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SG50 Special: Why Singapore is a Little Red Dot


The perfect excuse to visit the Red Dot Design Museum came about when Pangzi asked: “Daddy, why is Singapore called a Little Red Dot?”

I think at his age, he is ready to handle the truth now.

“To answer that question, you need to know something about the Singapore flag,” I started.

“But the flag is a square, not a red dot!” he protested.


“Wait, do you know why there are five stars on the flag?”

“I know! I know! Hou Yi shot down all the other stars!”

“Hou Yi your head. He only shot down the moons. In future, there will be only suns left. Then we will lead our lives very differently. Do you want to see futuristic designs?” I baited.

“I want! I want!” Pangzi exclaimed.

That’s so easy. So I took him to the Red Dot Design Museum opposite the famous Maxwell Food Centre, where I continued with my story…


#1. Democracy


“Look at this shower,” I said. “Isn’t it much cuter than ours at home?”

Pangzi nodded. “So tall!”

“Now, the first star on the Singapore flag represents democracy.”

“What’s demo crazy?” he asked.

“Democracy means everyone has a say. When you’ve grown as tall as this shower, you’ll get to vote.”

“I want! I want!”


#2. Peace


“Look, a special vacuum cleaner.”

“Daddy, why so special?”

“Now, the second star on the flag represents peace,” I explained. “With our vacuum cleaner at home, you won’t get any peace. This is noiseless new design technology.”

“I want! I want!”


#3. Progress


“Look, a futuristic bath tub…”

“I know! I know!” Pangzi interrupted. “Next time, everyone can turn very small and bathe together!”

“Together your head. You’re confusing this with Ant-Man. Anyway, the third star on the flag represents progress. We have come a long way since scooping water from wells.”

“Ice-cream scoop? I want! I want!”


#4. Justice


We came to a device projecting cool designs on the wall.

“Go stand in front of the stand,” I commanded, and Pangzi duly obliged. “Now, you look like a judge in court.”

“What’s a fudge?”

“A judge is someone upholding justice. That’s the fourth star on the flag.”

“Daddy, I’ve got a question.”

“Very good, I like inquisitive kids. What do you want to know?” I encouraged.

“Can I leave the stand now?”


#5. Equality


“Look at this…”

“I know! I know! That’s a giant umbrella… it’s the fifth star,” Pangzi said. “Am I clever?”

“Clever your head. It’s a lighting reflector for photography, not an umbrella. But yes, it represents equality. Everyone is equal under the umbrella of the state,” I concluded.

“It’s an umbrella. You see, I’m holding it!”




That ended our tour of the Red Dot Design Museum. It was an eye opener, as every respectable company seemed to be here with product design made for the future.

Over 200 pieces were on display. Everyday items, from cars to footwear to household appliances, received a design makeover.


As we left the red building, I turned to Pangzi.

“So do you remember what the five stars represent? Democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.”

“But daddy, you still haven’t told me why Singapore is a Little Red Dot!”

Damn, he remembers.



We were here:



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