I wouldn’t call myself a patriotic person. Sure, I may know most National Day Parade (NDP) songs by heart, but there isn’t some flame alight in me for Singapore.

Even saying “I love udon” sounds more natural and real than saying “I love Singapore”.

Part of the reason why I’m not inclined to say that I love Singapore is also because the way my generation is wired.

Not sure if it’s just me, but we’re generally not very nationalistic (only woke, sadly).

It seems many don’t have that fiery passion for Singapore or that zeal to represent her globally. 

Add on all the ways that make living in Singapore difficult — the soon-to-be 9% GST, stressful education pathways and years-long wait for Build-To-Order houses — and it’s way easier to complain about where I am, much less love my homeland. 

So why should I love it?

Well, I’m learning that I should love simply because God loves, and because God calls each of us to a deeper purpose right here in Singapore.

Deeper love, deeper purpose

The love that Singaporean believers are called to give is not one based on nationalism or perfection.

If we had waited till Singapore was a first-world nation to love it and be proud of it, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Love spurs us to action.

And if we wait till perfection to love something or someone, that’s cheap love that doesn’t reflect the Father’s love.

He isn’t fazed by brokenness, flaws or a mess. God the Father does the opposite: He cares for us in spite of our shortcomings.

His pursuit of mankind is evident throughout both the Old and New Testament. This is the kind of love we’re called to.

We’re also called to a greater purpose.

God has blessed Singapore every step of the way, from our early days as an independent nation till now. He has positioned us to be the Antioch of Asia.

And each generation has its place in fulfilling God’s work.

We’re exactly where we need to be for such a time as this (Esther 4:14b). Acts 17:26 also mentions that God has marked out all our appointed times in history!

Each of us has a unique task from God to accomplish, and that includes loving people in this nation, God’s way. Despite everyone’s imperfections.

So if God calls us to a greater love and purpose, does it mean we have to go for every NDP parade or hang the national flag outside our windows all year round?

What should we do?

Love is seen in action

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-6)

According to Paul, love isn’t just some airy-fairy word we throw around.

True love is patience, kindness and all these other values applied at all times. It’s given to ourselves, to the people we interact with and to our nation as well.

Here are some examples of how such a love might look like in action.

Love is patient. The capacity to bear with others, with the systems in place, with leaders, with imperfection is a mark of love.

Love is kind. This is probably most obvious when it comes to things like giving up seats on the MRT or on the bus.

Love is not envious, boastful or proud. We don’t have to compare ourselves against other countries. The grass is not greener on the other side; the grass is greener where we water it. 

Love does not dishonour others. One example? Say goodbye to cancel culture! Live like there isn’t a place for it in Singapore, such as in the comments we make online.

And the list goes on! The proof of our love isn’t a vibe at big events where everyone’s in high spirits and there’s a hype atmosphere.

The proof of our love is more likely found in the small, mundane and daily things.

With that in mind, how else can I love Singapore?

1. Praying for our nation

If our friends allow us to, praying for them is something that can touch them deeply. Prayer shows that we love them enough to carry them in our hearts and minds. 

Likewise, praying for our nation shows that we care for the well-being of our state and all the people living here. Each one is a soul and life that God wants to bless and transform.

Paul exhorts that prayers be made for kings and those who are in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

The exiles were told to seek the peace and prosperity of the nation God had carried them to, because if the nation prospered the exiles would prosper as well (Jeremiah 29:7).

God’s heart is never that of apathy towards people, states or nations.

If we earnestly pray for our nation, I believe God will reveal to us His heart for Singapore and show us how to live for the good of this nation and for His glory.

This is why I personally love the 40.day prayer guide. It shakes me from apathy, and spurs me on to pray for Singapore and her Church.

2. Showing kindness

Will we live out the call to love our neighbours as ourselves (Mark 12:31) in Singapore?

What would Singapore look like if every believer became God’s hands and feet to go out to love the poor, the disadvantaged and the marginalised?

Can we put the needs of others above ourselves? (Philippians 2:3-4).

Whether it’s by sharing home-cooked food with your neighbours, or volunteering to teach children from low-income families, opportunities abound to reflect God’s love to our fellow Singaporeans.

3. Being thankful

Proverbs 18:21 tells us that “the tongue holds the power of life and death; those who love it will eat its fruit”.

Much complaining will lead us to much destruction. It might not lead to physical destruction, but complaining affects both the complainer and the listener.

Indeed, complaining dashes hope, and breeds a spirit of discontentment or entitlement instead of joy. 

Choose to introduce life instead and build others up with words of gratitude!

We don’t have to be “patriotic” to give thanks to God for all the ways He’s blessed this nation. 

When we do away with complaining and grumbling, we can become a people of hope who point to Jesus.

Regardless of your beliefs or views on the state of the nation, it’s undeniable that God has blessed Singapore immensely.

He’s kept us from natural disasters and war. He’s blessed us with great healthcare. He’s given us stability and security.

There are countless other ways in which God has blessed Singapore! We’re all recipients of His grace, and we’re enjoying the fruit of a land He has blessed.

When we do away with complaining and grumbling, we can become a people of hope who point to Jesus.

So, as we celebrate National Day this year, let’s remember to reflect the love of our God by loving our nation too, flaws and all.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

  1. What do you think is on God’s heart for Singapore?
  2. What are some things you are grateful to have in Singapore?
  3. What are some ways you can love this country and its people?