Project 50/100: Celebrate 50 years of alternative narratives

By Choo Zheng Xi

Merdeka lions
Picture from www.PublicArtSG of the Merdeka Lions which stood on Merdeka Bridge.

Prepare for the drumroll of self-congratulation in the run up to next year’s official SG 50 extravaganza. Expect a celebration of our national icons and public institutions and a re-affirmation of our national narratives of multi-culturalism and the success of nation against the odds.

The re-telling of conventional narratives is an important and valid way of celebrating 50 years of Singapore.

But the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s independence is something much more than a regular National Day celebration. It’s also an opportunity to hold up a mirror to honestly, fully and inclusively reflect who we are as a country.

The idea

A group of activists from the arts, academia, industry and civil society, myself included, hope to paint a fuller picture of 50 years of Independent Singapore with an initiative called “Project 50/100”.

The underlying concept is to mark 50 years of Singapore’s independence by celebrating alternative narratives, new perspectives and different truths through a series of events that will be spread over the course of the year.

The planning and actual execution of events will be left to individuals or groups who contribute projects, and the events will be centrally coordinated by the Project 50/100 steering committee, such as helping contributors source for venue and sponsorship support.

Project 50/100 hopes to support a series of events to cover a diverse host of issues ranging from lost heritage to civil liberties and media freedom, our shared environment, underground music subcultures, disability rights and the use of dialects.

The motivation for the initiative is encapsulated in its slogan, “Because We Love Singapore”.

There is also one reason for the “100” in “Project 50/100”: It is only in recognising and being comfortable with who we really are as a society that we can confidently imagine a Singapore we want to live in 100 years from now.

Where YOU fit in

Of course, all of the above sounds great in theory. But it is a hugely ambitious project which doesn’t have the machinery of state to execute.

For Project 50/100 to take shape, we need the goodwill and participation of the general public and civil society in the form of ideas, project contributions and funds.

To get the ball rolling, Project 50/100 will be holding a Town Hall Meeting to solicit and share ideas and talk about potential projects at the following time and place:

Time – 22 August 2014, Friday, 7 pm
Venue – Artistry, 17 Jalan Pinang, Singapore 199149

Space will be limited, so do RSVP soon at the Project 50/100 events page.