Tuning up for another Guinness record in Singapore

Some participants who joined a total of 2,241 people last October to break the Guinness World Record for the largest reunion of people born at the same hospital, in this case KK Women's and Children's Hospital.
Big organising task ahead for Voice Of My Generation members (from left) Benson Wong, 20, Darryl Tan, 24, Pamelin Teo, 22, Christian Soliva, 18, and Joshua Tan, 18. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
Big organising task ahead for Voice Of My Generation members (from left) Benson Wong, 20, Darryl Tan, 24, Pamelin Teo, 22, Christian Soliva, 18, and Joshua Tan, 18. Guinness World Record holders include (from top) indoor skydiver Kyra Poh, for the mo
Some participants who joined a total of 2,241 people last October to break the Guinness World Record for the largest reunion of people born at the same hospital, in this case KK Women's and Children's Hospital. ST FILE PHOTO
Big organising task ahead for Voice Of My Generation members (from left) Benson Wong, 20, Darryl Tan, 24, Pamelin Teo, 22, Christian Soliva, 18, and Joshua Tan, 18. Guinness World Record holders include (from top) indoor skydiver Kyra Poh, for the mo
Guinness World Record holders include indoor skydiver Kyra Poh (above), for the most backward somersaults, and NIE's Professor Chia Tet Fatt, for producing the world's first bioluminescent flowers.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
Big organising task ahead for Voice Of My Generation members (from left) Benson Wong, 20, Darryl Tan, 24, Pamelin Teo, 22, Christian Soliva, 18, and Joshua Tan, 18. Guinness World Record holders include (from top) indoor skydiver Kyra Poh, for the mo
Guinness World Record holders include indoor skydiver Kyra Poh, for the most backward somersaults, and NIE's Professor Chia Tet Fatt (above), for producing the world's first bioluminescent flowers.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

Latest bid is to form largest rock band; nation has set about 30 mass event records

Organisers here hope to assemble the largest rock band on earth and perform right here in Singapore.

A thousand musicians will be roped in from bands and music clubs across 30 schools in an attempt to break the world record next July.

The organisers, who call themselves Voice Of My Generation - a group comprising alumni from the music clubs of some junior colleges here, will have to beat the record set in June last year by China's Beijing Contemporary Music Academy with 953 performers.

Despite being a small country, this little red dot has climbed onto the international stage of world records through mass participation events. The nation has chalked up about 30 such mass event records with the Guinness World Records' annals since the 1980s.

Some of these records still stand. These include entries where salads were tossed by 1,400 people, and 375 people were tossed in the air. These were separate events last year and one involved the use of trampolines - no, not the one with the salads.

Experts believe Singaporeans' interest in mass participation events reflects how the gotong royong or community spirit is still strong.

Dr Munidasa Winslow, a psychiatrist, said: "Most Singaporeans do not have time to practise to be the best juggler or contortionist. We are a city-state where everyone is close together so it's easy to gather fairly large numbers of people. We are also efficient with sufficient wealth to pump into these events."

  • S'PORE FEATS

  • ONE OF THE LONGEST STANDING RECORDS TO DATE: The largest game of musical chairs was held in Singapore in August 1989. It began with 8,238 participants at the Anglo-Chinese School in Singapore.

    THE MOST RECENT RECORD TO DATE: Most people on trampolines which was achieved last month.

    OTHER RECORDS:

    • The largest curry ever made weighed 15.34 tonnes and was achieved by the Indian Chefs and Culinary Association (Singapore) in August 2015.

    • The first Formula One night race was held at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in September 2008.

    • The largest lantern parade was achieved by 10,568 participants in an event organised by the Land Transport Authority in September 2008.

    SOURCE: GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS

National University of Singapore sociologist Tan Ern Ser said: "I suppose it has to do with national pride, branding, rallying the people to support a common goal, and to be noticed. All these in the context of a global competition... The allure is being the best in the world."

Every year, the Guinness World Records' editors are inundated by tens of thousands of submissions from across the globe. This year alone, there were 44 attempts by Singaporeans. There were 139 and 134 bids in 2015 and 2016 respectively. There are currently 77 record holders who are from Singapore.

Prestige and pride are associated with the listing. Last year, Singapore's $1.3 billion Sports Hub national stadium made the cut for the largest true or self-supporting dome in the world. It can fit four A-380 aircraft wing to wing.

Singaporeans can also get very creative when it comes to attempting to etch their names in the record books. For example, the country has been listed for the largest gathering of people (1,560) dressed as storybook characters such as Harry Potter, Snow White, and Roald Dahl's Mr and Mrs Twits.

Food-themed entries from Singapore have broken records, too. This includes the most number of people participating in a simultaneous lo hei salad toss last year, and the longest satay, measuring about 140m, created at Lau Pa Sat in 2007.

Then there are the strange entries - from the most people applying false eyelashes (324) in 2014, to the most people wearing balloon hats (5,911) the same year.

But the records are not all about mass turnouts and silliness.

Wind tunnel sportsmen, including teenager Kyra Poh, have been listed several times. For instance, Kyra was recorded as having done the most backward somersaults (68) in a wind tunnel in a minute at iFly Singapore in 2013.

Meanwhile, in 1999, Professor Chia Tet Fatt from Singapore's National Institute of Education's National Science Academic Group entered the record books as having produced the world's first bioluminescent flowers.

Also in the books is Singapore Airlines for the most wins of the Official Airline Guide Airline Industry Awards - when it won the Airline Of The Year award for the sixth time in 2008. In politics, Singapore had the longest-serving democratic head - the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew ran the country for 31 years.

In an e-mail reply to The Sunday Times, the Guinness World Records' spokesman said the perks of achieving a listing with it is that "you're recognised as being officially amazing, the best in the world at a chosen discipline". Record-holders receive a certificate and letter confirming their achievement.

Mr Ong Eng Huat, founder of the Singapore Book of Records (SBOR), said it is Singaporeans' "mindset... to excel in everything they do".

His organisation was established in 2005 and has adjudicated 2,000 records so far. These records grew rapidly from 45 in its first year to a peak of 269 events during SG50. There were 180 events last year.

Mr Ong said breaking a record with SBOR helps to attract publicity for events, the launch of a product or a celebration of a cause.

In the case of Voice Of My Generation, they will spend the rest of the year on preparatory and logistical work before their official event.

The organisation's spokesman said: "The country is at the stage where its people are trying to find their standing in the world. Our record-breaking attempt is about showing the world what we can do in the field of the arts."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 13, 2017, with the headline 'Tuning up for another Guinness record'. Print Edition | Subscribe