Minister for Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin recently shared his thoughts on the significance of celebrating the National Day Parade (NDP) without fail every year. Though many responded positively to his words and rallied behind the call for camaraderie, there were also a few who argued that the spirit behind NDP could still be kept alive even without an actual parade–considering the Covid-19 crisis that the nation is facing along with the rest of the world.
Mr Tan on Thursday (June 11) published a note on Facebook, sharing his thoughts on a subject of debate made more popular recently by Covid-19 safety concerns. He cited his past experience in 2009, organizing the NDP during the Global Financial Crisis and the H1N1 outbreak. “Although it was not our call to make, to me and my NDP09 team, there was never any doubt that we had to proceed with the NDP,” he said, stressing that crisis or not, the essence of the event is the deep appreciation for Singapore and its people. “We embarked on a massive social media effort to engage as many people as possible and asked them to reflect on what it all mean(s),” wrote Mr Tan, stressing how he and his team strove to unite people even in the midst of struggles. “It was not just an event.”
Citing Singapore’s history, Mr Tan reminded Singaporeans that the very first NDP was celebrated in the midst of uncertainties and setbacks, such as the security concerns when the British suddenly withdrew its forces. “While we were not in any way operationally capable then, there was a message that was needed to be sent,” he wrote.
Mr Tan then stressed, “Every year without fail, we hold our NDP.” Highlighting the essence of the annual celebration, he said, “NDP is never about NDP. It is much much more than that. It is a time for reflection and also celebration. It is Our Day. Our National Day. It is about Singapore and Singaporeans. It is about all of us, for now and for always.”
In response to this, however, thought there were many who supported his call for a unified celebration, a few people raised points against Mr Tan’s statements. While one argued that there is more than one way to celebrate the nation and its people, another brought up the issue of cost. Still, others raised health and safety concerns.