Old time capsule not found, but Singapore has new one to preserve local athletes' legacy

The Aspirations time capsule - contraining 50 items that symbolise Singapores sporting aspirations - was officially laid on Feb 15, 2016.
The Aspirations time capsule - contraining 50 items that symbolise Singapores sporting aspirations - was officially laid on Feb 15, 2016.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

SINGAPORE - The search for it spanned more than three years. A construction firm was even in talks to hire an X-ray machine at an estimated cost of $100,000 to find it. A reward of $50,000 for its discovery was also put up.

Alas, local sports officials have conceded that the original sports time capsule, buried in 1970 with the foundation stone of the old National Stadium, has not been found.

The copper cylindrical capsule was carried from Empress Place to the National Stadium by a relay team of runners, and it was laid underground by then-Finance Minister Goh Keng Swee.

In the mean time, a spanking new National Stadium has come up in place of Kallang's Grand Old Dame. And with it, a new time capsule, bearing vastly different items from the newspapers and local currency notes in the original capsule, was unveiled on Monday.

The new capsule, named "Aspirations", contains 50 items symbolic of Singapore's sporting achievements and aspirations. Among the items sealed inside the 600kg, 1.4-cubic metre steel capsule are running shoes and vest worn by national sprinter Shanti Pereira, who blazed to victory in the 200m sprint at last year's SEA Games, and local swim king Joseph Schooling's swim cap.

And this time, the capsule - which will help preserve a legacy for Singapore sports - will not be lost. For it has been sealed and laid above the ground in front of the SEA Games cauldron at the Stadium Riverside Walk, a 750m promenade that runs along the Kallang River,

The Aspiration capsule will be unearthed in 2040, when Singapore turns 75.

Apart from sports equipment contributed by the Republic's athletes, a framed copy of the speech made by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during the official opening of the Singapore Sports Hub last July was also encased inside.

Said Mr Richard Seow, chairman of Sport Singapore, who unveiled the capsule yesterday: "The time capsule reflects our belief in Singapore's youth. As we look towards the next 25 years with a view towards SG Future, it is how we strive to live better through sport that will take us forward with each new generation. And it is with grit, strength and determination that each generation will quietly keep the Singapore spirit burning bright.

"This time capsule serves to keep Singapore's sporting legacy alive for the next generation."

Said former national gymnast Lim Heem Wei, who contributed one of the leotards she had worn when she trained for the London 2012 Olympic Games: "It's cool to be able to contribute in this way. Sport has been a huge part of my life since I was young. And even though I am out of the competitive scene, in this way for the next 25 years, I feel that I'm connected to sport."