Greetings! With Singapore National Day approaching, we will celebrate Singapore’s 58th birthday this year, a special day that holds a significant place in my heart; I take you on a journey to discover the essence of this vibrant nation. As a Singaporean living in America, my birthplace remains a cherished part of my identity. On this remarkable occasion, I want to share the story of Singapore’s independence and its journey toward becoming the vibrant and diverse country it is today. Moreover, I’ll also reveal a personal creation that celebrates the spirit of Singapore’s National Day – a pair of hair clips embroidered with the iconic Merlion and the national flower, the Orchid, in patriotic colors of red and white.
The Road to Independence
Singapore, a small island nation at the crossroads of Asia, boasts a rich history that has shaped its identity and character. On August 9th, 1965, Singapore achieved its independence from Malaysia. This momentous event marked the beginning of a new chapter in the nation’s history but was also met with various challenges. Being a tiny island with limited resources, Singapore had to chart its course and pave the way to prosperity.
Under the visionary leadership of its first Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore set out on a path of rapid economic development and political stability. The nation embraced a spirit of unity, resilience, and determination to overcome obstacles and build a prosperous future for its people. The hard work and perseverance of the Singaporean citizens, combined with prudent governance, transformed the once struggling nation into an economic powerhouse and a melting pot of cultures.
The Merlion: An Endearing Icon
As we celebrate Singapore’s 58th birthday, it is impossible not to mention the beloved national symbol – the Merlion. The Merlion is a mythical creature with a lion’s head and a fish’s body, representing Singapore’s origins as a fishing village (Singa is a “lion” in Malay). This majestic creature stands tall at Merlion Park, overlooking Marina Bay. With water gushing from its mouth into the bay, the Merlion personifies Singapore’s ties to the sea and its maritime heritage.
The Merlion is more than just a statue; it embodies the Singaporean spirit of resilience, strength, and grace, reflecting the nation’s journey from humble beginnings to a global city-state. This iconic mascot has become a source of pride and joy for locals and tourists, symbolizing the Lion City’s indomitable spirit and ability to thrive despite the odds.
Singapore’s National Flower: The Orchid
Singapore’s national flower, the Orchid, is another symbol deeply entrenched in the nation’s culture and identity. The Vanda Miss Joaquim, often called the “Singapore Orchid,” was chosen as the national flower in 1981. This vibrant and delicate flower is a hybrid of Vanda teres and Vanda hookeriana, created by a Singaporean horticulturist, Miss Agnes Joaquim, in the late 19th century.
The choice of the Orchid as the national flower holds special significance, as it represents Singapore’s multicultural and diverse heritage. Like the many varieties of Orchids found in Singapore, the nation is a harmonious blend of different races, religions, and cultures, coming together to form a beautiful and unique tapestry.
Crafting the Hair Clips
In honor of Singapore’s 58th birthday and to celebrate my love for my birthplace, I decided to create something special – hair clips adorned with the embroidered figures of the Merlion and the Orchid. As a Singaporean, the Merlion and the Orchid hold a special place in my heart, as they symbolize the essence of my beloved country.
I carefully chose red and white for the design, inspired by Singapore’s national flag. Red symbolizes universal brotherhood and equality, while white represents purity and virtue. Together, these colors embody the values of Singaporeans and serve as a reminder of the nation’s commitment to unity and progress.
The full meaning of the Singapore National Flag can be found on the National Heritage Board.
A Heartfelt Tradition: Celebrating Singapore @ Home Together
While other hair clips are for sale, this pair holds sentimental value and are not intended for sale; they serve as cherished keepsakes and hold a ceremonial significance. To mark the occasion, we intend to celebrate with a bottle of sparkling wine, savor some familiar Singaporean snacks, and join in the festivities of the special Singapore @ Home online celebration event organized by Singapore Global Network.
For my husband, who is American, and me, watching the Singapore @ Home online celebration has become a cherished tradition. It served as a lifeline during the challenging times of COVID-19 when international borders were closed, and we were separated – with me in Singapore and him in America. We were among the couples impacted by the pandemic, and ever since, celebrating this day together has held special significance in our hearts.
As Singapore celebrates its 58th birthday, it is an opportune moment to reflect on the nation’s remarkable journey – from a struggling fishing village to a thriving global metropolis. The Merlion and the Orchid, both iconic symbols, remind us of Singapore’s values – strength, resilience, unity, and diversity.
Though I may now reside in America, Singapore will forever hold a special place in my heart. I hope that through my hair clip creations and this blog, I can share a piece of my heritage and culture with you all. Happy 58th birthday, Singapore! May you continue to flourish and inspire generations to come.
As we embrace the spirit of National Day, let us celebrate Singapore’s past, present, and future with joy and gratitude. Together, let’s toast to the Lion City and the legacy it continues to build for generations to come. Majulah Singapura! Onward Singapore!