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Objects that are Quintessentially Singaporean

This month, as we mark our nation’s 56th birthday, we asked CCK residents what they thought are the most uniquely Singaporean items or icons.

No surprise, food made it to the list, alongside local flora and fauna, as well as well-loved icons like Singa the Courtesy Lion.

How many of these would also be your SG object of affection?

Crimson Sunbird — Yeh Chi (Brickland)

While out on a hike with his family, Brickland resident Yeh Chi spotted this little cute little fellow on the summit of Bukit Timah Hill. It was hanging upside down trying to feed on nectar.

Yeh Chi reminded us that the crimson sunbird is regarded as the “unofficial” national bird of Singapore after it won a 2002 poll organised by the Nature Society of Singapore.

Orchids — Serena Tan (Bukit Gombak)

The orchid is quintessentially Singaporean to plant lover Serena Tan, and the most famous orchid has to be Vanda Miss Joaquim, our national flower!

Did you know that Singapore is the only country in the world to have a hybrid as its national flower?

Among the several varieties of Vanda Miss Joaquim, the variety “Agnes” was chosen for its vibrant colours, hardiness and resilience — qualities that reflect our Singapore spirit.

Singa the Courtesy Lion — Barbara Lina Lei (Hong Kah North)

Hands up, those of you own a set of these 15 commemorative collectible figurines of Singa the Courtesy Lion that were produced to specially mark Singapore’s Jubilee. CCK resident Barbara Lina Lei actually owns not one but three sets of the full collection!

1.6 million of these figurines were distributed nation-wide in the National Day Parade SG50 funpacks in 2015, and they soon became popular collectors’ items. Limited sets were also made available for sale by the Singapore Kindness Movement

Dressed in costumes of various professions, there was a doctor Singa, a police Singa and one dressed in NDP red and white. There was even an “all white” DIY Singa for people to draw their own designs.

Merlion figurines — Sim Eng Pang (Bukit Gombak)

For resident and CCK Town Council volunteer Sim Eng Pang, there is nothing more endearingly Singaporean than the mythical half fish, half lion Merlion.

The half fish body symbolises Singapore’s humble beginnings as a fishing village whereas the lion’s head represents Temasek’s original name, Singapura, or ‘lion city’ in Malay.

The first Merlion statue, standing at the mouth of Singapore River, was unveiled in 1972 to welcome all visitors to Singapore. Its image has since been seen on various objects, from soft toys to chocolates to these paperweights produced by Eng Pang’s employer Makino.

Singapore Flag — James Chua (Bukit Gombak)

The Singapore flag for resident James Chua is a fond reminder of how Singapore got its independence and all the challenges our forefathers went through to build it into the small, but strong nation it is today.

Held here by James’ daughter Isabella, 8, he said the flag is also a poignant reminder of whether young or old, we, as citizens, need to stay united as one people, one nation, one Singapore.

Comic superhero Crimson Star — Ryan Mennen (Keat Hong)

What resident Ryan Mennen loves most about Singapore is that it is open so many possibilities — as vast as one’s imagination. 

A comic artist with 17 years of experience under his belt and a Westie all his life, Ryan has dedicated his many of writings and creations to Singapore.

Crimson Star, depicted here, is a Singaporean comic superhero Ryan created in 2018. The character, an everyman bestowed with powers he does not entirely want, not only fights bad guys but also has to combat the struggles that most Singaporeans faced in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Old school biscuits — Aw Hai Jian (Hong Kah North)

Some residents, like CCK Town Council volunteer Aw Hai Jian, will look upon these biscuit tins with fond memories and nostalgia.

Hai Jian said they remind him of the kampong kedai (or neighbourhood shops in Malay) which used to sell biscuits by weight. The biggest benefit was it allows one to buy small quantities of biscuits of different varieties instead of a big pack of only one flavour.

Such old school biscuit shops do still exist, if you know where to look for them.