On Identity

As a pureblooded Hong Konger (or as far as pureblood gets) I shouldn’t be very concerned about my identity. Actually, I should have nothing to worry about. I spent my whole life here, and I’m full Hong Kong.

Well. If that were the case, I wouldn’t be writing this. Heck, I wouldn’t even be concerned about SG50.

Having studied in the same Singaporean school for 12 years of my life, every school day included a morning pledge and anthem. I grew up learning more about Singaporean history than I ever did Hong Kong/ Chinese history. For 12 years of my life, most of my close friends (for some strange reason) were Singaporean, with an exception of one or two. Naturally, I felt like I belonged more to Singapore.

But of course I don’t. Why would I? I’ve never spent a year in my life there. I’m a stranger to local traditions and local foods, even the local dialect. I have no idea how public transport system actually works. I don’t know the usual hangout places or the most prestigious schools.

Today’s SG50 Parade/ NDP made it to the news. The first National Day without Lee Kuan Yew, the 50th anniversary of Singapore Independence… Facts stated on the news that I know all too well. I felt strangely connected when the national anthem started blasting through the speakers. A sour feeling bottled up inside me and I wanted to cry. There’s no actual reason for me to be confused about my identity, when compared in contrast to my friend, who’s studied in at least 5 different schools in 3 different countries. But the fact remains that I am confused.

I mean, yeah, if you asked what I am, I’d say I’m full Hong Kong, because that is what I am. I don’t quite feel it, though. It might be because my Chinese is horrendous, and I have not heard the national anthem (which, by the way, is the Chinese national anthem) in a long time. It might also be because of the conflict between Hong Kong and China. Mostly it’d be because I’m never around when the 1st of July rolls up. Or that I have no idea what people actually do. Hold it, I might – I think we hold demonstrations every year. Gotta love marching down streets in hot weather while screaming and shouting, yeah?

I’ve always wished I was slightly Singaporean so I’d feel homey and familiar. Everyone on TV seemed so proud and patriotic and I wanted to be a part of that. At the same time, I wouldn’t exactly want to convert my nationality, because it’d feel artificial and forced. Maybe what I yearn for is united patriotism, and not simply to be a part of Singapore. (I’d say ‘count your blessings’ but not everyone sees united patriotism as one, so…) Now that I’ve got that sorted I have slightly more inner peace.

So anyway, I’m really happy for Singapore (It’s a super nice place. 10/10 recommend. Except the weather.) AKA my most likely second home if I ever had to choose (on par with New Zealand). It’s quite late, but to my Singaporean followers/ friends, happy National Day/ SG50! ((In smaller voice: Majulah Singapura)) :)


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