SINGAPORE — The viral shot of a man crying while singing the national anthem at Singapore's 57th National Day Parade (NDP) has become one of the "iconic images" of the annual celebration, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong.
In his posts on Facebook and Instagram on Tuesday (9 August) night, Wong wrote, "It has been a challenging 2+ years – and for many of us, an emotional one."
The COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce co-chair also thanked Singaporeans for their efforts throughout the pandemic.
He added, "It's through looking out for one another, even in our vulnerable moments, that we demonstrate our solidarity and Singapore spirit!"
The emotional shot caught on live television of the man with tears streaming down his face spanned several memes by social media pages such as SGAG, which captioned one with, "Find someone that cares for you as much as this man cares for Singapore."
The man was identified as Azuan Tan by Pasir Ris–Punggol GRC Member of Parliament (MP) Sharael Taha, in a reply to Wong's post on Instagram.
Sharael wrote that the 41-year-old teacher at Bedok View Secondary School is the GRC's chairman for M3, a collaboration between the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), Mendaki, and the People’s Association Malay Activity Executive Committees Council (Mesra).
"Azuan Tan is our passionate volunteer always assisting the families at rental blocks," he added.
In an interview with Power 98 radio DJ Jerald Justin Ko, or JK, Tan said he thought the parade was very well put together and that his emotions "got the better of him" once the national anthem was played.
Tuesday's NDP, which returned as a full-scale event after two years of COVID-19 restrictions, marked Tan's first time attending it live with his wife and three children.
When asked if he cries during the anthem when it is played at school daily, the teacher laughed and said, "Definitely not. But I think in yesterday's case...was just really, many thoughts about how long we come out over the last two years, the struggles we have all been facing."
Tan also thanked Springleaf Prata Place, which said it would be giving away 570 bento boxes of chicken biryani to needy families as thanks for his contributions to the community.
During the interview, JK presented Tan with a pair of headphones, "expensive tissue" and a copy of footballer Fandi Ahmad's second biography, Fandi: Honour & Sacrifice.
When asked if he had any messages to share with Singaporeans, Tan said, "To everybody who has helped us as a country through this particular pandemic, I only have admiration for every one of you. I am inspired by every one of you to continue to do what I am doing."
"Let's continue to build on this momentum and strive to do our very best for our country."
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