This photograph looks normal — a lady exercising in public at night.
It was taken at around 2am on a Thursday night (technically Friday morning).
If you stop to think about it, 2am is the middle of the night. Anything could have happened at that time.
Yet, I felt safe enough to be outdoors at that time, in my skin tight activewear, taking a video of myself doing my workout.
Only in Singapore.
In many countries, all the above would not be possible:-
- A female wouldn’t risk being outdoors between 9pm to 7am, unless she was with three or more friends.
- Male or female, you wouldn’t risk exercising outdoors after 8pm.
- Male or female, you wouldn’t risk a solo run after 9pm or before 7am.
However, here in Singapore, we never think twice about whether there is any danger in doing a late night or early morning run in shorts, of walking the streets alone after 9pm, of dressing in whatever way we wish to.
Or simply, using our phone, office access card or bag to reserve a seat or table. If this was in Europe, it would disappear in 2-seconds!
We take for granted the safety that we have in Singapore.
How often do we stop to appreciate that we can walk without fear at any time of the day and night?
That there isn’t civil unrest?
There aren’t major riots or incidences of violence on civilians?
That females don’t constantly feel like they’re being objectified & prone to physical abuse?
This peace and security wasn’t given when Singapore came into existence — it had to be established, and now it has to be maintained.
There are humans who have chosen, or have been chosen, to keep this safety for Singaporeans.
Be it patrolling key spots on our island such as immigration checkpoints.
Security during high profile events such as the National Day parade, celebrity concerts (U2, anyone?), festivities for Christmas and New Year’s, marathons or triathlons.
Sudden activation for an operation to bolster the country’s security, from a threat that its citizens will never hear about.
This security comes with a heavy price that we don’t know and is seldom spoken about.
Firstly, these women and men place their lives on the line each time they’re activated for duty.
They are all someone’s daughter/son, sister/brother, girlfriend/boyfriend, wife/husband, mother/father, friend, colleague. They have family, friends, work obligations as well.
Yet, when they receive a call, they drop whatever they are engaged in & spring into action, despite not knowing the extent of the threat or danger that they are going into.
They have left family dinners, family and work obligations, dates, and more at a call.
They sacrifice time with their family and loved ones. Most importantly, they sacrifice time for themselves (nights out, watching movies, drinks, vacation).
Instead, they invest their attention and dedication to creating and maintaining a safe environment that allows people to live and flourish with peace of mind.
They do so to protect not only their own families and friends, but also all the people who matter to you and I — our family and friends.
It’s precisely because they understand and value the importance of security for a safe life here, that they feel a sense of duty to preserve it for more people.