Tomorrow is Singapore’s National Day but I’m not in Singapore. So, I will have to commemorate by looking at the photos I took during a National Day Parade rehearsal.
It was such a great experience it made me wish I could attend the actual parade (happening tomorrow) but, of course, I can’t because I’m not in Singapore.
Nanny Wen went with me to the rehearsal a month ago. When we met up, the first thing she said to me was, “Why are you not wearing red?!!!!”
To be honest, the thought of wearing red never crossed my mind. I thought people only did that on National Day itself. But I suppose the rehearsals are supposed to mimic the real thing.
I didn’t have any red clothes, in any case. Well, I do have one red dress but it was hanging in my wardrobe in England. (It’s technically Piers’ wardrobe, but my things are in it so it’s as good as mine, right?)
To make up for not wearing red, I decided to plaster myself with the patriotic tattoos given out in the fun packs.
The fun pack has a load of cool stuff in it such as the Singapore flag, a glow stick, a visor cap, water and snacks.
We didn’t have time to look through all the stuff because we were a bit late and the show had already started. Youths in red and white costumes were dancing on the stage and celebrities Gurmit Singh and Belinda Lee were warming up the audience.
The audience was very cooperative and enthusiastic, waving flags or screaming happily when told to.
It was my first time at the Marina Bay Floating Platform, even though it’s been around for about four years and is the biggest floating stage in the world. I’m a bit of a homebody, I suppose. In other words, suaku.
I’m glad I got to see it, though, because it has such an awesome backdrop. I think the beautiful Singapore skyline and the bay waters acting as backdrop probably contributes to heightened feelings of pride and patriotism during such events as the National Day Parade.
Too bad The Float can’t be the NDP venue forever since it can only hold half as many people as the new (building-in-progress) National Stadium will be able to.
After the warming up and singing and dancing, our Members of Parliament and Cabinet Ministers arrived. But they were fake ones since it was only a rehearsal.
Young men dressed in white waved cheerfully at the audience while holding red signs that proclaimed their roles: MP or CM.
They didn’t stay for the performances. They walked off the grandstand immediately after pretending to take their seats. I think they had to go get ready to pretend to be the Prime Minister and President, who would arrive later in the evening.
Then it got exciting.
It was time for our Red Lions to show off their stuff.
The Red Lions are the parachute team from the Singapore Armed Forces. They spend all their time training to perform at National Day Parades as well as to take part in parachuting and skydiving competitions.
They’re really good but I sort of missed a lot of it because I was busy trying to take good photographs. There were five of them plus one cameraman, who was also up in the air filming the performance that was simultaneously fed onto the big screen on the stage.
The landing was as much performance as the actual air show. Each Red Lion took turns to fly past our iconic skyscrapers and down onto the floating stage, accompanied by supportive cheers from the audience.
Look how the parachute had collapsed into a heart shape in the last picture, heh.
You can probably tell how much I love the Red Lions’ performance by the number of photos I’ve displayed on their segment.
I wish I could enjoy skydiving type of activities because it looks so exhilarating and free. But falling makes my heart jump out of my skin and sends icicles prickling through my entire body and I don’t like that feeling at all.
This year’s NDP features a musical in five acts. While the evening sky darkens, the story of Singapore and demonstrations of the Singapore Spirit are portrayed through a mother and son character with their family and friends.
As the story plays out, more performances and special effects are unveiled, including battle scenes with pyrotechnics, marching contingents and elaborately costumed dancers.
Interspersed within the musical were beautiful moments filled with fireworks, bubbles and confetti (not all together, of course), as everyone waved the blue and pink light sticks given in the fun packs.
The parade ended with more fireworks, reciting of the National Pledge and singing of the National Anthem.
At 8:30 pm, the event ended. Red and white confetti pieces were everywhere — on the floor, in our hair, in our bags.
Nanny Wen and I took a last photo together before leaving the premises. She picked up two pieces of confetti, meaning to form the Singapore flag in our photo, but she got it the wrong way, haha.
It was all very wonderful and emotional, especially towards the end of the night. I can only imagine what the atmosphere will be like at the actual event itself. Hope I get to experience that some day!
The theme of this year’s National Day is Majulah! The Singapore Spirit. Majulah means “onward”, which represents our strength and determination to strive forward in building a better Singapore.
The Singapore Spirit represents our unity and mutual trust as we forge ahead together to scale new heights.
This year’s logo:
You can learn more about NDP 2011 and the Singapore Spirit at these two sites:
Happy Birthday, Singapore and cheers to the Singapore Spirit!