Happy 41st Birthday Singapore! I can't help as a surge of patriotism swells up within me as I watched the National Day Parade on the TV. It's strange how the performances and events such as the flag fly-past, 21-gun salute, Red Lion parachutists, Gurmit Singh etc have become so routine every year yet we are still being drawn to them. Watching, cheering and anticipating with zeal, as if watching the parade for the first time.
Singaporeans are diverse and so are our palates becoming to be. Just look at the food available on our tiny island. Russian, French, Italian, Indian, African, Chinese, Indonesian, Thai, Japananese, Korean, Spanish, Vietnamese, German, Pakistani, Malaysian, Swiss, Turkish, American, Mongolian, Swedish...you get the picture. This even applies to our local food. Go to any hawker centre and you will see a wide array of food from the different races here. It's not uncommon to spot an Indian eating at a Chinese zi char(cooked food) stall or a Chinese eating satay (Malay meat skewers). Subtly, food is promoting racial harmony and interaction. In fact, there are different interpretations of some dishes by different races. For example, chicken rice has a Chinese version while the Malays have nasi ayam, their take of chicken rice.
When it comes to Singapore's national dish, some say it has to be chicken rice while others vote for chilli crab. And there are yet some who suggest rojak. If there is one dish that has to be representative of Singapore, I would put my money on curry. Yes, curry. Curry can lay claim to having a version of itself being adopted by each race in Singapore. The Indians, Malays, Chinese, Peranakans and Eurasians all have their own unique style of curries. Spicy, fragrant, numbing, sweet, mild, coconutty or rich, curry has been firmly integrated into our diet. Chicken curry with bread, prata with dhal, curry noodles, curry puffs, Devil's curry, curry fish head, mutton curry, beef curry and maybe even curry ice cream for those crazy enough to try.
Like the many ingredients and spices that go into each pot of curry, many factors have contributed to the success of modern day Singapore. While we strive for the future of our home island, let us not forget those around us. Let us build each other up and be more gracious in our actions. Onwards Singapore, spice up the world!