It’s always a mixed bag of feelings when I think about this little island country in which I was born and raised. We have come so far, but there’s still so much to do.
Happy Birthday Singapore. May you always remain a beautiful home to the people who have toiled for your success.
Update: In my haste to make the August 9 midnight deadline (Singapore time), I forgot that I wrote this. A friend told me about a competition to write about what Home means. It turned out to be a mistake, because the competition was specifically about a place in Singapore that reminded you of home. Or something like that. In any case, the poem was written and here it is. My sincere apologies to Wilfred Owen, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and the great Dylan Thomas for my embarrassing homage. Did I mention that I was never a Literature student?
Home was where I first tasted chilli
As a child and saw my mother’s smile
As she wiped the sweat off my brow.
Home was where I fought
Many a riotous teenage battle and saw
The anger that flashed in my father’s eyes.
Home was what I left to explore the world
with the wings I started growing
The day I learnt to walk
without my mother’s supporting hands.
Home is why I don my uniform
and pick up arms when I know
War is but a sweet sweet lie.
Home was where I wept and raged
As my father’s eyes dimmed
in the dying of the light.
Home is where I cradle
the dreams of my young child
And pray I will be her shelter
from the rain that must fall.
Home is where I hope to lay
at the dusk of my days,
With a smile for the stars that take my place
as I fade into that good night.