I want to wish all my Singaporean friends a Happy and Blessed 51st National Day. Having been born in 1964, less than a year after Malaysia came into being on 16th September when Singapore was still a part of Malaysia and just over year before Singapore's declaration of independence on 9th August 1965, I find myself frequently caught between the love for these two countries. Even now, I struggle to decide whether I should remain in Sabah or perhaps consider returning to Singapore for the second last leg and phase of my ministry. Singapore has many advantages, not least the strength of the Sing dollar and also the extended retirement age to 67.
I have a good solid 15 years to contribute to Singapore should I return before entering my final phase which should not take much beyond the age of 70, at most 75 years old. Then I hope to enjoy my golden retirement years, if still healthy in writing books, spending time with grandchildren and teaching them Greek (I have none at the moment) and watching test cricket that can go on 5 days without a result. What idyllic life in New Zealand or perhaps in Sabah or Singapore for my retirement. This is somewhat wishful thinking but as a servant of God there is no better way to go to meet the Lord in a blaze of glory as a martyr for His name's sake. For I have called you not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for His name's sake (Phil 1:29).
Singapore desperately needs an identity and a soul to further progress as a nation among nations in the world. Wealth, modernity, clean streets and good governance are all good but without a soul and a national identity a country cannot go very far. Singlish will not unite Singaporeans even though we might have a laugh or two when we speak it. As far as spoken English is concerned I speak standard English at all times, only rarely adding a "lah" when the occasions call for. Whether one calls it the Queen's English or Oxford English is not important but we should speak good and grammatically correct and if possible idiomatic English. Every language has its idioms and speaking them well only adds to the love and flourishing of the language. It's raining cats and dogs, I told a friend the other day. I used idioms all the time, perhaps due to my love for poetry and literary expressions and nuances. For Singapore and Singaporeans you deserve a great 51st National Day.