Celebrating Singapore’s Golden Jubilee
Over the last half-century since the country gained independence, the cultural scene in Singapore has evolved on an incredible scale. 2015 marks the Singapore Golden Jubilee and the entire year has been dedicated to honouring and celebrating the country’s achievements across the spectrum.
The cultures that make up the Singapore population come from far and wide, with a fusion of Asian and European influences including those from Britain, Holland, South East Asia and Australia. The nation thrived under British rule during the 19th century and, after gaining independence in 1965, their cultural, economic and social development and status continued to go from strength to strength. Today, the nation is considered to be one of the greatest places to live in the world and has a flourishing cultural scene.
The Singapore Golden Jubilee is dedicated to celebrating the milestone of reaching 50 years’ of independence and acknowledging the nation’s incredible accomplishments, especially considering their small size. Activities and events have been created under many banners, including Culture and Community, Education, Youth and Environment. These are all aimed towards bringing the entire Singaporean family together and encouraging active participation across the community.
Amongst a number of meaningful, personal events, one of the most significant has been the SG Heart Map Project. This map is a result of the 80,000 stories collected from Singaporeans that detail the places where they live, work, socialise and eat and those that have factored most significantly in their lives. 50 of the most frequently mentioned locations have been marked out on the map to reflect the diversity of the island nation and to acknowledge some of the most memorable tales, weaving them together through the idea of sharing. Many of these stories acknowledge the development of Singapore over time, as the different stories across generations reveal just how much particular landmarks have evolved and changed.
Minister Grace Fu praised the Map as, “a fabric of memories and aspirations as a nation.” Favourite locations include classic spots such as Orchard Road and Tiong Bahru, as well as those that have appeared on the map more recently, such as the Singapore Sports Hub and Marina Barrage. These stories reveal the vibrant cultural scene that has emerged since independence. The unveiling of the map was introduced in collaboration with five dedicated guided tours that will take place during the Singapore Golden Jubilee in zones around the city throughout June, July and August, allowing people to enjoy these destinations through immersive activities.
Fun and games
During the Singapore Golden Jubilee, the country will also play host to the 28th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in June, from the 5th to the 16th of the month. Focused on the theme of “Celebrating the Extraordinary,” the games will celebrate the strength and achievements of the human spirit and are featured as part of a wider initiative, including 50 community projects and school programmes. There is also an album that has been put together using songs from local, homegrown talent. Music is an important feature of the local cultural scene, and the city’s Museum of Independent Music is holding an experiential showcase to explore the history of local musicians through a series of multi-sensory exhibitions. This is a perfect example of how the nation is celebrating its talent by using its talent; there is a real passion behind every aspect of the Singapore Golden Jubilee that just reinforces the strength of the nation’s arts scene.
The old and the new
The Singapore Golden Jubilee tells the story of the country’s past, present and future. The Singapore Story exhibition at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre runs from March until the end of June; this tells the story of the development of the nation through a series of 300 specially commissioned oil paintings. ‘The Tools that Built Singapore’ showcase will display the tools used by the pioneering Singaporean generation between the 1940s-80s. At the other end of the spectrum, the Urban Sustainability R&D Congress 2015 that takes place in July will examine the future of Singapore and the development of solutions to deal with the challenges it will face in sustainable development.
There will also be a number of events held throughout the entire year to mark the Singapore Golden Jubilee, allowing tourists to enjoy the heritage of the city in a variety of innovative ways. With food playing such a central part in any culture, the Let’s Makan initiative has been designed to allow people to bond over food with potluck sessions featuring home cooked meals. A treasure hunt ‘Treasure SG’ will also take place throughout the year, with treasure hidden every month at places of historical and cultural significance. Clues will be revealed on Treasure SG’s social media pages in formats including Sudoku puzzles, word riddles and pictures.
Perhaps the biggest and most highly anticipated Singapore Golden Jubilee, or ‘SG50’, celebration is the Jubilee Weekend that will take place over the weekend of 7-10th August. The President has declared this a public holiday to allow people across the nation to come together and commemorate the milestone. Minister Heng Swee Keat, the Chairman of the SG50 Steering Committee, explains how the Jubilee Weekend activities will, “celebrate what we cherish… our achievements in the music, arts and sports, and all the places around Singapore that hold a special place in our hearts.”
Over the weekend, museums, galleries and centres will be holding special events to celebrate the Singapore Golden Jubilee, including those taking place at the Botanic Gardens, Art Museum, Philatelic Museum, National Library and Ministry of Education Heritage Centre. A special Jubilee Walk that covers significant locations across the city will be available in the autumn while the Marina Bay will also be hosting a number of dedicated activities and exhibitions. Gardens by the Bay will display a floral depiction of the story of Singapore, along with a music and light show. The Marina will also hold a huge Family Picnic on the 7-8th August with bouncy castles, musical performance and an aerial display.
When in Singapore, Chic Collection recommends staying at the beautiful Raffles Singapore – a true representation of the country’s colourful history.