Friday, 5 June 2015

National Day 2015 funpack for every household from July

By Lim Yi Han, The Straits Times, 4 Jun 2015

FREELANCE designer Mohammed Shahrizam Mohamed Shariff has been a part of nine National Day Parades (NDPs) since Aug 9 in 2003.

Arguably the parade's biggest fan, the 25-year-old has either performed on the field or cheered from the stands as a spectator.

This year, he has made it a perfect 10, with his artwork printed on some of the National Day goodie bags that will go to every Singaporean and permanent resident household.

Mr Mohammed Shahrizam's two designs, of a 1965 logo with motifs and of Singapore's iconic features, are among 50 chosen from more than 100 entries.

"I feel proud and happy that I get to leave a mark in NDP, especially this significant one as it is SG50," he said.

Each tote bag will contain memorabilia that come straight out of a Singapore childhood of yesteryear. The items include games such as country erasers and capteh (weighted shuttlecock) and snacks such as muruku and haw flakes.

There will also be keepsakes like a figurine of Singa, the iconic mascot of the Singapore Kindness Movement.

Said Colonel Frederick Choo, chairman of the NDP engagement, celebrations and mobile column committee: "We wanted to put in memories of the games that we played, the snacks that we took when we were young children, as well as... the icons we grew up with."

Each funpack cost about $8 to produce and assemble. Parade goers will receive a different funpack on the day.

Architect Colin Seah, 43, who contributed to two designs for the bags, said: "What I do for a living is to create landmarks in the city. But I'm creating something in someone's home now for the country's birthday, so it's really special."


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Keep SG Funpack postcard for SG50 goodie bag collection
By Kok Xing Hui, The Straits Times, 10 Jun 2015

Those who want to collect their National Day goodie bag will have to keep a postcard the People's Association is now sending out to local households.

Residents will have to use the postcard to exchange for their SG Funpack at events held by local grassroots organisations, who will from next week give more details on the collection.

Every Singaporean and permanent resident household - about 1.2 million in all - will receive the goodie bag.

Grassroots leaders may make special delivery arrangements of the SG Funpack to senior residents and those who have movement difficulties.

The SG Funpack comes in 50 different designs and the tote bag will contain memorabilia from Singapore's yesteryear. The items include items used for games like erasers with countries' flags on them and capteh (weighted shuttlecock) and snacks such as muruku and haw flakes.

There will also be keepsakes like a figurine of Singa, the iconic mascot of the Singapore Kindness Movement.

Each funpack cost about $8 to produce and assemble. Parade-goers will receive a different funpack on the day.

SG Funpacks to have extra goodies from constituencies
Local communities adding items which they believe capture the S'pore spirit
By Gilaine Ng, The Straits Times, 20 Jun 2015

EVERY household in Singapore will receive a customised SG Funpack from next month to celebrate the nation's golden jubilee.

Each pack will contain 13 standard items, plus extra goodies added by local constituencies which they believe capture the Singapore spirit.

"Residents from different constituencies have been suggesting different items for the SG Funpack," said People's Association (PA) chief executive director Ang Hak Seng. "We thought it was a good idea to incorporate their suggestions, as we want the funpack to anchor the experience of SG50."

Examples of these items include booklets on the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's contributions to Singapore, as well as state flags.

The PA's Grassroots Organisations (GROs) will distribute the funpacks to 1.2 million households.

Look out for extra goodies in SG Funpacks from your Grassroots!This National Day, we are coming together not just to...
Posted by The People's Association on Friday, June 19, 2015

Residents have the option of collecting the funpacks at Community National Day Celebration events, community clubs or from volunteers who will be distributing them to households.

More details will be provided in a letter to residents from the GROs before July 15.

Meanwhile, the first-ever synchronised National Day Observance ceremony will take place on Aug 9, at 9am, with Singaporeans singing the National Anthem and reciting the National Pledge islandwide.

Traditionally, the ceremonies have been held at different times across various constituencies.

More than 250 heartland celebrations have also been planned, and these are expected to involve one million residents.

Around 80 celebrations will take place each day between Aug 7 and Aug 9, based on the theme "Singapore: My Heart, My Home, My Future".

More details about the specific Community National Day Celebration events and National Day Observance ceremonies will be revealed at a later date.

Updates will be given on fliers, noticeboards and the PA website.

Mr Ang said: "We are coming together not just to celebrate, but also to reflect on who we are, what we stand for, and where we are heading for the future."

Distribution of SG50 Funpacks begins
Kicking things off on Saturday (Jul 4) evening was Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who presented funpacks to five three-generation families from Jalan Kayu division.
Channel NewsAsia, 4 Jul 2015

The distribution of 1.2 million National Day funpacks to Singaporean and Permanent Resident households has officially begun. It is part of celebrations to mark the Republic's 50th birthday this year.

Kicking things off on Saturday (Jul 4) evening was Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who presented funpacks to five three-generation families from Jalan Kayu division.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong kicked off the distribution of the 1.2 million SG Funpack at Jalan Kayu Day, Buangkok...
Posted by The People's Association on Saturday, July 4, 2015

A resident, Ananda Kumar, 53, said: "It's a privilege and an honour to receive the first funpack from the Prime Minister himself. Really looking forward to it and I'm really excited about receiving this funpack.

"I believe there's a lot of stuff in there and it'll probably come in handy. But beyond that, I think it's a lot more about racial harmony and prosperity for Singapore - that's my wish."

Mr Lee and other grassroots advisers also presented the funpacks to 100 low-income residents.

Each Singaporean and permanent resident household will receive their SG Funpack through their grassroots organisations.

Many grassroots organisations have also chosen to personalise the funpacks with additional items to make them more meaningful for residents. For example, at Jalan Kayu, a nostalgic postcard of the estate, a state flag and water-saving thimble have been included.

The funpack itself comes with nostalgic items like old-school games, childhood snacks and a collectible Singa Lion figurine.

More than 50,000 grassroots leaders and volunteers will help pack additional items and distribute the funpacks. Residents will receive a letter from their grassroots organisation by Jul 15, informing them how they can collect their funpack.

At Saturday's event, Mr Lee also launched the Cordlife-Jalan Kayu Pre-School Headstart Fund. Under the initiative, low-income families with young children living in Jalan Kayu will get a one-time bursary. This will help them pay for their children's enrolment at an anchor operator pre-school and other schooling expenses.

The event was held at the newly opened Buangkok Sports Park, which has been seven years in the making, and which the area's MP hopes to use to reach out to those less fortunate. It boasts two tennis courts, a skatepark and even a grass futsal court.

Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, said: "Just across the road, we have two rental blocks. We are looking into running a tennis programme, as well as a futsal programme to help children from lower-income families, less privileged families, get into these sports ... and discover their talents. Hopefully, we will be able to bring out the potential in them." Dr Intan said the programme is expected to start by early next year.

Prime Minister Lee later joined 1,000 Singaporeans from different races and faiths in a mass iftar, or breaking of fast, session.

It also marked the end of The Great Harmony Journey - an initiative which saw participants visiting various places of historic and cultural significance to promote racial and religious harmony.

More than a million SG Funpacks have been packed by SAF personnel, volunteers from civil and Voluntary Welfare...
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One people, one nation, one funpack
By Jermyn Chow, Defence Correspondent, The Straits Times, 6 Aug 2015

If you haven't collected your SG50 Funpack, it's not too late to do so in the next few days. Don't be disheartened by the talk going round that the items in the pack are unremarkable. Instead, consider all the effort and love - yes, the love, that went into it.

The tradition of giving out goodie bags at each year's National Day Parade (NDP) began in 1991. Its aim was to give water and a snack to those attending the parade on Aug 9 or its preview shows. It has since become a fixture each year.

This year, NDP organisers decided to give out 1.2 million of the funpacks to every household, so that people can join in the parade from home. But some people grouse that the items in the bag are not useful or are too cheap. They compare what they get with friends in other constituencies, which gave additional items. They also grumble about the hassle involved in collecting the items, which requires a three-step process: look out for a card, wait for a second letter, and bring both, with identity cards (NRIC) to the collection centres. The People's Association has since simplified the process. You just need your NRIC. Those who haven't collected their funpacks are encouraged to do so by the end of August.

To be sure, the items in the SG50 funpack are simple. They are placed in a tote bag with 50 different looks designed by Singaporeans from all walks of life.

The bags contain memorabilia from yesteryear, with games such as Happy Family cards and capteh (weighted shuttlecock), and snacks such as muruku and haw flakes. There's a keepsake figurine of Singa, the mascot of the Singapore Kindness Movement. Also included: sachets of detergent, and coffee. The total cost of each funpack: $8. But the grumblers forget that what goes into these funpacks is made up of more than just the physical items.

First, is the idea behind it: to bring the cheer of the parade home to all, not just those lucky enough to watch it at the Padang and the Floating Platform. That's inclusiveness in action.

Second, this is not just any funpack. It is the SG50 Funpack, and is sure to become a collector's item in the future.

Third, consider that this was truly a One People, One Nation effort.

Here's a fast tracked video on the works behind our SG50 funpacks to kick start the Super Jubilee Weekend! Kudos to all those who have contributed to the success of getting the packs done up!#SG50#OurSgArmy
Posted by The Singapore Army on Thursday, August 6, 2015

Think of the sweat and labour of putting 22.8 million items inside more than a million party kit bags. Nearly 1,000 people gathered every day for weeks at Kranji Camp 3 to pack up to 120,000 bags a day. There were 500 civilian volunteers, including groups from the Down Syndrome Association. They worked beside army regulars and full-time national servicemen.

Blogger XiaXue, whose real name is Wendy Cheng, was among the volunteers in the "A Funpack from Me to You" project.

She said that it is "the thought and the work that went into it, that make this jubilee souvenir meaningful". Having gone through the tedious operation, Ms Cheng said it was "no joke".

"I always thought it was mostly done by machines... The idea that your funpack was packed by actual humans - a fellow Singaporean - is not something that people realise when they receive their packs."

Then there's the ThankU50 initiative to get fellow Singaporeans to share the sweets in their funpacks and repack them into goodie bags for 500 foreign workers. The group added a thank you card and a $5 supermarket voucher for the foreign workers.

So let's not get too fixated with the freebies in the funpacks or feel disappointed they weren't big, or costly, or meaningful enough.

Instead, we should appreciate the effort and love that went into preparing a funpack that will bind the nation in celebration.

Whatever its humble contents, this is one funpack with a big heart.

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