A nation is an imagined community of people who feel that they belong together because they share deeply significant elements of a common heritage, common experiences and common aspirations. A community in Singapore refers to distinct physical entities (with clear boundaries) which provide basic needs to its residents and where social relationships among residents develop a common community sentiments, whether they are heritage, experiences or aspirations.
The Singapore Spirit, mentioned in the National Day Rally, is how Singapore distinguished herself by its forward looking and idealistic people in the midst of globalisation of information and cultures. "Shared values, shared memories and the determination to make things work and do things the right way" are some of the deeper things that make us Singaporeans. When Kit Chan rose to sing "Home" in the recent national day parade, one cannot deny being touched by the lyrics in the song and reaffirm ourselves as Singaporeans.
Kit Chan's rendition of Home in NDP2010
Singapore has made huge strides since our indepedence. Our unexpected independence on 9 August 1965 denoted a new chapter in the history of the miniscule tropical city state. Troubled by the proliferation of communism in the 1950s and the exacerbating racial divisiveness in the 1960s, our forefathers faces uphill tasks to unite a multiracial population in which ethnic Chinese forms the majority in the geographical location where its Malay neighbours perceive Singapore as a 'juicy Chinese nut in a Malay nutcracker."
Our Queenstown community has made tremendous progress too. The Boh Beh Kang villages were skyscrapers today, with some breathtaking views of the Pasir Panjang harbours and the city central from the distance. Every nation is made up of many communities like Queenstown and it is in these communities where residents shared a common heritage, a common experience and a common aspiration for the future.
The Four Musketeers of Tanglin Halt
Queenstown is the first satellite estate in Singapore. The idea of a satellite estate was a brain child of the British planners in removing slums and squatters in the city central. Over the past few months, MyQueenstown Team has researched and explored many places in Queenstown which has a long and meaningful historical value to our community. Being the first satellite estate, many of Singapore's firsts can be found here. Remember Queenstown Remand Prison? or the street hawkers along Tanglin Halt and Commonwealth Avenue? Together, as a community, we experience ups and downs. The decline of Queenstown in the late 1980s and 1990s have drawn our youth and enthusiasm away. Emporiums were closed and cinemas were converted for other users. The revitalisation of Queenstown, which began through SERS in 1995, had transformed Queenstown into Singapore's premier district. All of these represent our memories and our roots. They represent something that is unique to our community.
The gas tank at Commonwealth Drive (courtesy of NAS)
There are many things we "do" and "experience" as a community which many other communities or Singaporeans do not. Watching the KTM trains zoom past Tanglin Halt; admiring the beautiful fireworks from our windows; and even climbing flights of stairs to go back our home sweet home built on a hilltop. Of course, there are negative experiences and names associated with Queenstown such as "litter estate" or "elderly estate" too. These are experiences unique to us, whether we like it or not.
Can every Elderly person smile like they do?
Shedding these negative images or metaphors is not the state's responsibility. It is ours. While most residents in Queenstown aspire or desire more SERS and upgrading within our community to spruce up our standard of living, whether Queenstown will become the next Tampines of the west, that is, full of vigour and energy, depends on the contributions and participation of each and every resident. Should we continue to whine at the prospect of the greying population or should we help those needy and elderly people in our estate with sincerity and pride? It is simple to answer.
In the next few months, MyQueenstown Team will continue to research and explore on more hidden places and unknown customs within our community. What was mentioned in the Singapore Spirit speech last Sunday was our team's original mission while building a credible "fourth estate" for Queenstown. One day, we hope every Queenstown residents will be proud of us, themselves and Queenstown, our home.
How can be build a Queenstown Spirit? Discuss in our facebook page now!