Singapore SpiritWritten by Fendy Tasman 31 August 2021
In 2008, when I first listened to Singapore’s National Day song titled ‘Home’ it instantly made a very strong impression on me about how much the people here treasure Singapore. Home was, and still is, a song that reminds the people that they are never alone, and that Singapore will always be home to them.
For me, growing up in a conservative environment created a certain preconception that other people should be treated as the competition, and that we live in a world where you ‘eat or be eaten’. So, as an Indonesian who came to Singapore to study, I always had my own worry as to how I would be treated as a foreigner.
To my surprise, things were very different from what I expected. When I saw that 50% of the classroom consisted of international students, it made me feel so much more at ease. So much more ‘at home’. Everyone was treated equally despite their different accents, skin and hair color, social status, race, age and so on.
This moment was a clear eye opener and has been a continuous reminder for me on how diverse Singapore is. There’s always a sense of togetherness present that unites everyone at the same level.
Fast forward 13 years, it’s now 2021, and this year’s National Day theme is “Together, Our Singapore Spirit”. As we have a diverse 1HQ Singapore team, I was keen to understand exactly what ‘Singapore Spirit’ means to each of them.
Vera Lee – Senior Designer
The ‘Singapore Spirit’ to me is that of camaraderie. A culture of trust and generosity that is deeply rooted in the country’s humble past. Back in the 60s, Singaporeans stayed in fishing villages where life of was full of hardships and deprivations.
Strong bonds were created between people, building a tight-knit community where everybody looks out for one another. The same spirit of care, cohesion and resilience, I believe, lives in the hearts of all Singaporeans.
Karen Cole – Managing Creative Director
For me, I have always felt a great sense of welcoming here in the Little Red Dot. Over the 12 years I’ve lived in Singapore, I have naturally observed people from a multitude of different ethnicities, religions and backgrounds all coming together and living harmoniously. It is, what I believe, a very unique country whereby people are genuinely considerate, kind and respectful to one another.
Every year, in the build-up to National Day, I witness the immense comradery and pride that goes into celebrating the country’s independence and I feel my own sense of honour to be living in such a cohesive society.
It makes no difference if you are Singaporean, have decided to take up residency here or if you are a newbie, just as I was once upon a time, this united ‘Singapore Spirit’ is what makes it such an incredible country to live in and one which I now proudly call home.
Betsy Bebbington – Account Director
Once you start to understand the layers of Singapore’s history and how Singapore’s’, founding father, late Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew guided the country from a 3rd to a 1st world country from 1965 – 2000 – in just one generation, you start to get a glimpse of Singapore’s spirit and determination.
This was poignant to me personally during three periods in Singapore’s recent times; the mourning of Lee Kuan Yew passing in early 2015, during the celebrations of Singapore’s 50 years of independence also in 2015, and most recently as we continue to navigate the global pandemic.
For me, ‘Singapore Spirit’ is empowering and encouraging everyone to work together, in the hard times, so to reap the benefits in the great times.
Sindy Seet – Account Manager
To me, Singlish, the language of the street, is the epitome of ‘Singapore Spirit’. It emerged when Singapore gained its independence some 56 years ago, created by the people for the people. Uniquely structured, flexible, colourful and extremely efficient. This informal dialect directly reflects who we are, uniting people.
A language that speaks to the very heart of who we are, that so beautifully represents the melting pot of ethnic cultures and diverse religious traditions. It organically meshes its various source languages together in harmony and is both a symbol of, and a medium for, the deeper diversity that exists in Singapore.
Singlish is an inextricable cross-cultural intertwine, weaving between languages, cultures, and tradition. It holds the key to our past and may unlock our future.
Interestingly, it seems that the 1HQ team are all on the same page when it comes to what ‘Singapore Spirit’ means to them. The overall theme is one of unity.
This sense of unity resonated strongly for me when I first arrived in Singapore in 2008 and has continued to do so, especially over the last 18 months during the global pandemic. It’s truly an honor to be able to experience first-hand how Singapore has united the people to fight through such a challenging time. Singapore has demonstrated the ability to continually come together as one nation and I believe that the essence of ‘Singapore Spirit” really is unity in diversity.
In closing, I reference this year’s National Day Parade song. Lyrics that truly embody the long tough journey of Singapore and how they have reached here, encouraging us through this challenging times, we’ll be able to thrive again:
‘Come whatever on the road ahead, we did it before, and we’ll do it again.’