Yesterday was a surreal day. As the third day of rioting erupted in my hometown London, my current home Singapore was celebrating it's 46th birthday in full swing. As far apart as the two worlds seem, they suddenly seemed even more further apart.
I spent most of the day looking in disgust and anger at footage like this:
then later on scenes like this:
What a contrast.
On top of that, earlier on in the week, the United States lost it's AAA rating, and my sense that the Western world is on it's way down, while Asia is on the up could not have been any stronger.
But back to National Day. Personally as an Ang Moh coming from a country which seems to be falling into a social abyss, I think that whatever level of national pride it seems to be - no matter what is driving it - is demonstrated in Singapore is a blessing.
Having seen the many issues in my home country and travelled around and seen sometimes worse still, we can never take for granted that which we have.
I come from a country where on it's national day - St George's day - nothing much happens apart from a lot of beer drinking. Is that really how people should show they are proud for the sacrifices that their elders made for them? Sacrifices like using their lives in the World Wars to keep harm at bay?
Something is seriously amiss there.
So after looking at heart-wrenching images of my hometown up in flames, having been torched by youths, ravished by people taking to the streets like animals in what is supposed to be a civil society, thieving, laughing and taking advantage of a situation with no real cause or purpose apart from self gain and anarchy, the acts spreading like wildfire both locally and nationally, I personally found it quite soothing to watch Singapore's National Day celebrations.
Look no country is perfect and every nation has it's own set of issues but when you've been around, and you pretty much see your own country toppling down at the hands of it's own people, you start seeing things in a very different way.