“Many Stories… One Singapore”.
This year’s theme for the National Day Parade (NDP) 2013 is “Many Stories… One Singapore”. Everyone has a story to tell and these stories define who we are as an individual and collectively as a nation. It calls on everyone to remember and share the stories that make us who we are and how we identify ourselves as Singaporeans.
“Many Stories…” encourage Singaporeans to tell the story of our personal journey, both individually and collectively as a society, as well as our hopes and aspirations for the future. They can be personal stories or stories we have heard that have touched us. Taken individually, each story shows that we are all unique. Taken together, they tell of who we are as a country.
This leads to “One Singapore” — a culmination of the unique individual stories that represent the many facets of Singapore society. It is a reminder that despite our different backgrounds, we are one Singapore. It emphasises that we are all interconnected through our shared stories and history. Together, “Many Stories… One Singapore” forms a theme that unites all Singaporeans to celebrate what makes us Singapore.
to be discussed as a group of 4.
Each group will consist of the following roles (please write on whiteboard):
- a concerned parent;
- an educator;
- a medical worker who is non-Singaporean and,
- the news editor / blogger who published the article / issue.
The SARS Experience
The difficulties our country went through four years ago (2003) has left a deep impression on many people, including young Celina, for that was when the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus broke out in Singapore.
The morning that the outbreak of the virus in Singapore made headlines, Celina went to school to find that thermometers were given out to everyone. She and her classmates were very excited to get free thermometers. They did not realize the seriousness of the outbreak.
Everyone was instructed to take their temperature twice a day in school and the students happily followed the instructions, comparing each other’s temperatures each time. The giggles as the thermometers went ‘beep’ one by one.
Soon, a notification was given out to all in school. Everyone was to stay home for a few days as the virus was spreading very quickly. Even though the students cheered initially when the announcement was made, they soon realized the severity of the issue.
The few days at home were torturous. There was only one word Celina could use to describe how she felt – bored! It was like being locked up in a solitary cell! Although the students could skip school, homework was mailed to them. News of the virus outbreak made headlines day after day with reports of deaths and sadness of people losing their loved ones. It was very depressing.
As Celina read the papers and listened to the news reports on the shortage of hospital beds; the mad rush for masks; and the sorrow of families losing their loved ones, she felt depressed. In addition, there was mounting fear and anger at the inconsiderate people who did not practice proper hygiene and did not stay home when they were sick thus preventing a further spread of the virus.
At the same time Celina was full of praise for the selfless and courageous doctors and nurses who put aside their fears and took the risk of being infected to work together and sometimes round the clock to look after the patients and their colleagues who were down with the virus. Celina and her friends prayed that the researchers and doctors could come up with a cure for the virus.
Young as she was then – for she was only in Primary Three, she could feel the Singapore Spirit. She heard of groups getting together to boil cooling tea and distribute it free to the ill. She was also proud that the government took measures instantly to curb the spread of the virus. The measures taken included curfews, temperature checks, hospitalisation, isolation when required, and screening of tourists and other people coming into Singapore. Curfews were imposed while temperature checks were carried out at public places. Where required, people were isolated and tourists entering the country were screened.
Finally, the virus was under control and Singapore returned to its peace and there were better health conditions. This was only achieved because the right decisions were made immediately. Singapore has learnt many lessons from this sudden outbreak and she continues to be watchful and vigilant. Celina and her friends are grateful for that.
Three cheers for Singapore!
Written by Kang Min Yu of CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School
Source: Treasures from the Nest, 2007 edition
Discussion Questions: (to be posted as comments)
1) What does the SARs experience tell you about the Singapore community a decade ago? [Point of View]
2) Identify the values that guided the actions that were made in the welfare of others during the SARs experience. [Inferences]
3) Why is it important for you to be concerned about and involved in the challenges Singapore faces? [Question at Issue]
4) As an active and concerned member of the society, describe one way you can contribute to keeping the Singapore Spirit alive in times of peace and stability. [End View]