The date? 9 August. The time? From 5 p.m. onward.
It’s back to the people for this year’s NDP, with the theme being “We Are Singapore”. Seeing how it’s meant to celebrate SG’s people, nation and home, it should be heart-warming to see how the Singapore Spirit is invoked, in palpable displays of making merry, singing and waving the flag up high.
Singaporeans who are old enough to remember, would know and love this NDP classic, “We Are Singapore” from 1987. This year, the song — a declaration of unity by citizens of SG that includes words from a 1966 speech by late Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, addressed to school principals — has been updated to appeal to a new generation of Singaporeans.
Reworked by singer-songwriter Charlie Lim and featuring a whole host of SG artistes such as rapper THELIONCITYBOY and Sing! China alum Joanna Dong, backed by the first Show Choir in SG, the ITE Show Choir, it will be both gratifying and goose-bump inducing (in a good way, of course) to hear thousands of people, both young and old, singing this song.
If you aren’t familiar with the NDP, a staple feature of the annual event is the presence (their entrance is always highly anticipated) of the entire Singapore Cabinet, as well as that of the President. They will be decked out in the national colours of red and white – a practice that the ministers have adopted in place of the political party colours that they used to wear some years ago. See if you can spot the minister of the district you live in!
The NDP is the perfect time to see the Singapore Armed Forces (which includes the Singapore Army, the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the Republic of Singapore Navy), Singapore Police Force, and Singapore Civil Defence Force, all in one place, in an impressive parade.
Joining them in the march-past, are civilian and student contingents representing Singapore’s social and economic defence in the ceremony. Plus, there’s also the crowd-pleasing military tattoo display (the largest ever for an NDP at the Float) and feu de joie (rifle salute) to look forward to in this segment.
This is always a delight almost every NDP, so there is no way that they will be left out of the highlights: the Red Lions. Not actual crimson beasts, but the Singapore Armed Forces Parachute Team (SAFPT).
Their free-fall display always elicits gasps and awe from the audience, and this year, there will be even more “wows” as the 10-member team will be “sky-falling” from a record height of 3,800 metres, and in bright-red wing suits, so they might just look like Superman to the little ones!
In another NDP first, the Red Lions will be joined by the Republic of Singapore Navy‘s naval combat divers for a combined free-fall display. The team will be executing a water-jump into the waters around the floating platform, outfitted in full operational 50-kilogramme gear that includes a tactical vest with armour plates, dive fins and a HK416 assault rifle — which merits a definite diving score of 10.
You can try, but we doubt you can out-sing this troupe of 220 singers. After 5 years, the combined school choir returns to NDP with student choristers gathered from East Spring, Riverside, Unity and Yuhua secondary schools.
Led by conductor Ms. Jiuan Lim, they will be singing and dancing in segments throughout the parade show. Plus, for the first time, the choir will be joining the military tattoo performers, making the tattoo the largest since the parade moved to the Marina Bay Floating Platform in 2007.
Everyone should be familiar with the sight of fireworks in the night sky, but pyrotechnics in the day? For NDP 2018, the organisers will attempt to get the party started early with daylight fireworks during the pre-parade segment. Also, there will be a fireworks formation going up when the National Anthem is played. Creative ideas that more than double the fun!
Nothing warms the cockles of the heart more than spotting your neighbour/preschool teacher/daughter’s best playmate dressed in the shiniest, brightest or spiffiest of costumes, giving their all for the National Day Parade.
It’s always a delight to see people you know on screen (TV, tablet or whatever platform you are watching the parade), so keep an eye out for them, whether they be dressed in glittery gold batwing-sleeved tops, traditional ethnic wear, or as mascots like Singa The Courtesy Lion and Teamy The Bee (although they would be harder to identify with the costume heads on!).
You can test your knowledge of local celebrities as there are 39 Singapore artists featured in this year’s show, the most in the history of the NDP. So far, these few have been slated to appear: jazz veteran Jeremy Monteiro, a cappella group MICappella, singer Aisyah Aziz, actress Nadiah M. Din (who will be the show’s emcee so she’s an easy spot), amongst other glitterati.
And if you happen to be at the parade, you might even get to take a selfie with a star — like the lucky parade performers in the photo pictured above, with… well, you make the guess. Clue: she came in third on variety show Sing! China and guests in this year’s NDP theme song.
More on The Finder:
Don’t miss out! Like our Facebook page for event updates and more.
By Christopher Ong, 7 August 2018.