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Five national "animals" of Singapore

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Recognise these homegrown mascots?

What makes us truly Singaporean? While the usual candidates include our vibrant food culture, undefeated kiasu spirit and exclusive Singlish language, we often discount these five homegrown "animals" that are hardly strangers to the locally born-and-bred.

Can you recognise them?

1. Singa the Lion (from 1982)

singa-the-lion
SINGA THE LION
PHOTO CREDIT: CATCH-FORTYWINKS.COM

Singa the Lion is the mascot. The most recognisable "animal" among the five is used for various public education campaigns: courtesy, graciousness, and kindness. Singa the Lion was adopted as the official mascot of the Singapore Kindness Movement, from 2009 to 2013.

In 2013, Singa famously resigned. Obviously tired with all the unkind tensions and behaviour of Singaporeans, the lion penned an open letter to Singapore. Singa proclaimed: "I quit. I need a long break… No one likes being nagged at, even if it's about being kind and gracious".

Although Singa tendered his resignation, he continues to grace events to spread the message of kindness. You can visit him at The Kindness Gallery at Old Hill Street Police Station.

2. Sharity Elephant (from 1984)


SHARITY ELEPHANT
PHOTO CREDIT: SMARTLOCAL.COM 



THEN AND NOW: BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION FOR SHARITY
PHOTO CREDIT: FB.COM/SHARITYCLUB
 

"Share" + "Charity" = Sharity. This elementary formula tells us that the pink elephant was introduced to instil values of sharing and caring. Why the elephant then? Simply because elephants live in communities and tend to help one another.

While Sharity was previously limited to donation cards and brochures distributed in schools, keeping in touch with Sharity is easier now with technology; follow the bighearted elephant on Facebook – not to prey on him, though.

3. Captain Green (from 1990)


THE "CLASSIC" CAPTAIN GREEN
PHOTO CREDIT: SEEINGSINGAPORE.WORDPRESS.COM


A "REFRESHED" CAPTAIN GREEN SPOTTED WITH SINGA THE LION
PHOTO CREDIT: FB.COM/NEASINGAPORE

Afraid of frogs? Fear not. Captain Green is the ever-smiling environmentally-friendly frog that became the mascot for the Clean and Green Week campaign in 1990. A frog was chosen because these amphibians are known to be sensitive to changes in the environment.

People change, frogs too. In celebration of SG50, Captain Green was given a facelift, underscoring how evergreen Captain Green is.

4. Smiley the Squirrel (from 1983)


SMILEY THE SQUIRREL AT A RECENT EVENT
PHOTO CREDIT: STRAITS TIMES

As part of a nation-wide Savings Campaign, Smiley the Squirrel was introduced to advocate the boon of thriftiness and saving. Unknown to many, a squirrel was chosen because the animal is known for its habit of storing food for rainy days.

Over the years, Smiley's presence had diminished. But the good news: Smiley has been anointed with a digital twist where he can be visited in an app's click away − in the game Smiley Town that seeks to instil saving habits among children.

5. Bookworm (1984 to early 2000s)

 
THIS BOOKWORM IS UNDOUBTEDLY THE MOST WELL-KNOWN OF ITS SPECIE IN SINGAPORE
PHOTO CREDIT: SEEINGSINGAPORE.WORDPRESS.COM

Picture a bespectacled worm and you might be drawn into the smokescreen of nostalgia. Indeed, there was a time when "bookworms" were championed as cool kids. To encourage reading, The Bookworm Club introduced a myriad of storybooks to primary school students in the eighties through the nineties.

Although the company has since ceased operations, mental images of this particular worm still emerge among Singaporeans whenever the word "bookworm" is brought up. If you are keen to rekindle your nerdy course of pre-adolescence, drop by the public libraries or try your luck in one of the used book stores at Bras Basah Complex.

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  • Tags: School