SINGAPORE — Celebrations for Singapore’s 50th anniversary will begin at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve this year and continue throughout next year, punctuated by national celebrations centred around National Day and the South-east Asian Games.
There will also be programmes marking the Republic’s heritage and collective memories, such as a compilation of tributes to 50 of Singaporeans’ favourite places on this island.
The goal, said Education Minister and Chairman of the SG50 Steering Committee, Mr Heng Swee Keat, is to “get as many Singaporeans as possible” involved in the Republic’s golden jubilee birthday bash, as well as encourage groups and individuals to come up with ideas and special activities to “mark this very special year and very special occasion”.
“SG50 is about celebrating the enduring values that we share as Singaporeans, values that undergird the Singapore Spirit — values that have stood us in good stead in the past and give us confidence for an even brighter future,” he added. “In terms of the themes that you see throughout the various events, there will be three elements: One is about reflecting on our past, and it’s about celebrating our present and committing to the future,” noted Mr Heng at a press conference to unveil the line-up of the celebrations.
Co-chair of the SG50 Programme Office Indranee Rajah, who is also Senior Minister of State (Law and Education), added that the “golden thread” through the various activities — some of which were culled from the over 11,000 suggestions submitted by members of the public — is about “the essence of Singaporean-ness … and the journey we’ve made as Singaporeans”.
To that end, the celebrations will kick off on Dec 31 this year, with a special edition of the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown that will have a retrospective element, including highlighting Singapore music and local music celebrities. The anchor celebration will be the National Day Parade, which will incorporate activities to encourage active participation of Singaporeans.
A new pedestrian bridge will also be built in the heart of the city, from the Merlion Park to Marina Promenade, in front of the Esplanade Theatres, which will form part of a heritage walk through the civic district and the Marina Bay area. There will also be four new public artworks along the trail to commemorate SG50.
These will serve as a lasting physical legacy of Singapore’s jubilee year.
An SG Heart Map will also be compiled based on 50 places of significance in Singapore suggested by the public. Content on these places, such as sketches, poetry, photographs and short films crowdsourced from the public, will be included on the map.
Meanwhile, the National Museum will revamp its permanent galleries in September next year to commemorate Singapore’s 50th year of independence. Defining moments in the Republic’s journey from 1942 onwards will be told through experiential exhibitions.
The National Gallery will also open in November with displays of the best in our national collection of visual arts, including from Nanyang pioneer artists. On the sidelines, Singaporeans can contribute their reflections on the National Pledge, which will be incorporated into an artwork at a sheltered linkway from City Hall MRT station to the new National Gallery.
Several major events that Singapore is hosting next year, such as the South-east Asian Games in June and the ASEAN Para Games in December, will also be infused with celebratory themes, such as highlighting inspiring stories of ordinary people and athletes achieving the extraordinary.