Capturing Total Defence in a snap
Teens' photos impress Total Defence photo contest judge
Walking down the streets of Singapore, Lawrence Lee tends to look out for uncommon things that grab his attention for a picture.
Little did the 18-year-old know he would capture a photo of one of the most common sights in the country - a block of HDB flats and lamp posts lighting up the streets of Queenstown against the purple evening sky - for the #WeAreTotalDefence Youth Photo Series.
It is an inaugural initiative organised by Nexus, the Ministry of Defence department responsible for Total Defence and National Education, which aims to show how Singaporeans have been putting Total Defence into action.
Mr Lee, a Film, Sound and Video student at Ngee Ann Polytechnic and the Vice-President of the school's Photography Club, was one of the 42 student photographers featured in the Youth Photo Series.
His picture conveyed Economic Defence and he wanted to focus on the evolution of Singapore, adding that Total Defence is an essential commitment that every Singaporean should uphold to help the nation grow.
He told The New Paper: "It's about how Singapore has prospered from the time that (Sir Stamford) Raffles found us, to when we declared independence to now, a prosperous nation.
"I hoped to showcase the more 'Singaporean' side to our nation."
Similarly, Joel Chua, a second-year Tourism and Resort Management student at Ngee Ann Polytechnic and President of the school's Photography Club, was also one of the student photographers who took part in the #WeAreTotalDefence Youth Photo Series.
The 18-year-old's shortlisted photo is of the crowd seated calmly while braving the rain at this year's Chingay Parade, reflecting Psychological Defence.
"No matter how small our actions may be, I hope that my photo will encourage others to be more aware of what we can do to play our part in contributing to Total Defence," he said.
"Everyone's patience and togetherness shows that the bond we share as Singaporeans makes us united and resilient.
"Specifically for this photo, I hope that people will remember that come rain or shine, we will stand together as one Singapore and be bonded with the collective will to defend our way of life."
Mr Bob Lee, their mentor for the #WeAreTotalDefence Youth Photo Series, said that besides the overall composition, such as the colours and technical aspects, both photos stood out because they managed to convey the message of the pillars of Total Defence (Psychological, Social, Economic, Civil, and Military) well.
The 41-year-old former photojournalist, who now runs his own photography and videography company, believes that photography goes beyond just taking nice shots.
He said: "Photos are able to tell a story and I thought that mentoring the students was a good platform to share with aspiring young photographers the many ways to show Total Defence through their photos, and I hope it will inspire them to do the same."
Mr Bob Lee is also the judge for the ongoing inaugural #WeAreTotalDefence Photo Contest, which encourages the public to capture everyday actions that reflect Singaporeans' contributions to Total Defence. It ends on Nov 30.
There will also be a #WeAreTotalDefence Photography Workshop on Nov 4 for those interested in picking up photography tips and tricks.
On what advice he has for those keen on joining the photo competition, Mr Bob Lee said to not take things too literally and "try to put some creativity in your shots".
What: #WeAreTotalDefence Photo Contest
When: Now till Nov 30, 12pm
Prizes: Up to $800 cash and Canon compact printers
More information on the contest and photography workshop can be found on the We Are Total Defence Facebook page.