Just like every brand needs a tag line, every nation needs a pledge as well. You see different athletes from all around the world standing in silence and respect to their national anthems. These anthems reflect a nation’s motto, purpose of existence, perception of the world, and perspective towards patriotism. For Singaporeans, they have their Singapore Pledge. It is a promise that all Singaporeans know well and respect. Let’s get into the history of the Singapore pledge and know its importance for the country and the Singaporean nation as a whole.
The History of the Singapore Pledge
1960s were some really tough times for Singapore. In the early years of this decade, the country was still under the rule of Malaysia. Riots within the country were on the rise but independence was in the sight now. It was at that time that the Ministry of Education’s then Principal Assistant Secretary, William Cheng, came up with the idea that the nation needed a pledge. Ong Pang Boon, the minister of MOE at that time, also endorsed the idea. The three personalities that contributed to the writing, editing, and polishing of the final text of the Singapore Pledge were S. Rajaratnam, George Thomson, and Philip Liau, who were serving in the capacities of ministry for foreign affairs, Political Study Centre directorship, and Textbooks and Syllabuses advisory respectively.
Singapore was finally an independent country in 1966. It was right from this year the pledge was approved by the cabinet for use in public, political, and military gatherings. In addition to that, the pledge became a common recital in the morning in schools all around the country. The whole nation recites the pledge on all national days. Today, every Singaporean knows the Singapore pledge and memorizes it as a proof of his/her love for the country.
What the Singapore Pledge Teaches
Of course, it is a pledge that the nation takes loudly when it recites it in schools, universities, public and political events. The idea of the Singapore Pledge was not independence or power. Instead, it revolves around the idea of uniting the nation as one nation. In fact, that’s what the motive was for the mooting of concept of a national pledge. It instills the idea of patriotism in its people irrespective of their differences of language, race, and religion. The creators of the Singapore pledge believed that religion, race, and languages were only keeping the Singaporeans divided.
They felt the need of a pledge to tell the nation that they had to be one despite their language, racial, and religious differences. They had to be together for Singapore. Right within the pledge, the nation sets the goal of becoming a democratic society. At the same time, the Singapore pledge also touches upon the pillars of building a strong democratic society by talking about equality and justice. In short, no society can ever grow and progress unless it does not have equality and justice in it. The pledge also teaches that only through equality and justice can the people of Singapore enjoy a happy life.
If you search online, you will find the Singapore pledge in many different languages. In fact, a boy 10-year old boy recently received attention in Singapore for knowing the national pledge in multiple languages. The child is only 10 years old. His name is Tanabordee Pansook Lim and reciting the Singapore pledge in the four official languages spoken in the country is no big deal for him. One has to keep in mind that this kid was not born in Singapore. In fact, he has settled in the country after migrating from Thailand.
Since the independence of the country, the Singapore pledge has been recited millions of times in every part of the country. A school day in Singapore starts with the Singapore pledge. Similarly, any national day in the country is commenced with the pledge. It has become an identity of the Singaporeans and a reflective of their thoughts about their country. Any nation can find some great lesson in the pledge of Singapore. It is not overpowering or intimidating in its wordings. Instead, it carries all the elements of a promise that a civilized nation should stay tenacious to for happiness and prosperity.