In fact, it made me feel good that I was serving my nation and doing
my bit protecting my land. Here I was in the Police force contributing
in my own small way to my country which has given me so much. I
had never felt before.
As the parade continued, we began to sing our national songs. The
atmosphere in the stadium was electric. We were all proud and happy
to celebrate our 31st year of independence. Then, as if to shatter
this glass dream of ours and bring us back to reality, a live history
lesson was staged.
It was re-enactment of Singapore's turbulent times. A time which
most of us would rather forget. As I watched the display, I recalled
history lessons in school. It seemed strange. I could never picture
peaceful Singapore being a land of turmoil.
But then, recalled the stories that my father had told me of Singapore
after the Second World War, and my mother's account of the days
Singapore separated from Malaysia. How our former Prime Minister,
Mr Lee Kuan Yew shed tears on national TV, requesting migrants from
lands afar who had chosen Singapore as their home to stay and not
leave at the slightest signs of turmoil.
It was indeed an emotional moment for me. Watching the racial riots
being enacted brought tears to people's eyes. Now I understood why.
The images before me were too real and frightening. Just then a
teenager next to me said, to my surprise. "Gosh. Aren't we
blessed not to live in such fearful times."
Well I would bet my bottom dollar every Singaporean in the stadium
that night felt the same way.
Then, as if to teleport us back to the peaceful present, fireworks
lit up the sky. As I watched the aerial kaleidoscope, the words
of one of our national songs echoed in my heart:
This is my country,
This is my future,
This is my life.