Wow. And just like that, we are in December. 12 months of 2015, 12 months of celebrating SG50. While I’m rather relieved that this means an end to all the obliquely SG50-related promotions by stores here, it’s a pity that our celebrations are coming to a close. We have seen an outpouring of SG50 celebrations around the world organised by our various OS communities. To round-off the year-long celebrations, earlier in November, over 800 OS and their families came together to celebrate SG50 and raise funds for Community Chest at the Singapore Community Day in London. The event was made possible with the strong support from over 100 volunteers. In Suzhou, over 250 Singaporeans came together to cap-off the SG50 celebrations with a gala dinner and later in December, the Singaporean community in Chengdu will gather for a mini Singapore Day and charity marathon.
Back home, thousands of Singaporeans turned up for the SG50 Jubilee Big Walk, traipsing down a new 8km trail that passes 23 iconic sites in the city centre. Among them is the newly launched National Gallery, steeped in our rich history and home to over 8000 artworks. It’s certainly worth a visit if you’re home for the holidays though I would recommend doing the Jubilee Walk in the evening when the weather is a lot more forgiving and sparkling city lights drape our skyline.
(Objects in the picture look more sparkly in real life)
Rounding off the year’s celebrations is the 8th ASEAN Para Games (APG) from 3 - 9 December. 2015 marks the first time that Singapore will be hosting the APG and the first time that we will be fielding athletes in all 15 sports, making it our largest contingent to date.
And just like the SEA Games, SPORT Singapore has put up billboards of our Team Singapore athletes in the heartland estates, showcasing them to the community. I share mine with 8 other athletes – 2 shooters, 1 wheelchair basketballer, 2 footballers, 1 goalballer and 2 swimmers. While the marketing is a commendable effort to increase public awareness of these sports and our national athletes, what you don’t see from the billboard is how these individuals have not let their disabilities define them.
Just in this picture alone, there’s a young swimmer who has medalled at multiple international meets, professor who has published extensively on special education and a wheelchair-bound father who intends to teach his son how to cycle, go-kart and all the other “guy things”.
You can cheer on our athletes by catching the LIVE sporting action on SPORT Singapore’s Youtube channel and on Toggle. You can also support our athletes by taking part in this #BackupAPG campaign. Every photo uploaded will be matched with a donation of $10 to the Singapore Disability Sports Council. Here’s our team doing our part for our athletes.
The final capstone SG50 event is the Future of Us exhibition which opened in December. This exhibition is an immersive experience of what our shared future in 2030 might be like. I wish I could share more but the organisers are keeping everything under wraps to surprise and delight attendees. (I’ll spill the beans after I’ve experienced it myself.) Tickets are already being snapped up but not to worry, this free exhibition will run till 8 March 2016.
No editorial piece in December would be complete without some mention of Christmas and it’s hard to ignore the festive cheer with the endlessly-looped Christmas tunes in shopping malls, Christmas sales (which replaces SG50 sales) and the Christmas light up along Orchard Road. Apart from the usual commercial celebrations, one particular Christmas fare stands out.
Nestled beneath the Supertrees, the Christmas Wonderland at Gardens By The Bay will host a whole slew of exciting activities including a special light sculpture, a century-old mirror tent, an ice skating rink, LIVE Christmas carolling,
soapy fake snowfall and a 14m tall slide. It’s currently the tallest slide in Singapore, even higher than the one at Changi Airport Terminal 3!
Let’s just hope there’s no age or height limit. Season’s greetings everyone, see you in 2016!