Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Midday Ramblings

I'm home in the middle of the afternoon. Not quite sure what to do with myself. I'm headed over soon to a debate invitational in a while but not quite yet. Thing is, I left school early to try and sneak lunch in with Dan before the series started. Problem was that he got called away on a meeting and there I was, driving around aimlessly. Next thing I knew, I was backing the car into a lot in my carpark. Point taken. Chill in the house till I actually need to leave for the series.

Being in limbo isn't really a bad thing seeing that Wednesdays are generally horrid days for me. Assembly is long drawn by an onslaught of announcements- we've won certain events, there're certain events going on, we've got some people here that you seem to have elected so here they are and have a look- and then concluded by the college anthem which is one verse too long, of which I'm still desperately trying to learn.

School songs seem to attempt to invoke loyalty to the school. In secondary school, it demanded courtesy and honesty everyday,forever loyal and forever true. In college, we give to you the honour you claim. And when I went out and taught, there was With grateful hearts we sing the praise of you today ... You get the picture.

The older the student gets though, the less likely he is to actually proclaim such loyalty to the school. At primary school, the kids practically try to outsing one another to be heard. I remember when I was in primary school and actually enjoyed singing and one day after assembly, a teacher turns round to me and commends me for singing so well and so clearly. On hindsight, I think she might have been sarcastic, but as a ten, eleven year old, I revelled in the fact that the teacher actually noticed me. In secondary school, you're kind of lukewarm about the whole exercise but by virtue of being in the school for 4 or 5 years, you know the song really well. And by the time they get to me, at college, they're tired of such pointless, futile rituals that are supposed to foster national and school pride. So, they mumble, some shuffle, some blatantly chat through it, some fidget as if they need to go to the toilet.

Perhaps it's that college life is 2 years and it's hard for anyone to form any sort of attachment to a college in such a short period of time. What more, if one insists that singing an anthem en masse does actually foster such belonging, doing it once a week really defeats the purpose. I left college I think knowing one line from the anthem and I did because the line was contentious to my gender. It seems like colleges that have affliation seem to be much less afflicted with this problem. That is if you actually call this a problem.

So loyalty to the school? Loyalty to the country? Someone asked me once why I didn't sing the National Anthem. I think singing it everyday, among our own is like telling your partner or spouse everyday that you love them, not because you really do but because you know that's what they want to hear whether or not you mean it. Wouldn't it be better if we did it and meant it? And to me, the only time I think I would have meant it would have been if they raised the national flag and played the national anthem because I was standing atop a podium with a gold medal round my neck or if I were President or Prime Minister, but seriously, I have no illusions or delusions of a political career in this country. I once wanted to be President of the United States but then again, only if I had the West Wing credits rolling as Hail to the Chief. And then, there would have been the slight problem with me not being an American citizen, so I guess not. Not the national anthem. No declarations of love there.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 14:18

2 thoughts...

2 thoughts...

At 10:39 am Blogger Tym said...


I still don't know the words to the school song at my current place of employment, though the tune's worked its indelible way into my consciousness.

On the other hand, I know the Majulah but still haven't the faintest idea of its meaning, beyond "Onward Singapore" (not even sure if I've got that right!).

At 1:42 am Blogger mini said...

hiyi, interesting blog :)

scarily I remember the words for all 3 schools ...only because we had to sing it every single day. and if you don't sing 'loud' enough they make you redo it. oh and what about those national identity songs they force on you as national day approaches! *shudders*

btw are you refering to 'sons of singapore' in your college song? haha


Post a Comment

" Far in the stillness, a cat languishes loudly"