SINGAPORE: Whether you are attending the National Day Parade all decked out in red and white or watching from the comfort of your home, here are the highlights to look forward to as we celebrate Singapore’s 54th birthday.
If you’ve always looked forward to NDP fly-pasts, this year’s “enhanced” aerial display shouldn’t disappoint.
It begins with the traditional state flag fly-past, with a Chinook helicopter bearing the Singapore flag, escorted by two Apaches.
The Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF) A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) then makes its inaugural fly-past over the Padang, flanked by two F-15SG fighter jets.
The F-15SG fighter jets complete the show, thundering over the arena with aerial aerobatics including a sharp vertical climb.
THE MOBILE COLUMN
This year’s NDP will pay tribute to the mobile column that rolled onto the Padang for the very first time 50 years ago in 1969.
A total of 171 assets from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and Home Team will be showcased in the drive-past, which will last nearly 15 minutes and involve participants across generations.
READ: What it’s like to ride in the mobile column at NDP
READ: From Sungei Gedong to Nicoll Highway, prepping armoured vehicles for the NDP stage
In addition to crowd favourites like the Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicle and the Light Strike Vehicle, also look out for assets that will be making their mobile column debut, including the Army’s Hunter Armoured Fighting Vehicle, the RSAF’s ASTER-30 Missile System, and naval assets like the Combatant Craft Medium.
HOMAGE TO SINGAPORE’S MULTI-CULTURALISM
Spectators are in for a visual treat in Act 3 of the parade, which is dedicated to Singapore’s rich diversity.
Themed “Our River”, the act leads with a short film featuring Singaporeans speaking their respective mother tongues, and segues into a vibrant performance involving 380 dancers from the People’s Association and 40 dancers from the Music and Drama Company.
You won’t miss the eight giant puppets, each over 4 metres tall, dressed in the ethnic costumes of Singapore’s four official races.
LIGHTS, MUSIC, ACTION
As rappers Danial “Wheelsmith” Bawthan, Yung Raja and Fariz Jabba hit the stage, 859 student dancers from four secondary schools join them, decked in war paint and headdress, and armed with drums.
As the music pulsates through the arena, every spectator will see their LED wristband light up in unison with the music and the lights in the dancers’ drums as well, sending the Padang awash with synchronised lights.
Pyrotechnics add to the massive visual display, with columns of fire shooting up in front of spectators to the beat of the music.
In the midst of a dazzling laser show, a 6-metre-tall lion will take centrestage in its gleaming metallic glory – the biggest prop in recent NDP history.
The shimmering beast may look deceptively light but actually weighs 1,000kg and takes intensive training, teamwork and coordination to operate, so look out for the crew of 10 who will bring it to life.
READ: What it takes to operate a 6m tall, 1,000kg lion puppet at NDP 2019
YES, IT SPARKS JOY
This year’s fireworks segment will be launched from three locations: the Padang itself, Marina Bay and – for the first time in more than 30 years – the Singapore River as well, with the highest fireworks shooting as far as 180m in the air.
The display involves the deployment of the NDP’s longest fireworks barge yet, in front of the Asian Civilisations Museum. At 450m in length, the barge allows for a more panoramic fireworks display that “maximises the bay area”, organisers say.
READ: How to catch some National Day action other than at the Padang
At the Padang itself, colourful pyrotechnics will be launched from the front and back of the seating gallery, choreographed to the rhythm of the music.
Didn’t manage to get tickets, or simply out of town? Catch the parade ‘live’ on our website or on our YouTube channel on Aug 9 from 5.45pm SG/HK.