Ok, so I finally saw Singapore’s National Day celebrations (on tv). Back home (the US) we have something vaguely similar for Independence Day (4th of July), but not so much with the military theme (who exactly was guarding the nation when everybody was in the parade? Also, not so much with the strange kindergarten dance routines (I’m a tree! I’m an orchid! I’m a monkey! We all dance!).
No, mostly we just make our decrepit veterans march down the street in the sweltering heat, trailing oxygen tanks and colostomy bags, along with high school marching bands in funny hats and scratchy wool or polyester uniforms, baton twirlers, and Shriners (old men wearing fezes and driving these teeny-tiny cars they build themselves, their knees up by their ears, performing precision maneuvers). And floats. Lots of pointless floats, from obscure groups. And then later we all get drunk and eat charred meat. And after the free professional fireworks are over, we blow ourselves up/burn our neighbor’s house down/ get a ticket from the cops using quasi-legal fireworks bought from roadside stands that sprout like mushrooms just outside the city limits a few weeks before.
Now THAT’s how you have a national celebration. But then, the US has 189 more years of experience at such things than Singapore.