Be proud S’poreans, you have the courage not to fly the flag

I refer to the 5 Aug 2014 Straits Times letter “Be proud S’poreans, fly the flag” by Mr David Tan Kok Kheng.

National pride and political affiliation ought to be separate issues but sadly in real life they are not. On National Day, there will be a PAP and an NTUC contingent on the parade square. Every title, every accolade that the nation wins, the PAP is too eager to claim as theirs. How to separate national pride from political affiliation when political elements permeate all things national?

There are grave national issues at stake at the moment and the people feel betrayed. Flying the national flag means endorsing the policies of this nation which the people are against. The people’s feelings and actions are understandable. No one should be forced to fly the flag when he or she feels betrayed. No one should be accused of not loving the country for making a statement about how he or she feels towards the national agenda. This is the collective show of force by the silent majority.

Why should we be the laughing stock when we display the moral consistency of rejecting the over-flux of foreigners and not flying our flags to show our displeasure? On the contrary, the laughing stock belongs to those who claim to be unhappy with the PAP yet fly the flag to show solidarity with the PAP. Is how other countries view us more important than how we feel about our country? Our country is already divided at the core. No amount of flag flying can change that.

If this continues on Singapore’s 50th Independence Day, Singaporeans can pat themselves on their backs because they would have shown that they have the backbone and the pride to demonstrate in their own small ways what they want for their country.

Singaporeans don’t have to fly our flags to be proud Singaporeans. We can be proud that collectively and silently, we can show the ruling party, the strength of our unity.

This unique episode shows that ultimately it is the people, not the state that can demonstrate national pride. Without the people, national pride is meaningless even if the state were to plant flags everywhere. What better time to demonstrate this than the National Day?

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