When I think about the word ‘Patriot’, I can see it as more of an American thing, or in a more generic sense, a ‘western’ ideal. After-all, it was Mel Gibson who starred in a Hollywood film ‘The Patriot‘ about 16 years ago.
I think Singaporeans will shy from such an ‘outlandish‘ word, we wouldn’t wear our love for our five stars and a moon (Crescent actually) on our chest. We are, after all, Asians. A bit shy and conservative lah.
But why not?
We are a small country, that was forged from rejection. We have nowhere to go, surrounded by water. With the rock we stand on, we build up and dug deep. We are famous for a lot of things we shouldn’t even be known for. We are number 1 in many, many good things, and bad!
But being a patriot, counts more than the number ones we have, it is almost like a marriage. You love your spouse, warts and all, missing arm, missing leg. There is no perfection to seek, in a couple-hood, nor in nationhood, you simply make do with what the land has for you. After-all, the land was here first.
There is a Singapore identity we can look for in the spirit of patriotism. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a loud, proud patriot thing. But when the time comes, we need to stand up and sing our anthem a little louder, we must.
We need to be Patriots of Singapore, and build this patriotism into our psyche. We know we are not perfect, but when we are threatened, we need to stand and band together, trust that our people will do the right thing. Against all others out there that threatened our small state.
Patriotism is not about chest banging, its not about making ourselves larger than who we really are. It is about that quiet love and conviction that this is the place we call home, despite of all its imperfections. We might gripe about it, complain within ourselves, but when the occasion calls for it, we need to have the spontaneity is our display of patriotism. When that happens, we will know that we have build something we can call a ‘Singapore Identity’. When are are comfortable calling ourselves ‘patriots’ then we know we will have arrive at the most fundamental levels of nation building, and from that solid foundations, we can start writing our legacy, and our future for our children.
So are you a patriot today?