17 May greetings from Ambassador Nergaard, Singapore

In conjunction with Norway’s Constitution Day on 17 May, Norwegian Ambassador Anita Nergaard  sends a message to all Norwegians living in Singapore and friends of Norway. 

 The greetings read:

Dear Norwegians in Singapore and friends of Norway, Kjære landsmenn! We live in unprecedented times. We are fighting the worst pandemic since the Spanish flu a century ago. It has disrupted all our lives and with more than 160 million cases reported worldwide, the official death toll stands at a staggering 3.3 million. The real number is probably higher. We all watch the developments in India with deep sorrow and increasing concern.

12 May – Here in Singapore, we are well cared for. The government has led a consistent effort to keep the pandemic under control. In a city-state with high connectivity and population density, the risks are indisputable. The vaccine rollout is well underway, and, just as we have come to expect of Singapore, well organized, efficient, and friendly. Even so, the fight against the virus is far from over. New restrictions, increased social distancing, and travel quarantine of 21 days are among the latest measures.

 For Norwegians, the celebration of our National Day on the 17th of May is a highlight of the year. In any normal year, we would crowd streets and squares, cram into cafes and ice cream parlors, march to horn music with scores of kids, sing and shout, hug and kiss. This year will be different, both here in Singapore and Norway. Even the very modest celebration in the Seaman’s Church had to be called off.

 In this situation, we need to find other ways of gathering and upholding the spirit of “17 May”. After all, the celebration is not only about fun and games, but also about people showing their true colors in times of crisis. Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson expressed it well in our national anthem: “Også vi, når det blir krevet, for dets fred slår leir”.

 We are not called to arms – we are asked to avoid moving around and reduce mingling. We need to socialize in small groups or through other means like we have become used to over the last year. Staying put is heroic! Thousands of internet memes have caught the essence of this in all its absurdity.

I am hopeful that we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, recent setbacks notwithstanding. This will pass, and our hopes are now set for 2022.

On behalf of the entire Team Norway, I wish you all a wonderful National Day! God 17. mai!”


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