In the island of my dreams, we will strive, not pretend towards multiracialism. We will teach children to love each other, to accept that we’re same yet different, to see into each other’s hearts and say “I love you because you’re the best friend I can ever have” instead of “I love you because Teacher says we must befriend those of other races”.
We will accept criticism with humility and grace and learn to improve from it. Our airport doesn’t have to be the highest ranked in the world. It can be the most people-centred, the one place where smiles are genuine and not merely products of overzealous campaigns. (Or it can just stick to what it does best: make Singaporeans returning home cry silently as they catch their first glimpse of Changi in years through a tiny plane window.)
Parents will teach their children to make the best of the talents they have, not force-fit them into a mould. Schools will do more than teach our children the limitations of the real world – they will teach them to defy the status quo, to challenge stereotypes and break new ground. The new generation of Singaporeans won’t just conform to expectations – they will learn to think and fend for themselves. We won’t be a nation of complainers, but of doers.
We won’t bother to try manufacturing patriotism, because we don’t need to. Let us root ourselves here in family, culture and shared values. Patriotism should grow by itself, watered by pride and nourished by a true sense of belonging. We can love an imperfect Singapore perfectly.
My ideal Singapore won’t just be a country or a city. It will be home. It doesn’t have to be the best yet, but we will be humble enough to admit that we aren’t all there, yes, but we won’t rest on our laurels either.
We don’t have to try too hard to appear to be what we aren’t – we can set high standards and work towards them. If we don’t content ourselves with reaching the top, one day we just might touch the sky. (: