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“!(imgcenter)http://static.flickr.com/32/38218847_8863d48dc6_m.jpg!(Happy National Day)”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/38218847/

When I was in that school with the blue pinafore (and nothing else, and I’ll have you know that I am very patriotic to my alma mater so no jokes there), we used to have this saying that you can take us out of SCGS but you can never take the SCGS out of us.

We held on very strongly to that belief because we loved our school dearly. And now that it’s been almost 10 years since I last donned the pinafore, I have come to realise that the saying applies to me as a Singaporean too.

You can take us out of Singapore, but you can never take the Singapore out of us.

When we stood with our chins held firm under the spotlights and sang with our hearts and souls during the World Choir Games, we weren’t just doing it for Victoria Chorale. We were singing under the name of Victoria Chorale – Singapore, we were doing our utmost to represent ourselves as singers from that tiny little island in the far east, where people still ask, “Singapore? Speak English/Mandarin?”. And Nelson Kwei was that amazing conductor from Singapore who led two Olympic Champions choirs.

Before the awards ceremony, we were already in the spirit of National Day, loudly letting loose all our favourite national day songs to all and sundry who would listen, waving our little flags furiously and energetically.

And oh, how much pride it gave us to see our own flag hanging up on the wall with the rest of the world, knowing that Singapore has a place in the international choral arena.

That is how much we love our country.

Maybe it is not a reciprocal relationship. Perhaps given that our endeavours were not in the scientific or mathematical fields, we were largely given the dismissal by our favourite newspaper holdings.

But, no matter. We know what we have achieved and we will always be proud of ourselves. We did it for us, and we did it for you, Singapore.

And to answer Huckerby’s question, I think my favourite National Day songs will always be those that I learnt during primary school, when we were all sitting in the hall as our teachers flashed the lyrics on the OHP on stage.

Who could ever forget “Chan Mali Chan”, “Count on me, Singapore”, “Di Tanjong Katong”, “We are Singapore” and “Stand Up for Singapore”? Forget recent nonsense like “Reach out for the Skies”, nobody can remember lyrics to that.

For those who want to relive your happy days of old, here’s the official NDP website where you can download those perennial favourites.

And a special gift from me to you: Kit Chan’s live rendition of the evergreen “Home”.

Happy 41st National Day!

National Day 2005
National Day 2004

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