The significance of National Day

by wynlim

So National Day is meaningful to me in different ways, ironically not in the patriotic sense because I’ll rather be honest and confess that I’m not patriotic. 

But it is the day I met my partner 5 years ago – knowing that she was the one once she walked into the pub I was in, only because I was trying to avoid a stalker. Things can be really funny, because I wasn’t even planning on being there, we had the same common friends for a number of years but we’ve never met each other till that fateful day. But I’ll leave this story for another day.

It is also on National Day when we first met our dog. She had to find a foster home urgently because the farm she was living on was going to close down, and our dear government authorities like to kill stray dogs. Somehow I thought I wanted to help every bit, especially if I was in a position to, so we offered to foster her and the rest was history. 

Last year on National Day I wrote this post (… expressing my gratitude for my country but not love.

In a way I hoped that my position would shift slightly, if only because there is a sense of romaticism to be in love with your country. I can only say I like my countrymen better now, because I was part of the historic elections of 2011. It made me feel that change was possible, that no matter how much I disliked the majority of the country, there is still this group of people who are unselfish in pursuing progress for the collective. 

I quote here my favourite quote from Sylvia Lim who is now elected MP after being a NMP for years:

“the true purpose of being involved in politics – to listen to every person, whose vision of a better life is ipso facto valid.”

What a beautiful statement, that is. 

The elections also cruelly exposed the brutal truth that the majority of Singaporeans are still not ready for change, or that many people still remain selfish to seeking progress. 

I remain in hope. Not only for Singapore because I don’t feel particularly tied to it, but rather for the whole world. I hope to see the day whereby we realise we’re all intricately connected and it makes absolute sense, economic or whatever, to be unselfish.

I believe that the right collective of like-minded people can make wonders – if one day I find this collective here in SF instead of Singapore, I will choose to be here. Because I am in love with the world and not just one country. I don’t see logical sense of trying to be a martyr for my birth country when I can be more effectiive elsewhere. Maybe this elsewhere eventually wouldn’t be in SF or even the states – I remain entirely open.

I don’t love my country and I mean it honestly. Being in SF only serves to expose to raw wounds I’ve hidden for years. How I’ve chosen to believe I was less than human because my most of my countrymen, my elders, my loved ones made me feel so. How authority figures like teachers who were supposed to nurture us, turned out to be people who inflicted the greatest hurt. How people whom you should be able to rely on for unconditional support ended up making you feel that your existence was essentially worthless.

I no longer feel that sort of bitterness that I held within my heart during the first 25 years of my life, but that doesn’t mean it hurt any less or that I’ll forget. Some new-age gurus only want to speak about the future, but I believe the past is part of our identity (Or that essentially time is not linear to me). The pain motivates – if only you choose to harness it the right way. 

Even if I am in a better place now, physically, mentally, spiritually or whatever, that doesn’t mean others have the luck or support that I have/had. There are still many gifted souls out there in pain and my previous suffering has only made me more resolute to be able to one day make a difference to these people. 

Me being here now, feeling this way, has only increased my belief that it can get better. For me, for them, for us. We shouldn’t accept that pain has to be the status quo. We shouldn’t accept that survival can only be the mode we’re in.

Many people has suggested that I shouldn’t be writing so openly about my previous struggles with depression. It’ll only affect my career. But why not? I don’t want to work with people who’ll not hire me because of my past. I want to tell people that it is okay to be open about being gay and previously depressed and still recieve opportunities. In fact, better opportunities because people who believe in you despite your damaged past, see your true potential.

If my work, despite being above average gets me nothing because I used to struggle with chronic depression, what about the rest of the people? Do they just go kill themselves because they’ll never be able to be honest or be accepted?

Sometimes I just don’t get it. We all have flaws. Probably secret ones that we try so hard to cover. Just because a person doesn’t write openly about his/her problems doesn’t make him/her ‘stable’ or better. 

And if me, who felt melancholic all my life can become this person full of happy bubbles now – perhaps that are people like me out there. We could be naturally the happiest people ever because we feel and care so much, that is the beauty of duality. The more pain you are capable of feeling, the more happiness you can recieve. Every single bit of emotion is so vivid. 

Maybe these people are not depressed by nature. They just happen to live in a world where it is just so difficult to be truly themselves and they need drugs to shield them from the pain of being different.

One day, we can all be loved for who we are.