Hanging National Flags

Posted: August 3, 2009 by fievel in Labels: ,

Why do we have so many National flags hanging outside of HDB flats' corridors (especially those facing the roads), multi-storey carparks, neighbourhood centers? Just go look and notice this phenomenon later, note how there is a severe lack of flat owners hanging flags outside their OWN UNIT's windows where the conveniently HDB pre-installed designated flag hooks are... let's leave the condos out because they SERIOUSLY DO NOT hang flags.

Do we have no love for this country anymore? I remember feeling much more patriotic when I was younger...

As for the sight of fresh, crisp flags flown by the RCs and the grassroots volunteers, I hear "propaganda" going off in my head, like ghosts whispering to me...we all know its true, but when you look around you, I must say it works. Everyone slips into this national day celebratory mood...somewhat.

Another blogger, the temasekreview, wrote this...

An amusing paradox: hanging national flags in HDB estates
August 2, 2009
by admin
Filed under Opinion
Leave a comment
From our Correspondent

Every year as 9 August approaches, the grassroots machinery of the ruling party will move into high gear to decorate their respective neighborhoods with the national flags.Extra workers will be employed to hang the flags along the roads, on the decks of multi-storey car parks, at the markets, shops, schools and at every visible corner of the estate. Of late, banners depicting photos of PAP MPs “celebrating” National Day with the residents hung on roadside lamps are ubiquitous throughout the island. (has anybody wondered how much taxpayers’ money has been spent on these ostentatious displays of “patriotism” to ‘celebrate’ national day?)

Grassroots volunteers will come knocking on every household urging them to hang the national flag at their balconies. The community clubs, schools, government buildings will be completely awashed with the national colors of white and red.
The mainstream media will trumpet the achievements of leaders of the ruling party ad nauseum, remind Singaporeans of the “long” way we have since independence and to get the nation into a celebratory mood with daily coverage of the national day parade previews.

Ironically, the few people who seem to be ‘excited’ about National Day are those from the ruling party and its auxillaries. For ordinary Singaporeans in the streets, it is simply another public holiday and for some, a family trip up north to Malaysia.
Malaysia celebrates its national day three weeks after Singapore’s on 31st August and the difference cannot be more obvious. You will see many families displaying the Malaysian flag proudly outside their homes, on the roof of their cars, along the roads and at the stalls. The outpouring of national pride and joy is spontaneous and not orchestrated.

If the degree of patriotism can be judged solely by the number of flags displayed by citizens, then a majority of us will be “unpatriotic”. Just take a look around your neighborhood and you will not fail to realize that you can count the number of flags hung per HDB block with two hands. There are hardly any flags seen hanging outside the units of condominiums.

Some argued that Singaporeans are shy people who seldom reveal their love for the nation openly. Others attribute it to a gradual erosion of civic consciousness and sense of belonging to the country. Singapore’s demographics has changed radically in the last decade with the unremitting influx of foreigners which now made up one third of the population, a quarter of which are PRs. How many of them will take up Singapore citizenship? Are they truly loyal to Singapore or are they merely making use of it as a springboard for greener pastures elsewhere?

The continued political hegemony of the ruling party and exclusion of ordinary citizens from participation in nation-building has led to widespread public apathy and indifference with deepening rifts between the ruling elite and the people. Are we really celebrating 44 years of nationhood or 50 years of PAP rule? (The PAP started ruling Singapore effectively in 1959 when they won 43 out of 51 seats in the Legco elections.)

With each passing year, the number of flags being displayed by Singaporeans outside their homes are getting less and less. Patriotism cannot be instilled overnight by the government, grassroots organizations or mainstream media. It is spontaneous feeling of pride and joy emanating from a deep sense of connection with the land of one’s
birth. We started out as a nation of immigrants and now we are being flooded
by new migrants. The British colonial government is replaced by another nanny
state run by a small exclusive group of elites disconnected with the suffering
of the masses. Singapore is still far away from attaining real nationhood.


  1. Imho, a big reason is that the PAP government stifled any form of spontaniety for patriotism in the general public.

    You see this everywhere in the US and Canada. People fly the flag where they want to, when they want to. Folks in the US, including foreigners, would celebrate the 4th of July in their own special ways. Cities organize their own celebrations but no one is ever told or asked to do stuff like Singaporeans are. They are just told there's a party at such-and-such place and people will just show up for the fun of it.

    People in Montreal turn up at rock concerts with the Quebec flag draped across their shoulders to keep warm and to show their pride. In Singapore, that would be "disrespectful" to the flag.

    As for me, in the US, I am guilty of "disrespect" to the Singapore flag. When I was first here, I wanted to feel proud of where I come from and to express that pride to people who visit my home. Unfortunately, there's no convenient place to hang the flag the right way up, so I chose to hang it sideways. *Nobody* who visited my home asked "Isn't that disrespectful?". Instead, they ask all the pertinent questions - "Oh nice flag! Where are you from?" and so on.

    If I had done the same in Singapore, I would have committed a criminal act because the powers-that-be considered it insulting ... regardless of how proud I felt about putting the flag up to express my love for my homeland. It is a pet-peeve of mine regarding Singapore and Singaporean "authorities" ... no spontaniety and flexibility in dealing with situations whatsoever.

  1. Fievel says:

    Don't worry dude. We've others taking the lead in improper ways of hanging the flag.
    Source: http://singaporeseen.stomp.com.sg/si...t.jsp?id=29133

  1. Fievel says:

    That was a bad link.
    Try this one.


  1. Hahaha! Shows how much they care!

    I'd have removed the flag while the underwear needs to be out to dry, but of course these people simply do what the government tells them to do, don't they? "RC says put the flag up, I put the flag up lor!"