Singa the Lion #OurMascots
In 1982, Singa the Courtesy Lion was introduced to the public as the mascot for our National Courtesy Campaign (NCC), launched in 1979 to “create a pleasant social environment, with Singaporeans considerate to each other and thoughtful of each other’s needs.” The campaign was spearheaded by then-PM Lee Kuan Yew to reform the traits of the “ugly Singaporean”, reported in the media since the 1970s. Singapore’s level of graciousness had been compared unfavourably against other countries such as Switzerland, Japan and Thailand.
Singa was designed as a lion cub to represent Singapore’s status as a young nation then, orange, red and yellow colours were used to illustrate the warmth of courteous living. Singa became so viral that the NCC hotline was flooded with requests for Singa products, with children asking to speak with him. In June 1995, The Straits Times newspaper reported that the courtesy campaigns successfully reduced the “me-first” attitude among Singaporeans.
In 2001, the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM) took over the NCC and Singa was adopted as its mascot. His smiley icon was replaced by the heart icon which represented the values of kindness and graciousness. But in 2009, three students organised a mock funeral to mourn Singa’s death to jolt Singaporeans into becoming more active in creating a gracious society. SKM denied rumours of his death and went on to feature Singa actively in its publicity materials.
In 2012, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong lamented the growing instances of “not so good behaviour” among Singaporeans and called for everyone to be more “big hearted”. Singapore’s Graciousness Index fell to a five-year low in April 2013, with respondents reporting that they performed and experienced fewer acts of kindness and graciousness. In May that same year, Singa announced his resignation and called on Singaporeans to take responsibility for their own actions via the SKM website, writing: “I quit. I need a long break, and you could probably use a break from me too. No one likes being nagged at, even if it’s about being kind and gracious.”
The resignation was subsequently revealed by the SKM to be a stunt to provoke discussions. Singa returned in 2014 as Singa the Kindness Lion, taking on a more “human” body shape, and sporting a yellow gerbera which symbolised appreciation. To this day, Singa spends his time in schools imparting values of graciousness and compassion to our primary school children and preschoolers, calling on them to channel their inner Singa and spread kindness in a more intentional way.
#OurMascots #Singa #SingaTheCourtesyLion #SingaTheKindnessLion #Kindness #Courtesy #Singapore #SingaporeWay