The Straits Times says

Cherishing the past while moving ahead

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In this month when National Day is commemorated, it is worth reflecting on the need to celebrate the iconic symbols of Singapore. The Wild Rice theatre production, Don't Call Him Mr Mari Kita, drew attention to both Mr Zubir Said, the composer of the National Anthem, and to the spirit behind the anthem, which captures the soul of a nation in a way that continues to inspire generations long after it was penned. There is history, too, behind the national flag, on which the red symbolises universal brotherhood and equality of man, the white signifies pervading and everlasting purity and virtue, the crescent moon represents a young nation on the ascendant, and the five stars stand for the nation's ideals of democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.

The Pledge, another component of Singapore's identity, was drafted to promote national loyalty and consciousness among citizens after Singapore's separation from Malaysia. The state crest, also known as the national coat of arms, serves as a symbol of Singapore's status as a self-governing and independent state. The significance of the crest is as important today as it was when Singapore was a new nation, unsure of whether its sovereign survival would last. Singapore's sovereignty stands on incomparably firmer ground now, but it is worth recalling earlier moments that provided the bedrock for its survival. Reflecting on the relatively recent past, it is important to recognise the natural legacy even of everyday habitats such as the MacRitchie Reservoir Park, which evokes memories of the British who built it, perhaps because they planned to remain here for a long time, but did not eventually. Nevertheless, they left a worthy construction behind. So too for Cavenagh Bridge, spanning the Singapore River and named after William Orfeur Cavenagh, the last governor of the Straits Settlements. Colonialism has passed, but the Singapore River continues to flow and over it stands a bridge that anchors Singapore in its ineradicable place in time.

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