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A Different Kind Of National Day: Mobile Column Makes Its Way To The Heartlands

Like the rest of the world, our little country is also adapting to the new norm. What was once considered as ‘abnormal’ (i.e, putting on masks and social distancing) is now widely practiced across the nation.

And today is no exception.

Today, our little red dot is celebrating its 55th year of independence. Indeed, another milestone that we should all celebrate together as a country.

55 years ago, our forefathers fought for our independence, rebuilt our lives and 55 years later, here we are. Together, stronger.

With the current situation we are in, it is indeed a somber feeling to not be at the Padang to celebrate the nation’s birthday together or to stay out late to watch the fireworks with your family.

But that surely didn’t dampen the spirits of Singaporeans. As a matter of fact, it has brought Singaporeans together to stand united against these difficult times.

Decked in red and white, Singaporeans gather by the roadside as they waited excitedly for the mobile column to make its way through their neighbourhoods.

The mobile column usually happens only once every four or five years. But, organisers have decided to bring the mobile column for the second year in a row.

However, this year, the mobile column made its way to the heartland for the first time to greet Singaporeans who waited eagerly for them.

They covered a total of 200 kilometers, which includes the West, South East, South, North and Northeast of Singapore.

The mobile column, which featured about 100 frontline workers, also passed by Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Sengkang General Hospital, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, and Singapore Expo.

Outside Sengkang General Hospital, crowds waited by the roadside to witness the mobile column make its way through their neighborhood.

Sengkang’s roadside was decorated with the Singapore flag, and the flats around the estate had their flags hung out the windows proudly.

Most of them were seen wearing their red and white outfit together with their white masks with the Singapore logo on the left. Some were even carrying the NDP Together bag as a sign of support to the nation.

The patriotism and excitement has certainly lifted the mood of the country despite missing out on the proper National Day Parade.

It was certainly a beautiful moment to be in. Kids had the Singapore flag tattooed on their faces. Some were seen wearing the iconic Merlion t-shirts. People were also seen handing out the Singapore flag to those who didn’t have one.

In this whole situation, you can really witness what it really means to be a Singaporean. The togetherness of people, young and old coming together wearing red and white was such a beautiful sight.

Little kids also sat on the shoulder of their dads with a flag in their hand. Even the older generation made their way to the crowd to be part of the whole celebration.

It is indeed true that even without the classic NDP, Singaporeans can really make a situation feel just like home with our ‘kampong spirit.’

Despite the scorching hot weather, people still waited by patiently by the roadside. Some came early just so they can have the best view of the mobile column. Kids were seen holding their parents hand with a flag on the other side of their hands, waving the flag excitedly.

At the entrance, staff of the hospital stood next to each other as they too, waited for the mobile column and the salute that will be given to them.

With the blue mask on their faces, a flag on the other hand and a ‘SingHealth’ placard on the other, their eyes lit up as they witnessed the mobile column make its way past the hospital.

As the large green vehicles make its way past Sengkang Hospital, people started clapping and cheering at the top of their lungs. They waved the Singapore flag excitedly to the officers and the front liners on board.

Little children pointed their fingers towards the vehicle animatedly — sharing with parents their excitement. With the flag in their hands, they waved it with all their might along with a huge smile plastered across their faces.

The adults were seen with their hand phone in their hands, recording every moment for memory keeping. In that moment, they were just like the kids again, getting excited when the officers on board waved back.

Shidah Mohd, 47, who was was one of the many people at Sengkang said: “I am here today to cheer on our front liners who have worked so hard over the past few months. I believe by turning up here, it really shows the frontliners that we are all in it together. I am so proud to call myself a Singaporean, and this is just one of the many reasons why.”

Officers on board performed a salute as a special tribute to the healthcare workers for their spirit and resilience as they battle against COVID-19.  Their action was accompanied by the loud cheers and claps from the crowd.

As the officers did the salute, the healthcare workers eyes lit up as they continue to wave their flags to the moving vehicles. Two of the healthcare worker from Sengkang General Hospital was spotted on the vehicle, waving to the crowd and their colleagues.

A whole set of emotions swept through me as I stood amongst the crowd to witness the whole celebration. I am so grateful to all the healthcare workers and frontliners who have risked their life to give back to Singapore. And mostly,  I am so proud to call this little country my home. Indeed, this is home, truly.

This national day serves as a reminder of how much we have been through together as a nation. All the wins, no matter how small or big they are is something that is worth celebrating.

When we continue to hold on to each other in these tough times, it is only then, together, we can build a stronger Singapore.

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