The Playful Parents

Love at Play

My Birthday Prayer for My Country

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Dear Beloved Singapore,

Blessed 48th Birthday!

I’ve spent a large part of 3.5 decades here,
growing alongside you.

With my mom and brother at Bras Basah in the 1980s (present site of SMU)

I’ve watched you change and grow,
blossom and wilt,
soar and crash.
But oh! How I’ve loved you.

Sometimes, you might have thought
I’ve despaired of you
Despised you, even.
But you know,
much as sometimes I feel
You disregard the worth of my presence,
I have never abandoned you.
I have never gone prodigal on you.

Temptations for seeking greener pastures
have come my way for sure.
But time and time again,
I’ve chosen You.

Not because I’m your
weak-willed lover,
with nowhere or no one else to turn to.
But it has been, and still remains,
My choice to love You and remain here.
Much as I may feel unwanted at times.

You – my beloved Singapore.
Because You are MY HOME,
cheesy as it may sound,
but a product of nationalistic
N-Day theme song
brainwashing, it is not.

This is where my life began
Where my history and heritage lie.
And where my future, and yours,
I am still writing.
Though the River that once brought
You  and our forefathers here
is now encircled by emblems
of our modern successes,
I and I hope my children
will never forget how we  –
as a people and nation –
arrived to where we are today.

You know, it breaks my heart
ever so often,
when I hear / see/ feel
altogether too much angst,
too much despair,
oppression even.

The lording over the weak…
The mammon prevailing over
the soul and spirit…
The callousness with which
Life – ours, others, Life itself –
is treated.

I often walk your streets these days
With  two more pairs of feet
Eager to love more and more of
You.

Living life with You now
with the addition of two new souls
has been a very humbling, and
nurturing experience.

In fact, you could even say,
my two boys are teaching me
More about what it means to love You.

While I lament the loss of my
childhood kampong and playgrounds
and buildings and foods and smells,
my children, Your future, are teaching
me to find new things about You to be
grateful about, and to love anew.

While I sometimes wished for
a slower pace of  life, for the unhurried,
my boys are teaching me that
I actually set my own pace.

My boys remind me that
I shouldn’t look to the traffic
nor to the crowd to run my race.

Rather, it is unto Yahweh God
the Author of our Lives,
the Creator of our Beautiful World,
the Perfecter of our Hearts –
Whom I should be
surrendering all my
Kiasee, Kiasu, Keh Kiang
habits that are eating away my joy
affecting my ability to
Appreciate Your Full Beauty.

In June, you were engulfed
by thick, almost-surreal
haze.
You choked.
You struggled to breathe.

And for the first time,
I realized you are not as
Infallible and Indestructible,
as sometimes you seem to be.

And for the first time,
after so many years,
I recalled one reason
Why I’m still here
Living on Your land.

The choking blanket of
Stink made my eyes tear,
but the eyes of my heart,
opened again.
And I taught this truth of
Loving You, my Singapore,
to my sons, Your sons.

Our land was sick.
We needed the Wind to blow,
the Rain to fall.
And Clarity to reign in our Skies
again.

So we opened our Book of Life
and read:

” If I shut up heaven that there be no rain,
or if I command the locusts to devour the land,
or if I send pestilence among my people;

If my people, which are called by my name,
shall humble themselves, and pray,
and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways;
then will I hear from heaven,
and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”1

My little boys,
Young men of valor in training,
Lifted their hearts, hands and voices
Together with mine –
And we prayed for You.

As suddenly as the haze
overcame us, it left us too.

And my dearest Singapore,
I pray that our Prayers for You
will continue even through the
Good times and the bad.

When we prosper, and
while we do,
let us never forget
Our History and
Hands that worked so hard
for our Success.

Because Prosperity and Wealth
have a way of turning our
hearts down the wrong paths,
let us be ever vigilant
to guard our hearts
against selfishness and really,
against an over-inflated
sense of Ego.

May we never hold
Prisoners in our Paradise -
no matter how we continue to prosper.

In calamity,
the true desires of our Hearts
are revealed,
and our character, tested.

In adversity,
I pray for us, Singapore,
that we are able to stand united –
regardless of race, language or religions –
That we will have the
Grace and Compassion and Love
even under the face of personal threat.

Whatever our station in Life,
whatever our personal histories with Singapore are,
I pray that all of us in Singapore
will be able to
” learn to do right!
Seek justice,
Encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless,
Plead the case of the widow.” 2

Indeed, as we grow another year together,
My Beloved Singapore,
May You find Your people
becoming a People
Of Love and Compassion,
Of Righteousness and Integrity,
Of Truth and Mercy,
Of Goodness and Grace.

May you, my beautiful country
Be a Land of the Living Living
And a Land of  Unspeakable Joy –
Bringing hope and comfort
To our own citizens,
As well as to the rest of the world.

May you, my beautiful Singapore,
be an ever-increasing place of
Everlasting Beauties.
A Paradise without Prisoners.

I love you, my Singapore.
I love you, my fellow Singaporeans.

And with love,
I wish you again a Blessed 48th Birthday.

Always yours in humble service,
Sarah

Scriptural references: 1. 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 2. Isaiah 1:17 NIV

 

2 Comments

  1. God bless you for this wonderful prayer! Hardly people send this type of prayer anymore. So many people are so consumed about sending prayers of what they want for themselves instead of prayers that could help others.

  2. Wow. Very nicely written!

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