I commend the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth's announcement that the rules for displaying the national flag have been amended so people can fly it from now until September as a rallying symbol during the Covid-19 pandemic (Amended rules allow people to fly national flag from now till Sept 30, April 26).
However, I wonder if there is a need at all to specify fixed periods during which Singaporeans can display the national flag.
Many other countries allow their flags to be displayed in homes, businesses and vehicles throughout the year, as long as the proper protocols are observed.
In recent years, I have observed a visible decline in the number of people displaying the national flag outside their homes during the National Day period.
While Singaporeans' patriotism should not be defined by the use of national symbols, granting more leeway in the display of the national flag would encourage citizens to take greater ownership of it by incorporating it into their daily lives.
The flag should not be perceived foremost as a symbol of officialdom that is mostly flown outside government buildings, but rather as an accessible way for Singaporeans to freely and visibly express their citizenship, trust and commitment to the nation during both good and challenging times.
As long as the flag is treated respectfully in accordance with protocol, Singaporeans should be allowed to display it throughout the year.