1. Tentatively titled “Project 50/100”, this is an alternative effort to commemorate Singapore’s 50th anniversary. As the name suggests, it will look back in time as well as forward to the centennial. The spirit is captured in the tagline “Alternative Narratives, New Perspectives, Different Truths”, and the motivation in the slogan “Because We Love Singapore”. Other suggested titles are: SG Vision 50/100, SG Halftime, Vision 50/100 and Singapura 50/100.
2. “Alternative” here means in contrast to what is presently conventional, prevailing, widely known or widely accepted discourses, and in juxtaposition to the absence or scarcity of certain discourses. It thus means a counterpoint to what is out there as well as a bringing into being or to wider consciousness of what is not there. Hence, Project 50/100 is about uncovering the unseen, unheard and unacknowledged, reclaiming and reaffirming physical, artistic and intellectual neglected spaces, and hence enriching through diversity.
3. In recent years, there have been more initiatives to already tell alternative narratives, offer perspectives and reveal different truths. They have made a difference to our knowledge and discourse. Project 50/100 hopes to build on this valiant work.
4. Project 50/100 will be inclusive, organisationally distributed but centrally coordinated. It will be inclusive in that anyone or any group can seek to have their projects be part of it. It will be organisationally distributed in that almost all the projects will be largely planned and executed by these individuals or groups. It will be centrally coordinated in that there will be a very small Steering Committee with one or two paid support staff that will mobilise the individuals and groups, serve as a clearing house for projects and execute a few key events such as a conference or a book.
5. Projects should fulfil some of the promise of the title and tagline. They will also be branded as part of the effort by carrying its logo, title and tagline as part of its publicity. There are three levels of projects:
a. Core projects
These will be curated by the Steering Committee for diversity and for meeting the aims of the Project 50/100. Support will be given in terms of funding where available, support in terms of volunteers, venues and publicity. The projects ought to have:
(i) Subject matter which goes to the heart of alternativeness.
(ii) A macro perspective providing contexts in time (looking back to the past and forward to the future) and content (relating the subject in other wider or relevant issues.)
(iii) Uphold these values and carry an ideological frame that is progressive, inclusive, alternative, diverse, multi-dimensional.
(iv) Have a strong outreach programme (see the next section on outreach).
b. Open-access projects
These will also be curated, but will not receive any funding. Support will be given in terms of venue and publicity.
c. Affiliated projects
These will be independently curated by the project makers. No funding or help in venues will be available.
6. Both the core and the open-access projects should also have a clear plan for outreach – both to the converted, but more importantly, to the unconverted in the wider community. The latter would include people who are not interested in the issues raised, but who, through the exposure to the projects, become informed and even motivated to take up the issue in one way or another. The Steering Committee will share the best ideas generated on how this outreach can be carried out effectively. One possibility is getting schools and other educational institutions or other organisations and groups to take part. Another would be to have a buddy system: If each converted person tries to bring along at least two non-converted (family members, friends, colleagues, Facebook contacts etc), who are then asked to bring another two persons each, and so on, then there will be a chain reaction. The projects will thus have to have an educational outreach or even a docented element to it so that people new to the issues or participation in such events in general will not feel lost.
7. Anyone can seek to be part of the effort. They include NGOs, artists or arts groups and academics. There is no limit on the kind of projects they can do, which can range from shows, events, seminars or conferences, art works or a combination of these. The projects can be on any issue or theme. All they need is to consult with the Steering Committee. Broadly, projects or “works” should be of the kind that Communicate or Resonate because they have a clear Context and are Concerned and Connected with the Citizen.
8. The Steering Committee will be raising money to run Project 50/100. However individual projects are unlikely to receive any financial support unless the Steering Committee can raise sufficient funds. Thus all collaborators must be prepared in-principle to realise their projects with nil or minimum funding support from the Steering Committee.
9. The period of the projects will be September 2014 to March 2015, though not strictly as they can occur before or after that. The official celebrations will be held through 2015, so the earlier the projects are carried out, the less likelihood there will be fatigue from the anniversary.
10. The Steering Committee consists of nine people and decisions will be by consensus, and if not possible, by voting. The Committee will raise funds, and also run a website, online discussion group of project organisers, and a Facebook Page. It also plans to organise a conference at the end of the period and perhaps publish a book. It will also create the logo and other design and publicity collaterals for the effort. Committee Members will not be paid. There will be two co-treasurers who will take charge of holding and accounting of the funds. There will be a paid secretariat, either a full-time person or two part-timers.
11. Funds will be raised by donation. The first round will target key sponsors who can give $100, $500, $1,000, $2,000, $5,000, $10,000 or more. The funds will be used to pay the secretariat and its operational expenses such as transport. It will also be used for expenses such as rental of spaces for conferences (if free venues cannot be found), the book (if one is published), and collaterals including design and printing. The rest will be used for funding projects, especially for projects by individuals and groups of individuals who don’t have any organisations behind them. Members of the Steering Committee will not be paid.
By Project 50/100 Steering Committee:
Braema Mathi, Choo Zheng Xi, Liew Kai Khiun, Lim Jialiang, Prashant Somosundram, T Sasitharan, Alvin Tan, Tan Tarn How, Tay Tong, Jennifer Teo.