"We're leaving in an hour's time!"
Gaaaah... had a bit too much to drink last night... the headache's clearing up a bit though.
Hmm? Who's that online?
"Hey there! Thought I could pop in here online while you're around!"
"Oh hi! Aren't you supposed to be sleeping around this time?"
"Nah, I can hang around for a few more hours. So I heard you went to a party yesterday?"
"Er yeah. Not immediately though, went to some neighbour's lunch for Hari Raya."
"...Hari Raya? What's that?"
"Oh right, I didn't tell you before... during the month of Ramadan, Muslims engage in a daily fast from sunrise to sunset, basically to remind themselves of the hardships that the less fortunate people experience. Hari Raya Puasa marks the day of the end of this month of fasting."
"Ah, I see. So I guess there's probably a lot of feasting happening at this time, huh?"
"Yeah. So after that lunch I headed off to another friend's dinner party. Had some silly countdown to Singapore's 48th 'birthday'."
"Sounds like you got yourself pretty busy having fun throughout this week! I kind of envy that about Singapore."
"That different groups of people can get together and appreciate each others' cultures without major clashes. Non-Muslims celebrating Hari Raya Puasa with other Muslims, non-Chinese celebrating the Lunar New Year... there's not much racial or religious discrimination where you are. I still occasionally get vocal, sometimes violent protests about their gods being superior, their races being oppressed..."
"Yeah, that's one thing I'm grateful for. But at least your country's improved. It's already much better than decades ago."
"True! It does seem odd that in some areas, your country still seems – how to put it – a little behind, if you know what I mean?"
"You mean like we're holding ourselves back in certain aspects like the arts?"
"Yeah, like that."
"Can't really blame you for thinking like that. We are still pretty conservative in mindset when it comes to certain hot issues."
"Hey, but like you said, your country's improved over the decades too."
"Yeah, I guess."
"So, bringing anything back for us?"
"Ahh... there's really not much that's unique here. I'm pretty sure you'd be sick of getting another Merlion magnet or paperweight!"
"Haha! Nah, I'm sure there are definitely other special things you can bring back."
"Actually... not really. There's very few things that I can bring back that are uniquely Singaporean. A lot of souvenirs are either very similar already, or they represent a certain ethnic group rather than the country as a whole. If anything, the unique thing about us is we're a mix of non-unique groups of people!"
"True. I guess the best thing is to go over there myself for the experiences. Maybe next year I can come with you to the next National Day!"
"Haha! Yeah, you'll probably get to take a lot of interesting pictures to take, especially the fireworks."
"Oh yes! I've seen photos of them, they're quite amazi– oh crap! Sorry, it's getting quite late now, talk to you later?"
...he adores my country more than I do... is it just a matter of the grass being greener on the other side? He sounds more excited about National Day than I am!
"Hey! It's almost time to go! Get ready!"
"Okay okay, don't need to shout so loudly Sis..."