Friday, July 9, 2010

US Independence Day In Singapore

There are a number of U.S. expats here in Singapore, as well as close attention in the news to current events in the U.S., and so the U.S. Independence Day does not go by without some notice.  To celebrate, the American Association of Singapore (AAS) hosts a 4th of July picnic each year.  The picnic is in the tradition of a Fourth of July in the states, with music, food, drinks, and of course, fireworks.  It is open to anyone, and a few non-U.S. expats and Singaporeans attend, perhaps spouses of U.S. citizens, or simply U.S. friendlies.  Any British attendees are subject to good natured harassment in honor of the day.  Oddly enough the event this year was held on Saturday, July 3 just a few hours in expiration of July 2 in The States, which is technically the true day of American independence.  (The declaration was ratified on July 2, and announced on July 4). 
Although we didn't know anyone attending, we decided to go to the picnic--  about a one hour trip by subway and shuttle bus.  The picnic was held at a site on the very north end of Singapore, we live in the very south (Ominously held at a location called the Terror Club).  A steady rain during the day had left the picnic site a mud pit, but awnings sheltered the food booths, the band stage, and some tables.  People were mostly huddled under the awnings, which were quite crowded.  Rain is not something here to deter events, as it must always be taken as a possibility.
There were several events set up for kids, with activities such as henna painting, crafts, and inflatable playground.  There were some organization booths including Democrats Abroad and Republicans Abroad.  Fortunately we saw no fights among these two while we were there.  (See AAS Notice)
The featured band was the U.S. Navy band (a U.S. Navy band) from Hawaii.  Not a John Phillips Sousa marching band, but rather a modern "rock" band with electric guitars, drums, saxophone, and a large set of vocalists.  They were rather good, playing a wide selection of music, from Bob Dylan to more current rap.  But not exactly a "gansta rap"  image with regulation hair cuts and U.S. Nave dress whites.
The highlight of the evening was the fireworks, which were spectacular.  Apparently AAS is well funded, as these rivaled any city fireworks show, with a solid 20 minutes of explosions and colored fire, with a recording of Stars and Stripes Forever playing on the sound system.  (Apparently the U.S. Navy band present was not instrumentally suited to provide this background.)
U.S. Navy band entertains Independence Day revellers at the AAS 4th of July Picnic

Waiting for fireworks...

American patriot at the AAS Picnic

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