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The National Museum of Singapore and six other buildings get totally lit to celebrate Singapore's 56th birthday. Photo: National Heritage Board

Get All The National Day Feels With This Light-Up In The Bras Basah-Bugis Area

A full moon on a cloudless night or a brilliant cloud formation at sunset (and we've had quite a few of these in recent weeks) or seeing bae standing in the bedroom doorway with snacks all have the same mesmerising effect on us - we can't help but look up and stare in wonder.

Likewise, this National Day light-up put together by the National Hertiage Board aims to unite us in a quiet but no less awe-inspiring celebration of our island nation's 56th year of independence.

For the entire month of August, seven buildings in the Bras Basah-Bugis precinct - namely the Central Fire Station, Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, National Museum of Singapore, National Design Centre, Stamford Arts Centre, Objectifs - Centre for Photography and Film, and The Cathay - will be bathed in gloriously patriotic red and white light.

Central Fire Station, the oldest existing fire station in Singapore.Photo: National Heritage Board

Why these buildings? Got meaning, ok!

Three of them are national monuments that mark the contributions and progress of various communities towards nation-building:

Central Fire Station: Completed in 1909, this is our oldest existing fire station, and is a symbol and reminder of how Singapore's early volunteer firefighting squads have, through the decades, transformed into a modern civil defence force.

Cathedral of the Good Shepherd: If you think your boomer relatives are old, this building is truly ancient. It's the oldest Catholic church in Singapore and was constructed in 1843 - only 24 years after Sir Stamford Raffles landed in Singapore in 1819.

National Museum of Singapore: Another oldie but goodie, this grande dame of our Lion City is the oldest museum in Singapore, and, like the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, was also built in the mid-1800s.

Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, Singapore's oldest Catholic church, was built in 1843.Photo: National Heritage Board

The other four buildings represent hubs of Singapore's cultural and design scene:

National Design Centre: This building is truly a centre for education and the arts, being the original site of St. Anthony's Convent (1879-1994) before housing Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts from 1995 to 2004, and then the Chinese Opera Institute from 1995 to 2009. It wasn't until 2011 that a multi-disciplinary team led by SCDA Architects was appointed to develop and implement a design proposal for NDC.

Stamford Arts Centre: Built in 1920 by the Japan Club as the Japanese Elementary School, this structure went on to be the home of Gan Eng Seng School from 1947 to 1951, and Stamford Girls School from 1955 to 1984.

Objectifs - Centre for Photography and Film: As its name suggests, this is a visual arts space that has been dedicated to film and photography since 2003. Today, it holds year-round programmes of exhibitions, screenings, workshops, talks, mentorships and residencies, which, according to the non-profit registered charity is "aimed at fostering dialogue about visual culture, and advancing the practice and appreciation of photography and film".

The Cathay: Fun fact: When The Cathay was built in 1939, it was - get this - the tallest building in Singapore and South-east Asia

Tap and follow the suggested Google Maps route above, which will start you off at The Cathay and end your journey at the National Design Centre in this order:

  1. The Cathay
  2. National Museum of Singapore
  3. Central Fire Station
  4. Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
  5. Objectifs – Centre for Photography and Film
  6. Stamford Arts Centre
  7. National Design Centre

The light-up happens from 7pm to midnight every day from 1 to 31 Aug 2021.

Happy National Day and stay safe! 

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