SINGAPORE: This year’s National Day Parade (NDP) funpacks will for the first time feature designs by students from special education schools.
Thirty-eight students from 18 schools used their artistic talents to create designs for the funpacks, which come in the form of tote bags this year.
The artworks, featuring imagery such as the Singapore skyline and ordinary Singaporeans, are expressions of what Singapore means to the students and their hopes for the country as it celebrates its 53rd birthday.
There funpacks come in 18 different designs, with names such as Concrete Jungle, Harmony in Diversity and Mao Shan Wang.
“It is really wonderful to me that this year’s National Day, we also incorporate students from the special needs school,” President Halimah Yacob said on Tuesday (Jun 26) at the unveiling of the funpacks.
“That’s really significant because ... these funpacks are going to thousands of Singaporeans. That spreads the message and that’s really heartwarming.”
Mdm Halimah said she hopes the involvement of special education students is not a one-off.
"I hope that this is a strong message sent throughout society for everyone to play their part to support our special needs community, because they do have talents," she added.
"It’s not a question of we just want to showcase them. No, they have special talents and capabilities that many of us don’t have."
For Nurin Qurratu’ain Sukor, a hotel and accommodation services student from APSN Delta Senior School, the design process took three “painstaking” sessions.
The 19-year-old, who designed Concrete Jungle, started with a pencil sketch, then added water colours in red and blue, and finally outlined it with a black marker.
Qurratu’ain chose the Marine Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay because it made up Singapore’s skyline, and a fighter jet because it reminded her of last year’s NDP.
This year's funpack comprises 22 items, including a light bubble and a placard that spectators can use to participate in the parade.
Spectators can express themselves by writing messages on the placards, which have red and white sides and will be used in a “massive” audience formation during the show.
The funpack also comes with a souvenir magazine filled with fun facts about NDP 2018, and an art booklet showcasing all 18 funpack artworks, the artists’ stories and the inspirations behind their designs.
“We wanted to bring everyone on board,” said logistics and finance chairman Senior Lieutenant Colonel (SLTC) Quek Yew Sing, who also emphasised that involving special education students is in line with this year’s NDP theme of representing Singaporeans from all walks of life.
“Given that the funpacks are well sought-after, it will raise awareness and bring recognition to our young talent.”
As for the snacks in the funpacks, Khong Guan biscuits and salted egg yolk chips make a comeback from last year. There is also a muffin and cream bun.
The tote bags come with a zip, shoulder sling and an additional long sling. A total of 252,000 funpacks will be distributed at collection points at The Float @ Marina Bay.
SLTC Quek said organisers have looked at favourite funpack items, including snacks, from previous years and brought them back to reduce wastage.
"We've kept it to a bare minimum in terms of the items, and it comes with a waste bag to allow people to bag and throw properly," he said.
"We looked into the details of what made people keep the bag, that it has to be meaningful. It’s very practical, it’s a tote bag design which can be used for all walks of life."
NDP OF "GREAT SIGNIFICANCE": HALIMAH
Mdm Halimah, who will be attending the NDP for the first time as President, said she always looks forward to the "special day".
She recalled the old days when she stood by the side of the road in her housing estate just to see the parade passing through.
"There was one day when it was raining heavily, but we still went, (it) doesn’t matter," she said. "You can feel the warmth of the people attending the parade.
"It has great significance for us and I hope that it will be a day where no matter what we feel or think, we will feel that we share something in common."
Additional reporting by Noella Chye