Spreading the Singapore spirit: 5 interesting ways some are celebrating National Day

(Clockwise from top left) Private-hire driver Henry Ho, the former St Andrew's Mission Hospital, carpenter Tan Koon Tat, participants of an Automobile Association of Singapore trip who will be driving more than 22,000km from London to Singapore, and
(Clockwise from top left) Private-hire driver Henry Ho, the former St Andrew's Mission Hospital, carpenter Tan Koon Tat, participants of an Automobile Association of Singapore trip who will be driving more than 22,000km from London to Singapore, and home-grown performers Music Heart Band.PHOTOS: GIN TAY, LIANHE WANBAO, LIANHE ZAOBAO, TOH TING WEI, SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

SINGAPORE - The 54th National Day Parade will take place on Friday (Aug 9) at the Padang, and heartland areas such as Bishan and Woodlands will be hosting fireworks displays too.

As the nation gears up for its birthday, we look at some interesting ways Singaporeans are commemorating the day.

1. A musical tribute, Singapore-style

Home-grown performers Music Heart Band have filmed a Mandarin cover of songs about Singapore that were released in the 1980s to 2000s.

The medley of musical numbers, which include favourites such as We Will Get There by Stefanie Sun and Tanya Chua's Where I Belong, was shared on the group's social media platforms last Friday.

The video, which reflects the xinyao or Singapore's contemporary Mandarin song genre, has received praise from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

He wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday: "Quite a nostalgic tribute to Singapore's 54th birthday! For those who grew up with some of these melodies, I hope they bring back happy memories too!"

2. Riding on the National Day spirit

Private-hire driver Henry Ho made headlines earlier this month for decorating his car with self-made stickers related to Singapore. He also has a birthday cake model installed at the front of his car.

In addition, the Gojek driver has an entire custom-made National Day-themed outfit.

Passengers enjoy songs from his National Day music collection, as well as free Singapore flags, when they take a ride in his car.

Mr Ho has been decorating his car with National Day-related themes for more than 10 years.

The 63-year-old, who earns about $4,000 a month, told The Straits Times that he estimates he has spent between $1,000 and $1,500 this year on his various efforts, similar to the sums he forked out in previous years.

He said: "For me, I will continue to do this until the day I die."

3. Driving home a message

A group of car enthusiasts are giving new meaning to the phrase "driving home".

On Saturday, 31 participants on an Automobile Association of Singapore trip will be driving more than 22,000km from London to Singapore to mark this year's National Day as well as the bicentennial - the 200th anniversary of Sir Stamford Raffles' arrival in Singapore. They have flown to London and will be flagged off by the Singapore High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ms Foo Chi Hsia, on Saturday.


Some of the participants on the Automobile Association of Singapore trip. They will be driving more than 22,000km from London to Singapore. PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

The trip will take 92 days, with the group expected to reach Singapore on Nov 7.

Retiree See Lew Hang, 82, who is one of the trip's participants, said: "I am looking forward the most to the sense of accomplishment I will get from this trip and to fulfil my goal of being able to see the world."

4. Homage to the Lion City

Carpenter Tan Koon Tat has spread the National Day spirit by installing a 1.3m-tall island-shaped structure in his neighbourhood, at Block 178 Woodlands Street 13.

A mannequin designed to be Sang Nila Utama is placed on top of the structure, facing a lion model. This depicts the legend of how Singapore got its original name of Singapura more than 700 years ago.


Carpenter Tan Koon Tat with his 1.3m-tall island-shaped structure in his neighbourhood, at Block 178 Woodlands Street 13. ST PHOTO: TOH TING WEI

There are four sections on the sides of the structure, each representing a block of 50 years from 1819 till today and showing key points in that period of history.

"The media kept reporting about this year being the bicentennial year, so I decided to do something related to it and let people learn more about it," said Mr Tan, who also puts up decorations for other festivities such as Christmas and Chinese New Year.

5. Coming together to celebrate

Besides individuals, organisations are also rallying people to celebrate National Day together. Art market organiser The Local People has partnered the Singapore Land Authority to host art installations at the former St Andrew's Mission Hospital.


I Am Citizen, a one-day affair by market organiser The Local People and the Singapore Land Authority, marks the first open house of the former St Andrew's Mission Hospital, which is usually off-limits to the public. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Titled "I am Citizen", the event on Aug 9 will also feature music, art booths and a livestreaming of the National Day Parade.

Meanwhile, the National Museum of Singapore will be hosting a National Day Open House.

 

The event, which will take place on Friday and Saturday, includes a screening of films about the country and an exhibition on local food packaging.