They wanted to honour people our society who are often in the shadows.
To this end, Mr Mark Lim and his friend, Mr Shakir Sazali, created a series of porcelain figurines to honour domestic workers, security guards, karung guni men and roadworks workers.
The project, called Lokal Heroes, are a nod to "less popular folks" in society, said Mr Lim, who is the associate creative director of design and communications agency Splash.
He said: "People such as foreign workers and blue-collar workers like security guards and rag-and-bone men are part of our modern landscape. They work hard to keep Singapore... running smoothly.
"We wanted to make a statement about the roles they play in our nation this National Day."
He also threw in a fifth figurine to honour our politicians, who work quietly and also sometimes have to push through "less popular" policies.
The idea for the project, which was conceived in January, will come to fruition at a launch event next Friday.
The public will be able to place orders for the figurines, which cost S$16.90 each. The white figurines are 7cm tall and have a 4cm-wide base.
The designers roped in local toy-making company Mighty Jaxx to produce the figurines in its manufacturing facility in China.
Mr Lim hopes that the series will prompt thought and conversation among Singaporeans about these heroes.
This ground-up initiative can hopefully be a starting point for creating a more open, gracious, and inclusive society, he said.
Mr Lim and his team hope the figurines will appeal to avid toy collectors as well as Singaporeans who are keen to support the cause of honouring local heroes.
"If the series does well, we might create other characters, such as beer aunties at the coffee shops, parking enforcement officers and foodcourt cleaners," he said.
Some people are already thinking of buying a Lokal Hero figurine.
Undergraduate Firdaus Bahruddin said he wanted to get the security guard figurine, which is cheekily dubbed "Uncle Jagah" (Jaga is guard in Malay).
The 21-year-old explained: "These figurines signify the contributions and hard work (certain groups of) people... have put into Singapore's development.
"Getting them will remind us to be grateful for their service.
"Besides, I will also feel more secure when I sleep every night knowing that he'll watch over me on the top of my shelf."
They work hard to keep Singapore... running smoothly. We wanted to make a statement about the roles they play in our nation..."
- Mr Mark Lim on our local heroes
This article was first published on August 2, 2014.
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