the beach, jog through the park connector and admire flowers at the gardens.  My Singapore was more than Marina Bay Sands and the financial centre.  It was a clean, green and colourful garden city.  The transformation of many of these spaces had inspired creativity, promoted healthy living and encouraged more quality family time. When I looked  out of the window from my office which is situated within what one would call a concrete jungle,  I could see a a lot of joggers, yoga practitioners,  and cyclists enjoying their respective  activities by the marina.  

So instead of sharing pictures of skyscrapers and Marina Bay Sands the way most of my friends across social media had done, I have decided to share pictures of the better, greener, side of Singapore.

Another thing I appreciated about my country was that it was a safe haven for us. My family and I could walk on the streets at night and leave our car and front doors unlocked without fear of getting robbed.  I could accidentally leave my wallet in the taxi and would promptly get a phone call from the taxi-driver asking where he would like my wallet to be delivered to.   My nephews would not be allowed  to get off the school bus without my cousin waiting for them at the driveway.  It offered me peace of mind knowing that my family is thriving in a safe environment.

I remembered  Dad  offered to send me to London to pursue a Law degree so that I could have a professional degree and not a general one.  Instead I chose to stick with my plans to study English and Political Science at the National University of Singapore and eventually enjoyed a successful  career in marketing and public relations. That is Singapore for me. I appreciated a country that afforded me great economic opportunities defined by how hard I had worked for it, and not what I had studied.

I just sold my car recently because I did not need one.  I loved how this country was connected with efficient public transport from one end of Singapore to another.  Sure we had occasional train breakdowns and pre-booked taxis that had not shown up at the appointed time but generally, I got to where I needed to go quite promptly and without worrying if train, bus or taxi drivers were about to go on strike.

 I had fun watching a very unified sea of red at the marina barrage where locals and foreigners alike were spotted wearing  t-shirts emblazoned with "I Love Singapore".  I appreciated all the efforts made to  actively promote tolerance and unity within this melting pot of many different races, religions, and cultures.  Children in school celebrated racial harmony day annually.  It meant a lot to me particularly when my own family was  a United Nations of different races and the three of us each had different last names, Ash, Ong and Lee, which made conversations with immigration officers at certain airports quite interesting.

This, ultimately is the Singapore I had come to love. Within this tiny red dot, we appreciated each other's differences and even celebrated them. We learnt to laugh at our different quirkiness, yet we are banded by our unique lingo, "Singlish",  our unique Singaporean behaviours, our unique Singaporean food, our unique Singaporean unity when faced with tragic circumstances, international sports events or celebratory events.

These are some of the photos of a multicultural Singapore that I love.

I have got family across the globe, in the UK, the U.S. And some migrated to Australia and Canada.  However, for me, Singapore is ultimately where my heart is.  Home, is where the heart is, isn't it?

Being a Singaporean made this post a bias one. So I thought that it would be appropriate for me to quell this bias view of my country and share the exact words of my friend K, a Burmese who had lived in Singapore for a long time. These are her words:

"I don't expect public transport to be perfect. Machines do break down after all. But how amazing it is, that almost every inch of Singapore is going to be accessible.  In Burm! There is almost no paint left on some buildings, that might even erode the structure. Here, I see HDB walls being repainted just because they look dull, and the paint isn't even peeling.

 I have had my fair share of security scares, but on the bright side, I know I won't be raped and 'cat-called' at just by walking down the street.  

I love my Kopi. Even the 3-in-1 coffee mix can't replace that special ingredient of love brewed by my coffee aunties and uncles at the local coffee shops.

I also love that we are becoming more compassionate and less 'robotic'.

I could go on, but the point is that, with everything that the country has given us, wouldn't you say that it's only fair that we could look at  giving back whatever little we can?  People always complain about SingaBORE. But it's not boring if you don't let it get boring.  Be a volunteer perhaps. Give your time to society."

K did volunteer her time with the SIngapore Armed  Forces Voluntary Corp.  I have so much respect for her and she isn't even Singaporean.

Photos in this post were taken by David Ash, as well as Joel Lee.

About The Writer

The writer of this blog post is a Marketing and PR professional for over 20 years.  Due to her love for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), she is also a freelance sports writer on the side, contributing MMA-related articles to several sports media.  She works in partnership with her husband, David Ash, who is an avid sports photographer from  She is passionate about Muay Thai and nurtures a dream to fight competitively one day when her coach stops making fun of her.  She is also a psychic intuitive by birth and runs a consultancy that does tarot and numerology readings under her brand, Sun Goddess Tarot.  This blog is affectionately called "The Crazy AngMo" as she is married to one, although she has not yet explained to THE Ang Mo that when translated, he has been labeled  “the bloke with ginger hair”.  

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