The SG50 Experience: An exchangers take on Singaporean Nationalism

Every year on the 9th of August, the National day of Singapore is celebrated in commemoration of Singapore’s independence from Malaysia in 1965. Often, this holiday features the National Day Parade,  fireworks, and a speach given by the Prime Minister of Singapore. This years National day was none like any other as it was Singapore’s 50th Jubliee.

Citizens at the National Day Parade, 2015

Citizens at the National Day Parade, 2015

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SG patriotism

The PAP’s efforts to engage the citizens of Singapore was nothing, if not admireable. They ensured that there was no chance of forgetting the significance of 2015. The advertising for SG50 was emense: a multi- phased campaign which spanned the course of 2 year!

           As far back as January 2014, ‘little red dots’ started to appeared in various locations around Singapore – including at bus stops, train stations, neighbourhood coffee shops and schools.  Overall there were 49 images, each depicting a slice of life in Singapore. The dots marked a celebration of identity; from the iconic HDB heartlands to Singapore’s love for durians. Furthermore, the symbolic SG50 logo ( a red dot with SG50 written in white text) was spread out across the city- from banners to water bottles, there was no escaping!  11907385_10153139414761964_4899080029658184358_o

The abundance of national pride strangly brought me back to Glasgow (2014) where nationalism, ignited by one word, was spreading like wildfire. I noticed that same type of advertising straegy that the PAP had employed for SG50 was also employed in the SNPS’s ‘YES’ campaign. Additonally, the atmosphere at the bay was extreamly similar to that is George Sqaure on the 18th September 2014.

Thousands of people gather in George Square Glasgow to attend a Hope Over Fear rally. The event has been organised to maintain the momentum of the 45% of the Scottish people who voted Yes in the recent referendum. October 12 2014.

Thousands of people gather in George Square Glasgow to attend a Hope Over Fear rally. The event has been organised to maintain the momentum of the 45% of the Scottish people who voted Yes in the recent referendum. October 12 2014.

Around S$9 million was set aside for external projects which celebrate he nations 50th birthday. Thus, throughout the year there was a constant string of events that worked to bring singaporeans together though various forms; such as song ( Sing, Love), food (Let’s Makan), and art (Inside out). I actually managed to attend some of these local events prior to national day. My favourite was definetly ‘Let’s Makan’ There was an assortment of stalls that sold cheap, tasy and local foods to the public. Additonally, there were performances, and cheap carnival-esque rides!

On the 9 of August, more 200,000 people were present in the Marina Bay area for Singapore’s Golden Jubilee celebrations. There was a distinct sense of unity, as people from all walks of life filled into the Marina Bay area – sandwiched together near to pier to watch the parade on the big screens, and the fireworks over the bay.

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We were among the crowd.

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Mother and sons wearing matching red shirts, waiting for someone to come out from the busy Bayfront MRT behind them.

On the Sunday myself and a few other exchange students set out into two to see the celebrations, but little did we know how intense the entire experience would be! We took the MRT from Kent Ridge to bayfront; and as we approched the city the crowds slowly accumulated until walking became shuffling forwards! But despire the heat and the crowds; I really enjoyed national day!

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Wearing red lipstick was as far as my SG patriotism went…

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Military assistance for the lost and confused

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Arial Display!

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The firework finale

Now, one of my modules is called Singapore Film; and as part of it we need to create a short film around the theme of 5G50. As practice I took some footage from the night and edited into a short video! Enjoy!

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