A GLIMPSE OF SG50 NDP PREVIEW AT MARINA BAY

If I have to pick a place in Singapore that I like the most, it would be none other than the Marina Bay area.  I love the beautiful skyline of the Marina Bay area and have always been impressed with the transformation of this part of Singapore in the last 10 years.  The credit goes to the government of Singapore.  In my humble opinion, this is a place that we Singaporeans can be proud of and also should be thankful to our government for what they have done, even though as a matter of fact, many of us have been feeling uncomfortable and even unhappy with some of the issues very close to our hearts, in particular population, housing and transportation, in the recent years.

Marina Bay Sand (MBS) with its SkyPark and ArtScience Museum (the lotus-look-alike building on the left)

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Beautiful skyline aside, the Marina Bay area has also been the favourite venue of NDP (National Day Parade) crowds for watching some of the actions in the event, such as aerial flypast, Presidential Gun Salute and fireworks.

This year being the Golden Jubilee or SG50 celebration year, the NDP is surely going to be very special and even more spectacular than ever.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have the luck to win two tickets to watch the Parade at the Padang.  Not wanting to miss the opportunity to be part of this celebration, hubby and I decided to join the crowds at Marina Bay instead, to catch glimpses of the event preview last Saturday (1 Aug).

(If you are a foreigner reading this, you may want to visit the SG50 or Singapore50 Website to find out more about SG50).

Oops, we were not kiasu (a local word meaning afraid to lose) enough!  By the time we got down to the Marina Bay area at about 6pm, the entire bay area was already swarmed with spectators that packed like sardines!

We managed to squeeze into a spot facing the MBS which turned out to be a pretty good spot.  Spectators on my left.

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Spectators on my right

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Spectators in front of MBS (opposite where we were) and…

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… up on the SkyPark

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It took a lot of patience though, to wait for the “actions” to take place at different stages of the NDP.  We were in a spot further away from the big LED screen showing live-streaming of the NDP at the Padang, so we couldn’t see what was actually going on over there except some of the commentaries amid the noises from the spectators.

The aerial display this year is indeed very spectacular, featuring a total of 50 aircraft from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF).  An A380 flight adorned with our national flag from the Singapore Airlines was part of this segment too.

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State Flag Flypast

Salute-to-Nation : formation of the number “50” by 20 F-16.  This won a lot of cheers!

Impressive aerial manoeuvers

Getting ready for the Presidential Gun Salute

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21-Gun Salute during the inspection of the Parade by the “President”.  My first-time seeing a Gun Salute so up-close, and it was really loud.

After dark, as we were still waiting for the fireworks

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ArtScience Museum with its SG50 light projection

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Here’s a video that I have put together for the aerial display and fireworks.  Watching the fireworks so close for the first time was a breathtaking experience but it was too close to capture them well even with my wide-angle camera.  Alas, I also forget to use the manual-focus function. 😦 So, I am not very satisfied with the recording quality of the fireworks.

It was past 8:20pm when the fireworks ended.  Spectators began to disperse and restaurants there were getting even more crowded.  We had to wait for a while to get our table even with an advanced booking!  Fortunately the food was satisfactory (though a bit pricey), or it would have spoilt our night!

Palm Beach seafood restaurant

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While in the restaurant, we observed that there were a number of tables with diners wearing red tops.  Many came from the NDP Preview (as they were carrying the Fun Packs).  I have observed that majority of the NDP attendees would automatically wear red for the occasion, even without being told to do so.  I think this is something rather uniquely Singapore.  Perhaps this is a kind of Singapore Spirit we have at this time of the year.  I actually like it!

We had about half an hour to spare after dinner and before the next event at 11pm.  We took a stroll around the Merlion Park to enjoy the beauty of the night.  There were still many people hanging around there, many of whom were tourists.

Our national icon and also a popular tourist icon, this 8.6m-tall Merlion spouts water all day long

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The 2m-tall Merlion cub.  This doesn’t spout water

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The 260m-long Esplanade Bridge (left) and the newly completed 220m-long Jubilee Bridge with Esplanade Theatres by the Bay at the background.  The Jubilee Bridge was the brainchild of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, first Prime Minister of Singapore.  It is a bridge with no steps and provides barrier-free access.

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And the finale for the night – a music and light display by The Fullerton Hotel, as a tribute to SG50.

A Celebration of Our Heritage

“A Celebration of Our Heritage” showcases the iconic moments that took place at the Fullerton Square, including scenes from the election rallies in Singapore.   It is showing until 9 August, 2015 at the following timings.

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Majulah Singapura!

  • Aug 1 – 8pm, 9pm, 10pm, 11pm
  • Aug 2 – 8pm, 9pm, 10pm, 11pm
  • Aug 3 to 7 – 8pm, 9pm, 10pm
  • Aug 8 – 8pm, 9pm, 10pm, 11pm
  • Aug 9 – 8pm, 9pm, 10pm, 11pm

This is the second time The Fullerton Hotel has put up such a display in celebration of Singapore’s 50th year of Independence this year.  The first was “Journey of Singapore”, a 2-minute montage of sketches and graphics on the milestones of Singapore, shown at the end of 2014.

Journey of Singapore

Six more days to Singapore’s 50th Birthday!  Although we have no interesting arrangement planned for the coming Jubilee weekend yet, we are surely looking forward to the 4-day break (7-10 Aug).  It’s a rare treat to have one extra holiday declared this year, in celebration of SG50! 🙂

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