50 Years Of NDP

Bigger and grander

Marching contingents standing ramrod-straight for a rifle salute at the NDP rehearsal at the Padang in 1993.
Marching contingents standing ramrod-straight for a rifle salute at the NDP rehearsal at the Padang in 1993.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Free-fallers landing with precision on a 3m-wide target to the delight of the crowd at the National Stadium during the 1992 parade.
Free-fallers landing with precision on a 3m-wide target to the delight of the crowd at the National Stadium during the 1992 parade.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
BMX stunt biker Hiruan Ahmad, 19, performing a daredevil act at the pre-parade segment in 1999 (above); an SAF commando gliding down amid a burst of light and smoke from the top of the National Stadium’s 60m light towers the same year; and Lt-Col (NS) Cle
BMX stunt biker Hiruan Ahmad, 19, performing a daredevil act at the pre-parade segment in 1999 (above); an SAF commando gliding down amid a burst of light and smoke from the top of the National Stadium’s 60m light towers the same year; and Lt-Col (NS) Clement Hendricks making history as the first NSman parade commander at the 1994 parade. Col (Ret) Hendricks is the chairman of the infrastructure and decorations committee of the 2016 NDP. ST PHOTO: ALBERT SIM
BMX stunt biker Hiruan Ahmad, 19, performing a daredevil act at the pre-parade segment in 1999; an SAF commando gliding down amid a burst of light and smoke from the top of the National Stadium's 60m light towers the same year; and Lt-Col (NS) Clement Hen
BMX stunt biker Hiruan Ahmad, 19, performing a daredevil act at the pre-parade segment in 1999; an SAF commando gliding down amid a burst of light and smoke from the top of the National Stadium's 60m light towers the same year; and Lt-Col (NS) Clement Hendricks (centre) making history as the first NSman parade commander at the 1994 parade (above). Col (Ret) Hendricks is the chairman of the infrastructure and decorations committee of the 2016 NDP. PHOTO: TAY KAY CHIN
BMX stunt biker Hiruan Ahmad, 19, performing a daredevil act at the pre-parade segment in 1999; an SAF commando gliding down amid a burst of light and smoke from the top of the National Stadium’s 60m light towers the same year (above); and Lt-Col (NS) Cle
BMX stunt biker Hiruan Ahmad, 19, performing a daredevil act at the pre-parade segment in 1999; an SAF commando gliding down amid a burst of light and smoke from the top of the National Stadium’s 60m light towers the same year (above); and Lt-Col (NS) Clement Hendricks making history as the first NSman parade commander at the 1994 parade. Col (Ret) Hendricks is the chairman of the infrastructure and decorations committee of the 2016 NDP. PHOTO: GEORGE GASCON
Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew waving to the crowd at the National Stadium in 1998.
Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew waving to the crowd at the National Stadium in 1998.ST PHOTO: TAN SUAN ANN
Bird stilt-walkers at the 1999 NDP preview show.
Bird stilt-walkers at the 1999 NDP preview show.ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN
Certified crowd-pleasers, the SAF Provost Unit Precision Drill Squad dazzle the crowd at the 1998 preview show with their nifty footwork and whistling fireworks.
Certified crowd-pleasers, the SAF Provost Unit Precision Drill Squad dazzle the crowd at the 1998 preview show with their nifty footwork and whistling fireworks.PHOTO: STEPHANIE YEOW
A soldier giving his boots a last-minute buff as the air force guard-of-honour contingent forms outside the National Stadium at the 1998 preview show.
A soldier giving his boots a last-minute buff as the air force guard-of-honour contingent forms outside the National Stadium at the 1998 preview show.ST PHOTO: TERENCE TAN

Large-format parades take hold in the 1990s. Neighbourhood shows give way to big-venue celebrations with grander performances, riskier stunts and larger crowds.

Oh, those shoes

We wore shoes specially made for the event. One of the earlier problems we encountered was getting the wrong shoe sizes from the sponsor. We had to frantically swop among ourselves for sizes shortly before the event. Some of my friends had to buy similar coloured shoes because none fitted them. I wore thick socks because my shoes were a size too big.

Many years later after I joined the public service, I was involved in NDP events from 2005 to 2007. I always took the chance to wear my NDP shoes to the National Education shows, previews and actual parades. It so happened that my boyfriend (now husband) saw my shoes and was much surprised because back then he was in the army leading a group of cheerleaders from another school at the same event.

  • MS YAN CHUI PING, 34

  • ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

    • Civil servant

    • NDP 1999: Part of the 560-strong group of junior college cheerleaders

MS YAN CHUI PING, who was one of 560 junior college cheerleaders at NDP 1999

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2016, with the headline 'Bigger and grander'. Print Edition | Subscribe