Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Flying the Singapore Flag: Happy 41st Birthday, Singapore (Part 1)

Just read this mail from Siva, who alerted the folks at Yesterday.SG about the Straits Times article published yesterday: "Flying the Flag Online" (Digital Life, 8 Aug 2006). It was written by the journalist, Serene, who interviewed me (it was more like a conversation, rather) among other Singaporean Bloggers.

The article was about the "I Am Singaporean" meme started by Brown and Miyagi, as a lead in to National Day (which is today!):
Surely cynical Singapore netizens would not be caught dead in a red I Love Singapore T-shirt, singing Count On Me Singapore and decorating their homes with the Singapore flag?

In the run up to National Day, however, they are flying the national flag in a different way, celebrating what it means to be Singaporean - both good and bad - online.

An 'I Am Singaporean' meme (say 'meem'), a chain letter of sorts, is making the rounds on the Internet, with netizens writing, podcasting and vodcasting about what makes them Singaporean.

Here's the part where I was quoted:
One particularly philosophical take came from Mr Ivan Chew.

The 34-year-old, who works at the National Library Board managing adult and young people's services, argued at that the cynicism wears itself 'like a disguise'.

'I think it is our brand of dry and wry humour. Perhaps people would rather be cynical than be caught dead saying 'I love Singapore'.

'But by participating [in the meme], they are showing they appreciate Singapore.'

Ah, Serene -- you made me appear more clever that I really am. :)

I thought the article ended off very nicely with the following comments by AP Cenite:
Assistant professor Mark Cenite, told Digital Life that 'there's no question that many of these podcasts reflect love of country even though they include criticism'.

Said Dr Cenite, who teaches at the Nanyang Techno- logical University's School of Com- munication and Information: 'The message is, 'I love Sin- gapore but sometimes it drives me crazy', which is compar- able with 'I love my parents but sometimes they drive me crazy'.'

He added: 'Feelings for something as complex as a nation are always going to be complicated.'

Blogging about this reminded me of something I was thinking about while in a taxi cab a few days ago... I'll blog about it next, since it's National Day and all.

[Next: Part 2]

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