Kids with autism make 53 plushies for National Day
Over three weeks from July 15, more than 100 people from different community groups in Marine Parade came together to sew dolls with about 40 children with autism.
These volunteers created 53 plushies in 10 two-hour sessions in a sewing project named Singapore Pride Plushies (SPP).
Tomorrow, these plushies will be on display at locations around Marine Parade, including at residents' committees and the Marine Parade town council office.
Some of these plushies will be previewed by Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.
The plushies are based on figures from Singapore's culture and history. They range from Inuka the polar bear to Mr Zubir Said, who composed the Majulah Singapura.
The campaign is spearheaded by The Heart Enterprise, which provides support to those with autism.
Said Ms Joanne Leow, 52, who founded the social enterprise in October last year: "The children with autism can come up with creative interpretations of the designs. These kids are very teachable if you are patient with them."
She added that she wanted to showcase the talents of children with autism. So she approached community network WeCare Marine Parade and fashion design school TaF.tc to help her in the campaign.
People from community groups include the elderly from Montfort's GoodLife centre and volunteers from One Estate Solution, a financial and estate planner.
The materials for the plushies were donated to TaF.tc from its textile suppliers.
Ms Leow said the production involved character planning, design creation and gathering of materials, followed by sewing and stuffing.
SPP also had a group of home-schooled boys and girls write up the descriptions for the 53 plushies.
Said Ms Leow: "The project is even more meaningful, because different communities helped to sew the plushies over the three short weeks."
Singaporean-created Sharkdog series a Nickelodeon first
While playing with her dog during Discovery Channel's Shark Week television programming, Singaporean storyboard artist Jacinth Tan came up with the quirky idea that would lead to her first big break.
The result is Sharkdog - the eponymous character that is a hybrid of a shark and dog - which went on to earn the unofficial title of Nickelodeon's first animated short-form series from Asia.
The 20-episode, 90-second show chronicles the adventures of a boy named Max and his special pet-sidekick Sharkdog, and premieres on the US children's television network's app Nickelodeon Play today.
Ms Syahrizan Mansor, vice-president of Nickelodeon's brand in Asia, told The New Paper: "Sharkdog has a lot of silly humour and a lot of heart. What better time to launch this than just before National Day as we celebrate a Singapore-first for Nickelodeon."
Ms Tan, 27, said she was simply pleased she got a chance to tell a story she feels strongly about.
She told TNP: "Through Max's rebellion, I want to show children that rebelliousness is not necessarily wrong.
"They should think about what they want in life and not be afraid to chase their dreams."
She had found it difficult to convince her parents of her career prospects.
Ms Tan, who studied animation at Nanyang Technological University's School of Art, Design and Media, said: "I don't think they were convinced until I managed to get my first job at (local animation studio) Chips and Toon within a month of graduation."
She got started in the industry in 2014. She and Sharkdog co-creator Raihan Harun entered the project in the 2015 edition of Nickelodeon's Global Animated Shorts Programme.
Their idea stood out from the 850 pitches and was green-lit.
Ms Tan, who conceptualised Sharkdog with a team at her current employer One Animation, said: "I hope this will inspire other creators that it is possible to pitch your show and get it picked up."
Peranakans celebrate National Day at Orchid Extravaganza
As the nation celebrates its 53rd birthday, a unique local community has also joined the festivities.
The Peranakan community, through Gunong Sayang Association, is collaborating with Gardens By The Bay for the whole of August to showcase a line-up of Peranakan cultural activities.
The activities, taking place amid the Orchid Extravaganza floral display at the Flower Dome, include traditional Peranakan beadwork demonstrations and poetry singsong performances.
Retiree Jackie Sam, 70,will be creating an adaptation of a Peranakan tile design, with embroidery of phoenixes and roses, for the demonstrations.
The experienced needlecrafter has completed 40 beadwork pieces over the last 25 years.
Madam Sam uses brittle vintage beads and extremely fine needles for her beadwork, which can be challenging for the self-taught beadworker, who frequently uses reference books to pick out designs to replicate.
Her most memorable artwork is an exquisite ceremonial collar, which she spent four months stitching by hand.
Madam Sam told The New Paper: "Peranakan beadwork is beautiful. We have such a rich culture to be proud of."
Likewise, Mr Frederick Soh, 50, centre manager, and Miss Audrey Tan, 52, music teacher, will be performing a dondang sayang at the Orchid Extravaganza.
Dondang sayang is an emotional poetry form sung to a musical tune, in the form of four-liner poems, using Bahasa Baba.
The uncommon language Bahasa Baba is a complex mixture of Hokkien and Malay.
Mr Soh only decided to learn Bahasa Baba after watching a traditional play with his mother.
He said: "Exposure to these traditions is very important."