The All In One Guide to Celebrating SG53 (2018 Edition)
If we were to actually sit down and think about it, it is honestly remarkable how much Singapore has achieved despite being only 53 years young. That being said, it’s the time of the year again where we raise our flags, celebrate the nation’s achievements and roll our eyes or shake our heads in disdain at the embarrassing sounding NDP song, or maybe not this year.
“We Are Singapore”
Unlike previous years, this year’s NDP song, “We Are Singapore” is a remake of the classic original 1987 song, whose lyrics were actually derived from a 1966 speech made by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Fast forward to 2018. This song is given a new twist and gives us hope that future NDP songs are headed towards a more hopeful direction. It features both up and rising Singaporean singers and those who have already made their mark in the industry such as Charlie Lim, Joanna Dong, Aisyah Aziz and Shak’thiya. This innovative and clever remake of the original proves that the old and new can actually co-exist together, maybe except for the awkward rap of the national day pledge, which didn’t seem to sit too well with the song.
Catch The Live Fireworks Display For Free
Fireworks are an uncommon sight in Singapore and when it does happen, whose to stop us from catching sight of it, even if tickets for the NDP show at the Float @ Marina Bay have all been snagged up. For those of you out there who didn’t manage to get your tickets, fret not. We’ve consolidated a list of family friendly place where you can gather round with your family and friends to catch the spectacular fireworks display, for free! Just remember to be there early to snag a spot though the fireworks usually go off between 8:15pm – 8:30pm.
1. Helix Bridge & Benjamin Sheares Bridge
This is the closest you’ll get to the floating platform, for free. Due to its proximity to the floating platform, you can be assured a bird’s eye view of the fireworks display, making it a popular destination for many. Be sure to arrive early to secure a good spot!
2. Marina Barage
If you prefer to simply sit and relax with food, yet don’t wish to spend so much on restaurants, the rooftop garden is an excellent place to watch the sky light up as you indulge in your home made food
3. One Fullerton
Another popular spot to catch the live fireworks display is One Fullerton as it faces MBS directly. If you’re feeling slightly peckish, there are a range of alfresco kid friendly eating places to dine at as you watch the fireworks take over the night sky.
4. Merlion Park
At the Merlion Park, you will get to enjoy a stunning display of fireworks together with Singapore’s iconic Merlion statue. It is advisable to come down early before it gets dark so you can pose for a picture with the Merlion and to also secure good spots for the fireworks display!
As Singaporeans, we love and take pride in our food and are not afraid to proclaim that “after trying food from all over the world, I still prefer the $3 coffee shop chicken rice”. As four different ethnic groups share this sunny island, we are blessed to be able to get our taste buds on different fare ranging from Laksa to Roti Prata to Nasi Lemak, leaving us spoilt for choice! As we take a step further into celebrating another year of independence, we’ve round up 6 local dishes that every true blue Singaporean has definitely feasted upon!
As a dish that has its roots in the Peranakan culture, there are two main kinds of Laksa: Curry Laksa and Assam Laksa. Most people would be more familiar with the traditional curry laksa often sold at our neighbourhood coffee shops. The dish comprises rice vermicelli, bean curd puffs, fish sticks, shrimps and cockles served in curry based soup with a dollop of coconut milk. A dash of Vietnamese coriander is also added for garnish.
2. Chicken Rice
Traditionally known as Hainanese Chicken Rice, the recipe for this dish was derived from early Chinese immigrants from the Hainan Island, hence the name. The whole chicken is immersed in sub-boiling water to poach it before soaking it in cold water to ensure that the meat remains tender. The rice is then usually cooked with the chicken stock used from poaching the chicken, garlic, ginger and pandan leaves which compliments the chicken well. Top it with a very potent chili sauce: a blend of garlic and red chili, and some extra dark sweet soya sauce, this dish is good to go! As one of Singapore’s national and most celebrated dishes, your trip to the local coffee shop would be incomplete without a plate of piping hot chicken rice.
3. Roti Prata
This interesting dish speaks volumes about Singapore as a inter-racial country. It hails from India, has a Malay name, and is eaten by majority of Singaporeans! It is essentially a form of South Indian flatbread made by frying and flipping stretched pieces of dough dipped with butter. Traditionally, roti prata is usually served plain or with an added egg or cheese inside, together with a curry dip or sprinkled sugar. These days, some shops take it up a notch with exotic options such as poached egg prata, chocolate prata and prata bomb (prata drenched in condensed milk).
4. Nasi Lemak
Nasi Lemak, meaning ‘rich rice’ in English, is attributed to the generous amounts of coconut cream infused into the rice. This gives it a tinge of sweet fragrance, making it a very sinful dish, yet leaves one wanting to come back for more. It is usually served with fried anchovies, a fried egg, chicken wings, peanuts and sambal chilli paste. Though the traditional form of Nasi Lemak is served with items similar to those mentioned above, sans the chicken wings and fried egg.
Hailed as the king of fruits, this particular fruit gets very polarised views: you either dislike it or would cross the ends of the earth to get your hands on it. With the recent announcement of the dip in durian prices due to an oversupply of durians in Malaysia, it is common to see many scurrying down to durian vendors to get first bite. More popular durians among durian goers would be the ‘D24’ and ‘Mao Shan Wang’ which gives people the option of having it bitter or sweet. This fruit is indeed iconic of Singapore: we see the esplanade modelled after it.
6. Tau Huay
As they say, “there is always room for dessert, no matter how full you are”. This modest and simple Chinese dessert is made with extremely soft beancurd tofu and served with sugar syrup for that added sweetness. This dish can be eaten hot or cold and even gives you the option of having it with glutinous rice balls, soya milk, grass jelly or even chewy pearls. More recently, Tau Huay has taken on a modern twist with a gelatinous, jelly-like version of the traditional dessert surfacing, with added flavours such as almond, melon or durian.
A Walk Down Memory Lane: Old School Cultural Games
Long before the emergence of smartphones which made the younger generation oblivious to their surroundings, there used to exist traditional old school cultural games that probably only the 80s and 90s kids would remember. As we go one step further into independence, let’s not forget these old school games from yesteryear, which may have played a part in our childhood:
This is a pretty chill game where players simply toss a beanbag, or anything that could be tossed actually, into a t-shaped box drawn on the floor with chalk. The player must then hop towards the box to pick up the beanbag without losing his/her balance.
2. Flag Eraser Game
Children scrambling to the bookshop during recess to purchase a flag eraser of their favourite country for a mere 10 cents: a sight we will never forget. Players would take turns to flip their erasers till the winning eraser goes on top of the other, which is when the winning player gets to claim their opponent’s eraser.
3. Pick Up Sticks
This game will keep everyone at the edge of their seats as players take turns and use their fingers to pick up a single coloured stick (depending on which team you’re on) from a bunch of sticks scrambled together. The player is out of the game when he/she ‘disturbs’ another stick by accidentally moving it.
4. Tic Tac Toe
This 2 player game is a great way to kill time and all one needs is simply a pen and paper. This simple and quick game has one drawing two vertical and horizontal lines to form a ‘#’. Players take turns to draw their selected shape (circle or cross) and the game ends when the winner forms 3 similar shapes in a row.
5. Five Stones
This game has been around for the longest time ever and people used to play it with stones (hence, the name). It has now been replaced with mini bean bags typically filled with sand or uncooked rice instead. Players will first throw the first ‘stone’ in the air and catch it while attempting to pick up one of the remaining four stones on the ground. Players have to continue doing this until they have all five stones in hand.
This national day, we honour yet another year of independence and achievements as to how far we’ve come as a nation. From local fare to childhood games, Singapore may be a relatively young nation but there is so much to celebrate for. So grab your flags and wave them high in the air as we light up the sky and sing “We Are Singapore” as one.