Singapore in a time capsule


( For more than 20 years, Mr Zaher Wahab, 34, has kept his 1994 ticket to the Malaysia Cup football final. The little stub is pressed neatly between two plastic sheets which, in turn, are sandwiched between the pages of a book.

Finally, to ensure the ticket is protected, the teacher keeps everything in an airtight plastic box.

His prized possession, however, will soon have a new home - the SG50 Time Capsule.

To be sealed this Friday by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at Gardens by the Bay, it will contain 50 items voted by the public as most representative of Singapore's identity and journey as a nation.



Items include old maps of Singapore, old character and citizenship education textbooks and a Singa the Courtesy Lion figurine.

This initiative is spearheaded by the SG50 Programme Office, which put out a list of 60 items for the public to vote on. The public could also propose new items.

Between Sept 21 and Nov 1 last year, about 45,000 votes were cast through the SG50 website, an interactive exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore and digital selection booths placed in selected locations. The programme office also received more than 300 item suggestions.



The top 50 items were chosen based on their popularity.

The top four items and item clusters proposed by Singaporeans were "Communications devices over the years", "Items related to our hawker centre food culture", "Singapore Passport" and "SG50 memorabilia".

Assistant administrative officer Ng Le Eng, 62, donated her rare blue Singapore Restricted Passport to the capsule. The blue passport was used for travel to Malaysia, but became invalid after Dec 31, 1999, and the red Singapore International Passport became the only valid document for travel out of Singapore.



Madam Ng was one of about 360,000 people then who held only the blue passport.

She had applied for it at a cost of $7.50 in 1973, thinking there would be a chance for her to travel to Malaysia, but did not get to do so before the passport became obsolete.

Parting with it was not a hard decision, says the grandmother of two. "It's more meaningful to give this away than to keep it in my drawer. This way, my grandchildren and younger generations get to see how things looked like in the past."

Communications specialist Lisa Marie Tan, 42, had no difficulty donating her Motorola Bravo Pager either. It is featured under "Communications devices over the years".



A gift from her then boyfriend in 1996, it was meant to help him get in touch with her and for her to be easily contactable in her job then as a crime reporter with The New Paper.

But now, it is "no longer of any use", which is why she donated it.

"I did take a picture of it before giving it away, though. In case I never see it again," she says.

Mr Zaher also took photographs of the items he donated to the capsule, which will be opened in 2065 - in time for SG100.

Besides the ticket, he also donated a commemorative T-shirt printed by The New Paper for the 1994 Malaysia Cup match.



He has fond memories of that match at the Shah Alam Stadium in Selangor, Malaysia, as it was his first time watching a football game overseas.

Singapore won the Cup that year, trouncing Pahang 4-0. That was also the year that Singapore last won the Cup.

"Because those memories are precious, the items are dear to me," he says.

"Hopefully, when the capsule is opened in 2065, we would be back playing in the Cup and we would have won again."


Yun Ruan (Editor) - World Creativity Science Academy - WCSA