If the general atmosphere and unrelenting flood of SG50-related events and décor around town hasn’t been enough to cue you in, well, we’ll tell it to you straight: Singapore will turn 50 in less than two weeks’ time.
By now, you might have noticed the sheer — perhaps ridiculous — number of items, buildings, vehicles and food products that have been branded with the iconic SG50 logo; they might even have prompted you to make some plans of your own for the much awaited long weekend. If you haven’t, though, here are our recommendations — some serious, some in jest — of 50 things you can do during the 4-day break.
1. First things first: leave your house
SBS Transit and SMRT are making this easy for everyone: bus and train rides will be free for all on National Day itself (9 August). All I hope — dare I say this? — is that nothing major happens to our transport services on the big day.
2. Buy a special edition SG50 Rolls-Royce
If you’d much prefer having your own mode of transport, and have a couple hundred thousand dollars lying around, why not consider this SG50 Ghost Series II from Rolls-Royce?
3. Or dress up your existing ride
You might have to set aside quite a bit of time to remove the stickers/paint once the festivities are over, though.
4. Battle the humidity with SG50 tissue
One thing about Singapore that you can bet will never change is the humidity. Wipe your sweat with some SG50 tissue.
5. Escape to an air-conditioned museum
There’ll be free entry to all museums and heritage galleries for all Singaporeans and PRs during the weekend, and we all know nothing speaks more to the Singaporean heart than free things — and aircon.
6. Or check out the flora
Imagine Singapore’s story, told in flowers. That’s exactly what will happen at Gardens by the Bay during the jubilee weekend. Tickets will go for half price for all Singaporeans, and will be free for those above 60 years of age. More info here.
Alternatively, pay a visit to the Singapore Botanic Gardens, which was just listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
7. And fauna
The Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and River Safari are offering various discounts and promotions in celebration of SG50, and some are already ongoing. Check out the full list of deals here.
8. Eat SG50 canned food
Nothing will be spared from being SG50-fied. No, not even the humble can of Ayam Brand sardines. #supportlocal
And speaking of local…
9. Brush your teeth
But only with toothpaste from Pearlie White, a homegrown brand!
10. Get your morning dose of kopi
Singaporeans and PRs above 60 years old are eligible for the SG50 iCard, which will give them 30% discounts off drinks, fruits and desserts at participating Kopitiam outlets.
11. Master kopi talk
To successfully pull off number 10, of course, you must first know how to order coffee in Singapore. If you haven’t gotten this down pat, shame on you.
12. Build SG50 Lego
Steal them from your kids, cousins, or simply buy them off Carousell.
13. And then compare them with the real thing
What fun is it if you don’t show off all your new Lego toys? Bring them next to their life-size counterparts, and put photos of them up on Instagram as proof.
14. Eat all the old school snacks
Too much food, you say? No, not if you’re a true Singaporean foodie. Remember the kacang puteh we used to buy from roadside stands? Goodwood Park Hotel are serving these — and more — at their Local High Tea Buffet.
15. Go (luxury) shopping
Bet you never knew that luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Swarovski have released SG50 themed items like watches and even handbags. When it comes to SG50, more is more, right?
16. Or online shopping
Regular folks don’t have to be left out of the shopping fun. In the spirit of National Day, shop on homegrown buying and selling platform Carousell — and buy only the red and white stuff, of course.
17. Or real, physical shopping
If you’re seeking a shopping fix that requires more than just browsing the web, Naiise might be the perfect place to start. It recently opened its third physical store at Clarke Quay Central, and houses a wide range of local brands.
18. Give your EZ-link card an SG50 upgrade
With trains and buses running for free on National Day, though, how will we show these off?
19. Join the SG50 Carnival
Held at the Sports Hub on August 8 and 9, participants will get to try out novel sports like human bowling. Might be a good idea to work out after all that feasting.
20. Send our ministers SG50-themed drawings on Facebook
You’ve only succeeded when they reshare it with their followers.
21. Alternatively, lament your lack of artistic skill
22. Support our local talents
Performances will be taking place at the Esplanade — yes, for free — from 6 to 10 August. They’ll be featuring local musicians and art installations, among other activities.
23. But not all of them
“”All local talents are equal, but some local talents are more equal than others.”
24. Play SG50 mobile games
25. Attend an SG50 flea
This will be taking place at the Singapore Flyer, and local comedians Mark Lee and Hossan Leong will be in attendance to bring the laughs. The best part? You’ll be able to catch the fireworks while you’re there.
26. Visit the old Changi Hospital
Will the ghosts of Singapore’s past come back to visit on this special occasion? Find out for yourself, or if you’re too afraid, see if you spot anything while on this 360-degree virtual tour.
27. Or a void deck
What screams Singapore more loudly than the humble void deck? Hang out at yours, or visit someone else’s — and play with the neighbourhood cats while you’re at it.
28. Go on a date
29. Take a selfie with Sir Stamford Raffles
We wouldn’t be here if not for him, now, would we?
30. Read The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye
Singaporeans band together in the unlikeliest of circumstances, and there’s no better proof of this than in this graphic novel.
31. Watch the LKY musical
What’s an SG50 list without mention of the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, who passed away earlier this year? Find out more here.
32. Pretend to be Gandalf
Go to Woodlands, stand at the edge of the causeway, and proclaim, “You shall not pass!” in as firm a voice as you can. It’s SG50, and all Singaporeans must be home!
33. Complain about something on STOMP
If, unfortunately, someone has beat you to number 31, don’t worry, you haven’t made a wasted trip. Snap a shot or video of the Gandalf imposter, and share it on STOMP — it’s Singapore’s idea of citizen journalism at its best.
34. Go check out a music festival
At Bedok Reservoir, no less, where a staggering 150 musical acts will perform at the 100 + 50 Bands Festival.
35. Go on nature trails around Singapore
Whether it’s MacRitchie Reservoir Park or Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, remind yourself again why Singapore’s known to the rest of the world as the Garden City.
36. Go back to school
Or rather, the Science Centre. From 7 to 10 August, there will be free admission for all — even to ticketed attractions like the Omni-Theatre and Snow City.
37. Ride the cable car
More free things for all: on 10 August, visitors to Sentosa will be treated to cable car rides from any of the stations on the island, as well as from Harbourfront.
38. Go into the Merlion
On 8 August, visitors to the Merlion at Sentosa will be able to explore the interior of Singapore’s icon at no cost.
39. Take a guided tour of Fort Siloso
On National Day itself, go back and visit a piece of Singapore’s history with free guided tours of the coastal fort.
40. Visit a mama shop
With only a handful of these left in Singapore, you’ll want to catch them before they truly disappear. Get some traditional snacks to munch on during the NDP while you’re at it.
41. Go West!
Since you’re going to be enjoying free transport, why not go all the way and visit every place in Singapore you’ve never been to? Like…Yew Tee, for example (sorry, Yew Tee residents).
42. Figure out the meanings of names of places in Singapore
Bukit Merah is an easy one, but what the hell, Potong Pasir?
43. Organise a food trail
There’s so much to eat, but only 4 days to do so. Make sure you have a game plan in place if you’re planning to take on this one. Thank the public transport gods that travel is free, right?
44. Or better still, make your own local delicacies
Up your char kway teow game, and try making it without the help of sauce packets from Prima Deli.
45. Become the next Sticker Lady…
Remember those stickers she left around Singapore a couple of years back?
46. …or not
Okay, scrap that. Forget we even suggested it.
47. Go back to PE class
Four days is a long time, and you should probably try to get in some exercise at some point. ActiveSG’s pools and gyms will be free for use for all Singaporeans and PRs from 7 to 10 August.
48. Talk to a random stranger
While celebrating what it means to be Singaporean, it might be a good idea to also start coming out of our shy, gruff shells. Start a conversation with anyone — local or not — you never know what you’ll find.
49. Watch the fireworks
What’s a National Day celebration without the fireworks? This year’s will be extra special and lavish: there’ll be fireworks on all four days of the long weekend.
50. Go home
What would Singapore be to you without your loved ones?