Our National’s Birthday is coming and one of the major events we can look forward to is our annual National Day Parade (NDP show) and National Day holiday.
Before the actual parade on 9 August, there are several preview-cum-rehearsal shows open to the public. However, it is not easy to attain tickets to the NDP show. The tickets are free but we have to ballot for it. I think I only attended 3 NDP shows (including this year’s NDP) in my life so far. We balloted for tickets as a family every year but we were not selected.
I was fortunate to be able to catch their second rehearsal show on 6 July. It was the National Education (NE) show for all Primary 5 students studying in Singapore – a tradition practised since 1997.
When I was in Primary 5, I also caught the NE show live at Kallang stadium. It was one of my favourite primary school days moment and the main attraction of the show for most of us back then was the NDP Fun Pack.
SO, what’s in this year’s FUN Pack? Knowing that this year is a special year as we commemorate the Singapore bicentennial, I expected this year’s fun pack and NDP to be somewhat up a notch from the previous NDP celebrations.
NDP Fun Pack
This year’s fun pack bag design is pretty dope. The bag, which comes in off-white or red, is inspired by the trendy Roll Top backpack design. The bag can also be converted into a sling bag by pulling its straps upwards. It also has a water-resistant inner lining.
It can also double up as an Emergency Ready Bag where you can pack in items ( like torchlight, First Aid Kit and etc.) required during an emergency.
You can scan the two QR codes to find out how to prepare an Emergency Ready Bag by Singapore Civil Defence Force and details about a free CPR and AED course by Singapore Red Cross Society.
Actually wouldn’t it be great if the fun pack already contains some of the Emergency-related items like N95 mask and whistle?
Here are all the goodies found in the funpack!
What I like about the fun pack is the inclusion of bamboo straws. It is a meaningful gesture of encouraging more people in Singapore to go straw-less. The bamboo straws also come along with a cleaning brush. However, do make sure that you wash the bamboo straws thoroughly to remove any remaining bamboo fibres found inside the straw.
Just when I thought they were going plastic-less with the fun pack, I discovered that they included plastic items like a plastic trash bag and plastic poncho. I really think that these items can be replaced with other items made with sustainable materials. How about providing a biodegradable or eco-friendly shopping bag?
Needless to say, some of the items in the fun pack are redundant too. Do Singaporeans keep Singapore flags at home?
A Rainy and Wet NDP Show
Unfortunately for us, there was a slight showers at around 5pm that day. It is a strange coincidence as there was also showers on 9 August 1965, the day we gained independence. Nonetheless, the show continues and even the emcees had the crew holding umbrellas for them.
We persisted and the rain stopped after 15 minutes.
Thankfully, it was just a passing shower but most of us were already all soaked with sweat and rain. The ponchos came in handy but can you imagine the pile of plastics we will be tossing away?
This year’s NDP show is held at the Padang for its first time after many years at the Floating platform and Singapore National stadium. This is where the first NDP 1966 parade was held.
The Kallang Wave
To get all the audiences hyped up, the emcees made us do the Kallang wave where we would stand and throw their hands up in the air. Sections of the crowd would do this in succession to form the human ‘wave’. It is a NDP tradition which has been passed down for many years!
NDP 2019 Theme: Our Singapore
Seeing that the Singapore Bicentennial Experience at Fort Canning Hill is successful, I expected this year’s NDP show to be that inspiring too. Unfortunately, I felt that it was more like a show to honour the Merdeka generation. It is not that bad but I wish there was more to this year’s NDP.
After all, this is our Singapore. We have to own it and make ours unique, right?
Act 1: Our People
As with every year, the parade starts with the continent march. In the first act, the volunteers from SAF and the Home Team made their inaugural appearances on these floats and giant props.
The fly-past of the State Flag
The mockup appearances of the President and Ministers
The actual President and ministers of Singapore are busy people. So, these VIPs only appear on the actual NDP on 9 August. But that day, Singapore second education minister Indranee Rajah was present that day. So she took up the role of ‘President’ during the NDP rehearsal show.
Act 2: Our Strength – Mobile Column
The mobile column, a display of SAF’s newly acquired armour vehicles, made a comeback this year. It was last featured in 2015 edition of the NDP show.
It is interesting to watch the display of these battle tanks and navy assets even though I know nothing much about the military vehicles.
This year, the mobile column will also be brought to the heartlands so that those who do not get to attend the NDP show can witness one of Singapore’s strengths too.
They will be travelling to Bishan, Geylang Serai, Jurong East, Punggol and Woodlands on 10 August 2019 where the celebratory carnivals by People’s Association will also be held.
Below is an infographic on the military vehicles (also available on
Bionix Infantry Fighting Vehicle
M3G Military Float Bridge
Act 3: Our River – Multicultural Dance Extravaganza
Act 4: Our Nation
Massive Synchronised Light Display with our LED Wristbands
The most memorable part of the show for me was the rap performance where the LED wristbands light up in synchronization with the performances. There is a wave of ‘wow’ from the paradegoers whenever the LED wristbands light up by itself.
The LED wristbands would light up by itself as the performance went on. To switch it on, you will need to pull out the small plastic tab. Other than that, we had no idea how it operates but it just lights up during the rap performance and heritage dance performance item.
Other than that, it is not of any used.
Act 5: Our Dreams
This performance features 900 students who were clad in glittery costumes and holographic lion headpiece. Who knew that their headpieces would be a precursor to this holographic lion?
Act 6: Our Singapore – Fireworks
The NDP show ended in a bang with the fireworks display at Marina Bay. However, I believe that it is not the full fireworks show as they reserved the best for the last. The fireworks lasted less than a minute.
Since we are sitting facing the National gallery, we are unable to see the fireworks display happening at Marina Bay. The best seats are the ones occupied by the members of the Parliament and other VIPs. Alternatively, you can always head up to the City Wing (Level 5 or 6) at National Gallery to have a 180-degree and unobstructed full view of the parade.
Even with the fireworks and all, I felt that the parade was missing something. It did not really end off on a high note as compared to the previous NDP shows which I’ve watched live.
Perhaps what’s lacking is a stunning performance by our local celebrities and a full spectacular display of the fireworks.
Happy Birthday, Singapore!
Maybe the NDP executive committee is the reserving the best show for 2020. I mean even the theme song for this year’s NDP was a remix of the previous NDP songs. Like many of you reading this article, I am hoping for an awesome and inspiring NDP theme song which we Singaporeans can truly be proud of. Can we replicate the success of the nostalgic song, ‘Home’?
I am pretty sure they are saving up resources for NDP 2020. Don’t worry, Singapore. Next year shall be better.
Nonetheless, happy 54th birthday Singapore!