nonya culture

Nonya culture, east meets west. Food loving blog.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Happy Birthday Singapore

I'm a 6th generation Singapore. This country is the only home I know. My family's history is entwined with this city we live in.

It's National Day today. It brings back fond memories of my younger days in Bedok living with mom and dad. We'd watch the festivities on TV, then rush off at the end of it all to the balcony and watch the stunning fireworks display from afar. I still remember my late father's excitement, year after year, watching fireworks in the comfort of our own home.

 My late grandpa and father told me stories of Singapore's past.

Grandpa went from serving Singapore in the British army during colonial days, taking care of the army stores, to a prisoner of the Japanese during the Japanese Occupation.

He was herded with the rest of the selected Singapore men to be shot into their graves, but he prayed, then fled unseen by sentry after sentry of Japanese soldiers, to the family home, gathered his wife and eight kids and fled for their lives, leaving all their belongings behind.

 A Japanese hired my grandpa to take care of his farm, and through that, supported my family through those trying years.

Then came freedom from the Japanese rule, Singapore's independence and then the racial riots. My family, being Peranakan, Chinese who adopt the Malay culture was caught in the middle of the insanity. The Chinese hated my dad and his brothers because they spoke Malay while the Malays regarded them as enemies because of race. It was something no one ever wants to see repeated in this country again. The words in the Singapore pledge "regardless of race, language or religion" strike home.

We have come a long way. May Singapore continue to experience peace and prosperity for generations to come.

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