The heart of giving

It was performances galore at the 7 Aug Rag Day showcase which premiered live on YouTube. As part of the annual NUS Students’ Union (NUSSU) flagship event, Rag and Flag Day, Rag Day was held to thank the public for its generous Flag Day donations.

This year, the students are raising funds for 21 Community Chest social service agencies through an online NUSSU Rag & Flag fundraising campaign, and various independent fundraising activities around campus.

“Rag and Flag is an old tradition. In some aspects, it hasn’t changed but every generation is different. An important point is that you make lifelong friends. Those informal hours spent together doing something in common for a bigger purpose than yourself,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan during his Rag Day opening address.

“When I look back now, it’s the lifelong friends, the indelible memories that makes it so precious,” reflected Dr Balakrishnan, an NUS Medicine graduate and NUSSU President from 1981 to 1983.

“For the NUS Students’ Union, our vision was to create a united union that can come together despite the pandemic, and a transformative one for us to be able to move forward together,” shared NUSSU President Wee Su-Ann from the Law and University Scholars Programme Class of 2021.

“And we really do hope that in the middle of this pandemic, we recognise that everyone is struggling together, but we also hope that as a community, we can uplift each other,” Su-Ann said.

Established in the late 1950s as one of the largest student-led community outreach events in Singapore, the annual Rag and Flag events were traditionally marked with large carnivals of floats, food, and fun in the sun.

The onslaught of pandemic may have halted in-person activities and brought these events online, but the spirit of Rag and Flag remained. Both last year’s theme, ‘Bring Me Along’ and this year’s theme, ‘Soaring as One’ are reminders for the NUS community to recognise the underprivileged in society, and support their contributions in nation-building.

The 2021 Rag and Flag theme, ‘Soaring as One’, encapsulated the need for engagement, involvement and recognition of individuals who have been marginalised in our society as a result of societal progress.

“These individuals played an important role in the building of our society. Through our support, we want to help them build their lives and be proud of being part of the community,” said Sherry Wong, the event’s Vice-Project Director (External) and a Year 1 NUS Business student.

While this year’s virtual Rag Day was an abundance of colourful backdrops and energetic dances from more than 400 performers over a three-hour showcase, the performances were also a display of the students’ strong dedication to building an inclusive society for Singapore.

Exciting highlights also included performances from local artistes Annette Lee and Sandra Riley Tang, and an announcement of the 2021 Rag and Flag awards.

Winners of NUSSU Rag and Flag 2021

  • Rag Gold - Kent Ridge Hall and Sheares Hall, School of Design and Environment, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS Business School, Raffles Hall
  • Rag Silver - Faculty of Science, Prince George’s Park House and King Edward VII Hall, Faculty of Law, Pharmaceutical Society
  • Rag Bronze – Eusoff Hall, Temasek Hall, Faculty of Engineering, School of Computing
  • Flag Gold - NUS Business School, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Raffles Hall, Faculty of Law, School of Computing
  • Flag Silver - Faculty of Dentistry, School of Design and Environment, Temasek Hall, Prince George’s Park House, Tembusu College, Kent Ridge Hall
  • Flag Bronze – Eusoff Hall, Ridge View Residential College, Faculty of Science, College of Alice and Peter Tan, Faculty of Engineering, Residential College 4, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, King Edward VII Hall, Pharmaceutical Society, Sheares Hall
  • Overall Winner of Rag and Flag – NUS Business School

“This journey has not been an easy one especially with the pandemic restrictions, but I am very proud of what we have achieved and would like to thank all my committee members for working together to make everything possible,” shared Liu Nai Cheng, Rag Project Director and Year 2 student at NUS Business.

“NUSSU Rag and Flag is an annual flagship project and part of our University’s Freshmen Orientation, which aims to instil the values of altruism, respect and innovation across the University. Much like last year, 2021 has been tremendously impacted by COVID-19. These challenging circumstances make me prouder still of the great effort made by NUS students, staff, and our wider community in contributing and supporting this event,” said NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye in his closing speech for the event.

Fundraising for 21 Community Chest social service agencies, including Lions Befrienders, HCA Hospice Care and Alzheimer's Disease Association, is still underway. Please contribute generously to the NUSSU Rag & Flag fundraising campaign, which ends on 21 Aug.