The National Day Parade 2011 was a good effort, as are all NDPs over the years. The Parade has never fell short of disappointment when it comes to providing us with a good text for us to analyse. It's something you can jiggle your fun packs to.
Don't worry, I won't talk about lingums and yonis. Neither will I talk about how the Parade has always mimicked the Fascist ideals of a disciplined country which time and again glorifies its political leaders. Everyone's marching, stomping in step. I don't know what to say.
"The elephant there represents Lee Kuan Yew's impeccable memory when he sues everyone else for defamation." Heck, the helix bridge represents Lee Kuan Yew's unshakable belief in eugenics. Sieg Heil!
Unfortunately, we didn't celebrate Mr Lee Kuan Yew as much as we did in previous NDPs. Why not? You can't deny a large part of today's realities are engineered by him and his team.
A staple in our NDPs is the multiculturalism. The indexical representations of the various cultures are simplistic yet atomising depictions of their complexities and nuances. Ketupats, Pratas and Baos?
How about items which represent our social problems? In no particular order, substances to abuse, alcohol and obscene accumulations of cash...
"The Baos there represent the fruits of our labour, which are enjoyed very thoroughly by foreigners..."
Very cheeky, yet we are constantly reminded of our heterogeneous differences and the need to respect them. The problem with celebrating diversity is that you have to make explicit the differences that underpin this diversity.
The NDP shows us an example of coexistence and cooperation, yet doesn't show us how to get about doing it.
The NDP is all about overcoming adversity and challenges. We are reminded about the huge challenges the country has faced in past decades, and for a good 2 hours or so, we should forget about the lived daily realities and challenges we individually confront. 1% transport fare hike, any one?
Gurmit Singh and Chua Enlai in drag, so where's Suhaimi Yusof? Watch out for complaints from conservative Singaporeans who will probably question the relevance of the segment. Then again, the Shakespearean preference for male actors parallels Mediacorp's grip on the NDP. On another level, I feel pained that the transgenderal depiction of drag has to be in the temporary imaginary context of entertaining humour, furthering the notion that transgenderal depictions and persons need not be taken seriously.
Hip-hop was used to connect with the youth. Speaking of music, kudos to the creative director of this year's parade, as musically speaking, we have been treated to a collage of different musical genres.
The Mother-Son and Father-Son interweaving stories present an interesting insight into how a good disciplined nation should be.
Why is Lee Hsien Loong's nose red? He's in touch with his emotions.
Back to discipline. Discipline is listening to your parents and family, as the NDP has taught us. Listen to authority and don't get lost or distracted in the sea of dreams.
What's up with chasing the dugong? CNB won't like that imagery. Well, as long as we are not too socially or politically aware or involved, the powers that be will not mind us chasing any dugong. Give us liberties and leeway to participate in affairs which will ultimately have no bearing on governance and government - our opiate, but "chasing the dugong" sounds better.
Listen to your government. They know what's best for us. "Vote Tony Tan."
NDP can improve
Honour those who died for the country. Have a minute's silence. There are many ordinary Singaporeans who have made contributions and sacrifices (especially with National Service), but have either not been able to fulfill their dreams or haven't lived to do so.
Maybe it's too much to ask, but where are the segments depicting elderly folks selling tissue packets or picking from rubbish bins, or the homeless, I mean residentially challenged Singaporeans who sleep at void decks or at parks?
We're brave and bold enough to have one female NDP commander, to have Gurmit Singh in drag, yet sweep other things Singaporean under the carpet. Keep it G rating.
I have an idea. Why not scrap the Parade for one year and use the budget donate to charity? After all, from the experiences of many, the middle management of the Singapore Armed Forces (which happens to be an NDP organiser) often "asks" National Servicemen to make donations and targets are set. This is not unfamiliar in some schools too, right?
And can someone write a cheesy singalong NDP song? We've been having too much pop for the longest time. Keep the sentences and syllables shorter, use more conventional chord sequences, narrower ranges for melodies for easier group singalongs.
Well, any way, Happy Birthday Singapore, you fucking did it!