THE meaning of Singapore's 50th birthday celebrations is not something to be decided by the Government or by themes or slogans, said Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin.
It is something each Singaporean has to decide for himself, he added yesterday.
"I don't know what your views about SG50 are... (is it) one big propaganda event, but the whole purpose really is for us to celebrate who we are and what we have," he told a crowd of tertiary students and company managers.
"Hopefully in our own way we will learn to understand what this whole 50th year means for us and, at the same time, think about what has brought us here and what is going to take us there for the next 50 years."
Although Singaporeans are sometimes self-deprecating and critical, there are still a phenomenal number of things to be proud of, said Mr Tan, who co-chairs the SG50 Economic and International Committee,at an SG50 competition by Spring Singapore.
The event at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre saw students telling stories of firms that have contributed to Singapore's growth, including bakery Gardenia Singapore and petrochemical giant ExxonMobil Asia Pacific.
They used videos, sculptures and interactive displays which were judged by a panel and voted on by the public.
Teams from the National University of Singapore (NUS), the Singapore Institute of Technology and Nanyang Polytechnic were among the winners, receiving up to $10,000 each. Their works will tour the country in an exhibition in the middle of the year.
NUS undergraduate Cheong Ying Hui, 22, whose winning team created a video, photo booth and game to chronicle 40-year-old company Bok Seng Logistics' story, said they saw a different side of logistics, one that directly relates to daily life.
She was surprised to learn that Bok Seng has transported and installed many pedestrian bridges, including the iconic Helix Bridge in Marina Bay.
"They normally work in the middle of the night, so not many people know what they do," she said. "There're actually hidden heroes behind what we see."
This article was first published on Feb 11, 2015.
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