The following text is based on my personal “encounter” with the Singapore National Day Parade during this years first rehearsal.
Obviously I am not Singaporean, which means I am not able to share heartwarming and patriotic moments with you, like singing the National anthem with 25.000 other people, or feeling overwhelming joy about the free “Funpacks”.
Instead I can show you how a foreigner sees and feels about these 2 hours filled with interesting but weird elements, that got me and my buddy asking more then once “Why the hell would you do that!?”Find out what all went wrong during the National Day Parade in Singapore!
I Totally Didn’t Care About The Singapore National Day
Two years ago I didn’t even realize it was National Day at all. I usually have to work on public holidays, so most of them simply pass me without any bigger notice. But what I cared about was that all the hawker centers where closed and not even the usual Fast Food places were open. I was starving. First impression of Singapore’s National Day.
Last year I spent a lazy day in bed, watching bad movies and eating Moon Cake until I realized I just had missed the celebrations once again. Anyway, I still didn’t care. And this time I wasn’t starving. People in “Predator II” were shot in my TV with perfect harmony to the popping of the fireworks outside. My second impression of Singapore’s National Day.
25.000 Singaporeans And Me
This year finally I was kind of forced into showing some interest. If my friend hadn’t given me the two free tickets, I probably had spend the day sleeping or somewhere along the coast line of Thailand.
Me, my Ang Moh Buddy and 25.000 Singaporeans, crazy patriotic enthusiastic for their country, so we thought. We even dressed in kind of red, and were prepared as good as possible for the event, so we thought. (Read: 5 Things You Must Bring To The Singapore National Day)
We turned up about 30 minutes before the official start, went through the health and security checks and then… of course queued up for the free Goody Pack. I think you HAVE to queue up for the pack. After 10 minutes in the afternoon heat, hurting feet and not really interested in a pair of plastic flags and old green tea, I asked if we could just pass and go in directly… we got starred at like being the big headed, grey skinned Alien from the X-Files.”No Way!”
The Non-Enthusiastic Crowd
So after picking up our fantastic “FunPack”, we immediately felt happiness and a lot funnier then before. Just weird that they didn’t have them in red or white, the two most important colors as I thought, but only in some strange neon-wanna-be-cool ones. (Read: 7 Weird Facts About the Singapore National Day)
We got the first stares after sitting down, unpacking our goodies, placing the Singapore-Tattoos on our foreheads and waving the little flags around the uncles and aunties to our sides. We thought it was time for celebration. The locals thought we were retards and continued to play on their PSPs.
Through the whole event I couldn’t really spot any big excitement or enthusiasm around us. It looked like people were afraid to express any kind of joy. Maybe they did not have any. So the two Ang Mohs started the waves, shouted and blinked and waved when they were supposed to, and soon had gathered 9 of the 10 official photographers around us. In the end, who wants pictures of bored children and Daddys enjoying their Burgers more then what was happening on stage…
…and What The hell Was Happening On Stage?
Fake Bombs And A Little Bit Communism
When the first blast went off and the screens displaying laughing kids sharing their “Singapore Moments” switched to some surprisingly realistic looking “Breaking News” we coughed. When they showed the pictures about bomb attacks all over Singapore, bloody corpses and screaming parents, I almost choked up my curry puff.
In the same instant that the news anchor was rescued from her studio, some more blasts went of all around us and “fake” deadly gas and smoke was slowly covering the colorful stage below us.
Once the wind cleared the haze, formerly smiling and singing school kids had collapsed and were lying dead on the floor or just breaking down in some almost professional looking fight with the poison.
My friend and me just starred at the scenery, the open mouth wouldn’t close for the next minutes, and once the army had arrived to show of their whole contingent of killing machinery and (of course) successfully fought of the terrorists, I stumbled a “Wow, that was quite… drastic” and my friend mumbled .. “Yeah, in the cinema they censor every drop of blood and here they give you a freaking R-Rated live show of “Killing Fields” plus the whole Look-At-Our-Weapons-And-Be-Scared program like they did home 50 years ago“.
The Singapore national Day Is So.. Singaporean
Having a cold beer later and joking about our “near-death” experience earlier, my buddy and me concluded on the Singapore National Day.
In the end, everything from the Queuing for the Free Goodie Bags, filled with Voucher-Booklets and Patriotic Tattoos, to the Crowd without Emotions and the feeling that people around us simply didn’t really know how to create a wave of Enthusiasm and Express Themselves, to the final overly Drastic And Overdone Showoff of their Military Power, the try to Create A Singaporean Spirit on stage and the Fireworks in the end…
it all was so typically Singaporean, just compressed into a 2 hours event and maybe not that bad after all.
However, all I go there, I can have every day on my walk through Singaporeans streets, keep on walking, theres a lot lying ahead.
Discovering new interesting and strange things everyday, he provides guides, news and tips for how to survive Singapore and how to best prepare for it.
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