You can tape the blasted parade anyway

Stuck in Singapore this National Day? Poor you. But no matter; the island’s abuzz with things to do that don’t involve squeezing with sweaty bodies on a floating platform. Whether it’s shows, movie screenings or simply gorging on street food as a show of patriotism, there’s always an alternative to the nation’s biggest event.

Wander around a museum for free

Passage, The GedAze Project at Singapore Art Museum

Public holidays in Singapore typically mean Open Houses at the various museums—for all nationalities. Check out the works of Singapore’s pioneer watercolor artist, Lim Cheng Hoe, at the National Gallery Singapore, walk through immersive installations at SAM at 8Q, or stop by the National Museum of Singapore for live performances and a film screening of 15 Singaporean shorts.

Catch a film about Singapore, made by a Singaporean, on how weird Singapore is

As part of a pop-up cinema series for National Day, a selection of five Singaporean films will be screened free-of-charge at Gardens by the Bay. Can’t decide which to watch? Local filmmaker Tan Pin Pin’s In Time To Come is filled with stunning, dreamlike shots of Singapore that range from mosquito fumigation to the banal daily ritual of flag-raising. The veteran filmmaker said she was inspired by Singapore’s obsession with acts of commemoration and ritual (particularly during the SG50 period, surprise surprise), and how strange they might seem to an outsider. If you’ve been feeling a little distant from the motherland as of late, this might help reignite some fonder feelings. Aug 9

Surround yourself with our national flower

Royston Tan, a man among the orchids. Photo credit: Gardens by the Bay Facebook

While you’re at the Gardens, take a gander through a special orchid floral display in the Flower Dome, creatively conceptualized by Singaporean filmmaker Royston Tan. More than 14,000 orchids will be on display, weaved into a mise-en-scene of Peranakan shophouses, Nyonya beaded slippers, traditional tea sets and the tingkat carrier. A slew of free programmes and performances will be happening on Aug 9 only too. Through Aug 22

Combine food and performance for a theatrical feast about local food

We’ve seen our fair share of theatrical feasts, but this one by Eatigo takes it a step further. Once Upon a Ginger Chicken is a three-course dining experience that journeys through Singapore’s past, present and future—through the lens of local food and iconic figures of Singapore, like the Samsui Woman. The intriguing partnership marries homegrown theater group Skinned Knee Productions and Sofitel Sentosa’s Kwee Zeen restaurant, which will be whipping up dishes like ginger chicken, beef rendang and curry crusted red snapper to match the storyline. Bookings are available exclusively on Eatigo. Aug 9

Watch Charlie Chan Hock Chye adapted into a play… if you’re in London

The annual Singapore Day festivities in London should take place as usual, but if that’s not your scene, why not catch the politically charged The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye as a play instead? Supported by an international cast, young Singaporean director Jasmine Teo has adapted Sonny Liew’s controversial graphic novel for the theater, to run at London’s Pentameters Theatre throughout the National Day weekend. Nothing like examining our country’s murky politics on the day of its independence as a Singaporean abroad, aye? Aug 9-12

Start your semi-long weekend feasting early

Flying roti canai

It seems only right that one spend the National Day weekend indulging in our national pastime: eating. Scurry on down to Sentosa for the second edition of RWS Street Eats, which will bring together the best of our local and regional hawkers for 11 days of heartland-centric feasting. On opening day itself, you can even catch an exclusive flying roti canai performance by guest chefs from Malaysia. Flying roti canai or flying jets? It’s a no-brainer. Aug 9-19