S’pore unveils new Total Defence logo

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15 Feb 2020 | PEOPLE

S’pore unveils new Total Defence logo

// STORY BY KOH ENG BENG

// PHOTOS BY EDWIN TAN

For the first time in 35 years, the Total Defence logo has a fresh, new look. The designer Samantha Teng shares her inspiration and message behind the new logo which incorporates Digital Defence.

1-UP-B-caption

The Total Defence logo has been updated to include the sixth pillar of Digital Defence.

For those not in the know, Total Defence refers to Singapore's comprehensive defence strategy. It encompasses military, civil, economic, social, psychological and digital defence.

The latest and sixth pillar - digital defence - was added last year in view of rising cybersecurity threats.

The new logo is designed by Ms Teng, 31, an allied educator at Queensway Secondary School. Her design emerged tops after a public vote involving more than 30,000 people.

Ms Teng (centre) receiving the top prize for the logo design competition from Mr Chan Chun Sing (left), Minister for Trade and Industry, and Mr Heng Chee How, Senior Minister of State for Defence, at the Total Defence Commemoration event on 15 Feb.

A Total Defence logo design competition was held last year to mark the addition of the sixth pillar. A total of 10 designs were shortlisted for public voting from more than 600 entries.

Continuing the Total Defence legacy

Ms Teng's design reflects the continuity of the concept of Total Defence as well as the addition of the new digital defence pillar.

She explained: "I got the inspiration from the original design, with the five arrows pointing upwards. But because…the original (design) was (that of) a hand, (and) we don't really have six fingers, I had to re-think (the design)."


The tight triangle of six arrows pointing upward in her design represents the six pillars of Total Defence. It signifies Singaporeans working together to safeguard the country's security and way of life.

It also reflects Singaporeans' resilience and determination to keep progressing together in an ever-changing world.

The previous Total Defence logo (left) has remained unchanged since 1985. Its design resembles a hand with five arrows representing the original five pillars of Total Defence.

Ms Teng, who has prior experience designing collaterals for her school, took 20 minutes to come up with a rough sketch of her idea on a Post-it pad.

She then took a few more hours to refine the design using graphics design software.

Asked what was the message she wanted to convey through her logo design, the 30-year-old noted that while the world is generally peaceful, aside from the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) outbreak, "you never know when something might happen".

"Total Defence is a good way to look at how we can continue to move forward in times of trouble," she added.

Ms Teng has been an allied educator at Queensway Secondary School for six years. She provides learning support for students in English classes.

Playing her part as an educator

For herself, Ms Teng has been doing what she can in the battle against the COVID-19 outbreak.

In school, she has been reminding her students to be socially responsible: take your body temperature daily, wash your hands regularly and wear a mask if you are unwell.

Aware that it is important for Singapore to maintain social cohesion and psychological resilience during this crisis, she makes it a point to educate students on the facts of the outbreak.

For example, she has seen a small number of students saying unkind remarks to their Chinese classmates just because COVID-19 originated from China.

"I wouldn't say they are mean but maybe just unaware and ignorant about the situation… (So) I told them (why) you should not do this sort of thing."

On the new Digital Defence pillar, Ms Teng shared that she has friends who had been scammed of huge sums of money, ranging from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars.

"To me, it's pretty obvious that it's a scam. But for some people, they just don't know – so I think (more) people need to be aware."

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