Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Singapore – Built Brick by Brick

By Shawn Fang, Year 2, Diploma in Mass Media Management
Built by over 500 people in just 10 days, this huge LEGO  replica of the Marina Bay Floating Platform can sit 25,000 personalised LEGO  minifigure.
Just like pieces in a construction  toy set, we started building the foundations for Singapore sincethe 9th of August 1965. From this solitary block we’ve added more blocks over the last 47th years of independence and here we are today.

An NYP student, who is a part of this project, sits down and takes a break from setting up the extensive plastic brick sculpture.

With this metaphor in mind, it’s fitting that as part of this year’s National Day Parade Celebrations, a 12x9 metres LEGO® reconstruction of the Marina Bay Floating Platform has been created (with the help of our own NYP students, of course!). This replica of the behemoth floating stadium is filled up with 25,000 customised LEGO® mini figures from donors from all over Singapore.
Birthday wishes for Singapore are also placed on the LEGO structure.
For a minimum sum of $5 donation to The Straits Times Pocket Money Fund, donors received a pair of  LEGO® figurines- one for them to keep, and another for them to place upon the extensive LEGO® structure. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to discover that the LEGO® masterpiece was on display at NYP’s Atrium since late July.

And what better way for NYP to celebrate National Day, then to have the splendor of the full Lego display, and also a series of wonderful performances from NYP’s various CCA groups. On 1 August, NYP students and staff were treated to a patriotic visual spectacle with performing arts at one side of the atrium, and a display of visual art at the other.
As part of the festivities, NYP students from various CCA groups displayed their love for the nation by performing on stage.
Being a person who is more drawn to visual arts, I went towards the massive LEGO® display first. Conversing with one of the NYP students who helped built this ‘miniature’ version of The Float @ Marina Bay, I found out that this LEGO® masterwork had actually travelled all over our little green and sunny island- spanning from Tampines to SCAPE. NYP is actually its final pit stop before this behemoth gets displayed at NLB.

As my eyes feasted on the colourful art piece I wondered how this structure had to be dismantled each time it moves to a different place. To reiterate, this marvel of a LEGO® creation is MASSIVE. Although the structure isn’t taken down to its smallest of bits during travel, the work required to dismantle it is still substantial.
To this day, no one knows what shocked the LEGO in the centre.
Jokes aside, be careful when you visit this extensive LEGO structure. You don't want the whole floating stadium to collapse, do you?

This made me think about how Singapore grew from a swampy slum to a highly urbanised city. Our country, too, had been dismantled and built up over and over again. You have all heard the stories in your primary and secondary schools -Sang Nila Utama, British colonisation , World War II; Singapore’s form and structure never ceases to change.

This constant building and re-building of our country had made Singapore the success it is today. Just like the LEGO® structure which accomplished its goal of raising money for children in low income families through the ST Pocket Money Fund, Singapore has grew from its humble beginnings into a nation.
New Year's isn't the only day for us to reflect on our lives, or on the things that happen around us. Any day is perfect for a little quiet reflection (National Days included).
Nonetheless, there is still one more leg to go in the LEGO® replica’s journey (which is to the NLB). Similarly, Singapore may still have a little more ‘travelling’ to do. Maybe, just maybe, we should all try to find that missing piece of ‘kampong spirit’ that we lost along the way. That special piece of ‘kampong spirit’ building block from the construction toy set we once had.

Food for thought indeed for National Day, right? Have an awesome National Day, everyone!

Shawn Fang is a Year 2 student from Mass Media Management who aspires to be a photojournalist. Although he is starting to focus more on self-portraits, Shawn still dabbles in many different genres of photography- spanning from cloudscapes to abstract photography. Aiming to capture beauty in his shots (not just the beauty of a concept, but the beauty of life), Shawn hopes his photography could inspire people to appreciate the little things around us that make living beautiful. "Take a snapshot, and put it in your pocket" he would say!

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