We have many public holidays in Singapore but Aug 9 has always been special.
But this year’s National Day is unique because due to Covid concerns, the celebrations to mark our 56th year of independence will be more muted, with the cancellation of the heartland fireworks and Red Lions displays that were supposed to happen this weekend.
There will be a ceremonial parade on Aug 9 at the Marina Bay floating platform but the parade itself has been postponed to Aug 21.
Nevertheless, there are still many ways we can celebrate this year’s theme of “Together Our Singapore Spirit”, aside from singing (and dancing to!) the very-catchy National Day song!
Here are some ways that you can feel the Singapore spirit during this National Day period:
Support local food culture
A central part of our identity is our unique food culture.
From satay to chilli crab, hawker food has the power to bring us together as one united people — to makan!
Unfortunately, the F&B industry has borne the brunt of Covid over the last two years. It is especially tough going with the second Heightened Alert stopping us from dining-in. So for National Day, why not get something to dapao at a nearby hawker centre or take a trip to help out your local cafe?
Or you could stay in and take advantage of some of the NDP promotions this year. If you do, remember to give your delivery rider an encouraging word of kindness or leave a tip if you think they have done a good job.
Listen to local musical talent
The local music scene in Singapore is ever-evolving, with homegrown musicians and bands making breakthroughs in the industry despite the challenging time.
In fact, this year’s NDP 2021 theme song, The Road Ahead, is performed by four local musicians and has been a hit with Singaporeans, who have grown used to criticising any NDP song that isn’t Home.
Perhaps it’s a return to telling personal stories that struck a chord with us, so tired after a year or more of dealing with Covid challenges.
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The music video itself also showcases the determination that Singaporeans have in them — with most of the song composed within eight months, as well as the graphics that were digitally sketched one frame at a time!
Of course, if you feel up to it, you can also take things to the next level and try out the National Day dance to go with the song. And post it on TikTok perhaps?
If your musical tastes lie elsewhere, there are other options too, as well, such as the Singapore Symphony Orchestra’s National Day online concert on 29 August — tickets are available on SISTIC.
And on Aug 9 itself, you can tune in to the Gardens by the Bay and Mediacorp National Day Concert for an hour-long virtual concert experience set against the lush backdrop of Gardens’ icons.
Discover local culture and the arts
For the month of August, the Esplanade has a host of festivities lined up to celebrate the Singapore spirit.
Through Red Dot August, the Esplanade hopes to embrace and include different communities by giving them a stage to express themselves through the arts and giving them an outlet to explore their talents.
For example, you can check out Echoes from the Other Side by the Diverse Abilities Dance Collective, a division of Maya Dance Theatre. The inclusive dance collective started in 2018, with the dream of providing a semi-professional dance platform for persons of all abilities.
The National Museum has also arranged for an array of music performances and storytelling sessions and activities like workshops or even a scavenger hunt that takes you on a journey through Singapore’s history.
But if you just want a casual evening stroll, you can simply take a walk around some of our local heritage monuments, which will be lit for the occasion.
Contribute to the community
Spreading the Singapore spirit to needy communities is a way of showcasing our inclusivity as a society.
As this year’s NDP theme also calls on Singaporeans to stand firm with our can-do attitude, unity and resilience — let’s continue to nurture the Singapore spirit of contributing towards our local communities.
For starters, you can donate money, volunteer your time at non-profit organisations or fundraise for charitable causes — via charitable platforms like Giving.sg.
Spruce up your surroundings!
If there is one thing that expresses our Singapore spirit, it’s spreading positivity.
Be it a simple greeting to everyday heroes like bus drivers, delivery riders or showing concern to a neighbour — such acts of kindness can go a long way, even if it might seem small on the surface.
In fact, showing kindness in our local community during this period is even more important now during this period — where we can easily get caught up with the negativity in the news.
By displaying kindness to others, it can not only brighten someone else’s day, but it gives them motivation to pass it on to others as well!
With that in mind, why not take the red and white to the next level and decorate your surroundings with our national colours?
Decorate your HDB corridor or condo estate in colours of red and white as part of a competition organised by Singapore Kindness Movement’s Hoodchampions.
For National Day, show off your Singapore spirit and stand to win shopping vouchers and an exclusive kindness goodie bag! The competition is open till the end of August and instructions can be found at the Hoodchampions website
Boost your chances of winning by involving your neighbours and start decorating together!
It would be a great way of wearing our Singaporean hearts on our sleeves to celebrate our nation’s 56th birthday!