Singapore was then a crown colony under full British administration. The British may not be the owners of the land but they certainly were " Lords " of the land. All of us Asians were merely " British subjects". In 1959, we obtained self-government and independence. From 16 September 1963 till 9 August 1965, we gave away part of our total independence to be merged as a greater part of Malaysia.
We learnt to sing the "Negara Ku", Malaysia's national anthem.
Through all the two historical periods, my generation and I never felt any sense of real nationalism nor any deep sense of belonging.
It was only after we were kicked out of Malaysia in 1965 that our people began to bond as one.
" We've come so far together our common destiny, Singapore our homeland, a nation strong and free"...a popular line from some of our best -loved national songs.
The key word is destiny. Most of us were born here. Others chose to come here. Whether young or old, rich or humble...this is our home, this is our beloved country as it was for our fathers and mothers and those before them.
I have travelled far and wide, seen more beautiful countries, climbed high mountains, dived in deep oceans, been to even the Arctic but the place I look forward most to see after each trip is " this beautiful red dot" from the landing plane.
Again I recall these lyrics, " This is my country! This is my flag! This is my future!
This is my life. This is my family. These are my friends. We are Singapore,
So why am I proud to be a Singaporean?
For everything we have achieved over the last half century.
Look at the last photo which clearly showed Serangoon National Day Observance ceremony 2009. It was such a meaningful event for all who participated including my young grandkids.
Fifty years from now in the year 2059, I hope my grandkids who will all be in their fifties, will look back with gladness that their grandpa did not choose the easy way out and migrated elsewhere when Singapore faced troubled times.