Flying our flag on National Day

A few weeks back, I heard that some residents living in the western part of Singapore refused to fly their national flag at their HDB blocks because they did not want to be associated with their Residents’ Committee (RC), and by extension, the PAP government.

Singapore FlagA few weeks back, I heard that some residents living in the western part of Singapore refused to fly their national flag at their HDB blocks because they did not want to be associated with their Residents’ Committee (RC), and by extension, the PAP government.

While I understand where these residents’ sentiments are coming from, I feel their reactions may be somewhat misplaced.

Singapore is bigger than the PAP, as former top civil servant Ngiam Tong Dow pointed out several years ago. It is not easy to internalise this fact, especially for those of us who have lived all our lives in Singapore and have been told—through subliminal and not-so-subliminal messages—that the PAP, the government and Singapore are synonymous.

Indeed they are not. One can disagree with the party in power, and yet still be a loyal citizen and a patriot. From my interactions with a cross section of Singaporeans, I am glad to note that most agree with this distinction on an intellectual level.

The national ideals represented by our flag—democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality—cut across political, racial and religious boundaries. I believe we would all do well to reflect a bit more on all of these ideals (not just the second and third one), especially in the area of policymaking.

With that, I urge everyone for whom Singapore is home to fly our national flag proudly this National Day.

I wish all Singaporeans a very Happy 47th National Day!

Author: Gerald Giam

Gerald Giam is the Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC. He is a member of the Workers' Party of Singapore. The opinions expressed on this page are his alone.

7 thoughts on “Flying our flag on National Day”

  1. Dear Gerald,

    There are other ways to show our patriotism than to hang the flag in front of our apartments. Also, some Singaporeans may not want to fly the flag because they feel that the nation has not adhered to the ideals and the values of the flag.

    Not hanging the flag is one way to express their disagreement with the direction of the nation where sucess is defined, almost exclusively, in terms of a wealth which runs counter to the ideals of our flag – democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.

  2. I agree that the national flag should not be associated with the PAP. However the reason for this is because since the PAP came into power, the party has merged national symbols, events and organisations with the party. At National Day parades, there is always a contingent of PAP members flying the PAP flag. What is a political party doing, flying their flag in a national celebration? It’s the same with People’s Association and some supposedly non-political organisations that have been closely associated with the ruling party. Hence some sections of the population see our flag as a symbol of PAP. It is not right but I feel this the reason for this feeling. I wonder if we will see a PAP contingent again this National Day Parade.

  3. Until there are other avenues available to Singaporeans to hold peaceful protest and marches against all the poor policies of the PAP, we will continue to use the “no flag display” as our symbol of our peaceful protest against the ruling party.

    Please bring this up in Parliment and propose a motion to allow peaceful protest and marches.

  4. Talk is easy, you got hang national flag ?? Every day you talk, prices still go up everyday, but you still get $15000 from citizens.

  5. Huat Leh – To each his own. I am not prescribing flag flying as the only way of showing patriotism, but merely pointing out that one can oppose the government yet still fly the flag proudly.

    oute – I have been flying my flag every year for as long as I can remember.

    Observation – I agree with you that it is odd to be flying a political party flag at the National Day parade. Yes I’m sure you’ll see the PAP contingent this year. It will be lead by one of their young MPs. :)

    Huat ah! – As NCMP I get about $2,000 a month, not $15,000.

  6. Yes, we have done extremely well in the past 47 years that nobody would deny the fact. Thanks WP for helping to supervise PAP and making contribution to building Singapore, for the past 45 years.

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