Three years ago, I celebrated National Day with friends on a rooftop near the Marina and marvelled at the spectacle. Little secret: my childhood dream was to be a fighter pilot. But it was more than the fighter jets that impressed me; I was moved and grateful. I updated my Facebook status with “Happy National Day Singapore! We are proud to be part of it”, and a conversation followed with my husband about our love for this place that we proudly call home. Even then, the Golden Jubilee loomed large and we wondered how we might express our Singaporean pride in anticipation.
That was when I proposed that we start a new hashtag as a goodhearted, sincere gesture of admiration and gratitude for the man who made it all happen: #iwanttohugleekuanyew. Needless to say, fate would have it otherwise. But perhaps, figuratively at least, it can still be a small way to express gratitude and to honour one of the world’s greatest statesmen on this 50th birthday of his crowning achievement. So join us in saying thanks this Sunday! (want to know what I am thankful for? Read last year's letter here.)
For some, the events of this year, both sad and celebratory, may be the first time they stop to ponder the immensity of Singapore’s legacy. Indeed, MM Lee Kuan Yew was a rare visionary. But Singapore's achievement is also the result of teamwork in which all Singaporeans played a part. So while you are celebrating the Golden Jubilee this coming Sunday, I hope you will congratulate yourself and your neighbour with a hug or a handshake or anything that will show them that you are proud to be on the same team.
Well done, Singapore!
Now, let’s simply toast to the greatness of the past 50 years and to 50 more years of greatness ahead.