Monday, August 8, 2011

The colour of August is red and white and red and white

If you're a foreigner in Singapore this morning, you'd be forgiven if you thought there's a protest of some sort going on. Everywhere you go, you see a sea of red and white. You see, tomorrow 9th August is National Day in Singapore. That means today is the day schools celebrate National Day by getting the students to dress up in red and white. That has been the tradition for many years. I remember my kids' kindy years when there's always a last-minute rush to the shops for a red and white outfit (because they outgrew the previous years') I'd say in any Singapore home where there are kids, there'll be at least one set of red and white outfit in the wardrobe.

So, no. There's no protest of red and white going on. Besides, all protests in Singapore are illegal. It's called illegal assembly. Once my family was shopping at Orchard road and we suddenly found outselves in the midst of a sea of black. I'm one of those people who wear black a lot and on that day, 3 of us were dressed in black. Quite unfortunately, a group of folks decided to do a "silent protest" by gathering in small groups dressed in black. No, we were not arrested because it's a "silent protest" which means nothing meaningful will come out of it. See? In my opinion, a protest can't be effective unless it's vocal. And I hope the next time these silent protesters protest again, they'll choose a colour I'm less likely to wear like yellow or lime green.

Yes, I digress. Back to the sea of red and white. Have I explained that the Singapore flag is red and white? Ah! Well, some schools do it right. They make the students dress in red top and white bottom. Some schools aren't particular. They just ask for a red top and the school shorts/skorts. So my girl went to school in red polo and khaki skorts. Some schools totally get it wrong. This morning I saw a bunch of teenagers in white top and red shorts. My dear school principals, the flag is red on TOP and white BELOW.

Apart from schools, the residential areas go a bit crazy on the red and white theme.

If you think every resident hung out a flag, you're wrong. This is likely to be the work of the Resident's Committee. Notice how one family hung his laundry over the ledge? How a Singaporean hangs his laundry is worthy of another blog post.

Some folks associate flag hanging with patriotism. I don't. I personally don't hang out my flags because I don't want to get it dirty and wet. Me hubs and I have long discussions about why some flats in Singapore go over-the-top with the flag hanging while others are neglected. It is concluded that those flats within sight of the MRT(train) tracks get a bigger budget. No point having a blast with the flags if they aren't viewed by a huge number of people.

See these flags are right in front of the MRT tracks? Sadly, the Residents' Comittee went safe with the usual small flags anchored to the ground when they could have gone way over-the-top . Lame.

My member of parliament took the opportunity to remind us who he is. So for the entire month of August, his mug is what I see whenever I come home. I notice that he favours the 1950's haircut. Perhaps that's why I can never remember what he looks like. I have one month to memorise his face. If you think the size of this banner is huge, wait till you see....

this mother-of-all billboard. It's so huge I had to take a pic from across the road. Where I live is a Group Representative Constituency which explains why there are 5 members of parliament on the billboard.

This is the 46th year Singapore became independent.

Sometimes the folks putting up the flags forget the purpose. This looks so much like a traditional prayer thing.

And this is what happens when you run out of ideas. Yes, do string 4 flags together because it is so meaningful.

Wind is the enemy of flag hanging.

I actually like the little flags hung between lamp posts. So simple yet so festive.


Chris H said...

Well I hope it's a National Holiday on that day too!
And I know how Singaporean's hang out their washing!
I had never seen anything like it before!
I still have that sight in my mind in fact! lol

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