Singapore turned 50 just a few days ago. As the nation celebrated her Golden Jubilee, with nostalgic throwbacks to yesteryear and impressive aerial displays, I was filled with gratitude and awe at how far we’ve come as a country that had seemingly nothing to start with.
And in some ways, this parallels our own journeys as people recovering from mental illness.
We know what it’s like to suffer loss, to experience confusion and despair. Some of us have lost our jobs, our friends, and more often than not, our sense of esteem and identity.
It would seem that we have nothing to build upon.
Yet when I look at Singapore and her struggle for survival in the early days, I’m inspired by the many men and women, everyday heroes, who have fought tenaciously for their freedom and independence, who showed true mettle in trying times.
What was it that drove them? Was it hard-nosed pragmatism? Was it an insatiable thirst for success?
I believe our forefathers had an idea of what a better life looked like.
In a word—vision.
It was their ability to see things for what they can become, not for what they are at present. An abiding hope that guided their actions and saw plans to fruition.
There’s a proverb that says “Where there is no vision, the people perish…”
What would our lives be like in another 50 years from now?
I reflected upon this, and this was what came to mind when I thought about my personal vision and wish for Singapore:
That we would be a resilient nation built upon kindness and compassion;
Where cynicism paves the way for hope, where apathy gives way to aspiration;
Where our society would be an inclusive one that esteems not just economic or academic savvy, but also social and emotional intellect;
Where we shall be a lion-hearted community, marked by an unwavering courage for authenticity;
That even in our personal lives, in the face of crisis or ruin, we would rebuild our lives once again, and believe that something great can indeed be birthed from seemingly nothing.
We may not be perfect, but I’m thankful that there is more than enough room for us to grow, as individuals and as a community. If only we would believe.
What is your personal vision today?
Happy birthday once again, Singapore. Thank you for being my Home.