Recently I participated in the #buildamazingsg contest, in which participants had to build a place in Singapore which they found amazing and had a connection with. I saw a lot of Marina Bay sands builds, Merlion, playgrounds and overall plenty of creativity being on display. I love these kind of contests because it brings out something in all of us builders. I wanted to build something that doesn’t exist anymore, but was a part of our sporting history and that is none other than the old National Stadium that once stood at Kallang. Here’s a short write up about it by my friend:
The Fortress that inspires Legacy
My grandfather once told me the best memory you can savour of a place is when you recall instinctively the smell of the location.
An avid lover of nature and sports, the National Stadium at Kallang gave him some of life’s greatest joys. In 1973, it was there where he witnessed the opening ceremony of the 7th SEA Games. Built just two months before the event, it ushered a new dawn of promise and purpose to a nation that’s never had a place to house so many before. Ten years later, he was back at the stadium to witness opening ceremony of ’83 Games. Only this time, he brought his son along. I then became the latest addition to the family triumvirate to witness the gathering of Southeast Asia’s finest sporting talents. By then, the stadium grew to become the Lions’ cauldron. Thousands gather to trigger waves across the arena, inspiring our team while intimidating the opponents. Yet through all the battles, beyond the residues of anticipation, it was the scent of the grass that endeared my grandfather most to the place. Below is his tribute to the National Stadium.
Alone I walk into the stands
Waiting patiently for others to join as fans.
It is not mere grass that is on show
This is the field where we beat our foe.
Savour the smell
For only you can tell
how we all built endless waves
to strike fear even amongst the brave.
These are the stories
that we should always cherish
of how valiantly our team fought on the grass
And let us remember of their true class.
You can take a picture or a film and share it with others. But only your nose can capture the smell of a place. And that experience is uniquely yours. You own that moment and it stays with you forever. Three generations of my family have been humbled to have been able to enter the National Stadium. To my family, it will always be remembered as our Kallang fortress, always the pride of Singapore.
Build by Justin Chua
Words by Mohammed Abdullah