day 614 | august 9, 2012 | of spreading roots and growing wings

today, we are celebrating the 47th birthday of singapore, a place where we've decided to spread our roots and grow our wings. despite having moved to singapore more than six years ago, this is our first year to celebrate as an officially all-singaporean family. (due to different passports, i used to get mistaken as my kids' helper. yikes!)

the decision to become singaporean was not an easy one. on paper, singapore is great. definitely full marks for all the logical considerations in choosing a place to live in, especially for a family with two little ones -- things like good employment opportunities, relatively low personal income taxes, ease of starting and doing business, respectable quality of education, low crime rates, availability of healthcare facilities, a great public transportation network, and a plethora of food options.  
my daughters will probably include playgrounds (every two blocks has one, it seems!) and beautiful parks among the pros, while i personally find the visa-free travel a great help especially with my work. but logic feels hollow compared to the emotional ties one has with their country of origin.
what really makes a place a home, more than just simply a place to live in for a while? to me, it's the desire to reach out, be in touch, and the commitment to co-create a way forward. it's strange how i didn't really think about these things when i was a citizen since birth. citizenship was just a line you filled out in forms, and the team you cheered for in games. i've only ever thought about the weight of it when i was presented with the choice.
i am awed by the singapore story but also recognize the failings of the system my children are inheriting. i want things to change for the better. more than that, i want to help craft the definition of what is better, and be part of the conversation that ensures we will see the changes through.
i am interested in the stories of its people, especially now, when there is a lot of hurt and disillusionment. this young country is growing up with the times, and navigating through paranoia-inducing waves of a global financial crisis. though i've been mistreated and misjudged quite openly several times, i recognize it as a cry for help. anger can be a mask for fear, and i empathize as a fellow that times are hard, and it's a challenge to be nice when you believe that someone's presence is threatening your family's immediate needs and opportunities to create a better future.
there are many interesting stories in this small island country. and i'd like to think that our story will be a valuable addition to the multi-cultural patchwork that is continually being woven.
we'll pitch in our half and half yet globalized perspective, our rose-tinted empathic worldview, our time in building community especially within our immediate spheres of influence, and our open hearts to remain curious instead of afraid of things we don't yet understand.
my tie to my filipino identity is even stronger than before, despite my decision to surrender all official documentations. as someone who has left home, i know that it is not something that can be simply given, taken, replaced, or bought.  
home is a collection of intangible treasures more than tangible ones. it's where you've invested little fragments of your heart, and for better or for worse, my hearts are here. 

In celebration of Singapore's 47th birthday, we're having a virtual love party! This post is part of a series by local mommy bloggers celebrating what they love about Singapore.


~Summer~ said...

Gorgeous pics! And you write so well, Steph! Agree that a home is of intangibles treasures rather than tangibles. Happy National Day to you and your family!

libpuritan said...

thanks summer! shot the photos yesterday over sunset and the light was just beautiful! the kids coincidentally were all wearing red and white. :) happy national day to you and your family as well! :)

Pamela Tan said...

Lovely post Steph. Welcome to the family, officially!

loveourchildrennow said...

hi, i must agree, that you wrote this very well. i enjoyed it very much. love your photos. what a lovely skill and talent to have - photography.

loveourchildrennow said...

i must agree, this was written really well, i enjoyed reading it. and your photos are lovely. it is such a lovely skill and talent - photography.

libpuritan said...

Thanks Pamela! :) Glad to be a part of it!

Thanks LOCN! I do believe everyone can pick it up, as long as one spends a significant amount of time honing the craft. Like any skill, practice makes perfect. :) So keep on shooting!

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