Note from creator:I portray my Singapore OC a little differently because I have a different take of the personifications. Vanda is made based on Singapore's defence policy - the twin pillars of diplomacy and deterrence. Vanda represents the pillar of diplomacy and her task is to uphold the country's diplomatic policies by building friendly ties with countries around the world.
Skin colour: Edit
She has a medium tan skin tone due to her close proximity to the equator and tropical climate.
Vanda has an oval face shape, broad tip nose and rounded, medium eyebrows. Her eyes are dark brown in colour and they look emotionless. This is due to her bad eyesight and reputation as a “soulless city”. She wears contact lenses instead of glasses because she finds it annoying and frustrating. Her face is prone to acne because of the heat and humidity of the climate.
She has straight, raven black hair that reaches down to her armpits and blunt bangs that reaches right above her eyebrows.
The fishing hook shaped hair stuck out from the stress of declaring her unusual independence. The crescent-like ahoge symbolises the disputed island of Pedra Branca. They are NOT her sensitive spots.
Vanda has a rectangular body shape and small chest area. She is considered petite in size when compared to the Western countries.
She would wear a printed or plain coloured T-shirt with shorts and slippers. She usually wears this at home and as her sleepwear.
T-shirt with jeans and a pair of covered shoes when she goes out for a walk.
Smart Casual (Office wear)Edit
She sports a light blue, short sleeved, frilled blouse and black knee-length skirt. She wears a pair of black flats. In addition, she wears a red lanyard around her neck with her office identification card attached to it.
Formal (Business meetings)Edit
She would be dressed in a black blazer with a plain white blouse and a maroon tie tucked neatly beneath it. It is accompanied with a pair of black dress pants a matching pair of black heels.
Formal (Visits to other countries)Edit
She dons the "Singapore Girl" uniform. It is a blue, scoop neck Sarong Kebaya with batik designs. It is an altered design of the traditional Sarong Kebaya worn by the Malays, Peranakans and Javanese. Her hair would be coiled and tied into a French twist. She would also wear a pair of matching patterned slippers.
Singapore doesn't have her own fashion style. She follows trends from other countries like Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.
Her tone is usually confident and formal during business meetings and important events. However, when interacting with others on a personal level, she tends to be more awkward and uncertain. There will be more pauses between sentences and sounds like “uhh” and “hmm”. She has a strong Singaporean accent without the Singlish, therefore, she might sound monotonous at times.
This Singapore OC rarely speaks Singlish because she is afraid of embarrassing herself in front of other countries. Due to the fact that some words in Singlish has a different meaning in English, many English-speaking countries might get of the wrong meaning. (For example, "shag" in British English and "shag" in Singlish.) She speaks "standard Singapore English", the type of English Singaporeans will use and converse in schools and at work.
She can speak and write the 4 official languages of Singapore with different proficiency with English being the best, Bahasa Melayu being the second, Mandarin being the third and Tamil being the last. However, she is starting to forget how to speak in some Chinese dialects like Teochew, Hokkien, Hakka, Shanghainese and Cantonese and Malay Dialects like Baba Malay and Bazaar Malay because her boss doesn't encourage her and her citizens to speak in dialects.
Unless she is giving a public speech, a presentation or speaking in any other formal meetings, Singapore usually talks quite fast and often throws in abbreviations when appropriate. (Words like NS/National Service, PIE/Pan Island Expressway.) It could be incomprehensible to those who aren't used to her speed and speech.
In a nutshellEdit
Vanda is the female personification of the Republic of Singapore, a country and city-state known for its greenery, strict laws and being a "fine city". After being expelled from the Federation of Malaysia on 9th August 1965, which resulted in her sudden independence, her personality changed completely.
In the past (British colonial days)Edit
During her life as a British colony, Singapore used to be a cheerful, laid-back and easy-going person. She was always optimistic about her future because she felt that her colonial master could protect her from any harm despite the bad quality of life her citizens had. Nevertheless, all of them looked up to the British and she was happy being colonised. The British gave her hope during the uneasiness of an impending war in South East Asia. She was nicknamed "Gibraltar of the East" and believed that she was "the impregnable fortress" of the British Empire. Her hopes and trust were crushed when she suffered air raids and finally, the biggest betrayal she experienced, the unconditional surrender of her land to the Japanese.
World War 2 and aftermathEdit
When she was known as Syonan-to, she couldn't bring herself to be optimistic and cheerful as she once was when she was a British colony. The days she lived in fear and pain had changed her. By the end of the Japanese Occupation, she was tired of the way her people were treated by both colonial masters. Although Singapore and her people were glad that the British returned to them after a month of anomie after the surrender of the Japanese, she became distant and cold towards her first colonial master. She was still fuming mad with the British for abandoning her people when they needed them the most.
She remained the same even after merging and becoming a state in Malaysia.
Initially after gaining independence, she was unmotivated to work hard despite her citizens feeling relieved when they heard about the separation. It is partially due to her fear of the world and the countries around her. She saw herself as a vulnerable island with larger and fiercer neighbours.
Another fear was not having natural resources to survive. Unlike other countries who are gifted with land for farming, oil and precious stones, Singapore has nothing. Not even water fit for consumption.
Singapore slowly recovered from her shock from the separation on the following year of 9th August 1966, when she celebrated her first birthday in the rain. Despite the rain, her citizens cheered for her enthusiastically and the overwhelming positive response she got did make her feel their "National Pride and Confidence in the Future", the theme for that year. It motivated Singapore to pick herself up and slowly, her fears were proved wrong.
Her fears slowly motivated her to be resourceful and creative in her ways of getting the things she needs. For example, NEWater was a breakthrough invention as it recycles waste water from toilets into water cleaner than the tap water. It sounded gross to her citizens so she supplied those processed water to factories instead. She also has desalination plants to aid the reservoirs in supplying her citizens with water.
Over the years, she became stricter with her laws and shows no mercy to anyone who broke them. One notable example was the Michael Faye case which strained Singapore's ties with the USA. When it comes to the law, Singapore doesn't fear any country, even if the majority of them are way are larger and stronger than her. She believes in the saying "When in Rome, do what the Romans do".
She rarely grants criminals on death row and caning clemency because she felt that they were unrepentant and that "a leopard would never change its spots." She hates illegal drugs the most and other cruel acts such as kidnapping and murder. She doesn't feel bad for the people on death row because she felt like they deserved it for breaking the law or trying to harm the innocent. She feels like she would get her hands as dirty as possible in order to protect the peace the citizens live in now.
Her strictness came about because of the riots and unjust she witnessed in her short history and she didn't want to see history repeating itself. She strongly believes that her tough laws would protect the innocent. Due to the fact that Singapore once had the highest execution rate to her population, she was called the "Disneyland with death sentence" and she is VERY offended by that "nickname". Her laws for fining people who commits less serious offences made people give her the nickname of "Fine City", with a pun intended on the "fine". Although Singapore's law is controversial and seen as draconian for Western standards, she stands firm on her view on capital punishments and censorship.
She is also known as a "kiasu" (怕输) person, meaning someone who is extremely afraid to lose out. She is fiercely competitive and is always afraid of losing to another country in terms of rankings, especially in academics. She felt that despite being a small country and city-state, she can be as capable as bigger countries despite her disadvantages. Winning the top few spots in certain rankings mean A LOT to her. Losing out very badly for important rankings like the GDP, HDI, academics etc. would ruin her mood for days and she might get so frustrated and cry because of it.
It is because of how her bosses after independence placed importance in Singapore's competitiveness with other countries. They wanted her to be the best in almost every area, regardless of how impossible it might be. Singapore is also constantly reminded of how vulnerable she is because she is only a city-state and being less competitive will inevitably cause their downfall.
There's a difference between "kiasu" and forward-looking. Her mentality was influenced by her first and longest-serving boss as a Republic, Mr Lee Kuan Yew(Who has died as of March 23 2015, 3.18 a.m due to pneumonia), who valued this trait in the government. She learnt how to plan projects ahead of time and having contingency plans in case of unforeseen circumstances.
Singapore's relations with other countries are usually for the ease of trade and for defence purposes. She would try and become better friends with countries who would be of benefit to her and her citizens.
When asked for her opinion, she would be very blunt about it. She doesn't believe in beating around the bush or sugar-coating words for certain issues and as it would cause unnecessary misunderstandings. It is also another trait influenced by her first boss.
Singapore is wary of other countries at first, despite of having the role to promote bilateral ties with them. It stems from the breaking of trust from the British, who assured them that Singapore is more than prepared to face World War II; the Japanese who promised that they were just liberating them from their European colonial masters; Malaysia, who often threatened to cut off the water supply to her; Indonesia, the neighbour who she never expected to attack her during Konfrontasi. It would take a long time for the others to get close to her and gain her trust. The few countries/territories who she felt like she could trust more than the others are Brunei, India and Hong Kong.
When interacting with others, she will not disclose much information about herself but expects the other party to slowly open up towards her in order for her to feel safer.
Singapore rarely shows how she feels inside with her face. She smiles when needed to and laughs when it's appropriate. In other situations, she usually has a "blank face".
Singapore's taste in humour is making fun of current events in her own country. However, she feels that only her citizens and her are "entitled" to make fun of her own issues and she will get defensive if a foreigner did the same. She only laughs at the most basic type of comedy - slapstick comedy, and wouldn't laugh at anything else. Due to this, many people think that her citizens and her don't have a sense of humour.
She doesn't hold a grudge against any human or country but history is very sensitive to her. She forgives but doesn't forget. Thus, she is constantly reminding herself and the citizens about their short history so that they will know who treated their ancestors badly. The most sensitive topics to her are the Merger of Singapore and Malaya, bombing of the MacDonald building during Konfrontasi and Sook Ching during her days as Syonan-to.
Always in a hurry Edit
Singapore prioritises efficiency and punctuality, therefore, she seems to "rush around" in order to get to other place earlier than the expected time. When other people gets in her way and makes her slow down her pace, she would unknowingly produce an audible "tsk" sound and look quite annoyed. She is often seen as rude and unfriendly due to her behaviour.
In addition, Singapore eats faster than the other countries. Singapore usually has a lunch break of an hour or two. The travelling and queueing time may even take up half of her time. Therefore, after "choping" a seat at a hawker centre or sitting down for any meal, Singapore would only focus on eating instead of idle chatting with colleagues or other personifications.
- "Vanda" , her first name, is in Sanskrit and it comes from the breed of orchid Singapore uses as her national flower, the Vanda Miss Joaquim. I thought about Singapore's orchid diplomacy where orchids would be named after another country's VIP to promote bilateral ties between Singapore and the other country.
- "Raffles", her surname, comes from the founder of Modern Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles. I personally think that Singapore would feel grateful towards her founder instead of the country he worked for. Singapore is also known as "Raffles' Little Child". Therefore, she has her founder's surname, "Raffles", instead of "Kirkland", the surname of the personification of the British empire she was under for more than a hundred years.
- As Singapore is made up of 4 main races - The Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians, I avoided using surnames from the mother tongues of the 4 major races - Mandarin Chinese (Chinese), Bahasa Melayu (Malay), Tamil (Indian), Kristang or Portuguese (Eurasian) because I felt that it was unfair if I only used one or two of the languages. I also decided against mixing her name with the 4 official languages because it'll be too messy.
Early Colonial Days (1819 - 1942)Edit
Vanda first met Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819. She was known as "Singapura" then but he founded her as "Singapore" a few days later as a trading post of the British East India Company. Raffles' ambitious plans for her future made her look up to him as a father. She was then taken in as a British colony in 1824. It broke her when she received news that he died in 1826. Although the time Vanda spent with her founder was very short, she understood his vision of transforming her into a great city for the British Empire in the future.
Life under the British rule was hard - Poor healthcare, sanitation and unfair treatment of her citizens. Immigrants swarmed in by the hundreds. Poverty and crime were prevalent. Even so, Vanda held on to Sir Stamford Raffles’ dream. She remained loyal to her colonial master and was optimistic about her future. However, when opium and prostitution was made legal in Singapore, she saw her people getting corrupted by these temptations. It broke her heart because she helplessly watched the society slowly break down before her eyes. She was powerless to do anything because she was only a colony.
Shortly after World War I, in which Singapore wasn't affected by it, her colonial master started to build a naval base on her land to counter the increasingly aggressive Japanese forces. When the base was completed before World War II broke out, she was known as the "Gibraltar of the East" and "The Impregnable Fortress". However, her naval base didn't have a fleet when the World War II broke out in Europe and Asia.
World War 2 (1942 - 1945)Edit
All of her respect and trust in the British, her colonial master, was crushed during the surrender of Singapore to the Japanese in 1942. What was once known as “the impregnable fortress” fell in 7 days. The unconditional surrender of her people and land was something Vanda would remember up till today. She was officially surrendered by Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival to General Tomoyuki Yamashita on 15 Feburary 1942, 6.20pm, which fell on the first day of Chinese New Year.
Life under the Japanese rule wasn’t any better. Singapore was renamed to Syonan-to ( 昭南島 Shōnan-tō ) or "Light of the South Island". Her people was forced to learn the Japanese language and sing the national anthem of Japan. The days were filled with terror and uncertainty. Singapore was cut off from the news out of the country because the media only printed and broadcasted propaganda. The Japanese didn't like the Chinese population, whose loyalty was still to China. In order to set an example, the Kempeitai executed her citizens in the Sook Ching Massacre, which were mostly targeted at the Chinese. Her people feared going out of their homes to shop in the streets as they didn't want to meet any Japanese soldiers.
After the Japanese changed the currency of Singapore to "Banana money", her economy went downhill. Basic necessities were becoming scarce and unaffordable for her people. In order to fend of starvation, yam, sweet potatoes and tapioca were farmed by her citizens instead of buying rice. These staple foods replaced rice for the 3 basic meals and dessert of the people and they even managed to come up with several new dishes despite the hardship they were going through. Although they were malnourished, they managed to fill their stomachs.
When the Allied Forces started air raids on Singapore who was under the Japanese rule, she felt very relieved to hear bombing sounds for the first time. She knew that her liberation from the Japanese rule may come anytime soon and her previous colonial master finally came back for them.
The war had an impact for both Vanda and her people. The Sook Ching Massacre, the bombings from both the Axis and Allies caused a few scars to appear on her back while her people hated the Japanese soldiers.
Pre-independent days (1945 - 1965)Edit
In 1945, after the Japanese officially surrendered, there was a state of anomie in Singapore. The British hasn't come back for them yet and they still had to live with the Japanese for around a month until she was surrendered back to the British. Vanda was happy to be relieved from the years of torture and fear under the Japanese. Shortly after the Japanese surrendered Singapore back to the British, a memory she wouldn't forget was how her people started chanting the word "bagero" towards the Japanese soldiers the same way they were scolded by them. Her people had a changed mentality within the 3 years when she was under the Japanese. Since the British were unable to defend their colonies, her people had a different idea for the future. They didn’t want Singapore to be a colony anymore. They wanted Singapore to be free from the British rule.
Ironically, their common dream of freeing Singapore ended up dividing them. Some wanted Singapore to be a Communist country while others wanted democracy. Her people ended up rebelling in her own way against the British rule by rioting on the streets. Singapore was at risk of becoming a Communist country due to the Communists' popularity and influence in the country. Due to this fact, The British held on to Singapore longer because they felt that Singapore had no capable leaders of leading the country on the right path. After looking at Malaya being granted independence by the British, Singapore became even more aggressive in asking for independence. When Singapore heard that there Malaya was thinking of a merger with other British colonies in South East Asia, Singapore offered to merge with Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak to from Malaysia for a common market and for the purpose of breaking away from the British rule.
In 1963, Singapore became a state in Malaysia. The days after the merger weren’t peaceful. There was constant racial unrest amongst the people in both territories. Indonesia and the Philippines were unhappy with the merger due to claims in Sabah and Sarawak. Indonesia openly expressed their objection through “Konfrontasi” and Singapore got caught in the violence. The MacDonald House bombing in 1965 made her lose her trust in Indonesia and strained their ties. The people in Malaysia and Singapore were having racial tensions and their bosses couldn't get along at all. Singapore's boss wanted equality for her citizens, a "Malaysian Malaysia" but Malaysia's boss had a different idea.
In 1965, the Malaysian government decided to expel Singapore to prevent any more internal chaos. Singapore was officially expelled on 9th August 1965. Singapore had no choice but to declare independence on the very same day.
Post-Independence (1965 - Present) Edit
Vanda was fearful for her future. She felt like she couldn’t trust her neighbours that much anymore. The day she declared independence wasn't a happy one. Instead, she was stressed because she had so many people on her tiny island and she didn't know what to do. Another memory she wouldn't forget was how her boss cried on national television while declaring their independence from Malaysia. It took her quite some time to realise the situation she was in and the citizen's celebration of her first birthday celebrated on 9th August 1966 was her main motivation to work harder.
In order to communicate with her citizens better, she learnt their mother tongues – Mandarin Chinese and Tamil. She learnt English during her days as a colony and Bahasa Melayu was the mother tongue she already knew. Her citizens worked hard together, regardless of race, language or religion, under the common identity of being a “Singaporean”, instead of being separated by race or religion. Most of the signs and instructions would be written in these 4 languages except for road signs, which would be in English.
Her first batch of soldiers was trained in 1967, with help and guidance from the Israeli forces. However, she cannot openly express her gratitude towards Israel because of the fear of offending her neighbours.
In the process of constantly upgrading herself with new knowledge and dialects (before her boss discouraged the use of spoken dialects), it caused her to suffer quite a bit. Her eyesight deteriorated over time and had to wear a pair of thick glasses after being diagnosed with myopia.
The different languages Singapore pushed herself to learn ended up confusing her, causing her to unintentionally create “Singlish”, an English based creole which borrows words from languages like Bahasa Melayu, Mandarin Chinese, Tamil and Chinese-based dialects like Hokkien, Cantonese and Teochew. She once spoke Singlish with pride, however, the other nations other than Malaysia, who spoke Manglish, couldn't understand her at all. In addition, due to the fact that Singlish will affect the speaker's proficiency in English, Singlish is frowned upon by her boss and he constantly encouraged Singapore and her citizens to speak in proper English.
The bitter feelings from World War 2 gradually faded over time. She forgave the British and tried her best to forgive the Japanese. However, she wanted her people to remember what their forefathers went through. The "Important Message Signal" will sound using the Public Warning System at 6.20pm annually on 15th of February to commemorate the British's unconditional surrender of her land and people to the Japanese. 15 February is also known as Total Defence Day to educate and remind the younger Singaporeans that no one but themselves should defend Singapore.
Despite how others view her as someone who is "all work, no play", she still takes an interest in things out of work.
Vanda is still learning how to appreciate the different forms of art and is also encouraging her citizens to do the same. It includes photography, painting, animation, playing a musical instrument etc.
After slowly building the city, she realised that the city of hers lacked greenery. Her boss noticed that too and decided to make Singapore a "city in a garden". They didn't want Singapore to be known as a "concrete jungle", therefore, Singapore started to work towards being a "garden city". The "Tree planting day" started in 1971 and hundreds of trees were planted island-wide for this cause. The "Tree planting day" still continues up till today. In the present day, Singapore wanted to attract and impress tourists with her interest and thus, her dream, Gardens by the Bay was built. The domes could house plants from other climates and the outdoor gardens has plants from the tropical region.
Singapore likes cooking. Even though most of the dishes she liked to cook didn't originate from her, she loved learning how to make the dishes. The few popular cuisines in her country are the Chinese, Malay, Indonesian, Indian, Thai, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese cuisines. However, the things she learnt to cook from a nationality's cuisine tend to lose some of its original flavour as she would adjust the taste to suit her own tastebuds.
She loves eating more than cooking. Eating is considered one of her national pastimes for her citizens and herself. She is never afraid of trying out new dishes from different cultures. It can be food from a street stall, village, hawker centre to a posh, 5-star restaurant. She isn't considered a gourmet due to her acceptance of food of different qualities.
Shopping is another past time of both Vanda and her citizens. She could walk the whole day around Orchard Road or Bugis Street to shop for branded goods or cheap deals. She is quite good at looking for good deals for her clothes and has a tendency to haggle for a better price at shops which aren't in malls or hotels.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) Edit
They first came in contact in 1826, when she officially became a British colony. She respected him and trusted him. However, her attitude towards him changed after the Second World War. She became more distant towards him. After her independence, she decided to recognise him as a good friend of hers. In the present day, she still respects him as the country who guided her when she was younger. However, she couldn't bring herself to trust him as much as she did when she was still a colony.
Even though the Japanese caused her people to suffer and die during World War II, she decided to forgive his peoples' actions. She didn't want her people to drag the hatred from generations to generations. However, she is still very awkward when being around him because the memories from World War II still remains in her head.
Malaysia is her closest neighbour geographically and their relationship is usually unstable. They fight over the smallest things but can patch up after some time. For example, the dispute over Pedra Branca and Middle Rocks. The quarrel led to both countries going to the International Court of Justice to resolve their territorial dispute peacefully. She views Malaysia as an annoying neighbour and a rival. In addition, she doesn't really trust Malaysia because of the threats to cut off the sale of water to her. This forced Singapore to seek more innovative methods to be self-sufficient in her water supply by 2061, when the last water contract with Malaysia ends.
Despite having conflicts and a few tensions, Singapore still considers Indonesia as a neighbour and an acquaintance of hers. Their friendship is still strained because she feels that Indonesia is too bossy and insensitive towards her. A notable example is Indonesia's recent naming of a warship after two Indonesians Singapore regarded as terrorists. Due to Indonesia's Konfrontasi during her pre-independent days, she still couldn't bring herself to trust Indonesia at all.
Israel helped the newly independent Singapore set up her military defence force and she is thankful for the help. However, Malaysia and Indonesia doesn't like Israel, therefore, she rarely visited or talked to Israel to avoid provoking her larger neighbours.
Singapore treats Brunei as a good friend of hers and their currencies are even on par. They conduct military exercises together annually. However, they rarely have a common topic to chat about. Whenever they are together, they'll just enjoy each other's company in silence.
People's Republic of China Edit
Their bilateral ties are gradually warming up after a few ups and downs. Singapore looks up to him as a teacher, but at the same time, she is quite fearful of him. It is because shortly after her independence in 1965, there were China-backed communist threats in her country, which made her feel uneasy. Despite several disputes in the past over her friendship with Taiwan, he loaned Singapore two of his pandas, Kai Kai and Jia Jia, for 10 years in recognition of their friendship.
United States of America Edit
Singapore first met him when she was still under the British rule. They became good friends shortly after she gained independence. They share a good bilateral relationship in business and defence. However, they can't get along at times due to Singapore being overly strict with her laws. She also doesn't like him mistaking her as a province in the People's Republic of China.
<< 4 Asian Dragons>>
Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore are the 4 Asian Dragons.
Taiwan (Republic Of China) Edit
They have a rocky relationship after quarrelling a few times with each other. However, they managed to solve their misunderstandings. She considers Taiwan as one of her closer friends in East Asia. She introduced Singapore one of her drinks, bubble tea, and this drink is popular among her people.
Hong Kong Edit
They were once British colonies and in the present day, she treats him like a friendly rival. She engages in a healthy competition with him and strives to overtake him in global rankings.
Vanda considers South Korea as a friend. He introduced her to K-Pop (dance and music) and she liked it. It is also the current trend in Singapore.
- She would always have at least 2 or 3 packets of tissue with her. These are her "weapons" during the peak hours for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She leaves the packet of tissue on the table to "chope" (reserve) the table. The people who are looking for empty tables would automatically know that the table is already "reserved" and they would search for another one.
She tends to judge a food stall’s food by the length of their queue. The longer the queue, the better it is.
- She queues up for almost everything – Food, freebies to Hello Kitty plush toys.
- She doesn’t like making small talk with her fellow country personifications and people.
- She avoids the priority seat on the trains in fear of seeing her face being shamed on the internet.
- She likes staring at something. It can be anything at all. People's faces, their attire, handbags and even the food they are eating.
- She drinks "Milo Dinosaur", a type of chocolate drink with lots of the chocolatey powder piled on top, whenever she's feeling stressed.
- She likes comparing prices and quality between several items to get the best deal out of everything, including toilet papers.
- She is obsessed with academic performance.
The food that her citizens eat actually come from around the world(some salmon is from Norway, cherries are sometimes from Canada, sometimes beef and sweets come from japan, some sweets are also from Europe etc.)