NDP returns to floating platform this year

NDP returns to floating platform this year
L-R: Colonel Melvin Ong, Chairman of NDP 2017 Executive Committee and Jay Lim, singer of this year's NDP theme song "Because It's Singapore!" posing with the NDP 2017 logo. Photo:Esther Leong/TODAY
Crowd favourites such as Red Lions parachutists, aerial display will also be back
Published: 12:00 PM, May 17, 2017
Updated: 12:10 AM, May 18, 2017

SINGAPORE — Returning to the Marina Bay floating platform after a two-year hiatus, this year’s National Day Parade (NDP) will bring back traditional crowd favourites such as the Red Lions parachutists and aerial display. Both acts were missing from last year’s show because of venue restrictions at the National Stadium. 

On top of these, spectators will also be treated to larger military display — also a popular item in previous NDPs — as the country marks the 50th anniversary of National Service. 

For the first time, the Dynamic Defence Display (D3) is organised into two segments. Sandwiching the parade and ceremony segment, the first part will focus on the military capabilities of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), featuring the Terrex infantry carrier vehicles, and Leopard 2SG main battle tanks, for example. 

The second part will involve a simulated cyber incident and terrorist attack, and will showcase “the importance of the SAF and the Home Team working together with all Singaporeans to tackle the rising threats”.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday (May 17), NDP 2017 executive committee chairman Melvin Ong Yoke Lam said: “NS50 will be featured prominently in the parade segments (because) the 50 years of National Service (NS) that underpins (the nation’s) growth and development is unique through the one million Singaporean sons who have contributed, and the future Singaporean sons who will do so to ensure that we have a chance in future.”

Apart from the military display, the parade and ceremony segment will feature a special tribute — details to be revealed later — to 50 years of NS, a military tattoo performance, a Presidential Gun Salute on the M3G military raft, the State Flag Flypast and an aerial salute performed by five Republic of Singapore Air Force F-15SG fighter aircraft.

The theme #OneNationTogether has been chosen as a call to Singaporeans to be “confident in our collective future as we overcome all odds together”, the NDP organisers said. 

Col Ong reiterated that this year’s NDP “celebrates the precious social unity and the racial and religious harmony” that Singapore enjoys and that should not be taken for granted.

The logo and theme song were also unveiled: The NDP 2017 logo is inspired by an image of four interlocking hands that was printed on Singapore’s first S$10 Orchid series note, which was launched in 1967.

(The NDP 2017 logo features four hands clasped and interlocked with each other in unity. The logo is inspired by a similar and familiar image on Singapore’s first ten dollar Orchid series note launched in 1967. Logo: Ministry of Defence)

Bearing the shape of the island-nation at the centre of the four hands, it recognises the important role that racial harmony has played over 52 years of nation building, and symbolises Singaporeans from all walks of life “setting aside their differences and coming together with the conviction of building a better Singapore of tomorrow”. 

The song, Because It’s Singapore!, was composed by Mr Lee Wei Song with lyrics penned by Mr Jay Lim. 

Mr Lim, who was one of the top 10 contestants during the 2006 Singapore Idol Season 2 show, will not be performing at the parade as the theme song is “meant to be sung by all Singaporeans on Aug 9”, said Col Ong.

In August last year, following the successful staging of the NDP at the new National Stadium for the first time, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen announced that the 2017 NDP will be held at the floating platform.

Dr Ng said then that the Government hoped to stage it again at the National Stadium in 2018.

The floating platform was built when the old National Stadium at Kallang, where many NDPs had been held, closed. Compared with the new National Stadium, which can seat up to 55,000, the venue in Marina Bay has a smaller capacity of 25,000.

To cater to those who are unable to get tickets or who prefer to watch the parade in the comfort of their homes, the organising committee is partnering the Info-communications Media Development Authority to stream a 360-degree video “live” on YouTube, in addition to the “live” television broadcast. 

Last year’s show, which chalked up a hefty bill of S$39.4 million for the organisers partly due to the rental cost of the Sports Hub facility, drew mixed reception from spectators, some of whom missed the traditional crowd-pleasers. Others, however, appreciated the comfort of the National Stadium, and the innovative use of 3D props. 

Previous NDPs held at the floating platform cost between S$15.7 million and S$17.9 million. 

Col Ong said the floating platform “speaks of the innovativeness of the country”, as what was originally thought of as a temporary measure came to be used for several major events. “To be able to create a space out of nothing and to bring shows with a backdrop against the Marina Bay skyline is truly amazing,” he said.