Saturday, August 25, 2012

Singapore National Day Haiku

I read online that some people wrote poetry and/or haiku for the Singapore National Day. It's a bit late, nevertheless here is my belated contribution. It is a haiku, since 新加坡 ("Singapore" in Mandarin Chinese) being 3-worded lends itself to Haiku lines.


Since Chinese poems have a tendency to switch meaning depending on the punctuations, I shall re-write the above with punctuations to illustrate my actual intent.


English translation:
The new and old sing in unison,
"Increase the people's happiness and prosperity, progress in justice and equality.
Through ups-and-downs, we march united."

Since there are so many new citizens and residents of Singapore, I truly hope that the haiku will come true for Singapore. That the newcomers and those born-and-bred Singaporeans will sing in unison. That they will ask for the country's wealth to be shared widely amongst the people (not just concentrated amongst the "elites") to increase the happiness and prosperity of its citizens; and to improve the justice and equality -- it must be seen to be done. [Click here, here and here for some examples.] When happiness, prosperity, progress, justice and equality are present, the people will march united through good and bad times.


If you read my comment on Gintai's blog entry dated 16/08/2012 at 08:58, you would realize that it is a feat that I can (still) read and write in Mandarin, what more to write haiku in Mandarin, given my pathetic Chinese standard during JC (junior college).

My first "professional" attempt at Mandarin poetry was back in 2002. I wrote a poem for a Chinese New Year (CNY) greeting using our bank's name and allusions to Singapore, and then I roped in my PRC colleague to edit it. Thereafter, we added an English translation of the CNY poem. We showed it to our bank's Asia-Pacific marketing department. They were so impressed with our work that they sponsored the creation of an animated e-card of the poem for the bank's email publicity (i.e. outsource work managed by my department). Not bad for teamwork between local Singaporeans and foreign talents, eh?


  1. Wow! I envy you. I can't write Chinese though I could read and understand.

    1. Hi Uncle Gintai,

      Terima kasih [thank you]. No need for envy. If I recall correctly, you can speak Bahasa Melayu -- the official National language and also the lingua franca of the older Singaporeans. It is also the language of Singapore's immediate neighbours -- Malaysia and Indonesia.

      IMHO, it is a pity that young Singaporeans are not schooled in the basics of the National language. Even myself (born in the 1970's) only picked up a few Melayu words here and there growing up in Chinatown (as a child), learning the parade-marching commands (as a teen), and subsequently at nursing training (as an adult). There's much less exposure for the younger Singaporeans, I suspect. How to have good relations with Singapore's neighbours if we don't even encourage our children to learn to basic communication in their language as a sign of respect?

      Anyway, I tried to pick up a few words here and there while I was still in Singapore, but once I left Singapore, I left it all behind except to be able to recognize some menu items of Malaysian food restaurants.

      Thanks again for visiting and leaving a comment.

      Cheers, WD.