Total Defence: Students hope to inspire others to donate blood through animation

Amir Hussain
·Senior Reporter
·3-min read
Team Changi Airport members (from left) Sakura Wong Mei Ying, Karis Lee Si En, Zhang Xiaoxin, Eunice Koo Li Wei, all 18, and their red blood cell mascot Gloobie. (PHOTO: Team Changi Airport)
Team Changi Airport members (from left) Sakura Wong Mei Ying, Karis Lee Si En, Zhang Xiaoxin, Eunice Koo Li Wei, all 18, and their red blood cell mascot Gloobie. (PHOTO: Team Changi Airport)

SINGAPORE — Through their 30-second animation of red blood cells working at a blood bank, four animation students from Nanyang Polytechnic who took part in an annual competition hope to inspire Singaporeans to do their part for Total Defence by donating blood if they are eligible to do so.

Sakura Wong Mei Ying, Karis Lee Si En, Zhang Xiaoxin, and Eunice Koo Li Wei, all 18, are part of Team Changi Airport, which is one of nine teams shortlisted in the youth category of the annual N.E.mation! competition, organised by the Ministry of Defence’s Nexus office, which promotes national education.

Total Defence is Singapore’s whole-of-society national defence concept, comprising six pillars: military, civil, economic, social, digital and psychological defence. Blood donation activities fall under the pillar of civil defence.

Total Defence Day is commemorated on 15 February of every year to mark the day in 1942 of the Fall of Singapore to Japan during World War II and the importance of national defence across the pillars.

Nexus’ annual animation competition calls on participants to share ideas of how to put Total Defence into action and the theme for this year is “Together We Keep Singapore Strong”.

The animation that Team Changi Airport has created showcases “how important it is to donate blood,” said Koo. In the clip, the blood bank’s stocks of O negative blood runs critically low; the blood group only makes up 0.6 per cent of the pool of blood donors in Singapore.

One challenge the students faced this year was receiving mentorship virtually due to the pandemic. Participants in the youth category worked with mentors from production houses Lucasfilm, Vividthree Productions and SPH-Sweet.

Team Changi Airport received mentorship from Lucasfilm. “There was constant feedback from our mentor,” said Zhang. “All the feedback that we had gave us a challenge to push ourselves to do better,” she said.

“We enjoyed working as a team and learnt to better manage our time,” she added.

Fellow team mate Lee said the group “came out of the competition a lot more knowledgable about Total Defence, in a broad sense”.

The eventual competition winner will be determined by a combination of public votes and a judging panel consisting of representatives from the government, community and industry professionals.

Nexus’ director for community engagement, senior lieutenant colonel Psalm Lew, said, “Through the N.E.mation! 2021 competition, we would like to encourage more young Singaporeans to think about how we have put Total Defence in action in Singapore’s fight against COVID-19.”

Despite the pandemic, Nexus continued to receive high quality animation clips, said Lew.

“The innovativeness of the students has impressed us. We hope that Singaporeans will enjoy the shortlisted animation clips and we would like to encourage everyone to vote and share their favourite clips.”

Members of the public can vote for their favourite N.E.mation! 2021 clips online till next Friday (12 February) online here.

The winning team will receive iPad tablets and internships at a local animation studio, among other things. The first and second runners-up will receive trophies while the remaining finalists will get plaques.

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