Monday, 5 August 2013

National Day 2013 ­ ‘Many Stories... One Singapore’

This year’s theme for the National Day Parade (NDP) 2013 is Many Stories... One Singapore. Everyone has a story to tell and these stories define who we are as an individual and collectively as a nation. It calls on everyone to remember and share the stories that make us who we are and how we identify ourselves as Singaporeans.

Many Stories...” encourage Singaporeans to tell the story of our personal journey, both individually and collectively as a society, as well as our hopes and aspirations for the future. They can be personal stories or stories we have heard that have touched us. Taken individually, each story shows that we are all unique. Taken together, they tell of who we are as a country.

This leads to One Singapore— a culmination of the unique individual stories that represent the many facets of Singapore society. It is a reminder that despite our different backgrounds, we are one Singapore. It emphasises that we are all interconnected through our shared stories and history. Together, Many Stories... One Singaporeforms a theme that unites all Singaporeans to celebrate what makes us Singapore.

Written by Kang Min Yu of CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School Source: Treasures from the Nest, 2007 edition

The SARS Experience
The difficulties our country went through four years ago (2003) has left a deep impression on many people, including young Celina, for that was when the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus broke out in Singapore.

The morning that the outbreak of the virus in Singapore made headlines, Celina went to school to find that thermometers were given out to everyone. She and her classmates were very excited to get free thermometers. They did not realize the seriousness of the outbreak.

Everyone was instructed to take their temperature twice a day in school and the students happily followed the instructions, comparing each other’s temperatures each time. The giggles as the thermometers went ‘beep’ one by one.

Soon, a notification was given out to all in school. Everyone was to stay home for a few days as the virus was spreading very quickly. Even though the students cheered initially when the announcement was made, they soon realized the severity of the issue.

The few days at home were torturous. There was only one word Celina could use to describe how she felt – bored! It was like being locked up in a solitary cell! Although the students could skip school, homework was mailed to them. News of the virus outbreak made headlines day after day with reports of deaths and sadness of people losing their loved ones. It was very depressing.

As Celina read the papers and listened to the news reports on the shortage of hospital beds; the mad rush for masks; and the sorrow of families losing their loved ones, she felt depressed. In addition, there was mounting fear and anger at the inconsiderate people who did not practice proper hygiene and did not stay home when they were sick thus preventing a further spread of the virus.

At the same time Celina was full of praise for the selfless and courageous doctors and nurses who put aside their fears and took the risk of being infected to work together and sometimes round the clock to look after the patients and their colleagues who were down with the virus. Celina and her friends prayed that the researchers and doctors could come up with a cure for the virus.

Young as she was then – for she was only in Primary Three, she could feel the SingaporeSpirit. She heard of groups getting together to boil cooling tea and distribute it free to the ill. She was also proud that the government took measures instantly to curb the spread of the virus. The measures taken included curfews, temperature checks, hospitalisation, isolation when required, and screening of tourists and other people coming into Singapore. Curfews were imposed while temperature checks were carried out at public places. Where required, people were isolated and tourists entering the country were screened.

Finally, the virus was under control and Singapore returned to its peace and there were better health conditions. This was only achieved because the right decisions were made immediately. Singapore has learnt many lessons from this sudden outbreak and she continues to be watchful and vigilant. Celina and her friends are grateful for that.
Three cheers for Singapore!

Additional articles on SARS can be located at

Discussion Questions [Points of view]:

1.  What were your thoughts upon reading this article?
2. What could be the possible reactions from your assigned role?
3. Why do you think we are able to bond together as a nation to face this challenge?

Other stories

NDP theme song


  1. POV: Being a medical worker who is non - Singaporean
    I think that Singapore has a very good system on actually keeping the ill quarantined and actually separated from the general public. If I were given a choice, I would actually chose to stay in Singapore for the time being.

    Done by: Goh Qian Zhe, Arjun, Tham Chun Leon, Ng Keen Yung, and Chiam Chuen.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Point of View: A concerned parent

    1. Most parents, like her, will be worried that their family will contract SARS and her children's education may stop for a long period of time and not cope with their studies when they go back to school.
    2. Brew herbal tea for family, buy masks for them.
    3. THe government took measures, like curfews and temperature checks to prevent the further spread of SARS. People are selfless and care for one another, like distributing herbal tea for ill patients.

  4. POV: An educator

    1• I was shocked as I realized that we were once vulnerable to the illness and had to 'close' ourselves in our houses. i was also sad that children could not take a stable education due to the disaster.

    2• I could educate my students on the stories of Singapore and show them the importance of our Singapore identity.

    3• We are united and kind and helpful and we love each other.

    Done by Lynnette Leong, Chihan and Guo feng

  5. POV: News editor who published the article/issue

    1) I felt very proud that Celine, who was only a primary 3 student, took the initiative to keep up with the current status in SIngapore which showed that she cared.
    2) My possible reaction will be to promote the right value to Singaporeans.
    3) As the government has promoted living together as different races and religions, it was normal for us to bond together and work as one.This is our success by working together as one with harmony.The government has also taken measures before by have similar exercises so we can bond together.

  6. I am a blogger who published the article.

    1. I felt sorry initially for the tragedy caused by an outbreak. As the story progresses, I felt more heartened as many people banded together to help everyone overcome this tough period. I felt that this was an inspiration to many hence I shared this story, one of Singaporean stories of hardship and success through unity.

    2. The blogger could have felt moved by this story and decided to share it with his friends, to serve as motivation, inspiration and a story to rouse national identity and unity.

    3. The hardship affected many and hence we all faced the same turmoil. We could not only sympathise but also empathise the hardships experienced. In order to lessen the pain, we all helped one another in any way we can. Through this manner, we bonded with them and as a nation. Our unity helped us to pull through this ordeal.

    Sarah, Achutha, Praveen and Wai Kit