4 alternative Singapore legends we can use for NDP 2016

Cos life is more than just brawn.

Joshua Lee | August 04, 2016, 02:43 PM

By now many Singaporeans would have seen the legend of Badang, which takes prominence in this year’s National Day Parade (NDP). If you haven’t, here it is:

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Badang was a slave who acquired immense strength after he ate demon vomit. Badang used his newfound strength to help his fellow villagers and even served as a court warrior for the King of Singapura.

Badang fought many battles, but his most famous challenger was a strong man from Kalinga. Both were equally matched in strength, but in the end, Badang won by throwing a huge rock from the top of a hill to the mouth of the Singapore river.

NDP organisers chose to feature the legend of Badang because he represented qualities such as “strength and resilience”. Here at Mothership, we thought we would offer 4 alternatives for their consideration.


1) Sisters’ Islands

Sisters Islands, legend of sisters islands One of the Sisters' Islands. Source.

The story of two beautiful sisters Minah and Linah who were so close that they promised each other to marry into the same family so that they can be together forever. Of course life doesn’t play out that nicely.

Linah caught the eye of a fearsome pirate chief. He removed her forcefully from her home and took her to his boats. Minah chased after the pirate boats but was swept away by the waves and drowned. Upon witnessing her sister disappear under the waves, Linah freed herself and jumped into the sea as well. A storm broke out and when it subsided, a pair of islands appeared where the girls drowned. These became known as Sisters’ Islands.

NDP-ready because: Land appearing out of nowhere is Singapore’s (literal) story of nation building. Land reclamation is worth celebrating because without it, we wouldn’t have Jurong Island, Changi Airport, and even MBS.

2) Redhill/Bukit Merah

Garfish from the legend of Bukit Merah This is a Garfish. Source

Everyone knows the legend of Nadim, a boy who saved his village from an infestation of garfish. The brilliant Nadim devised a plan to barricade the shore with a row of banana tree trunks. When the garfish attacked, their pointed beaks were stuck in the tree trunks, giving the villagers ample time to slaughter the lot.

Unfortunately, the villagers’ adoration of the Nadim irritated the Sultan. In a fit of jealousy, he ordered his men to kill the boy. Nadim’s blood flowed freely down the hill he was living on, until the entire hill was stained red.

NDP-ready because: Young underdog hero? Check. Wicked rich villain? Check. Blood and violence? Check and check. The legend of Bukit Merah has all the ingredients you need for an exciting NDP Show Act 1.


3) Radin Mas

Radin Mas Community Club, legend of Radin Mas Radin Mas CC. Named after the legend of Radin Mas. Source

Radin Mas was a Javanese princess whose mother was murdered by her uncle. Upon the death of her mother, Radin Mas came over to Temasek with her father, Pangeran. Pangeran married the daughter of the Sultan of Temasek. Radin Mas’s wicked stepmother hated her and so she plotted with her nephew, Tun Bagus, to take Radin Mas down. Tun Bagus kidnapped Pangeran and threatened to kill him unless Radin Mas agreed to marry him.

Radin Mas would have been an unhappy bride if it wasn’t for her stepbrother who blurted out that he saw Radin Mas’s father hidden in a well. In a fit of anger, Tun Bagus turned his knife upon Pangeran. Radin Mas shielded her father and was killed as a result.

NDP-ready because: Radin Mas’s story, though tragic, teaches us about resilience. If you can survive murderous uncles and wicked stepmothers, you can handle the daily train disruptions and 35 degree heatwaves. #Priorities

4) Kusu Island

Kusu Island, Legend of Kusu Island Kusu Island. Source.

‘Kusu’ is Malay for tortoise. The story goes that two good friends - a Malay and a Chinese fisherman - went out to sea to fish. Suddenly a storm arrived and overturned their boat. The two fishermen were about to drown when a giant tortoise came to their rescue. It transformed into an island which the two fishermen climb to safety. Both fishermen built a Chinese temple and a Malay shrine on the island in gratitude to the tortoise.

NDP-ready because: No NDP parade is complete without playing up racial harmony. Also, everyone loves tortoises.


Top photo via Youtube screengrab

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