When it comes to national day, Singapore is unique. Every year, a new National Day Song is released. This year’s song is titled, “Because it’s Singapore” and it’s jointly produced by singer and lyricist Jay Lim and veteran composer Lee Wei Song. Many have commented that the song sounds too much like a love ballad. It is apparently without the same patriotic feeling that we experience when singing “Home” or “In a Heartbeat. Yet, NDP 2017 was probably memorable due to an entirely different reason, especially for the students of Victoria Junior College, Victoria School and Cedar Girls’ Secondary School. VCActive turned out to be an eventful day, filled with enjoyment. The chosen venue for the event sure added to the appeal of this year’s combined celebrations. As mentioned by a Year 3 student from Victoria School who declined to be named, “the decision to have the NDP school celebrations at the Sports Hub definitely made me look forward to attending this event, especially with the stunning backdrop of the Singapore skyline here”.
For majority of the students, things started with a walk for Club Rainbow, our Interact Club’s beneficiary. In a lead-up to this walk, our Interact Club members had organised an interesting and engaging booth in school to raise awareness about Club Rainbow, which hopes to support and empower children with chronic illnesses. Students at the OCBC Square started off with a walk with their classmates and CTs over the bridge and around the park. VJC’s very own band members lined en route to play lively national day tunes to keep the crowd going and the environment light. Interactors stationed along the route directed those walking while our ODAC instructors led the way ahead. Along the way, many classes stopped to take colourful pictures with their Club Rainbow and Walk for Rainbow tattoos (S38 as seen above).
The walk hit many birds with one stone. Students got active, enjoyed a few spectacular views of the skyline and supported a very worthy cause. The lively atmosphere was obvious as students took on the 3km walk with gusto. Simultaneously, Victorians (Senior and Junior) and Cedarians were getting active in the OCBC arena halls. Hall 1 housed many enjoyable games and sports like basketball while students in Hall 2 got to enjoy a long dance workout to many familiar songs. While at first, students were reluctant to move freely to the music, they loosened up and soon the phones were out snapchatting friends’ ridiculous moves. The goal of getting us moving was definitely achieved.
At 9am, everyone congregated at OCBC Square for the main event. The feeling of patriotism was in the air as students put on their NDP temporary tattoos and waved the Singapore flags. Most were looking forward to the Hall of Fame Induction and the sing-along sessions. They were cited as the highlights of many students’ days too. According to Tulip Majumder from Cedar, “the highlight would definitely have to be the sing-along segment of the event. There was so much energy and everyone around me was so hyped up that I felt energised as well. I felt a sense of national pride as all of us “raved” to the songs.”
When it came time for the 9th Singapore Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony, deafening screams echoed throughout the square as many of us wanted to catch a glimpse of our sporting heroes. This year’s ceremony inducted 3 Singaporean athletes into the roll of honours: TeamSG swimmer and Olympic gold medallist Joseph Schooling, Team SG equestrian and Paralympic silver medallist Laurentia Tan, and TeamSG swimmer and Paralympic bronze medallist Theresa Goh. We were all awestruck by their achievements. A few lucky ones even managed to click photographs with the outstanding athletes.
Turns out, much to our expectations, the parents present at the celebration enjoyed the event as much as our students did! Parents from VJ’s Parent Support Group and Cedar’s Home- School Link joined us at the event to show cheer for the nation with us. When asked, one parent (who wishes to remain anonymous) said, “This is my first time participating in a school event. I have enjoyed myself tremendously and I even took many videos. The most touching moment for me is when everyone sang and danced to National Day Songs. It’s been a long time since I engaged in such joyous festivity”, while she recounted her experience. Like many of us, she too ended off by saying, “It made me feel really proud to be Singaporean.”
Behind the scenes however, much work was put into making this big day happen. 2 years ago, the VCA family came together to celebrate SG50 at our homeground. This year, the 3 schools not only reunited, but also collaborated with the Sports Hub and ActiveSG to put together the event. A VJC teacher, Ms Wardah mentioned, “Planning starts many months before. The planning, logistics, rehearsals and running 3 concurrent events – walk, Zumba, sports games, and working with the external organisation, Active SG, certainly requires a lot of coordination. A lot of effort from the management, teachers and students was put in the running of the event. I’m glad that the 3 schools managed to pull it off successfully without many glitches.” Kudos to the VCA planning committee and staff from all the 3 schools for pulling off this massive event, and thank you for all your efforts in giving the VCA family a fun-filled, enriching National Day experience!
Of course, the day wasn’t just about celebrating our achievements. It was also about acknowledging our problems and really understanding the theme #OneNationTogether. When Tulip was asked about what this theme meant to her, she said, “It reminds us to stay united and be resilient in the face of terrorism as our unity and strength as one nation is the only way through which we can ensure that we are not vulnerable to the threat of terrorism.” These are wise words indeed. But it is our commitment to remain united as we face crises as a country. As Mr Lee Hsien Loong outlined, we’ve got to have better preschools, minimise the trend of diabetes and adapt to our SmartNation. The threat of terrorism looms over us and as you have heard many times, “it’s not a matter of if, but when.” In such a chaotic world, where Spain just faced a terrifying attack and Charlottesville, USA underwent a violent protest wherein some Americans’ frightening beliefs were revealed and old wounds were reopened, we are definitely living in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world. Hence, as a multi-racial society, it’s got to be us who remain united and not fragment at the slightest shaking of our country, through any crisis.
Ending off, Victorians, let’s wish our nation a Happy 52nd Birthday, and continue to do our part to keep the Singapore flag flying high! As Yu Xuan from 17S38 said, “Our pioneers have accomplished much in the building of Singapore for the past 52 years and the future is for us to write as one nation together.”
Niyanta Chowdhury, 17S46
Agrawal Juhi, 17S37
Tan Wei Jing Constance, 17S62
Yong Hwee Shi, 17S62
James Tan Shi An, 17S51