National day in Singapore was held on the 9th of August this year on a Wednesday, giving office workers a much needed break in the middle of the week. This was my first time celebrating national day in Singapore, and the lead up to it was filled with cheesy but catchy ballads islandwide.
We went down to the Esplanade to catch the fighter jets and fireworks show around 6PM. At that point there were already huge crowds scattered around marina bay.
The thing about national day here is that its a really important event for bringing people together. That might sound like something really obvious. But for me as an Australian, our national day brings out mixed feelings from the wider community. A lot of the indigenous Australians feel that the day is a representation of when their country was taken away from them. Many in the community (both indigenous and non) call it as ‘Invasion Day.’ There have been calls to move “Australia Day” to a more neutral day for symbolic reasons, something I personally think we should just do.
Australia day also ends up being filled with a lot of drunk idiots roaming the city. Because of other incidents throughout the years (see Cronulla riots), the southern cross and the Australian flag have now been associated with racism in the country. In other words, Australia day really is a mixed bag.
Contrast that to Singapore, where it is all about bringing together the three major communities, that being Malay, Indian and Chinese together to celebrate their success story and unity in the country. Examples of this include a band that is fluent in singing in the three major languages, commercials showing racial harmony, and rallies from the Prime Minister preaching all of these things. Overall, id admire and envy the patriotism and unity of people, even if its just for this one day.
National Day Show
The fighter jets were a huge gee up. I had been hearing the sound of fighter jets zooming past my office in Raffles Place almost daily. The jets came and flew around some buildings like you would see in a movie, and then were gone.
The fireworks and drone show though were very impressive. Particularly interesting was how they managed to program a whole heap of drones to mimic symbols of the country, like the merlion, the country itself, etc.
Once all the festivities were over, we went into a Japanese izakaya style establishment with some friends for drinks and snacks. I was actually surprised that the restaurants at the Esplanade were not fully booked out. There were alot of free tables at the nearby places like Barossa. Note for others that want somewhere to chill out while seeing the fireworks in future!