Short film by Royston Tan, digital trail and light-up facade: Learn about Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy at the National Museum

To commemorate our founding prime minister’s 100th birth anniversary, the National Museum commissioned local director Royston Tan to produce a short film.

Kirby Tan

Will redo the same personality test until I get the results I want.

Published: 21 July 2023, 1:42 PM

A new short film by director Royston Tan titled LKY 100: The Life and Legacy of Lee Kuan Yew (1923-2015) will be a part of the commemoration of Lee Kuan Yew’s 100th birth anniversary at the National Museum of Singapore (NMS).

Besides the commissioned video, visitors can also enjoy a digital trail that incorporates artefacts from Mr Lee’s life and career, as well as NMS’ annual National Day facade light-up. 

LKY 100: The Life and Legacy of Lee Kuan Yew (1923-2015) will run until Dec 31, and is free to view for Singaporeans and permanent residents.  

Digital Trail

As our nation’s founding prime minister, Mr Lee’s decisions and achievements are largely intertwined with Singapore’s development. Given how Mr Lee’s life has parallels to the journey of our nation, NMS chose to showcase their existing artefacts in chronological order for this special exhibition.

The digital trail will span over the Semangat yang Baru: Forging a New Singapore Spirit exhibition and the post-war Singapore section of the Singapore History Gallery (SHG). From Jul 21 to Dec 31, visitors can start the self-led trail from either exhibition.


The digital trail is complemented by the immersive exhibition designs that incorporate visual and audio elements. PHOTO CREDIT: NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SINGAPORE


The digital trail is akin to a treasure hunt. To begin, visitors will need to scan a QR code to receive a virtual map that will guide them through. 

Using the provided prompts, they can locate various objects and artefacts that were crucial in Mr Lee’s nation building journey, including his barrister robe, rostrum and a bottle of water from the Singapore River.

To make the experience easier for visitors, every object part of the LKY 100 digital trail is marked by a sign that is modelled after Mr Lee’s iconic ministerial box, also known as his Red Box.

Upon scanning these marked objects, visitors will be redirected to a page with various visual and audio content that delves into Mr Lee’s life and contributions.


The website for this digital trail allows visitors to choose between English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/CHONG WEN LYN


After completing the trail, visitors can then redeem their “treasure” – an enamel pin designed after Mr Lee’s Red Box – from the vending machine at the SHG exit. 

'LKY 100: The Life and Legacy of Lee Kuan Yew (1923-2015)' Film

At the concluding section of the SHG, visitors can enjoy a five-minute film by local filmmaker Royston Tan.

Dubbed a “time machine” by Royston, the film is a collage of the late Mr Lee’s speeches that reflects the “strength and vision of Mr Lee Kuan Yew”. 

Using archive footage, mostly from National Day Rallies, Mr Lee’s speeches delivered in English, Malay, Mandarin and Hokkien were spliced to showcase the value he placed on multiculturalism. Most notably, the film includes the first televised National Day Rally in 1971 where Mr Lee spoke about Singapore’s progress in spite of the odds. 

The six-month production, said Royston, included scouring through archive materials from the National Heritage Board and MediaCorp, and consulting experts to ensure Mr Lee’s message was not misrepresented after the edits. 

National Day Facade Light-Up

Outside the museum, visitors can also celebrate Singapore’s 58th birthday as they take in NMS’ illuminated facade, featuring the colours and symbols of Singapore and snippets of the commissioned short film.


The National Day Facade Light-Up first started in 2020. PHOTO CREDIT: NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SINGAPORE


As part of the National Day Facade Light-up, where iconic landmarks are illuminated with red and white, the projection will run from 7.30pm to 12 midnight for the weeks leading up to National Day, Aug 9.


The facade also includes this year’s National Day theme – “Onward As One”. GIF CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/KIRBY TAN


Royston, who is also the creative director of National Day Parade 2023, shared that putting the LKY 100: The Life and Legacy of Lee Kuan Yew (1923-2015) film together made him more grateful for Mr Lee’s contributions.

He said: “I was just standing at the Padang and (I realised that) whatever we have now wouldn’t have materialised if not for Lee Kuan Yew’s vision, guts, as well as his determination to make difficult decisions.”

As Singaporeans watch the film – be it through the snippets featured on the facade or at the end of the digital trail – he hopes they value the country more. 

“Being a multi-racial country, it’s very important to appreciate what we have now… We need to have a gentle reminder that all these (achievements) didn’t come easy.” 

Singaporeans and Singapore permanent residents can visit the digital trail and watch The LKY 100: The Life and Legacy of Lee Kuan Yew (1923-2015) film for free from Jul 21 to Dec 31, 10am to 7pm. The digital trail at the Semangat yang Baru: Forging a New Singapore Spirit exhibition, however, will end on Nov 13.

The National Day Facade Light-Up will run daily from Jul 21 to Aug 9, 7.30pm to 12am. 

For more information, visit the NMS website or its Facebook and Instagram pages.

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