“The Parade is a celebration of nationhood, a spectacular event with a display of jets screaming overhead, tanks and marching lines of military forces and also a light show, dancing and music, and fireworks that light up the night sky.
I have been before of course when I was working, a respectable and I should like to think respected principal. But never since retiring and leaving the country. I know there are many people who want so much to attend the parade, many more than the event can accommodate. So it was, in my mind, always to be seen as a privilege to be invited for the ceremony, and not a right. But still, when the government stopped issuing the invitation to me, I somehow took this as a sign of what I had become after retirement, and what the leaders thought or (perhaps worse) did not think of me.
What then to make of this invitation, my reinstatement to this national list of privilege? Why am I to be invited? Who decided to include me? What, in the context of my emails and other efforts, might the invitation mean?
I tell Anna and she encourages me to go, although there is no second ticket for her. I do not know what to tell others, especially the people around us, those on our action committee. So I say nothing. I say nothing especially about the fact that this is not just an ordinary seat for the public, but a red sector seat, reserved for VIP guests.”
Extract from the book City of Small Blessings
by Simon Tay
All Rights Reserved
Singapore : Landmark Books, c2000
Call number: SING English TAY
Extract contributed by Tey Hwee Chen
Available at NLB
Title: Walk like a dragon : short stories
by Goh Sin Tub
Call number: SING English GOH
by James Toh
Call number: SING English TOH
Island voices : a collection of short stories from Singapore
Angelia Poon, Sim Wai Chew (ed).
Call no. SING English S823 ISL
Why is an invitation to National Day Parade a privilege? Who do you think deserves to be seated at the VIP seats at the parade?
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