Quite simply, this is THE BEST NDP ever. Serious. It’s not that the rest were not good but given that this is Singapore’s Golden Jubilee year, it seems that all the other National Day Parade leads to this! And the organizers are pulling out all the stops. All.
We were blessed to receive tickets to watch the preview and while we were expecting to be wowed but we certainly didn’t expect to be so moved. To top it off, after ‘chasing’ fireworks over the last 4 weekends, to see it all come together in this immaculate parade was simply…stupendous.
However if you didn’t manage to get the much-coveted ticket to the Padang, do still try to catch the parade via a screen at some of the locations listed below, online via NDP official website (or Toggle) or in the comfort of your home. Join us as we count-down to the 5 reasons why:
5. The Performers
The parade features 4 of Singapore’s most well-known singers belting out the National Day songs they made famous. This is quite unprecedented. Stephanie Sun appeared first with ‘We will get there’ then came Corrine May with ‘ Song for Singapore’. JJ Lin roused the crowd with this year’s theme song ‘Our Singapore’ composed by Dick Lee before Kit Chan ending the night (and ushering in the magnificent fireworks) with the timeless and perhaps most famous National Day Song of all – ‘Home’. For me, hearing Kit Chan sing this 1998 NDP song ‘LIVE’ is in itself an indescribable experience.
Apart from these international home-grown stars, we have the Sam Willows, talented artistes in their own right, having put Singapore on the music world map with their unique style with folksy vibes, clean acoustic sounds and perfect harmonies. They thrilled the crowd with their version of NDP song medley.
Apart from the singers, the emcees were the best among the best. Hosting the NDP Parade 2015 is Glenda Chong, CNA’s leading newscaster and William Xavier (Mr. X), one of radio’s best, narrating the parade segments with their clear articulation, coherent narration, good chemistry and impeccable timing.
Kit Chan (Left) and Corrine May (Right) performing.
Stephanie Sun wowing the crowd. People having a ‘ball’ of a time.
4. The People
What is extra special this year, is something called the ‘Vintage Parade’ where the parade is fronted first by pioneers from the police force (yes, police men in shorts!), fire department, People’s Association and nurses in their vintage uniforms doing the march past. This drew huge cheers from the crowd and rightfully so! Set against the facade of the National Art Gallery – the very facade of the first National Day Parade right here at the Padang, it was simply surreal – a sight not to be missed. It was extra meaningful to see these pioneers in person, dressed smartly in their original uniforms no less doing the march past! Charming and very significant moment indeed. If you have a pioneer with you as you’re watching the parade, do acknowledge their roles in helping to build the Singapore of today.
Yesterday once more?
What never ceases to impress us at every NDP are the thousands of participants involved in the mass display (many of them from the People’s Association). Add to that uniformed personnel doing crowd control duties and many student volunteers serving as ushers, crowd motivators. This year’s NDP is no different but I have a strong feeling that for the thousands who burnt many weekends, it would be extra significant – performing to a high standard worthy of the Golden Jubilee. Catch the NDP and look carefully, you’ll see that each one of them, despite the arduous hours put in and the toil and sweat, are performing their hearts out, with a smile on their faces.
Performers from the People’s Association telling the world about Singapore Identity…and the Primary school students put up a futuristic item.
3. The Parade
This year’s parade program is simple, straightforward and very meaningful. Right from around 6:10 pm, a moving tribute is given to our late founding father Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. Thereafter the program follows a simple storyline highlighting Singapore’s history from ‘Beginnings ‘ through ‘Unity, Identity’ then ‘Onwards’, as we are urged to embrace the future together as one people. It then culminates in the Grand Finale. The simple storyline helps to focus on the significant aspects of our country’s short history and impressive metamorphosis. If you’re at the Padang, look at the wrap-around high definition screen which embellishes the parade items with extreme clarity and detail.
In addition to the usual march pass by the Guards of Honour and different contingents representing the social economic groups of society, we are treated to a whole plethora of military and security ‘assets’ – armoured vehicles, missiles, drones, amphibious vehicles and more in a mobile column tribute. This is truly a sight to behold as row by row, our army parades the mighty machines which gives military prowess to the nation, drawing thunderous applause from the audience.
The impressive list of the military vehicles in the mobile column!
The men and machines guarding our country’s sovereignty. They also participated in regional humanitarian missions.
2. The Pride
While the grounds shook and thundered as the mobile parade file past the grandstand, the skies roared with the breath-taking Red Lion stunts and amazing aerial displays. From the ‘5-star Tribute’ by the Black Knights to the annual ‘State Flag Fly-Past’, the A380 to the ‘50’ Formation Fly Past and more, they were all awesome. The aerial displays are one of my personal favorites in this year’s NDP. Check out the timings of the aerial displays in our earlier post.
Don’t just read our post, get out there and witness some of these actions live and loud!
1. The Padang
Finally, even if there’s none of the above pomp pageantry and fanfare, the venue of this year’s parade alone is a compelling reason to watch it from wherever you are. To see and experience the National Day Parade at the Padang, the exact venue where the country and its people rose in fervent determination to succeed after the shock of being expelled from its hinterland…This experience alone is something I can’t put any words to. It is an apt place to recount our past, salute our pioneers and press on with our pursuits to continue building a better Singapore for all.
Like most, we were not there in history in 1965 (the year of expulsion from Malaysia) and 1966 (the year of the first National Day Parade). But I can imagine the sense of insecurity and uncertainties our pioneers must have felt, mixed with grit and an unparallelled resolve to prove to the world that this tiny island state, with no natural resources but upholding the true virtues of multiculturalism through meritocracy, offering opportunities to all her people regardless of race, language or religion can and will succeed. And, we have. We did.
But we can’t stop here. While watching NDP 2015, we need to tell our next generation this very story of our country’s painful beginnings – the lessons we’ve gleaned and the virtues of our pioneers so that they, too will be willing to pledge their allegiance to carry this torch, flaming bright beyond SG50.
Golden Jubilee Weekend Activities:
A friend and fellow Daddy Blogger, Kelvin of www.cheekiemonkies.net has compiled an excellent itinerary of free Golden Jubilee celebration programs happening this weekend. Check out his post here: http://www.cheekiemonkie.net/2015/08/singapore-golden-jubilee-weekend.html
Watch NDP 2015 “Live” with the Community:
To allow more Singaporean to celebrate our Golden Jubilee, the NDP 2015 Executive Committee will set up multiple celebrations sites around Marina Bay on 9 August 2015.
The 8 prominent locations where large LED screens will broadcast the National Day Parade “LIVE” from 5pm are: The Float @ Marina Bay, Marina Bay Sands (MBS) Event Plaza, MBS Event Sqaure, The Promontory @ Marina Bay, Merlion Park, Esplanade Theatres by the Bay, Singapore Flyer and Marina Barrage.
The Yellow LED screens at 8 locations around the Bay. For more information, click here.
Click on this link to access the interactive map for a complete listings of Celebrations at the Bay!
Experiencing NDP 2015 at The Float:
The Float, having hosted NDP for the past few years, is a prime viewing location if you want unblocked views of the stunning fireworks (which spectators at the Padang will envy!) and some exclusive segments, including a dedicated pre-parade segment.
Apart from the performance by PA Community Performers, there will be a special film and performance by the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s Black Knights; in honour of the late founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the Black Knights will do the “Five Stars” aerial flypast as a tribute.
Revellers may also watch the mobile column procession pass by, participate in pledge-taking with the marching contingent, and get into the groove with local artistes in a post-parade Celebration Concert only at the Float.
A star-studded cast of show hosts and emcees including Irene Ang, Jerald Justin Koh (JK), Mike Darren Tan, Chua Leelian will engage and entertain spectators throughout the evening as we celebrate Singapore’s 50th birthday. It’s gonna be an NDP to remember both at The Padang and The Float!
a) In addition, you can also join the larger community at the Community Centers near your estate or at a SAFRA centre nearby for the celebrations. Here are the details:
List of Community Centers and their Golden Jubilee Celebration Programs:
Golden Jubilee celebration program at SAFRA:
Survival Tips If you are driving / headed for NDP 2015 in The Padang (or The Float):
A historic NDP at a historic site! Photo credited to ‘Life’sTinyMiracles’.
If you’re among the lucky ones with the coveted tickets to watch the NDP LIVE at the Padang (or The Float), here are some tips from our Preview last week:
1) If you are headed to The Padang, know your entrance zone: Check your tickets which entrance you’ll be entering from. If it’s North / East, then the entrance is at Raffles City and City Hall area. South / West is closer to The Adelphi and Parliament Building. Knowing the zones will enable you to plan your routes and park in a nearby building. We parked at the Riverwalk because road access to Raffles City was closed. If you are headed to The Floating Platform, just head towards the entrance next to The Esplanade (opposite Marina Square).
2) Use the washrooms early: While there are lots of portable toilets around, with the huge crowds, security protocols etc… the last thing is want is to be separated from your group. You may want to use the washrooms at the nearest building before you queue to enter. Once you’re in, there’s very little chance to turn back.
3) No cans and aerosols: Be prepared for airport-type security screening. Aerosol cans and canned drinks are not allowed in. No questions asked. Handphones and electronic devices (like iPad etc.) are to be screened in a separate small plastic bag (given at the queue). Tripods and DSLRs are allowed.
4) ‘Travel’ Light: You’ll be issued the NDP Fun Pack (1 per ticket) once you clear security (you can’t choose the Fun Pack designs though). Inside, there are bottled drinking water, buns and snacks. Free your hands to hold on to your loved ones during the human crush. We bought MacDonald burgers and ate during the pre-parade after settling into our seats.
5) Bring a ‘Bino’: The parade area is huge and the performance ground is much wider than the float’s. Chances are that the performers will be quite small, unless you are dignitary, VIPs or the lucky ones seated in the Grandstand sector or among the first few rows. Bring/borrow a binoculars along to catch the action up close.
6) Thank the volunteers: On your way out after the Parade, you’ll walk past rows and rows of uniformed men and volunteers on crowd control, traffic and ushering duties. These folks ensured the NDP run in a smooth and orderly manner. Walk up to them and say ‘thanks’, it will make their night.
7) Sing your heart out: Throw your inhibitions aside. Go dressed in Red, sing the NDP songs + recite the pledge loudly, wave your NDP scarf & flag proudly, apply the tattoos, take lots of wefies, make friends with fellow Singaporeans sitting around you. Let the pride surge and enjoy the Golden Jubilee Parade at The Padang and The Float!
Happy 50th Birthday Singapore! To all our readers, have a most jubilant NDP 2015!