NATIONAL DAY PARADE 2020: A NATION'S PRIDE

NDP 2020: A show of unity and strength

Two members of the mobile column in a Leopard 2SG main battle tank waving to the crowd as they moved along Tampines Avenue 4, near Tampines MRT station. The mobile column covered 200km over five routes. Residents awaiting the arrival of the mobile co
The maritime sail-past returned to the National Day Parade after a 20-year hiatus, with 13 vessels gliding in formation in Marina Bay yesterday. ST PHOTO: BENJAMIN SEETOR
Red Lion parachutist Shirley Ng posing for photographs with spectators after landing at an open field near Sengkang General Hospital yesterday. Second Warrant Officer Ng is Singapore's first and only woman member of the Red Lions.
Red Lion parachutist Shirley Ng posing for photographs with spectators after landing at an open field near Sengkang General Hospital yesterday. Second Warrant Officer Ng is Singapore's first and only woman member of the Red Lions. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Spectators waving as the Leopard 2SG main battle tank moved past them in Pasir Ris Drive 1, along one of the five routes across the island taken by mobile column contingents.
Spectators waving as the Leopard 2SG main battle tank moved past them in Pasir Ris Drive 1, along one of the five routes across the island taken by mobile column contingents. ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Residents watching along Jurong East Street 21 as the mobile column featuring the navy's Protector Unmanned Surface Vessel and other equipment passed through.
Residents watching along Jurong East Street 21 as the mobile column featuring the navy's Protector Unmanned Surface Vessel and other equipment passed through. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
A five-tonne man truck with front-liners on board moving along Toa Payoh Lorong 1 as part of the mobile column contingent taking that route.
A five-tonne man truck with front-liners on board moving along Toa Payoh Lorong 1 as part of the mobile column contingent taking that route. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Residents awaiting the arrival of the mobile column outside their homes in Toa Payoh Lorong 1 yesterday. Next to them, national flags form the number 55, representing the nation's 55th birthday.
Residents awaiting the arrival of the mobile column outside their homes in Toa Payoh Lorong 1 yesterday. Next to them, national flags form the number 55, representing the nation's 55th birthday. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Two members of the mobile column in a Leopard 2SG main battle tank waving to the crowd as they moved along Tampines Avenue 4, near Tampines MRT station. The mobile column covered 200km over five routes.
Two members of the mobile column in a Leopard 2SG main battle tank waving to the crowd as they moved along Tampines Avenue 4, near Tampines MRT station. The mobile column covered 200km over five routes. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
F-15 pilot Shidan Swah's family - (from left) his brother-in-law Sean Quek and sister Shirin Swah, the family's patriarch Swah Joo Hock and helper Myrna Lameyra, Lt Swah's wife Pearlene Quek, who is holding their daughter Chloe, and his parents Kwek
F-15 pilot Shidan Swah's family - (from left) his brother-in-law Sean Quek and sister Shirin Swah, the family's patriarch Swah Joo Hock and helper Myrna Lameyra, Lt Swah's wife Pearlene Quek, who is holding their daughter Chloe, and his parents Kwek Puay Ee and Swah Teck Sin - gathered to watch the live telecast of the parade at the Padang. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Nine-month-old Chloe Swah turned towards the skies, her attention drawn by the roar of six F-15 fighter jets tearing past above her home in Kovan.

Her father, 26-year-old Lieutenant Shidan Swah Yepeng, is one of the pilots, the youngest in the formation for this year's National Day Parade (NDP) fighter jet fly-past, titled the Roar Of Unity.

Baby Chloe, like many other Singaporeans, watched from home yesterday as the celebrations were taken to the heartland amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The F-15s looped across the country in a 30-minute-long segment that began at 10.45am and flew past eight local hospitals in a tribute to healthcare workers.

These include Lt Swah's parents - Dr Swah Teck Sin, 58, a senior consultant at a polyclinic, and Madam Kwek Puay Ee, 58, both stalwarts of the healthcare sector for more than 30 years.

Madam Kwek, who is seconded from the National Healthcare Group to the Singapore Nursing Board as an executive secretary, said: "Every National Day, our family will watch the NDP together. I always thought maybe one day my son can participate - now this year I can watch my son fly past, it's a dream come true."

The Swahs - including family patriarch Swah Joo Hock, 99; Lt Swah's wife Pearlene Quek, 27; his sister Shirin Swah, 28; and her husband Sean Quek, 30; and the family's helper Myrna Lameyra, 50 - watched with pride from the roof of their terrace house.

Many of those watching from home also witnessed the state flag fly-past and the Red Lions parachuting near Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Sengkang General Hospital - a crowd favourite as always.

Singaporeans lined the streets to catch an up-close glimpse of the equipment featured in the mobile column, which covered 200km over five routes.

Doctor Lee Ying Shan, 39, who was in Changi with her husband and their son, eight, and daughter, five, managed to catch a glimpse of the mobile column, F-15 jets and the helicopters with the state flag from her viewpoint. Her son's favourite tank is the Leopard 2SG main battle tank, a highlight of the display, she said.

While the family usually celebrates National Day by watching the parade on television and revisiting old National Day songs, this year's version of the celebrations has its merits too. "It's less crowded and everyone can enjoy a bit of the displays," said Dr Lee.

 
 
 

Over in Marina Bay, some Singaporeans gathered to watch the maritime sail-past, which returned to this year's NDP after a 20-year hiatus. Thirteen vessels glided in formation and sounded their ship horns for 15 seconds towards the end of the sail-past.

In the afternoon, the celebrations continued as those at home joined in the National Day GetActive! Singapore workout or tried whipping up some local delights from a special NDP e-recipe booklet.

PROUD TO BE SINGAPOREAN

Over the last 55 years, Singapore's achieved so much and I'm very proud to be Singaporean and to be part of this success. I hope that in the future, things will go even better for us.

MR JAVIER LAI, 18, a polytechnic student.


SIGNIFICANT DAY

This year's NDP is significant for me as I get to witness the Red Lions parachute... and when I get home, I will get to spend time with my loved ones and sing along to the evening show with my five-year-old daughter.

MS SITI AISYAH SAMSUDIN, 31, specialist outpatient clinics service team leader at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.


HARMONY ON HER MIND

When I think about Singapore, I think of racial harmony. This National Day is special to me because I can see people, even my neighbour, carrying my design on the NDP pack.

MS ADELINE VEJALETCHMY, 58, an artist with the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped who created one of 20 designs for this year's NDP packs.


COMING TOGETHER TO CELEBRATE

This year's parade is special because we can still celebrate in the midst of a pandemic, with Singaporeans from different walks of life coming together in their own ways to celebrate the fact that Singapore is still going strong after 55 years.

MS TAN HUILI, 38, secondary school teacher.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2020, with the headline 'A show of unity and strength'. Print Edition | Subscribe