Today I celebrate my second Fourth of July in Washington DC, and my fourth in the US, having spent one summer in Boston watching fireworks on the Esplanade and one summer in New York watching fireworks over the East River.
Since this is a day where Americans consider their founding, I will draw a link to Paul Revere's son-in-law. Joseph Balestier was the first American diplomat in Singapore, serving from 1837-52. The name has always resonated with me, for reasons entirely personal. My parents met as teachers in Balestier Mixed School in Singapore. My first apartment was in Balestier. But "Balestier" was always just the name of the district where I grew up, nothing more. It took a chance reading of a historical plaque during a walk around the district, in my late 20s, to realise that the name carried a link to diplomacy and the longstanding US-Singapore connection.
Today I celebrate with my American friends in a position that is the inverse of Balestier's: a Singaporean diplomat in America. And I hope to continue to be part of a long, long path of that link between Singapore and the United States.