Uniquely Singapore: 20 ways to celebrate the nation's 49th birthday

The National Day Parade (NDP) logo 2014. -- PHOTO: NDP 2014
The National Day Parade (NDP) logo 2014. -- PHOTO: NDP 2014

To help you celebrate the nation's 49th birthday, here are 20 must-have items to accessorise your home (and yourself)

ST 20140802 NZNAT 84GGI 543287mST 20140802 NZNAT 8T0AF 543286mST 20140802 NZNATA 8 543604m

1 Brooches and magnets

What: Are you a clueless Singaporean, otherwise known as a person who is "blur like sotong"? Or are you a stylish Singaporean with a "Stylo Milo" wardrobe?

Hug a Porcupine, the in-house accessories label at the Little Drom Store, has designed magnets bearing colloquialisms, as well as brooches featuring local food such as soft-boiled eggs and kaya toast.

Price: From $18

Where: The Little Drom Store, School of the Arts, 1 Zubir Said Drive, 02-01, tel: 6884-4651 (opening middle of this month) and kapok at the NDC, National Design Centre, 111 Middle Road, 01-05, tel: 6339-7987


 ST 20140802 NZNAT 541518m

2 Tea towels

What: Mop up those drink spills at your National Day party with these cool towels. Look closely and you will see a man climbing a coconut tree.

Price: $35 for a set of three

Where: Singapore Trading Post, 102F Pasir Panjang Road, Citilink Warehouse, 02-04, tel: 6274-0511


ST 20140802 NZNAT 8BRGN 544037m

3 Merlion shopper

What:Local designer Hans Tan has turned this iconic plastic bag into a reusable shopping tote. His version also has 14 numbered fold lines printed on the bag, so you can fold it into a triangle - a traditional technique of folding plastic bags. Comes in red and white.

Price: $13.90

Where: Go to naiise.com, www.farmstore.sg and www.hipvan.com. Online store Naiise is also having a pop-up store, The Design Supermarket, at Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Road, Discovery Walk, Level 1, from now until Aug 20. Many local designs in this feature are sold there.


ST 20140802 NZNAT 8ZVCT 543266m  

4 Singa X Roof T-Shirt

What: Wear Singa the Courtesy Lion on your sleeve this National Day. This cotton T-shirt by local brand Roof Industries is emblazoned with one of Singapore's well-loved icons.

Price: $29.90

Where: Go to naiise.com, www.hipvan.com, store.100percent.sg and shop.roof industries.com.sg


ST 20140802 NZNAT 8NCFN 543960m 

5 Embrace Me Asian Art Deco cushion covers by Scene Shang

What: As an ode to the Art Deco buildings in Singapore, local design label Scene Shang puts four of them - flats in Tiong Poh Road, Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, Tong Ah Building and Aliwal Arts Centre - on these cushion covers, which are made of poly blend canvas.

Price: From $20

Where: Go to naiise.com, shop.sceneshang.com and www.hipvan.com


ST 20140802 NZNAT 8WV0K 543285m 

6 Warhol Raffles luggage tag

What: Singapore's founder Sir Stamford Raffles gets the Warhol treatment for this quirky luggage tag by Love Sg, a local design company, which has Singapore-themed products. Its bold, funky colours mean you will be able to spot your bag immediately as it comes out on the carousel.

Price: $9.90

Where: Go to naiise.com and www.lovesg.sg


ST 20140802 NZNAT 8NF4N 543289mST 20140802 NZNAT 8V9RI 543290m 

7 Limited-edition Shiok greeting cards

What: Snail mail your love for Singapore this National Day to friends with these uber-cute postcards. Singaporean architecture graduate Natalie Kwee, who is living and working in New York, designed this limited-edition set of six Singapore food and Singlish-themed cards.

Price: $18 for a set of six

Where: Go to naiise.com and www.peepnpress.bigcartel.com


 ST 20140802 NZNATO3FI 541536m

8 Foodie tattoos

What: Local design studio Wheniwasfour has collaborated with Dottinghill, an online design community and e-store selling "skin accessories" for people, to create these tattoos featuring Singapore's favourite snacks: flavoured ice popsicles, ang ku kueh, kueh lapis sabu, gem biscuits and Teochew peach-shaped kueh. If tattoos are not your thing, these food images are also printed on items such as tote bags, notebooks and fashion accessories by Wheniwasfour.

Price: From $6

Where: Go to www.wheniwasfour.com and www.dottinghill.com


ST 20140802 NZNAT 8R75S 543951m 

9 Shophouse tin cans

What: The iconic shophouse has been photographed and wrapped around these storage tin cans, created by local design studio Farm. Each side of the can shows a different shophouse and can be lined up next to one another to create a row of shophouses for a quirky decor feature.

Price: $8 a can

Where: Go to naiise.com and www.farmstore.sg


ST 20140802 NZNAT 8E8FF 543296m 

10 Iconic kopitiam cup planter

What: Local urban farmer Cynthea Lam sees the kopitiam cup as more than just a beverage holder. Place this mini planter, which has a mix of Fittonia, Pilea and moss, on your desk to bring the outdoors indoors. Just do not confuse it with your actual coffee cup.

Price: $19

Where: Go to naiise.com


ST 20140802 NZNATSVVE 541525m 

11 Five stone plushie

What: Taking its cue from the childhood game of five stones, design house Wheniwasfour has come up with a super-sized version of a five-stone cushion. You will have no problem catching this one. It comes in 15 designs and is filled with polyester fibre and has a removable cover.

Price: $38 for one stone and $155 for a set of five stones

Where: Go to www.wheniwasfour.com


 ST 20140802 NZNAT 8 541527mST 20140802 NZNAT 8CZA3 541530mST 20140802 NZNAT 8CZA3 543662m

12 Jalan Besar Kitties and The One Singapore plates

What: The familiar Maneki-Neko cat is given a local makeover by branding and design company Somewhere Else in collaboration with retail space/artist residency studio Supermama. Supermama came up with the collection of ceramic ware last year called the Singapore Icons Studio Project, which featured HDB flats and Singapore's national flower, Vanda Miss Joaquim, on crockery.

Inspired by the rough-and-tough neighbourhood of Jalan Besar, these kitties carry booze in one hand and are accompanied by Chinese saying "huo dao lao" for the right-handed cat and "xue dao lao" for the left-handed one. The saying means to learn as long as you live.

If cats are not your thing, serve up a plate of Singapore icons. Play a guessing game with your guests to find out who can correctly name the most icons on the plate such as former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and the Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay.

Price: $36 for a set of two Jalan Besar Gangster Kitties and $84 for a The One Singapore plate

Where: Supermama, 30A Seah Street 


ST 20140802 NZNAT 8SV3U 543284m 

13 Sin City tote bag series

What: Get your localised version of music and film's greatest cult hits - Last Tango In Pasir Ris, Buona Vista Social Club, Balestier Galactica and Geylang Vice Squad. There are six designs of this canvas black tote by design studio Kult.

Price: From $25

Where: Go to store. kultmagazine.com.sg and kapok at the NDC, National Design Centre, 111 Middle Road, 01-05, tel: 6339-7987


ST 20140802 NZNAT 8YBU4 543309m

14 The Playground series

What: Children of the 1980s will reminisce about their childhood days with this series of pins, magnets and plush toys, which pays homage to Singapore's iconic mosaic playgrounds.

Price: From $22

Where: The Little Drom Store, School of the Arts, 1 Zubir Said Drive, 02-01, tel: 6884-4651 (opening in the middle of this month), and kapok at the NDC, National Design Centre, 111 Middle Road, 01-05, tel: 6339-7987


ST 20140802 NZNAT 8HONB 544022m

15 Enamel Mug

What: Hipsters hunt high and low for these enamel pieces from yesteryear. But you can get yours with a quirky twist. Centerpiece Creation, a curation studio which works with local artists, has added step-by-step instructions on how to make local favourites such as teh tarik, Milo dinosaur and teh halia.

Price: From $22

Where: Go to www.centerpiececreation.com and www.hipvan.com


ST 20140802 NZNAT 8G5QD 543288m

16 Baba Blue and Padma iPhone covers by Kala Pata

What: Home-grown stationery brand Kala Pata - the name is Bengali for banana leaf - has taken inspiration from Singapore's Peranakan heritage for this set of iPhone covers. The Baba Blue case (left) for iPhone 5 and 5S features kettles and pots used in Nonya cooking, while the Padma cover (right), for iPhone 5C, has the lotus motif often found on Nonya porcelain ware.

Price: $22

Where: Go to kalapata.com, naiise.com and kapok at the NDC, National Design Centre, 111 Middle Road, 01-05, tel: 6339-7987


ST 20140802 NZNAT 8GD4D 543273m

17 Ich Bin Ein Singaporer T-shirt

What: Affirm your Singaporean-ness in this T-shirt. French label Civissum adds Singapore to the famous line by former US President John F. Kennedy, when he declared "Ich bin ein Berliner" during his speech in 1963 about the freedom of man. Comes in black, white and grey.

Price: $79

Where: Kapok at the NDC, National Design Centre, 111 Middle Road, 01-05, tel: 6339-7987, and Kapok Tools, Robinsons Orchard, 260 Orchard Road, Level 4, tel: 6735-8838 and Tangs, 310 Orchard Road, Level 4, tel: 6737-5500


ST 20140802 NZNAT 8 544876m

18 Lacquer boxes by Kala Pata

What: Add a pop of colour to your vanity table with these handmade lacquer boxes, which highlight Singapore's vibrant cultures. The interiors are fully lined with handwoven fabric.

Price: From $160

Where: Go to kalapata.com, naiise.com, and kapok at the NDC, National Design Centre, 111 Middle Road, 01-05, tel: 6339-7987


ST 20140802 NZNAT 8DTX6 544025m

19 Ang Ku Kueh Girl handmade soap

What: It looks good enough to eat, but do not do it.

Drawing inspiration from Singaporeans' love of kueh, local designer Wang Shijia and her team at Ang Ku Kueh Girl and Friends made a berry-scented soap modelled after the tortoise-shell glutinous rice pastry. The label also has adorable merchandise such as stationery and bags featuring characters such as Roti Prata Boy and Kueh Lapis Girl.

Price: $4.90

Where: Go to www.angkukuehgirl.com.sg, naiise.com, Redundant Shop, Block 5 Everton Park, 01-22A, tel: 6707-2005, Cat Socrates, 231 Bain Street, Bras Basah Complex, 02-25, tel: 6333-0870 and Tyrwhitt General Company, 150A Tyrwhitt Road, Level 2, tel: 8444-5589


ST 20140802 NZNAT 86NR0 541537m

20 Arkiv's Merlion

What: The half-lion, half-fish creature might have started out as a tourism gimmick, but the quirky character has cemented its status as a uniquely Singaporean character.

Now, instead of trekking to Sentosa or Merlion Park at the Fullerton area to pay homage to the creature, you can own one of just 10 mini versions by Indonesian artist Arkiv Vilmansa. At 60cm, the statue is cast in resin and painted in high gloss white. But it is fastest fingers first - as of press time, there was only one left for sale.

Price: $1,800

Where: Go to www.thedamngoodshop.com

natashaz@sph.com.sg