In a social experiment to see how Singaporeans and the public would react, 22-year old student Ben Matchap placed an A4-sized copy of the Singapore flag on the ground at a busy public pathway in Dhoby Ghaut.

Matchap, a student at Lasalle and a parkour enthusiast, then had his friends help him record the scene from different angles as people walked where the flag was.

In the video recording, which Matchap said was about 10 to 15 minutes of the total time the flag was left on the ground, no one picked up the flag, although one man did stop, but only to take a photo of it on his electronic device.

Singaporeans’ respect (or lack of) for the flag was also a matter of public controversy after the National Day Parade celebrations.

The flags were seen left behind on the ground and even in rubbish bins, along with other trash, as The New Paper reported:






Here are a few more examples of how shabbily the flag was treated: “Police investigating toppled Singapore flags”.

As Singapore celebrates its 50th year of independence, how much do Singaporeans really feel about the country?

This, arguably, may be reflected in how much they respect or how they treat the national flag.

The Online Citizen (TOC) asked Matchap about the experiment and how he feels about what he saw.

The Online Citizen (TOC): What is the motivation behind the video/experiment?

Ben Matchap (BM): Amidst all the hoohah about Amos Yee being disrespectful I noticed that Singaporeans become very patriotic whenever someone has something negative to say about us, whether it is warranted or not, like in the case of Amos Yee and Stephanie Koh.

I wanted to see just how patriotic Singaporeans are. Would anyone pick up the flag? Would they avoid it? Would they just not care?

 TOC: Can you tell us some details of the experiment – like, how long did you leave the flag on the floor, where did this experiment take place, how many people do you think walked past it?

BM: So we did this for about 10-15 mins. It was an A4-sized flag. I wanted it to be noticeable yet avoidable. I had a few friends help me record it from another angle. I am guessing about 50 people walked past it.

TOC: What do you think the results say about our attitude towards the flag?

BM: I think Singaporeans just don’t care enough. Some of them saw it and avoided it, but no one bothered to pick it up. I think the flag and our pledge are taken lightly by Singaporeans.

We sing the songs, say the pledge and wave the flag. But most of the time we are just going through the motion. No one wanted to make a conscious decision to remove the flag from the sidewalk.

TOC: What do you hope this video will do?

BM: I hope this video will stir up a discussion about what it means to be Singaporean and make us question ourselves a little more.

TOC: Some people may feel you are denigrating the flag by doing this social experiment. What would you say to them?

BM: Yes I did put the flag on the floor. But people could have picked it up. I guess it’s a pretentious artistic reference to how when people put us Singaporeans down we scream bloody murder instead of “picking ourselves up” and responding in a dignified manner.

TOC: What does the flag mean to you personally?

BM: It is a symbol of our nation. An idea. How accurate it is though is up for question.

TOC: Why do you hope for Singaporeans to treat the flag with more respect?

BM: I only hope for Singaporeans to be more aware of what they are doing. No action is still action. I want Singaporeans to know that they CAN make a difference and that they have an active part to play in shaping Singapore.

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like

Netizens praise Workers’ Party for their effort to stand against POFMA

On Wednesday (8 May), at around 10.20pm, the controversial Protection from Online…


在6月15日“全球虐老问题醒觉日”(World Elder Abuse Awareness Day)前夕, 专攻年长者权益的联合国人权专家科恩菲尔德-马特(Rosa Kornfeld-Matte)强调,老年人的性虐待与强奸事件仍持续发生,即便鲜少被察觉或报道,但这种现象确实存在。 恩菲尔特自2014年来,首位被联合国人权理事会指派担任独立专家,关注老年人的所有人权问题。 “老人年的性虐待与强奸鲜少被讨论,但它却是不争的现象。” 恩菲尔特于周四时发向记者发表声明。她促请国际应多关注与报道老年遭遇虐待的新闻。 她指出,如今对于老年人的性虐待与强奸案仍是禁忌话题,社会宁可选择忽略也不愿讨论。恩菲尔特说,“随着社会逐渐步入老年化,老年人的性虐待课题应该急剧增长,在该问题缺乏数据、分析与研究下,我们无法全面掌握问题的所涉及的层面。 年长群体性虐案禁忌话题…

建议王瑞杰改善财政纪律、明智投资 徐顺全质疑调涨消费税之必要

2020年财政预算案定于明日(18日)下午1时,由副总理兼财政部长王瑞杰发布。 新加坡总理李显龙上周五坦言,当前武汉冠状病毒疫情影响时显著的,目前他无法确定我国经济会否衰退,惟我国经济肯定受打击。 王瑞杰也在昨日发布视频,表示政府将推出一个援助配套,协助家庭减轻生活费压力,并会在明日公布更多详情。 另一方面,民主党秘书长徐顺全则对财政部长放话,质疑在面对疫情的严峻形势下,调涨消费税的合理性,也提出国人在心中挥之不去的问题:“真的有必要调涨消费税?” 他阐述过去至今,国家审计报告找到各个政府部门出现的疏漏;也抨击一些财政开销上出现过度公共开支的问题。他提醒,有鉴于本地许多零售商店在去年逐步退出舞台,故此提醒,若在疫情延续之下,还执意调涨消费税,恐怕会影响消费者信心,打击零售业务。 他在视频中先以2008年总审计报告为例,提及每年都出现采购缺乏审慎,合同和协议管理不善,导致支出增加的情况;2011年审计长则提及一些失误源自于把行政上权宜之计,优先于财务上的审慎。 但情况未改善,例如2012年国家发展部旗下国家公园局2200元脚踏车事件;2016年,文化、通讯与青年部旗下艺术理事会花88万新元,在亚洲文明博物馆外建垃圾处理中心,结果被总审计署点名非议;2017年卫生部被指对发展项目管理监控不足等等。 去年总审计署报告,同样揭露国家美术馆发展项目,美术馆擅自同意改变总建筑合约中的一些条款,涉及款额1300万元。不过,拥有这个项目的文社青部迟至去年9月,也就是账款结清后的一年才向美术馆提出质疑。 对于上述这些失误或理财不够审慎,徐顺全认为已经存在多年;此外他也抨击政府的过度公共开支,例如青年奥林匹克运动会实际投资(3.87亿新元)比预算(1.07亿新元)多出两倍。 2015年和2016年,行动党政府在国庆庆典上就花了近4千万元;还有巴士亭长凳,也要贵死人的1千500元天价! 疫情延续冲击零售等领域 徐顺全在视频中续而提出包括邱德拔医院建设成本超支;2017年交通部长许文远承认,日渐老旧的武吉班让轻轨系统是在政治压力下“事后建造”的,结果其设计成果是不舒服的乘客体验。…

GrabFood warns longer waiting time and cancelled orders due to e-scooter ban

Following the ban of e-scooters from footpaths starting today (5 November), food…