Singapore’s National Day

So, Sunday is August 9th, Singapore’s National Day. The country will be celebrating it’s 44th birthday, it’s 44th year of nationhood, supposedly. I say supposedly because I remember reading recently that the Prime Minister said that Singapore is not yet a nation. I know he was speaking figuratively, but it still can’t be a fun thing to hear if you’re a Singaporean. I’ve seen that same sentiment echoed quite a few times on forums and in blog posts, though. There are plenty of Singaporeans that feel as though Singapore doesn’t belong to the Singaporeans anymore.

Somehow, I can’t blame them. A full third of the population isn’t native. About 68% of the country’s jobs are given to foreigners. The country has been built up quite nicely for just 44 years of self-government, but somehow it has failed to produce people who feel like they belong.

Here are some quotes I pulled from a blog post’s comment section:

This is just a small sampling. You can visit the blog post itself for more, but this is just to show that there’s a lot of dissatisfaction with the current situation in Singapore. There were even comments from Singaporeans stating that they planned to wear black on National Day, rather than the national colors, to represent the fact that they’re mourning rather than celebrating.

Still, not everyone was full of doom and gloom. My wife and I walked through Pasir Ris Park tonight and it was packed full of people barbecuing and camping out for the night. There were tents everywhere! It sort of reminded me of parks and neighborhoods in the US on July 4th, with groups of family and friends getting together to celebrate.

From what I’ve read, and I’ll admit it isn’t too much since I try to steer clear of much involving Singapore politics, people have come to believe that National Day in Singapore is more of a celebration of the PAP (People’s Action Party?) than a celebration of the people, and so a large portion of Singaporeans aren’t as enthusiastic about the day as they used to be. It’s pretty sad that many people in Singapore are opposed to celebrating their own national holiday.

Singapore is a young country. It has a lot of maturing and learning to do yet, and I’m sure that in time it will become a place that all Singaporeans are proud to call home. So, here’s hoping for that day. Happy 44th Singapore.

Seashell Park

When my wife and I first moved to Pasir Ris we noticed that there are lots of parks in the area.  That’s great, because we enjoy taking walks, or jogging.  Lately, we don’t seem to have time to just wander around on weekdays, but the last two Saturdays we’ve made sure to get out of the house for a while.

Last week, we went to Pasir Ris Park, which was incredible!  That park is huge!  We’re looking forward to going back, but we also wanted to check out the other parks in the area.  So, this week, we decided to take a look at Seashell Park.

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Seashell Park isn’t quite as big as I’d hoped.  We looked through it all in about 20 minutes, in fact.  It’s a small park nestled in behind the shopping center we usually go to for dinner.

The first thing I noticed about Seashell Park is that it seems to be a bit rundown, at least compared to the other parks we’ve walked through in Singapore.  By rundown I don’t mean horribly run down though.  I just mean it hasn’t been well kept up.

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As we walked into the park we were greeted by this fish head under the sign.  It’s a bit hard to read in this photo, but it says “Seashell Park.”  I looked at the fish head and the area around it, and it looks as though there was water flowing through it at some point.  I wonder if there used to be a constant stream of water that sprayed out of it?  As we walked up the stairs to the back of the fish head, we saw that it was fed through a channel from higher up on the hill.  It looked terraced, and each terrace had its own fish head and a channel leading down from the higher area.

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My wife’s theory is that these fish heads are just an artistic way of setting up a good drainage system.  The majority of the park sits at the top of the hill, and it rains a lot in Singapore, so erosion is definitely an issue here.  It makes sense.

One of the best parts of the park is that it has a 400 meter track that runs around the top of the hill.  It’s not completely even, which is nice in a way, because it provides for some variety in your run.  Also, there’s a great view all the way around.  We’ll probably go back there in the future to give it a go.

 

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There is a playground in the park, but I didn’t include any photos of it because it was littered with garbage when we passed through.  I’m sure that’s not common, but … well, even Singapore can become dirty if people don’t take care of things.

Pasir Ris Park

My wife and I enjoy getting out of the house when possible, and we’re interested in finding new ways to get some exercise.  It was only natural that we would find ourselves in Pasir Ris Park sooner than later, considering how close it is to our house.

When I looked at the map of Singapore, Pasir Ris seemed to be such a big area.  I was sure that we would have to take a bus to get anywhere.  That doesn’t seem to be the case though.  We can walk to either of the two malls in Pasir Ris in about 15 minutes and there are two parks close to us.  One is the Pasir Ris Town Park, which is just around the corner.  We’re planning on checking it out in a few days.  The bigger one is Pasir Ris Park, the one that borders on the water.  That’s about a 25 to 30 minute walk from our house, but it’s well worth the trip.

We entered the park through one of the larger walkways and we were greeted with the fantastic sign pictured at the top of the post.  We didn’t get to see everything, not by a long-shot, but we really got to stretch our legs.  Don’t let the map fool you!  It’s bigger than it looks!

What stood out to me the most about the park wasn’t just it’s well manicured appearance, but how lively it was.  The place was packed with people, all engaged in their own activities.  I saw groups of friends rollerskating, couples walking under the trees or sitting on benches, joggers, bikers, people walking, kids playing, and even one football (soccer) game.  Oh, and there were campers and fishers too!  Everywhere I looked there were people, out having a good time!

It gave the place a very lively feel that made walking through it a joy, despite the heat.  In fact, my wife and I have decided that it will be our primary jogging location in Pasir Ris.  It looks like you could spend weeks going to the park to jog and rarely cross the same path, other than the main junctions where the bridges are.

Below are some great photos I got of the park!