Total Defence is in our hands, a message that resonates from winning N.E.mation video

(From left) Cedar Girls' Secondary School's Chai Gien Lyn, 16, Kaila Boh Tsui Ning, 15, Kayla Yong Enxin, 15 and Lua Tze Teng, Tanya, 15, came up tops for the student category of N.E.mation's 12th edition.
(From left) Cedar Girls' Secondary School's Chai Gien Lyn, 16, Kaila Boh Tsui Ning, 15, Kayla Yong Enxin, 15 and Lua Tze Teng, Tanya, 15, came up tops for the student category of N.E.mation's 12th edition. ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

SINGAPORE - Singapore's security is in our hands - this was the message sent out by one of the winning videos at the 12th edition of N.E.mation.

The iWERKS Theatre at Singapore Discovery Centre was abuzz on Sunday (Feb 25) with excited students as the winners for the competition were announced.

The competition saw students creating 30-second clips - half the time from the previous years' contests - based on the Total Defence theme "Together We Keep Singapore Strong".

The student category features students from 13 to 16 years old forming teams to produce animation clips.

The winning team from Cedar Girls' Secondary School chose to focus on everyday activities done with hands with their entry It's In Your Hands.

"It's about how simple acts can contribute to Total Defence as everyone has hands," said team member Tanya Lua, 15. For example, in the video, a national serviceman is shown helping his fellow soldier over an obstacle-course wall.

The team of four spent about 12 hours a day over two weeks to produce the video. It is their third time in the competition - they were first runner-ups last year.

It makes the victory "especially sweet", said Tanya.

This year's edition also had a new Youth Crowdsource Category that allowed members of the public - aged 17 to 35 - to submit story ideas based on the theme. Students from Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) and Institute of Technical Education College Central then turned the best 10 ideas into animation clips.

The winner for this category, Team Nacho Cheese from NYP, showcased the trials Singapore has gone through in their clip String Of Singapore.


Singapore Polytechnic's Lim Jia Xiang (far left) contributed the idea for Nanyang Polytechnic's team Nacho Cheese to create a video. The team comprising (from left)  Manansala Galliene Gabrieli Cruz, Tan Xiao Han, Nataline Ng and Tan Chuan Jee won in the new Youth Crowdsource Category. ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO 

Among them were the Japanese Occupation, the racial riots in the 1960s and the Sars crisis in 2013. The video ends with a string that forms the Singapore map, illustrating how the nation was moulded through such tough times.

Said team member Tan Chuan Jee, 18: "We are shocked that we won as many of our batchmates are more technically skilled."

He admitted that the process of animating was "tiring and painful" and they sometimes felt like giving up. "But the end result is always worth it," he added.

Another team member Manansala Galliene Gabrieli Cruz, 19, felt that their work prevailed because of the strong narrative of their video.

This year saw a total of 643 entries from 1,328 participants in both categories of the competition.

N.E.mation is organised by Animagine and Nexus, the Ministry of Defence department in charge of Total Defence and National Education.

The champions in both categories will get to visit renowned animation studios overseas in Japan. Previous winners have visited Walt Disney, Pixar, Sony Pictures and Dreamworks animation studios.

Clips will be broadcast nationwide on television as well as in cinemas, and may be picked up by supporting agencies as well.