With the celebrations of National Day 2013 having come and gone, it is fitting to ask what can be done to further encourage Singapore citizenry and nation building during other times of the year.
One suggestion that may help galvanise Singaporeans is by promoting the pink NRIC (National Registration Identity Card) as an icon of citizenry through the media and the arts.
The pink NRIC is after all a key document that readily identifies a person as being Singaporean.
However, this icon should not be relegated to mere imagery.
Besides evoking national pride, it should be associated with the exercise of visible and tangible privileges in the everyday life of the Singaporean.
One such privilege that may be considered is a rebate on the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
This rebate can be applied to essential items such as supermarket groceries, transport, utilities, medical and dental care.
Come every National Day, the rebate amount can be credited to the citizen’s account.
Alternatively, it can be wholly or partially donated to a charity of his choosing.
For the average Singaporean, this rebate could mean a little extra money which can be set aside for their friends and loved ones.
For the low-income group, the rebate will go some way towards defraying the cost of living.
The rebate will also give all citizens the chance and means to perform acts of kindness. These acts may subsequently help encourage more regular alms-giving.
In this way, Singaporeans will get well-deserved recognition and privileges throughout the year.
Concurrently, they can contribute towards nation building by helping the less fortunate in our society.
Daniel Ng, 44