NDP 2024 packs designed by 40 students from 22 special needs schools

SINGAPORE – Though he cannot hear the roar of fighter jets during the National Day Parade (NDP) every August, Muhammad Harith Haziq Kamalrozaman knows the exact time the planes will soar over his neighbourhood.

Harith, 17, who was born deaf, will dash to the kitchen window of his Housing Board flat in Buangkok in time to catch the fighter jets and the helicopter carrying the state flag fly past.

This year, Harith’s drawing of a black fighter jet is one of the works of art from 40 differently abled students selected to adorn the NDP 2024 packs.

Communicating via a sign-language interpreter at an engagement event with President Tharman Shanmugaratnam on June 16 at the National Gallery Singapore, Harith signed: “I feel proud that my art is on the NDP packs.”

The students, who are between the ages of eight and 18 and come from 22 government-funded special education schools, created six unique designs for the packs based on the six pillars of Total Defence: military, civil, economic, social, psychological and digital.

Total Defence is the concept that every Singaporean plays a part, individually and collectively, to build a strong, secure and cohesive nation.

The works of art will be printed on recycled polyester tote bags and given to students attending National Education shows, and members of the public at the NDP previews and the NDP.

Singapore’s 59th birthday bash on Aug 9 will take place at the Padang.

Members of the public who have registered to visit the five heartland celebration sites on Aug 10, as well as attend the celebrations at The Promontory @ Marina Bay on Aug 3 and 9, can also collect the NDP packs on-site.

This is the fifth year that the NDP executive committee has partnered with disability agency SG Enable to invite artists with disabilities to design NDP packs, and the first time that the artwork was done entirely by special needs students.

President Tharman and his spouse, Ms Jane Ittogi, met the student artists at the engagement event to thank them and understand the inspiration behind their work.

President Tharman said in a statement issued by the NDP 2024 executive committee: “You can only be inspired by the artists who designed the NDP packs. Each of them transcending his or her disabilities, each with a story to tell through their art, and each taking pride in making us all feel as one on National Day.”

Remote video URL

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Harith is a student at Lighthouse School, which teaches students with visual impairment and hearing loss.

His father, crane operator Kamalrozaman, 50, said Harith has loved watching the NDP since he was young and is always eager to catch the contingents’ march-in and jets’ fly-past on television.

This year, father and son will attend an NDP preview for the first time with complimentary tickets.

Mr Kamalrozaman, who celebrated his birthday and Father’s Day on June 16, beamed with pride as he spoke of Harith’s contribution to the NDP packs, saying: “This is the best gift I could receive.”

Josie Nicholas, 11, a pupil from Pathlight School who has autism, drew a dark blue lock, which is featured on the NDP pack with the theme of digital defence.

She said the icon represents the ScamShield app, a government application that helps to filter scam messages and calls from numbers used in illegal activities.

ndp 2024 packs designed by 40 students from 22 special needs schools

Pathlight School student Josie Nicholas drew inspiration from the fight against scams in her design for the NDP packs. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Josie, who reads The Straits Times’ student publication Little Red Dot regularly in school, said: “I read from the newspapers that people got scammed by (buying) Taylor Swift tickets. I know that scammers keep coming, so I drew a beautiful shield that protects Singapore digitally.”

She wants to be an artist when she grows up, and hopes that her artwork can be displayed on buildings.

Charyl Lee Wen Xuan, 17, a student from Grace Orchard School who has intellectual disability, painted a montage of elements representing the diverse communities in Singapore.

A string of lights with crescent moons and candles represents the Malay and Indian communities, a red dragon is for the Chinese community, and Easter eggs are for the Eurasian community.

Some of the elements were featured on the social defence NDP pack.

ndp 2024 packs designed by 40 students from 22 special needs schools

Grace Orchard School student Charyl Lee Wen Xuan painted a montage of elements representing the diverse communities in Singapore. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Charyl, who does digital art and pottery, among other art forms, said: “I’m happy and a bit surprised that they actually used my artwork (on the NDP packs).”

Ms Ku Geok Boon, chief executive of SG Enable, said the agency focused on student artists in 2024 as it wanted to create a shared experience for children from different special needs schools.

The students came together at a workshop to learn about the different pillars of total defence, and were encouraged to draw something that represents their idea of the theme.

Said Ms Ku: “It is of much significance for the children to participate in such an important national platform.

“It inspires them to give their best, to really think about what Singapore means to them, and also how they can reach out to fellow Singaporeans to collectively build a more caring and inclusive Singapore.”

Remote video URL

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