Art, food and forums part of year-long celebrations for Singapore’s 50th birthday bash

SG50 steering committee member Philip Jeyaretnam, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong and Education Minister Heng Swee Keat at the press conference unveiling more details for SG50. (Photo courtesy of MCCY)

It’s going to be one massive year-long birthday bash, and everyone’s invited.

From eating parties, museum and art gallery openings to regional sporting events, a wide range of activities and key events will mark Singapore’s 50th birthday next year.

Citizens of “all walks of life” are encouraged to participate and initiate ground-up activities to celebrate “SG50”, the umbrella bringing everything together.

These events, starting from the Marina Bay Singapore countdown on New Year’s Eve this year, were unveiled by the SG50 steering committee led by Minister of Education Heng Swee Keat, and Minister for Community development, Culture and Youth Lawrence Wong.

Food will be a big theme in bringing people, citizens and non-citizens alike, together.

Inspired by food-related ideas contributed over a two-month period at the start of the year, a grassroots-level project called “Let’s Makan” will support interested individuals in organising up to 300 potluck home-cooked food sessions among small groups  of neighbours this year, with even more aimed to be held next year.

Another project starting from the last quarter of this year until late next year is the SG50 Lecture Series. Here, local and international thought leaders will come together in a series of conferences and forums to reflect on the nation’s achievements, as well as consider scenarios for the future.

The Care & Share @SG50 Movement — where the government will match dollar-for-dollar any donations made to some 209 participating charities and organisations — also have community-level activities planned throughout the course of this year, with more coming up next year.

So far, participating charities have raised some $90 million up until April this year — a figure officials said is “on track” to achieving their aim of the charities raising up to $250 million that the government will match. It’s also mobilised some 31,000 volunteers across over 330 charity events held under the initiative.

Other projects are aimed at involving youth in Singapore, such as “My SG Trails and Exhibitions”, where students from different levels share aspects of Singapore they are proud of and want to share.

Replacing the Singapore Youth Festival will be “Youth Celebrate!”, an event on 11 April next year that will bring together performances, uniformed group drills and a charity football game pitting 50 primary school children against the Singapore national team.

Also converging with these initiatives in 2015 are the opening of the National Museum in September, the National Gallery in November, the national day parade and the two regional sporting events — the 28th SEA Games and the 8th Para Games.

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