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NDP 2020 to be live-streamed; show segment indoors for the first time, with no audience

SINGAPORE — This year’s National Day Parade will go on, but for the first time in 55 years, there will be no audience.

The Singapore Armed Forces parachute team — better known as the Red Lions — will be making special appearances in the heartlands to mark this year's National Day Parade.

The Singapore Armed Forces parachute team — better known as the Red Lions — will be making special appearances in the heartlands to mark this year's National Day Parade.

SINGAPORE — This year’s National Day Parade (NDP) will go on, but for the first time in 55 years, there will be no audience. 

Instead, the parade will be broadcast live and on internet platforms to households in Singapore, with a morning segment at the Padang and an evening performance at The Star Performing Arts Centre in Buona Vista.

This will also be the first time the evening performance will be held indoors.

The number of participants for the events will also be reduced, so that safe distancing can be enforced during the Covid-19 pandemic.

While organisers said there were about 1,800 participants at last year’s NDP, this year’s parade will have about 200 participants involved in the morning segment at the Padang and 80 to 100 participants in the evening performance. 

Brigadier-General Frederick Choo, chairman of the NDP 2020 executive committee, speaking at a media conference on Wednesday (May 20), said: “For the first time since independence, instead of bringing Singaporeans to a (central) location, we will bring NDP across the island to every Singaporean home.

“Just like the past 54 NDPs, NDP 2020 will be an unyielding reminder that Singapore will keep going on. Covid-19 will not deter us and we will continue to celebrate, but differently.”

The morning segment — titled The Strength of Our Nation — will begin at 10am with a broadcast of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day message.

This will be followed by the parade at the Padang, where the first NDP was held in 1966. President Halimah Yacob will review the parade. 

For the evening performance, smaller group items will replace the mass performances of previous NDPs.  

Viewers can expect “inspirational and uplifting stories of real Singaporeans" during the pandemic, and these will be showcased through films and live stage performances. 

While there will be no audience in attendance for both the morning and evening segments, this might change should safe distancing guidelines be relaxed. 

“At this moment, we are planning that there will not be spectators, but we will continue to monitor the situation,” said Brigadier-General Choo. “For the attendance at (The Star Performing Arts Centre) and at the Padang, we will abide very closely by the rules and guidelines for large-scale events.”

Singaporeans' favourite elements about the parade will carry on this year, albeit in different forms.

Along with the split morning and evening segments, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) parachute team — better known as the Red Lions — will be making “special appearances” in the heartlands.

There will also be an aerial display comprising a fly-past of the state flag and a “roar of unity” by F-15 fighter jets, as well as a mobile column of SAF and Home Team assets moving across the heartlands in the morning.

Vessels from the Navy and various public agencies will also participate in a maritime sail-past.

After the evening performance, there will be fireworks set off from more than 10 locations around Singapore. 

With large-scale events such as fireworks, mobile columns and fly-pasts, Brigadier-General Choo said that he is “aware that the crowds may build” and that the organising team has put in the safeguards.

“We will start working with the relevant agencies on advisories, and closer to the date, we will inform Singaporeans on not congregating,” he said. “We will also have ambassadors working with the committee to be on the ground to engage Singaporeans who may miss out on the advisories.

“On the last line, we will have soldiers from the SAF working closely with the other enforcement agencies to watch the ground.”

Similar to Singapore's Golden Jubilee in 2015, about 1.2 to 1.3 million funpacks will be distributed to every Singaporean and Singapore permanent resident household. 

It will include family-friendly activity items including pledge cards and celebratory items such as handheld flags and torch filters that Singaporeans can use to participate in the show. 

Details about the distribution of the funpacks will be disclosed at a later date. 

“We want to be able to bring NDP elements across the island, so that Singaporeans, wherever they are, even when not congregating, will be able to see, feel and look at NDP,” Brigadier-General Choo said.

Related topics

NDP2020 Padang The Star Performing Arts Centre Covid-19 coronavirus

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