SPEECH BY MR THARMAN SHANMUGARATNAM, MINISTER FOR EDUCATION, AT THE LAUNCH OF SINGAPORE EXPRESS ON SUNDAY, 31 JULY 2005.Mr Wang thinks that the above is a pretty good idea. He wishes that something similar could be done for the HDB void decks in Singapore. Perhaps Singaporeans should be encouraged to paint murals on the walls of our void decks, creating a distinctly Singaporean kind of heartlander art.
"I am delighted to join you in launching something rather special this morning. Students in art class do not often get to see their artistic creations turn into larger than life objects that move. Today, however, we will. The creation takes the form of a colourful fleet of buses, cabs and an MRT train, all decorated with designs by eight of our talented Primary 5 students.
These students took part in the Singapore Express project. Singapore Express is one of the Happy Birthday Singapore! projects organised by the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts. In partnership with the Designers Association Singapore, students in schools island-wide celebrate this year’s 40th National Day by having a unique opportunity to express their artistic creativity.
In April this year, Singapore Express design activity kits reached close to 12,000 students from 42 schools island-wide. Each kit contained a CD-ROM which brought students through interesting tutorials on design and provided guidelines on how to design decorations for public transport and bus-stop shelters. By May, hundreds of designs were submitted. Seven winning designs were eventually selected by a panel of expert judges on the basis of creativity, innovation, originality, aesthetics, practicality and the presentation and communication of design concepts.
I am impressed by the thought students have put into conceptualizing their designs. Evidently, the creative process is not a haphazard or hit-and-miss experience, but one that requires maturity in understanding the context, opportunity, or problem at hand to arrive at ingenious, yet sensible solutions. Many students have made the effort to conduct research. Quite a few conducted preliminary studies of how public transport around the world is decorated, some went to find out how different countries celebrate their national days, while others went around Singapore taking photos of uniquely decorated vehicles and bus-stops for inspiration."
If you stop to think about it, "void deck" is a very ugly phrase. It is also a uniquely Singaporean phrase. You won't find "void deck" in the Oxford dictionary and you won't hear the phrase being used in other countries. See what Wikipedia has to say about void decks.
But imagine how nice and interesting our void decks would be, if local artists were permitted to paint great big pictures on the walls. With a bit of luck, we could even turn them into tourist attractions.