NDP 2021 Anime On S’poreans’ Lives In The Past & Present Gives Off Studio Ghibli Vibes

NDP 2021 Anime Inspired By Real-Life Singaporeans Touches Hearts

On Saturday (21 Aug), the National Day Parade 2021 (NDP2021) finally took place after being postponed from 9 Aug.

While most Singaporeans couldn’t watch the show in person, we tuned in on TV and online, hoping for some relief after a tough few years.

And we weren’t disappointed—one of the highlights was an animated film on Singaporeans’ lives over the generations.


The artistry and storytelling gave off serious Studio Ghibli vibes and touched our hearts in the same way that the Japanese production company does so well.

6 Singaporeans who overcame challenges

The 14-minute anime was split up into segments that played before each of the parade’s 4 acts.

Despite the stories being split up, they managed to tug at the heartstrings, maybe because they portrayed relatable Singaporean stories.


3 real-life Singaporeans of the past were featured, and each of them had a common thread—they overcame challenges to follow their dreams.

They, in turn, inspired 3 fictional Singaporeans in the present.

Read more!

Let’s look at each of the Singaporean legends, and those they inspired:

1. Zubir Said

Mr Zubir Said came to Singapore at the age of 21 with almost nothing, but he could play the violin.


He ended up playing for the City Opera, leading the ensemble for 8 years.

However, he initially faced challenges reading the music notation as he’d learnt music on his own.


Despite this, he built his reputation in the music industry, and despite World War II forcing him to take a break for a few years, he became known for composing scores for Malay films.


He eventually became an integral part of Singapore history by composing our National Anthem.

He was the inspiration for a canoeist in present-day Singapore who sustained an injury.


She had to undergo a tough process of rehabilitation while missing being back in the water.

However, Mr Zubir’s persistence inspired her not to give up on her dreams.


2. Daisy Vaithilingam

Ms Daisy Vaithilingam was a social worker who wanted to give vulnerable children a better life.


She played a big role in establishing Singapore’s 1st fostering scheme for children.


She, in turn, inspired a young environmentalist who initially faced rejection when searching for like-minded souls to help out.


He eventually ended up inspiring others to clean the beaches.


3. Tan Geok Hak

Madam Tan Geok Hak was a seamstress whose family were victims of the Bukit Ho Swee fire.


Despite losing everything, she retrieved her sewing machine and worked hard to pick her family up and raise 4 children.


She, in turn, inspired a man who was retrenched from his job.


He resorted to being a Grab delivery rider to support his family but upgraded his skills at the same time.


92-year-old Madam Tan and her family were also at the parade, to viewers’ delight.


Spot the sponsorships

While the animations moved viewers, many couldn’t help but notice the presence of many sponsors in the video.

For example, bubble tea brand LiHo:


Singer sewing machines:


DBS Bank:


Secretlab gaming chairs:


And of course, Grab:


And while not a sponsorship, Singapore’s unofficial animals, the otters, also made a cameo.


What other notable brands or Singapore landmarks did you recognise?

Kudos to local studio for their work

The NDP 2021 animated video was done by local studio Robot Playground Media, according to The Straits Times.

Kudos to them for producing something that touched and inspired Singaporeans and made them more proud to live in this nation.

We don’t think we’re exaggerating by describing the animation to be just like Studio Ghibli’s in terms of artistry, relatability and heart.

Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at

Featured images adapted from YouTube.

Jeremy Lee

Analog person making do with a digital world.

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