The national anthem, citizenship, work, values and national symbols are the five sets of elements to national identity, says Miss Solomon Islands, Gladys Habu.
Speaking on the occasion to mark World Scouts Day, Miss Habu was given the honour to speak about the importance of upholding the country’s national identity.
She says as citizens, everyone has a responsibility to promote national identity. Miss Habu says national identity is more than just an ethnic duty.
“National identity promotes unity, builds trust and enhances security. It encourages good leadership and governance, facilitates economic growth as well as stability and above all it strengthens our democracy. Ultimately all these together will help us grow as a nation”.
Habu says the national anthem is a prayer for the people and the country as a whole and a song that every citizen from across the country’s scattered islands should sing with pride.
“Whether it be during a Monday morning assembly in school, at your sports carnivals, or inside the National Parliament. Often, we sing this song with an empty heart and we question ourselves why we are still not achieving our goals as a country”, Miss Habu says.
She says the country’s national anthem is the people’s dedication to this blessed Christian nation.
On citizenship, Miss Habu says the status is recognized by law as being members of this one nation.
“One that legally binds us to the laws that regulate peace and order. Our citizenship is the relationship that ourselves as individuals have with our country. It connects us with our responsibilities and duties to progress as a nation, our rights to vote, as well as our commitment to protecting our democracy”.
At the same time, Miss Habu says the country’s national identity is also reflected in the people’s work towards national growth. She says the more there is investment in education and creation of a fair space for employment opportunities, the more citizens can contribute to increased productivity and stability.
“A stable nation will promote prosperity as we work towards a common goal. We need to be raising our children to value honesty and fairness. We need to encourage our young people to value their education and utilise their knowledge to contribute as much as possible both in school and within the community”.
On values, Miss Solomons questions what the country’s national values are.
“For me it's Leadership and Service to our people. Our national motto reminds us of this: To lead is to serve. I cannot over emphasise that as we uphold everything I mentioned before, we also need to be valuing the lesser virtues such as punctuality, cleanliness and organisation. Starting from our homes, our schools and through to our various workplaces. National identity doesn’t happen by accident, we are not born with it. It needs to be sowed and cultivated over time. We need to develop a mind-set that has ownership and pride in our nation so that we can promote our national interests over our personal interests”.
Finally, on national symbols, Miss Habu says there is the coat of arms and the unique symbols from each province and most importantly, the national flag.
“When I look at our flag, I am reminded of what the colours stand for: Blue is the sky and vast ocean that connects our islands. Yellow is the sun that gives us energy and light. Green is the land – our flora and fauna. It symbolises our fertility and sustainability. The white stars traditionally represent our provinces but personally, white reminds me of our white sandy beaches and the hope that we all have of a brighter future”, Miss Habu says.
On 22 February every year, millions of scouts around the world celebrate Founder’s Day. It is the birthday of Lord Baden-Powell, the pioneer of scouting.
The Miss Solomon Islands is a former scout. In Solomon Islands the event was celebrated at the Government House. The governor general is the Chief Scout of the Solomon Islands Scouts Association.