Singapore

Ordinary Singaporeans, extraordinary stories

The extraordinary stories of four ordinary Singaporeans will take centre stage at National Day Parade (NDP) 2019, exemplifying through a series of short films the different generations who have contributed over the years to the formation and transformation of the nation.

Mrs Iris Verghese, 73, was a health worker who reached out to Singapore's first Aids patient in 1985 amid a climate of fear and has dedicated years since to supporting Aids patients and their families.

Madam Helen Joseph, 90, risked her life as a 12-year-old to secretly pass sandwiches to prisoners of war at Rangoon Road Camp during World War II.

Rapper Danial Bawthan, 25, who has muscular dystrophy and goes by the artiste handle Wheelsmith, and social entrepreneur Anil David, 51, who set up a call centre to provide jobs for fellow ex-convicts, round up the quartet.

Their stories feature prominently across the 10 short films of about 90 seconds each and eight animations directed and produced by local film-maker and parade multimedia director Royston Tan.

SHOWCASING THEMES

"With multimedia, we wanted to be consistent from the onset in showcasing this year's theme of the shared values of different generations," said Major Wong Wai Keat, chairman of the NDP 2019 multimedia committee yesterday.

One idea the 250-strong multimedia team settled on was a count-up animation of 700 years of Singapore's history, running from the 14th century to the present day.

The passage of time alludes to each new generation stepping up to succeed the old in creating Singapore's future, explained Maj Wong.

This year is the first time both Maj Wong and Mr Tan have been part of bringing the NDP to life, a process that has run for nearly a year.

Veteran film-maker Tan, 43, said: "This was very different from making a feature film, because if you overrun five seconds here or five seconds there, it affects the entire production.

"There were times when we had to reshoot and get the (interviewees) to basically say the same thing five seconds faster."

COMMUNITY ISSUES