I didn’t believe that I’ll get the chance to sit in the audience to watch the annual National Day Parade after all these years. The previous few times where I get to have a glimpse of the parade were during the NE Shows. The last time I watched NDP live was back in 2015, I was there during every show but as a Heartware volunteer. I got a chance to view one of the NE Shows in full since I was attached to Ang Mo Kio Primary.
I haven’t really had a chance to watch NDP Preview and Actual Parade on site as an audience before – as far as I could remember. Ok, maybe in 2006, when my mum and I tagged along my god-parents for the last show at the old National Stadium. I couldn’t remember clearly if it was NE Show or Preview or the actual day — but it felt like the actual day anyway.
This year, I didn’t get the tickets through balloting – again. I’ve already succumbed to the reality that I wouldn’t get the chance see the preview or actual parade again.
But then, surprisingly, I took part in a Straits Times’ competition and won.
Till now, I still couldn’t remember which competition helped me to gain an entry to one of the most important local events.
And so, I attended the second preview show with my mum on the 29th of July.
After surviving the queue under the scorching sun, we managed to receive our NDP Fun Pack and get to our seat at the Blue Sector of the Marina Bay Floating Platform.
We couldn’t really see the stage from where we were sitting but we had a great view of the bay.
But thankfully my EF-S55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM lens did me some justice. It is no doubt that that is my favourite lens out of the two lenses I owned.
After I set up my camera, my mum and I started looking through the fun pack. There were the usual stuffs – flags, tissue, discount coupons, 2 bottles of drinks. One thing caught my eyes actually – the Salted Egg Yolk Fish Skin by The Golden Duck. I didn’t get to try it on site, but it tasted damn good when I had it at home later that night.
You know it must be delicious when kids just gobble the entire packet down their throat.
Alright. Enough of food, because the parade is about to start.
Dynamic Defence Display
My favourite of the entire parade is the Parade & Command (P&C) and the Dynamic Defence Display (D3). I must give all the uniform personnels the credit for having to endure the blazing sun and trying hard not to ‘peng san’. I always wanted to be one of those marching in the parade, but guess I won’t be able to do that in my army uniform over the next two years because I think it’s only for the combat fit military men.
There was aerial display by 5 F-15SG fighter jets. This is the first time in NDP where the signature bomb burst manoeuvre is performed by the F-15SG. The F-16s were used in previous years.
There was also the Red Lions, who are making a return to the NDP after a two-year absence.
Apart from the parachute team making their appearance, more than 50 military assets are also making their appearance during the parade – some of which are introduced to the audiences during a multi-agency counter-terrorism display.
If I were to choose my favourite moment out of this year’s parade, it would be the part when the RSAF Chinook carrying the National Flag and flew past the sky with two AH-64D Apache helicopters in escort.
It has in fact been my favourite and proudest moment during every NDP because it reminded me what is it to be a Singaporean. It reminded me of my duty to the country and that our success today is by no means fortuitous. Our forefathers and the generations before us had given their all and strive for excellence. They fought hard – either in the battlefield, the training grounds or in their respective field – to make sure that our flag continues to fly high up in the sky.
We shouldn’t take whatever we have now for granted. Instead, we should continue to strive for greater heights – like how we want our flag to fly.
Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob was present that day as a reviewing officer.
Although she has been reprising the role she has been taking every NDP since 2013, the internet went wild after photos were ‘leaked’. Some said this is a ‘rehearsal’ for her upcoming role. Some said everything is an inside job.
Well. Then we might have Teo Chee Hean – the defence minister – as the next Prime Minister since he appeared during Preview 1, in a similar role. We leave speculations to those who speculate.
As usual when the reviewing officer or President inspect the military parade, there will be the 21-Gun presidential salute happening from the M3G Military Raft floating on the left side of the Floating Platform.
After the parade marched off, there comes the second segment of NDP. There comes the more artistic part. There are 6 acts to it and it showcases the Singapore spirit through arts, dance, music and lights.
This is the first time that NDP will feature 300 unmanned drones – the biggest drone display in Southeast Asia. My mum was like, “How did they manage to project the lights up into the sky like this.”
Nope mum, there are drones.
I must say I am impressed by the choreography. Having to control one drone is a problem, having to bring 300 drones together to form a figure is another.
At the end of the two-and-a-half hours of parade and shows, the event ended with everyone’s favourite: fireworks display.
The fireworks might be spectacular but the pungant strong smell from the leftover smoke just got me struggling a bit.
So my mum and I took a selfie because we were waiting for the crowd to disperse before we depart the area.