1. Celebrations Not Allowed In Singapore!
Singapore has some strange laws, yes we all know that. There is the all time favorite “Anti Chewing Gum” one for example, but there is another one that says, that any gathering of more than 5 people in the public is considered illegal under the law. Eat that and cancel your planned birthday bash on the beach. It’s illegal! (5 (Untrue) Things About Singapore That Everybody Thinks Are True)
And this of course also applies for the National day celebrations, so with the exception of the site where the National Day Parade is held, the event should not be celebrated anywhere else on the island. Great Fun. Great Success.
2. 36 Hours Of Queuing For Tickets
As everybody knows, tickets for Singapore’s biggest and most important annual event are actually.. free. Only problem is, they are limited, very limited. (The Complete Guide To Singapore’s National Day)
So before the current electronic lottery was introduced in 2003 (where people now can apply via SMS, telephone, the Internet or ATM machines), people had to queue up and get the tickets on a first come first serve basis.
And since we know that queuing is one of the locals favorite disciplines, its not surprising that at the height of the NDP maze in 1998, people arrived as early as 36 hours before the actual release of tickets.
3. Its National Day – And No One Is Here
When it comes close to the Singapore National Day, my friends usually don’t ask where I will watch the Parade, no, they ask me where I will be, during the long weekend. Obviously they don’t expect me to stay here and celebrate.
So its no wonder that in an online poll conducted by MSN Singapore, only 18% of the respondents indicated they will go to a parade to celebrate National Day on 9th August 2009. The rest would be “out of town”, using the extra holiday.
4. Singapore Almost Didn’t Happen
Thanks to Mr Raffles, who in fact never spent more time then 5 continuous month on the island of Singapore, we have the Singapore Sling (wouldn’t have been created without the Raffles Hotel, right?) and some interesting monuments around the Singapore river, primarily used by drunk people coming from Clarke Quay to take a nap in the early morning hours. (What You Must Know About Singapore’s History)
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‘)); ?> However, if Mr. Raffles wouldn’t have been forced to return the other island of Java back to the Dutch in 1815 all this hadn’t happened. He would not have founded this island as a trading post for the British East India Company and hence Singapore would have remained one of many unremarkable islands in this archipelago.
5. Be Patriotic – But If You Show The Flag We Fine You
Today I learned that its illegal to show the Singapore flag anywhere besides the month of the National Day celebrations. Wow.
In fact I heard the rumor that it is further more illegal, to show any other flag, at any time in Singapore at all. However, I’m not sure if thats true since I wasn’t fined when playing soccer with my Jamaica Jersey on.(Singapore Is Strange – Can You Explain Please?)
But the interesting part is actually, that all those thousand flags and banners you see during this time of year around the city, weren’t spontaneous hung up by patriotic citizens, but by payed state resources (namely governmental helpers) that are on a mission to decorate the roads, streets and public places with banners and flags to “raise the spirit”.
6. The National Day Highlight – Funpacks
As confirmed by my neighbor aunties and uncles, the actual highlight of the Singapore national Day Parade, is not the gigantic Firework finale, but the free “Funpacks” that are given out to the attendees of the Parade Event.
Everybody who has been to Singapore and seen 500 people queuing in the burning heat for a pack of tissues (free), wont be surprised that those “Packs Of Happiness And Satisfaction” for the locals are like Christmas and Birthday present together.(Singapore’s Top 10 Worst Consumer Behaviors)
However, having been to this years rehearsal, I was kind of surprised why this “Funpack”, which no one will obviously ever leave out of sight as long as being at the Stadium, is available in 8 different colors, of which none is … red or white (the only two that people are encouraged to wear). Weird.
7. The Pledge Moment
The so called “Pledge Moment”, which is at exactly 8:22pm every year on August 9th, is my personal weird highlight of the National Day celebrations.
All Singaporeans are called to say out loud the “Singaporean Pledge” as practiced through years and years of school and university drill, at that very moment. No matter where or in which situation. And there are actually quite some that play in my head right now that are extremely awkward, but cant be described in more detail, hence R-Rated.
Bonus: Just For The Fun Of It…
In 2006, only four guns were used for the Presidential Gun Salute, instead of the traditional six. This happened due to a new car park which was build over a former part of the stadium, not leaving enough space behind.