“I am thankful for the peace and security in Singapore now. When I read all the bad news in the newspaper, it really makes me glad to be in a country like Singapore,” says 22 year old Abel Ho.
Abel, a full time national serviceman (NSF), is one of more than a record 5,500 people who have come forward over the past month to share what makes them happy in Singapore for a campaign by Clarke Quay Central called Smile Singapore.
During the campaign, out of the 2,000 people surveyed, more than half said that they were thankful to have a stable home, surrounded by loved ones. This is followed by being able to celebrate the nation’s jubilee year as a significant milestone (21.4%), having a safe and clean environment (12.3%) and the fact that we have a wide variety of dining and shopping choices (7.77%).
Abel is not alone. Others, like 21 years old Rini Norfarhana, share in his optimism, commenting that the one thing that makes her happy is how safety in Singapore “is the best”. Similarly, for 20 year old Tisya Wong, what makes her happy is the fact that she has all her family and friends around her.
Said Mavis Seow, the director and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Retail Business Group of Far East Organisation: “This campaign is especially meaningful during Singapore’s jubilee year as we, as an organization and part of a young nation, count our blessings from living in Singapore.”
Smile Singapore was borne as a result of a Gallup poll in 2012 which ranked Singapore as the most emotionless and unhappy nation in the world. It was first started in 2013, where it aimed to dispel the notion that Singaporeans are an unhappy bunch.
At that time, Clarke Quay Central collected and laid out a total of close to 2,000 smiling portraits in the Atrium, breaking the Singapore’s Book of Records for the “Largest Display of Photos”. Now, two years later, they are back in partnership with Fuji Xerox, Ape Works and iSuccess to break their own record and collect 10,000 smiling faces instead.
Clarke Quay Central’s efforts to put a smile on Singaporeans’ faces comes on the back of a wave of optimism and hope that showcase the Singapore spirit, and puts the SG back into SG50. Just last week, foreign worker Subramanian Shanmuganathan, an Indian national, was hailed as a hero for saving a toddler in the nick of time.
Other heartwarming incidences include praises sung for Charles, a Republic Polytechnic student who bought a tray of food for an intellectually disabled man in fast food joint Texas Chicken in Causeway Point last week, and an army officer, LTA Dionel Arun, who helped to mediate for a NSF who was being scolded by an enraged member of the public on the train earlier this month.
All these and more paint a brighter picture in the eyes of not just local Singaporeans, but also of the international community, as just recently, Singapore was named one of the 25 happiest nations in the world, and the happiest in Asia, according to a wide ranging study by the United Nations in the 2015 World Happiness Report.
The drive for the collection of smiling faces will continue from now till 3 May. Fuji Xerox Singapore, the main sponsor for the campaign, will donate five dollars for every photo submitted to Beyond Social Services, a voluntary welfare organization that helps less privileged families. Members of the public who wish to contribute a smiling photograph of themselves, or share their stories, can do so by heading to the website at www.smilesingapore.sg