As Singapore turns 58, here are some interesting ways you can celebrate all things Singaporean this National Day.
TEXT: MELODY TAN
PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK, SINGAPORE CIVIL DEFENCE FORCE, HOMETEAMNS
The National Day Parade is at the heart of Singapore’s birthday festivities every year. Whether you’re watching it on TV or enjoying the festive atmosphere at the Padang, this year’s parade promises plenty. There’s plenty to take in, like a fresh spin on Total Defence, heartland celebrations and a flypast that celebrates the RSAF’s 55th anniversary. This year, there’s even an afterparty – a blowout concert at the Gardens By the Bay where Kit Chan will bring out the feels with that perennial National Day fave, Home.
LEARNING ABOUT HISTORY AND CULTURE
Singapore may be only 58, but its history stretches way beyond that. One great way to pay homage to the past is by walking its heritage trails. The Jubilee Walk trail covers Singapore’s development from 14th century regional trading hub to colonial port and eventually, independent nation. Don’t miss the neighbourhood trails. These include Balestier and Yishun-Sembawang where you can recharge at HomeTeamNS clubhouses after your walk.
You can also learn more about the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and Singapore Police Force (SPF) by following the Police Heritage Trail, or one of these trails that begin from a HomeTeamNS clubhouse. Visit the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery at 62 Hill Street for a look into the past, present and future of firefighting and rescue operations in Singapore.
If you prefer air-conditioning to trail walking, you can visit Chinatown, Kampong Glam, Little India or the Eurasian Heritage Gallery. From 3 October, the public has free admission to The Battlebox in Fort Canning Park, the underground command centre where the British surrendered to the Japanese in World War II.
TAKING PART IN ADVENTURE RALLY
It’s the race of the year at the HomeTeamNS Adventure Rally 2023. So, rally (pun intended) your family and friends to take part in either the Open or Family category. Starting from HomeTeamNS Khatib, you’ll drive your team to three other HomeTeamNS clubhouses where you’ll be sent on Singapore-themed missions and tasks in this #ProudlySingaporean race on Sunday, 13 Aug 2023, from 7.40am to 3pm.
At least one person from each team should have a Class 3/3A driving license, and if you choose the Family category, at least one of your team members should be aged between 7 and 14 years old. Be sure to register early to avoid missing out on this one-of-a-kind way to celebrate National Day on wheels!
SAVOURING HERITAGE MEALS
Celebrate Singapore’s hawker culture on one of its many food trails, from Geylang to Chinatown and Katong. There’s nothing more local than our hawker culture, which was recognised in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2020.
These days, Singapore’s foodie culture is evolving. From modern twists on Nanyang coffee to eggs Benedict prata, young hawkerpreneurs and restauranteurs are putting their own spins on heritage recipes. Pair your old-school teh tarik with ramen-inspired wanton noodles, or dive into the seafood-based feasts of the Orang Laut.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Want to pay it forward? The Giving.sg portal has over a thousand campaigns supporting hundreds of local causes. Spend time with seniors, support animal welfare or do your part for the environment. Volunteering as a group is also a great way to do something meaningful alongside loved ones.
If you have a cause you’re passionate about, you can start your own fundraiser on Giving.sg and ask your social network to give generously. Another way to give back to the community? Home Team Volunteer Schemes, which offer numerous programmes ranging from neighbourhood patrols to being a befriender with the Singapore Prison Service.
SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESSES
Another way you can fly the flag? Shop local! Cheeky t-shirts and gifts from When I Was Four, trinkets from Nana & Bird and curated local brands on Independent Market show just how far local brands have evolved. It’s a far cry from the good old days of Tiger Balm, which went from a Singapore-made ointment to global favourite in 100 years. Today, even celebrities like Lady Gaga and Gwyneth Paltrow sing the praises of Tiger Balm, which is still sold in its iconic hexagonal jar.
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