An exhibition charting S’pore’s tumultuous nation-building years is in town 

12/05/2023

If the phrase semangat yang baru sounds familiar, it could be because they are the chorus of the National Anthem we spend our school years belting out to.  

Marilah kita Bersatu, Dengan semangat yang baru  

Come, let us unite in a new spirit 

But despite the frequency of reciting and listening to it, the meaning of what this “new spirit” entails is still lost to many of us.   

Furthermore, one can imagine the difficulties in getting the younger generation to relate to this “spirit” when the Singapore they grew up in is no longer a fledgling nation struggling to survive.  

In fact, is this “spirit” that we pay homage to even relevant today?  

To answer these questions (and more), the National Museum of Singapore has curated a new exhibition - Semangat yang Baru: Forging a New Singapore Spirit.  

With plenty of multimedia displays and iconic artefacts (including Mr Lee Kwan Yew’s famous red box), the exhibition will highlight the tumultuous years of Singapore’s post-war history and explore the dilemmas our founding leaders faced in building an equal, just and multicultural society. 

Speaking at the launch, Minister for Culture, Community And Youth Edwin Tong shared that as a nation born out of adversity, we must appreciate how far we have come and continue to draw inspiration from the past.   

To do so means asking ourselves the same questions that confronted our first-generation leaders back then, said the Minister.  

“What do we want to build for future generations? Who do we want to be as a people? What values will define us, and will we live by?” 

Indeed, our ForwardSG exercise aims to do just that. Engaging all Singaporeans to examine our values, shared aspirations and build consensus for the future.  

After all, nation-building is a joint effort where all of us, not just the Government, are stakeholders.  

The semangat yang baru exhibition will run till October 29, and entrance is free for Singaporeans and Permanent Citizens.  

Photo Source: National Museum of Singapore/ Edwin Tong via Facebook