My wife and I moved from India to Singapore around three decades ago and have become Singapore citizens now along with our two boys. We call Singapore home wholeheartedly.
Amid the National Day celebrations, I would like to look back on some pleasant memories we cherish.
Our children identify Singapore as the country they belong to. They grew up in Singapore, went to local schools and love to mingle with their local friends and enjoy the local cuisine.
We are vegetarians, but Singapore is one place where we never felt out of place, either culturally or otherwise.
We had excellent neighbours, who understood our dietary requirements and guided us along the way. The settling-in process was very seamless and, soon, we felt at home in this country.
My wife and I had great colleagues who made us feel comfortable, respected our customs, and at times were curious about some of the practices we followed. Never once did they make rude remarks or make us yearn for the country we came from.
The racial harmony in Singapore was something we noticed and appreciated almost immediately. Of course, the Republic's cleanliness, orderliness, fairness, organised way of life and its people's positive attitude and outlook on life made the experience complete.
We have dined at hawker stalls, attended Chinese and Malay weddings and learnt about Singapore's rich culture and practices through the years. This has been a more than enriching experience.
Coexistence, mutual respect and tolerance are the pillars on which Singapore society has been built and the people have imbibed these values. These are the sound fundamentals on which Singapore is built and this racial fabric is intricately interwoven, handed down from generation to generation.
I am quite confident that this base cannot be shaken overnight. I hold my head high as a Singaporean and salute the nation on its birthday.