MEMORABLE NDP 2012

I consider myself fortunate to have the opportunity to attend the NDP (National Day Parade) for the second time within the last two years, although as a matter of fact, it has taken me many years of application (and of course perseverance!) to finally win two tickets to this big annual celebration event.  Two years ago, on Singapore’s 45th birthday, DS was the lucky one to have won two tickets and that was our very first experience with NDP.  We have some friends who are also keen in this event but yet to be successful in winning the tickets.  I hope their turns will come someday. 🙂

I would say NDP 2012 is especially meaningful for us because this year marks our 20th anniversary as  Singaporeans!  We have been and are still proud (in some ways) to call Singapore our country, our home although as I had written before, we no longer feel so attached to this country anymore in recent years due to the changes in the country, some of which are rather unpleasant as far as we are concerned.

I really love the great spirit at the NDP!  It was a very rare occasion that many of us (the lucky ticket winners!) came together, cheered, sang, and had fun together regardless of language, race and religion.   I certainly had a great time!

Streams of attendees, mostly in red and white clothes, making their ways to the Float@Marina where the NDP 2012 was held.  Of course, DS and I were in red and white tops too! 🙂

Banners and decorations along the way and at Float@Marina further spiced up the mood and spirit of celebration!

Though the walk from Esplanade MRT station to the Float@Marina was quite long, and the sun was still scorching hot at 4+pm as we made our way there, we were greeted with “welcome to NDP” by army officers and volunteers on duty along the way.  There were also stilt walkers there to greet and entertain the people.  Thanks guys and gals, you really made us feel welcomed. 🙂

We all had to go through security check.  This is understandable and I have no complaints at all.  However, they were so strict that even my small bottle of Dettol liquid disinfectant was considered unsafe and had to be discarded into the huge dustbin prepared, in front of the officer. 😦

Sea of attendees mostly in red!  It was still hot and sunny by the time we took our seats just before 5pm, and many people including myself had to use the umbrellas. 

I like Float@Marina much better than the Padang as the spectacular view of the Marina Bay became a beautiful backdrop for the stage.  Notice the LCD screens on stage which formed the shape of the island of Singapore?

That’s what I meant by the great spirit of NDP – even this little boy who sat next to me gave me a pose and waved at me when I asked to take a photo of him.  Thanks little boy!  See his clothes – a matching red and white with the 2012 NDP logo – which obviously were bought for the occasion. 🙂

Just look at the crowds at the Skypark @ MBS and Merlion Park, waiting to catch the firework displays.  One thing that made the NDP special this time was that the firework displays were not limited to just at the end of the event but from time to time during the near 3-hour celebration.

Platform near the stage where the fireworks would be launched

Hosts for the Pre-Parade show arrived in style!  This was Jean Danker.  The other hosts were Suhaimi Yusoff, Sharon Au, Gurmit Singh and Joakim Gomez.

Pre-Parade show prior to the arrival of the President of Singapore.  Highlights included performance by the school band of Tanjong Katong Secondary School (Gold with Honours winner of School Display Band in Singapore Youth Festival 2012), Red Lions Freefall Display and Integrated Precision Drill and Motorcycle Performance.  It was during this segment that members of parliaments, cabinet ministers and PM took their seats.

I was touched by two observations when the politicians made their entrance into the Float@Marina.  The first was the loud or rather thunderous cheers and applause for Mr Lee Kuan Yew when he turned up at the NDP.  The cheers and applause were far more powerful than that for our Prime Minister and President.  Perhaps those were cheers of relief and joy, as rumours about the demise of Mr LKY were being fiercely circulated just days before Singapore’s birthday.  I also heard it from two people.

Secondly, it was a great delight to spot the change of dress code amongst the politicians in NDP 2012.  In the past, they would put on their individual party uniforms (i.e. white for the ruling People’s Action Party, and light blue for the Workers’ Party) but this time, all of them were in red and/or white just like most of us.  I thought that was a positive change and  I wished they had done so long time ago.  My view is, National Day is a day for all Singaporeans (politicians included) to celebrate together, so they should all dress in red and/or white like the attendees, regardless of their political differences.

A total of 32 contingents with the SAF Colours Party took part in the Parade this year – 6 military contingents, 3 Home Team contingents, 12 civilian contingents, 10 uniformed group contingents and the Combined Band contingent.

Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) (NS) Clarence Tan, Parade Commander

Aerial Flypast

21 Presidential gun salute as the President of Singapore inspecting the Guard-of-Honour contingents

Formation of a heart during the Sea Display, part of the “Salute to NS45” segment to celebrate 45 years of National Service.  Very nice!

Aerial Flypast, also during the “Salute to NS45” segment.  There was also a video commemorating the occasion. 

And finally, the marching out of the Combined Band contingent before the start of the last section of NDP 2012.

Contingents marching through the Helix Bridge in “City March” that took them through the Marina Bay Sands’ Waterfront Promenande to the Mist Walk.

The Show this year consisted of Prologue, Act 1 : Reflection of Our Identity, Act 2 : Reflection of Our Spirit, Act 3 : Reflection of our Love and the Finale : Loving Singapore, our Home.

There was not a single moment of boredom throughout the NDP but I could feel that the little boys sitting next to me were getting bored.  I supposed they are still too young to appreciate all these.  The finale was the beautiful rendition of this year’s NDP theme song – Love At First Light – by Olivia Ong and 8-year-old Natanya Huiyi Tan and of course, the beautiful firework displays.  Olivia’s gown that evening (in the video below) was gorgeous, wasn’t it?  Wonder who the designer was?

The best was yet to come after the NDP concluded but many actually missed it.  As DS and I decided to stay back a little while to avoid the congestion, we got to watch a video (meant for the NDP performers) on the making of NDP 2012 and also the champagne popping ceremony by the Executive Committee of NDP 2012.  Indeed, lots of time and hard work in making the near 3-hour celebration a success, special and memorable for many of us who attended.  I felt very thankful to all who had made it happened.

We went home with two heavy Fun Packs that were loaded with lots of goodies.  As it was not crowded at the time we collected our Fun Packs, we got to choose from the four designs Love, Home, Identity & Spirit. 😀

I like this year’s Fun Pack better – the words are meaningful, and the design is  simple, trendy and practical.  These bags are washable too.  Thanks to the designing team from Temasek Polytechnic!

Lots of goodies such as heart-shape cookies sponsored by Khong Guan, Singapore Scarf, bandana, foldable fan, ruler that can be bent and made into a bracelet,  books entitled Stories of Loving Singapore Our Home and Our Songs (compilation of all the NDP theme songs since 1984). 🙂

Yet another fantastic experience and memory of NDP!  Will we be lucky to win tickets to future NDP again?

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