50 projects for Singapore's 50th birthday

Jeanette Tan
50 projects for Singapore's 50th birthday

50 nation-building initiatives. 50 years of independence. 2015.
What they all have in common: an idea spawned by two individuals running a small production company.
Business partners Philip Wu and Evelyn Lau hope that by the time Singapore turns 50 in two years time, their grand scheme, called SG2015, will be able to present 50 small but meaningful projects as "gifts" to the nation.
Project starters with credible ideas will be supported by the Central Singapore District and Grid_Synergy, a trans-media start-up run by Wu and Lau, and will spend the coming two years nurturing their projects in time for August 2015, when the country's 50th birthday comes round.

 They've already got two going since last year — one has brought a group of hearing-impaired youth to victory at a regional dragon-boating competition, while the other has benefited some 2,000 elderly Singaporeans in need by fulfilling their wishes.
Two others were launched on Tuesday morning, one spearheaded by Member of Parliament Denise Phua and another by radio personalities The Flying Dutchman (Mark van Cuylenburg) and Chris Henson.

Phua's is called "Milk and Diapers", an initiative that starts within her constituency, Moulmein-Kallang GRC, to crowd-source and pool supplies of diapers (both for babies and adults) and funds to purchase them, and in turn distribute them to families in need — not necessarily the poorest, though, as they are taken care of by the government, but those who, in her words,  "fall through the cracks".
"Singapore is a land of 'milk and honey' to many who live here, but there are still some who fall through the cracks," she told Yahoo! Singapore. "The lowest-income group is well eye-balled by (the) government and charities… (and) my volunteers and I have met families of elderly disabled residents who do not qualify for public assistance and genuinely have difficulty affording adult diapers and milk."
Phua, who is also the president of Singapore's autism resource centre, said she is personally hand-holding the project with the support of her fellow MPs and several volunteers, and is currently focusing on collecting funds and making bulk purchases of diapers, while identifying families in need and delivering the diapers to them.
"It will happen for as long as needed and as long as there are sufficient donors, givers and recipients," she said.
Grooming local musical talent, a song and a remix for Singapore

Meanwhile, Cuylenburg and Henson hope to revive Singapore's music scene to the way it was in the '70s and early '80s — when acts like Tokyo Square, October Cherries and Naomi & The Boys were big names.
"People like Gingerbread, Tokyo Square, Speedway… They're still playing in clubs, they're still playing in pubs, and are older today, and forgotten," said Henson. "My vision for the future would be to get that feel back. To have a Singapore by the citizen," he added.
Their plan: to enlist the help of local veteran singer-songwriter Dudley Nonis to guide budding musicians under eight-week programmes, and in the process, they will record an original composition of their own, as well as contribute to a citizen-built National Day song in time for 2015.
"You've got many people who can write, or play the piano or any melody, or play the guitar, for instance, but how do you put this into a proper arrangement of a song — from the intro right up to the ending with choruses and verses, and also lyrics to it?" said Nonis, who at one point in his career was responsible for writing a song that topped music charts in the U.S.
He shared that the National Day Parade songs over the years are "very good written songs", but the era of Stand Up for Singapore and We are Singapore needs to be transitioned into something more dynamic.
"There are some songs done during other National Days over the years and they just died off… so you only hear the basic Stand Up for Singapore or Count on Me, Singapore. They're good songs, but you have to have something (new) in that kind of flavour, but in a different way."
Meanwhile, former Singapore deejay Judeson Pereira, who once spun topless with his foot at Elvis Singapore, is undertaking a two-year personal project: to create a two-hour remix of some 250 songs — both local and international — tracking music from 1965 to 2015.
"They (local bands past and present) are Singapore. So I want to revive all of this," he explained. "In America, why do present generations still reflect on the old music? They never want it to die, and it's been inculcated — whereas in Singapore the old music, be it from overseas or local talent, is all gone."
To Pereira, music is the foundation of life, with everyone being brought up with music, and it is "what keeps us going".
"So I'm trying to bring the old, blend it with the new, overseas blended with local and put them all in one package so in 2015 I will give it to them, to the people of Singapore," he added. "(It's) something I can give back; my way of saying I've done something for the country, for the people."
SG2015 is looking for volunteers to participate in its ongoing projects, or for people with ideas for projects to pitch them. If you would like to pitch a project or join any of the ongoing projects, please visit http://sg2015.com for more information.