That was what I experienced that morning.
Then the assembly of kampong folks placed their right fist over their heart and said the Singapore Pledge in a serious and solemn manner.
I took a side view glance at my grand kids and was mighty glad they took on the same spirit too.
But how many really know the history behind Our Pledge? Who created it? When did we first recite it?
Why the need for such a Pledge?
Here is a short brief about it.
Singapore had suffered from racial clashes and riots in 1964 and even before that. We were kicked out of Malaysia on August 9 1965 and were on our own. In 1966, the late Mr S Rajaratnam who was then the Foreign Minister and the acknowledged ideologue of the PAP, created the Pledge. He was fully aware that our multi -racial and multi-religious people can be easily torn apart by issues of race, language and religion. He wrote the Pledge in a few days and submitted it to the cabinet where then Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew polished it.
So, as we say the Pledge today we remember Mr S Rajaratnam...whom many regard as a "true son of Singapore".
In our parliament back then, there were many who could speak reasonably well. However there were few whom I would classify as great orators or debaters. Without a doubt, right up there is present MM, Mr Lee Kuan Yew and the other of my favourite is S Rajaratnam himself. He had a soft eloquent style that was magnetic in its substance and delivery. Among the opposition members, 2 clearly stood out as excellent speakers...Lim Chin Siong and the very popular Dr Lee Siew Choh of the Barisan Socialis.
S Rajaratnam died on 22 February 2006 just 3 days short of his 91 birthday. His body was placed in Parliament House for the public to pay their respects. Unk Dicko and D2 brought our 2 young grandkids to join the thousands who went to do just that. He was a man many loved and respected deeply.
He was given a full state funeral at the Esplanade which was also televised LIVE on 25 February 2006.
I recall MM grieving openly and breaking down when giving his eulogy about his loyal and close friend.
We, the citizens of Singapore,
pledge ourselves as one united people,
regardless of race, language or religion,
to build a democratic society
based on justice and equality
so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and
progress for our nation.