Young animators provide fresh takes on Total Defence

CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School students (from left) Toh Jing Wen Venice, Chew Xuan Tong, Katriel Lee Xuan and Teo Xin Yue Lydia clinched first prize in their category of the annual N.E.mation! competition with a 30-second animated clip urging Singapo
CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School students (from left) Toh Jing Wen Venice, Chew Xuan Tong, Katriel Lee Xuan and Teo Xin Yue Lydia clinched first prize in their category of the annual N.E.mation! competition with a 30-second animated clip urging Singaporeans to protect their personal data. PHOTO: ASIA PR WERKZ

A 30-second animated clip urging Singaporeans to protect their personal data by creating stronger passwords clinched the first prize in a student category of the annual N.E.mation! competition.

The video features an anthropomorphic computer virus that steals a girl's personal information, until three "digital defenders" come to her rescue, showing her how to create a stronger password to protect her data.

The clip was created by Toh Jing Wen Venice and Chew Xuan Tong, both 14, and Katriel Lee Xuan and Teo Xin Yue Lydia, both 13, from CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School and competing under the name the.tater.tots.

This June, they will enjoy an all-expenses paid learning trip to New Zealand, where they will visit renowned animation and effects studios Weta Workshop and Watermark Creative.

When asked why they chose to focus on Digital Defence, the newest of the six pillars of Total Defence, team member Xuan Tong told The Straits Times: "As we are in the digital century, technology is in our everyday lives. We are more vulnerable to online threats and we want to spread awareness of that."

Her teammate, Katriel, added: "We would like to inform the public about online safety, and that you can start being safe by creating a strong password and being responsible."

Besides digital defence, the other pillars of Total Defence are: military defence, civil defence, economic defence, social defence and psychological defence.

Held annually since 2007, N.E.mation! is organised by Nexus, the Ministry of Defence agency overseeing National Education and Total Defence.

The theme of this year's edition is "Together We Keep Singapore Strong", with more than 250 teams taking part. Each team's video had to capture this theme within the designated 30-second time limit.

The runner-up in the category for secondary school students was a team called TheArtofDefence(II) from Maris Stella High School, comprising Lee Zhe Fang and Verloysius Peh, both 15, and Lim Rui Heng and Marcus Lam, both 14.

They produced a clip that shows how Singaporeans have encapsulated each pillar of Total Defence throughout its history.

Their animation uses headlines from The Straits Times articles from 1952 to 2019 to demonstrate the passage of time, referring to events such as the collapse of Hotel New World in 1986 and the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak in 2003.

Maris Stella High School students (clockwise from top left) Lee Zhe Fang, Lim Rui Heng, Marcus Lam and Verloysius Peh came in second in the category for secondary school students. They produced a clip showing how Singaporeans have encapsulated each p
Maris Stella High School students (clockwise from top left) Lee Zhe Fang, Lim Rui Heng, Marcus Lam and Verloysius Peh came in second in the category for secondary school students. They produced a clip showing how Singaporeans have encapsulated each pillar of Total Defence throughout its history. PHOTO: SWEET

Drawing inspiration from the cartoons and Japanese anime they enjoyed growing up, they created a video showing that "any Singaporean can step up and exemplify the pillars of Total Defence".

For their efforts, each member won a tablet computer and a two-year licence for animation software Cacani.

In addition to the category open to secondary school students aged 13 to 16, there was also a youth category for students aged 17 to 25 from post-secondary institutions.

The first prize under the youth category went to Huat Ah! 888, a team of students from Nanyang Polytechnic seeking to encourage citizens to look out for one another.

In their video, an elderly woman who faints near her void deck is assisted by members of the SGSecure Responders' Network.

The SGSecure Responders' Network is made up of a community of volunteers trained in emergency skills, who, through the SGSecure app, can volunteer to be mobilised during a crisis.

Said the victors: "We think that the first responder feature is a good way for citizens with the necessary life-saving skills to reach out to those who need them."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2020, with the headline Young animators provide fresh takes on Total Defence. Subscribe