Monday, 2 November 2015

The Future Of Us: Book tickets for SG50 finale expo from November 2015

By Rachel Au-Yong, The Straits Times, 31 Oct 2015

People can start booking tickets from tomorrow for a special exhibition that caps the year-long SG50 celebrations.

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The Future Of Us exhibition, which offers ideas on how Singaporeans could be living in future, will open at Gardens by the Bay on Dec 1 and run till March 8, from 9am to 9pm daily, including weekends and public holidays.

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The government committee organising the exhibition said yesterday that one of the goals of the show is to get Singaporeans to "actively participate in steering Singapore to the future".

To that end, the exhibition will have regular dialogues to discuss, for example, the types of transport or housing for Singapore in future.

Different government agencies and other organisations will host these sessions. A schedule of the sessions will be announced closer to the launch of the exhibition.

Among the exhibits is a "digital wishing-well", for people to write their hopes for the country on a tablet - these will be projected onto the ceiling for others to read.

Others on display include the "Theatre of Generations", which tells a short story about Singapore's history over three generations.

The organiser urged people to think about their role and place in Singapore before going to the exhibition. They can do so by submitting their thoughts on the exhibition's website.

The website will also feature an "Ideas Bank", a selection of articles by academics, social influencers and advocates in fields such as the arts and technology.

Tickets for the exhibition, to be launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Nov 29, are free and available on Each person can book up to eight tickets each time and for any day of the following month.

3D screens, immersive tech at Future Of Us exhibition
By Pearl Lee, The Straits Times, 9 Nov 2015

The year has seen a flurry of exhibitions about Singapore's past as the country celebrates 50 years of independence, but an upcoming one will focus on the nation's future instead.

At The Future Of Us exhibition opening next month at Gardens by the Bay, visitors can read a 2030 newspaper and peer into imagined scenes of daily life in the future.

Singapore's future as a smart city, for instance, will be fleshed out by showing how one activity can generate power for another.

"For example, when a person takes steps, it powers the hot shower that someone else is taking," said Mr Gene Tan, the exhibition's creative director, who gave details of the show for the first time.

The exhibition, which caps the SG50 celebrations, will run till March and offer free entry.

It promises 3D screens and immersive technology, and does not require visitors to "read panels to understand".

The exhibition is a showcase of what has been planned by the Government and what people imagine of the future, said Mr Tan.

The organisers went through master plans, research papers and some 15,000 ideas collected from the Our Singapore Conversation initiative and youth seminars, where people shared their vision for tomorrow.

"The idea is to share with people the kind of possible cityscape we can have if we leverage everyone's imagination," he said.

Mr Tan did not disclose the cost of the exhibition, which comes under the Government's budget for the SG50 celebrations.

The show has seven parts, including four in specially built domes.

Exhibition-goers will be introduced to four characters who will walk through the show with them.

Visitors will start at The Future Express, where a press printing three sets of newspapers - from 1965, 2015 and 2030 - will be on display.

"They show the possible evolution of our values through the years," said Mr Tan.

The newspaper in 2030, he said, is "a projection of what we could be... with our values intact but evolved".

The exhibition will also have short films that tell the story of Singapore's beginnings and what its future could be like.

In one dome, visitors will be able to see how the Republic's underground and above-ground spaces and road systems are utilised.

As visitors exit the last dome, they will see a 4m-tall lion. This symbolises Singapore, said Mr Tan, and its outward-looking stance represents the city-state's journey beyond SG50.

"Our future is unbroken. Our values will evolve and keep going."

The Future Of Us exhibition: Going back to the past to look into the future
Creative director reveals inspiration for The Future Of Us
By Pearl Lee, The Straits Times, 9 Nov 2015

When Mr Gene Tan was appointed creative director of The Future Of Us exhibition in March, one of the first things he did was to examine the past.

A librarian by training and an avid reader, Mr Tan read seven books on the history of countries such as Singapore, Russia and China, including Men In White, a book about the People's Action Party.

"I became obsessed with how nations were made," said Mr Tan, who is in his 40s. As director of the National Library Board previously, he took charge of the Singapore Memory Project, where people's memories of Singapore are collected through print, audio and video.

Unlike the memory project, the new exhibition looks ahead and lays out a vision of what life in Singapore might be like in the future.

The exhibition, which runs from next month to March at Gardens by the Bay, caps a year of activities and exhibitions to mark Singapore's 50th year of independence.

Entry to the exhibition is free. Since tickets became available for booking on the exhibition's website from this month, most tickets for weekends next month have already been snapped up.

In an interview with The Straits Times and Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao last week, Mr Tan said that as he pored through the history books, he was struck by how nations today are created "precariously" from decisions made in the past.

"The future is not set. We seem to think it is, and we seem to think it has all been planned, but the future is not set, because the past was not set," he said.

With this in mind, he sought to create an exhibition that encourages the audience to think about their actions and decisions, and what they could do to contribute to Singapore's future.

The show consolidates the Government's plans, the research of agencies and institutes, as well as the ideas of ordinary people.

They are then retold as stories and scenarios in everyday life in the year 2030 and beyond.

Mr Tan decided to use four ordinary Singaporean characters who are going through their everyday lives to convey the idea that they are each making decisions about their future.

Through the characters' journeys, Singapore's future is shown.

Mr Tan said he hopes to keep the exhibition accessible and relatable for visitors by fleshing out grand ideas "through the minutiae of everyday life", and telling stories through the perspective of a citizen instead of a planner.

Take for instance, SkillsFuture, the national movement to build deep skills and expertise in Singaporeans. The movement is illustrated through an animation which features the four characters.

Visitors can turn a dial to a specific year, and look at what a character is doing in that year.

All four characters pursue different routes: one decides to be a craftsman and learn carpentry, for instance.

The exhibition also gives a glimpse of what life might be like for the elderly in Singapore in the future, by looking at innovations from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research and the Singapore Civil Defence Force.

For example, the elderly may be able to access nursing care in their own homes, even if they live alone. This can be done through technology, such as clothes that can record and transmit a person's vital signs to a smartphone.

If an elderly person has an accident at home, the change in vital signs will trigger a notification that is sent through an app to a network of healthcare volunteers in the area. Volunteers will then respond and go to the person's aid.

Singapore's future is not all about technological advances, but also about people pitching in to offer help, noted Mr Tan, who hopes that exhibition visitors will have discussions about the future.

"The key to making it work is having people who care enough to put themselves on the network," he said. "Even if we have all the technology in the world, and people only care about themselves, then it doesn't matter. It will not work."

Choosing Gardens by the Bay as the exhibition venue was quite deliberate, said Mr Tan.

"It is quite symbolic. The Gardens... was realised through sheer force of will and imagination," he said. The attraction was built on 101ha of reclaimed land - the size of 177 football fields.

"The future is the same thing. It is literally for us to imagine, but it also needs the will to realise it."

Keen interest in upcoming The Future Of Us exhibition

By Walter Sim, The Straits Times, 25 Nov 2015

Tickets to an upcoming exhibition on what daily living might be like in Singapore in 2030 are going fast, with more than 85 per cent of them snapped up for the opening month of December.

The free exhibition, titled The Future Of Us, will open on Tuesday at Gardens By The Bay.

Its creative director, Mr Gene Tan, said yesterday that the organisers hope to reach 700,000 people during its run, which will end on March 8 next year. More than 200,000 tickets have been set aside for the exhibition each month. Ticket registration for next month opened on Nov 1, and bookings for January will start on Tuesday.

The exhibition caps the year-long SG50 Golden Jubilee celebrations, and will be launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, who heads the SG50 Steering Committee, said in a statement yesterday that he hopes the exhibition will inspire Singaporeans to come together, and share and commit their aspirations into action for a better Singapore.

"It is timely to cast our eyes forward," he said. "Our future is really for all of us to continue to imagine, shape and strive for together, based on our shared values."

Covering 6,000 sq m across six zones, the exhibition covers areas like healthcare, transport and the environment, seen through the eyes of ordinary Singaporeans, not those of urban planners or policymakers.

For instance, it foresees a future in which vital signs of an elderly person can be transmitted via sensors to a smartphone. In a medical emergency, care providers in the area would be alerted to help the person.

It also looks at how Singapore's underground and above-ground spaces and road systems will be used, and how vertical farming may be integrated into high-rises.

The organisers promise an "immersive, interactive, multi-sensory" experience.

When asked why the exhibition captures only positive traits such as graciousness and sportsmanship and does not feature the "uglier" side of Singaporeans, Mr Tan said this was not deliberate.

"The exhibition is based on the aspirations submitted by members of the public, and these values are what resonated the most," he said. "But we hope in the discussions that ensue, Singaporeans will talk about the other parts of living in future that may be less desirable, and we can have a debate about them."

The year 2030 was chosen rather than 2065 - which is when Singapore will celebrate 100 years of independence - because the team wanted to present scenarios that are "real, distinct possibilities".

Mr Tan estimates that 99 per cent of the featured ideas are in the research or prototype stage.

"Fifteen years is a good stretch," he told The Straits Times. "Beyond that, it really stretches the imagination. And what happens in the 35 years after that really depends on the kind of choices and actions that we take by 2030."

• Tickets to the free exhibition can be obtained via The Future Of Us website at The exhibition, to run from Dec 1 to March 8 next year, will be open daily from 9am. The last admission is at 8.30pm.

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The Future Of Us exhibition opens

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