Kallang Wave debuts in new National Stadium

Above: Parade-goers get on their feet and roar as the Kallang Wave sweeps across the National Stadium - the site where the tradition was born. Many whip out the Singapore scarf for the ritual which lasts a good three to four minutes. Left: Participan
Anove: Participants get up close with spectators.
Above: Parade-goers get on their feet and roar as the Kallang Wave sweeps across the National Stadium - the site where the tradition was born. Many whip out the Singapore scarf for the ritual which lasts a good three to four minutes. Left: Participan
Above: Parade-goers get on their feet and roar as the Kallang Wave sweeps across the National Stadium - the site where the tradition was born. Many whip out the Singapore scarf for the ritual which lasts a good three to four minutes.

The Kallang Wave returned to the National Day Parade (NDP) yesterday after a decade's absence, rippling across the spectators' stands during the show at the brand-new National Stadium.

For some, it was a sight that triggered nostalgic memories of the historical events within the stately embrace of the Grand Old Dame of Kallang before it closed in 2007 amid sorrowful farewells. It was later demolished in 2010.

From a visit by the late Pope John Paul II in 1986, to mega-concerts by king of pop Michael Jackson in 1993, the 55,000-seat venue had welcomed numerous famous names since it was opened by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 1973.

In 1976, it played host to its first NDP.

The show, put on by 12,000 young people, "presented for all the world to see a colourful and exciting portrait of a vibrant but disciplined Singapore", The Straits Times reported.

Unlike previous years at the Padang, where "one had to jostle and crane one's neck so as not to miss the action", spectators could be seated in comfort at the stadium terraces, the New Nation said.

In the heady days of the Malaysia Cup from the 1970s to the 1990s, football fans thronged the National Stadium to catch the Lions in action.

  • LOST

  • A time capsule was supposedly buried somewhere in the stadium but is still missing. It contains the stadium building plans, local currency notes and newspapers dated Feb 23, 1970. The late Dr Goh Keng Swee laid the foundation stone for the stadium together with the time capsule that day.

  • AT THE PARADE

    What we have now is great and I hope that future generations will also enjoy the peace and prosperity that we have.

    MS JOYCE VELU, 55, who is self-employed.

  • The Kallang Wave gave us a sense of togetherness, of fighting for a cause.

    BUSINESSMAN SHAKTI DESAI, 33 ,who has fond memories of watching Malaysia Cup matches at the old stadium.Heis with his wife,Mrs Pooja Desai, 31, and their two-year-oldson Shiv Desai

  • Overall, it’s a joyous occasion.The parade is always my favourite and seeing it live is awesome.

    ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT NURASIDAH ZAKARIYA (right), 29, with her sister, Ms Nurfadilah Zakariya,  28.

It was there that their thunderous cheers and furious stamping of feet, which shook the structures of the arena to its core, gave birth to the fabled Kallang Roar.

Since 1976, 18 NDPs have been held at the stadium, with the last one in 2006 featuring four heliospheres, or big balloons, from which acrobats dangled.

The audience of 55,000 also joined in the Kallang Wave, which transformed the crowd into a pulsing sea of red and white.

The Grand Old Dame may have bowed out to be replaced by a new stadium. But 10 years on, the Singapore spirit is still very much alive - as yesterday's fervent turnout showed.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2016, with the headline 'Kallang Wave debuts in new National Stadium'. Print Edition | Subscribe