As the house lights dimmed and the neon beams streaked the cavernous interiors of the Esplanade Concert Hall of Singapore’s über performing arts venue, Esplanade –Theatres by the Bay, the eclectic crowd hushed in anticipation. Made up of executives, families, seniors and school children, the 1300-strong audience for the night was a microcosm of Singapore society, and fittingly so. After all, they were there to celebrate Singapore’s 48 th National Day at the charity fundraising concert, My Singapore 2013: Shine Singapore .
A Birthday with a Cause
Into its third year, the concert is a community and charity project that is part of the “My Singapore” movement, the brainchild of local singer-songwriter, Lorraine Tan. The first “My Singapore” project started in 2011 to celebrate National Day. Tan had wanted a vehicle that would increase interest and awareness in the local music and film industry and create job opportunities for local talents while benefitting society at large. A music lover who grew up with a father who sang often, she believed that music would be able to inspire and unify the nation towards a common cause for good.
This year, The Straits Times Pocket Money Fund (SPMF) has been selected to be the beneficiary of the My Singapore2013: Shine Singapore . CapitaLand’s philanthropic arm, CapitaLand Hope Foundation (CHF) is the Presenting Charity Sponsor, making it CHF’s sixth year donating to the charity. CHF, represented by Mr Tan Seng Chai, Executive Director, CapitaLand Hope Foundation and Group Chief Corporate Officer, CapitaLand Limited presented a S$50,000-cheque to guest-of-honour, Mr Han Fook Kwang, Chairman, The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and Managing Editor of English and Malay Newspapers Division of Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.
“The ‘My Singapore’ movement is a meaningful and creative effort to inspire and bring people together to contribute to the less fortunate through music. CHF strongly believes each child has within them the potential for greatness, which if nurtured and built upon, can bring significant value to future societies,” said Mr Tan.
“In line with CapitaLand’s community development commitment to ‘Building People – Building For Tomorrow’, we recognise that the long-term success of the company’s business is closely intertwined with the health and prosperity of the communities in which it operates. We hope that by helping underprivileged children grow up to become economically independent adults with sound character, they will be equipped with greater social mobility and will eventually be able to help others as well. As we celebrate Singapore’s 48th National Day, we would like to do our part by reaching out to the less fortunate young Singaporeans among us.”
“This is a wonderful to raise money for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and celebrate National Day. It has made this year’s celebration a very meaningful one for our 11,000 needy students. On behalf of all of them, a very big thank you to everyone involved in this concert,” added Mr Han.
The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund was a Straits Times initiated community project launched in 2000 to provide pocket money to children from low-income families. Since then, it has helped over 105,000 children and youths in need who use the monthly S$55 for primary school students and S$120 for secondary school students to pay for their meals during recess, bus fares and other school-related needs.
In Birthday with Music
The night’s musical performance ran the gamut of languages as Tan, in true multi-lingual, multi-cultural fashion, serenaded the audience with renditions in English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil and even Korean. Accompanied by a 12-piece band, Tan sang several national songs that stirred nationalistic fervour and roused the crowd to clap and, at times, sing along. These were coupled with her own compositions, primarily love songs; oldies; and jazz favourites. As in other years, she also sang an original song, “Shine Singapore”, that she composed to commemorate the event.
In keeping with the project’s aim to include students in charity work and expose them to the local arts scene, nearly 100 children from six schools across Singapore joined in the concert as well, providing background vocals and upping the cute quotient as they appeared in ethnic garb.
In addition to the proceeds from ticket sales, Tan also provided 3,000 copies of her CDs, the proceeds of which went to SPMF. In total, more than S$200,000 was raised. The night of celebration in song was certainly in keeping with Singapore’s vision of inclusion and meritocracy, and CapitaLand’s belief in contributing to every city it has presence in; and an apt way to mark yet another great year for the nation.