Monday 14 August 2017

NDP 2017: We have a new national bird

Let me first say, I love my country.

And I dislike the new National Day song, Because It’s Singapore, because it’s not Home — like any true pink IC-carrying Singaporean who did his national service and queued up for the nasi lemak burger at McDonald’s even though it was kind of overrated.

But despite my overweening patriotism, I decided to skip watching the National Day Parade on TV on Thursday because I realised they could re-telecast last year’s parade and I probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

So on our nation’s 52nd birthday, I binge-watched Rick And Morty on Netflix instead.

Now in its third season, Rick And Morty is an M18 cartoon series that’s like a frenetic cross between Back To The Future and Doctor Who but with more decapitations and dick jokes.

I was in the middle of the second season when my teenage daughter interrupted my binge to inform me that some kid showed his middle finger at the NDP and was blowing up on Reddit.

She said there was even a picture of the schoolboy being scolded by his teacher (who reminded me of actor Rami Malek from Mr Robot).

Aiyah, why must something exciting always happen at the NDP when I’m not watching it?

Faster than you can say “guitar-playing grandma”, the video clip of the NDP kid was shared all over social media.

As one Reddit user commented: “$40m spent on the parade and the only thing people are going to remember about it is this. Godspeed, young prince.”

Reactions to the obscene gesture on live TV ranged from disapproval to approval to disapproval of the approval.

It’s like a national Rorschach test. How you react reveals more about your own values than anything else.

The principal of the boy’s primary school told The Straits Times the next day: “The student regrets his action and is deeply apologetic. The school and his parents have counselled him, and will ensure he learns from this incident.”

I’m not sure what the boy will learn from this incident though. That you can be called a “national hero” for flipping the bird at the TV camera during NDP?

Radio DJ Rosalyn Lee wrote on Facebook:
“It’s just a finger. That finger can only be offensive to a person with a deviant mind. Chill the fuck out and leave my lil hero alone.

“He made so many people laugh, and gave the terribly dull NDP an exciting boost! Shouldn’t that be celebrated? Hahaha! #thuglife”

But my former fellow New Paper columnist Ivan Lim (the disgruntled parent of the special-needs student rejected by Yamaha Contempo Music School) disapproved of calling “Littlefinger” a hero.

He wrote online:
“Celebrating the heroics of Littlefinger might start an unhealthy fad: Children could start posting videos of themselves flipping the finger, and we could become famous for starting a trend we couldn’t possibly be proud of later.”
But a video of another young man waving the finger on TV supposedly at last year’s NDP has surfaced in the wake of Littlefinger, so the trend may have already started.

Like I said, they could re-telecast last year’s parade and it would be almost like the same thing.

And that was why I was watching Rick And Morty.

After my daughter’s interruption, I continued with an episode called The Ricks Must Be Crazy.

By some cosmic coincidence, this is the episode where the characters are flipping each other off because it means “peace among worlds”.

Hey, I thought, maybe Littlefinger was just gesticulating “peace among worlds” as a tribute to Rick And Morty.

What does that reveal about my values?

Nah, the show is rated M18 so the primary school kid couldn’t have possibly seen it.

I guess he could just really hate this year’s National Day song.

Peace among worlds, y’all.

- Published in The New Paper, 14 August 2017

UPDATE: I received this e-mail: