National Day 2014: Singapore celebrates 49th birthday at Marina Bay

Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- PHOTO: GRACE TAN 
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- PHOTO: GRACE TAN 
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN 
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN 
Wishing Singapore happy birthday. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN 
Wishing Singapore happy birthday. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN 
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN 
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN 
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN 
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN 
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- ST PHOTO: RAJ NADARAJAN 
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- ST PHOTO: RAJ NADARAJAN 
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- ST PHOTO: STEFFI KOH 
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- ST PHOTO: STEFFI KOH 
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Spectators decked in red and white filled the stands, as this year's National Day Parade got off to a roaring start. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
President Tony Tan Keng Yam arrives for the National Day Parade 2014, at the Marina Bay Floating Platform. -- ST PHOTO: WANG HUIFEN
President Tony Tan Keng Yam arrives for the National Day Parade 2014, at the Marina Bay Floating Platform. -- ST PHOTO: WANG HUIFEN
Spectators are transfixed by the Red Lions' display. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO 
Spectators are transfixed by the Red Lions' display. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO 
A Red Lion soars in the skies above the Marina Bay Floating Platform. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
A Red Lion soars in the skies above the Marina Bay Floating Platform. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Red Lions descending in a different formation during NDP 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Red Lions descending in a different formation during NDP 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Third Warrant Officer Shirley Ng salutes after completing her jump during NDP 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Third Warrant Officer Shirley Ng salutes after completing her jump during NDP 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Third Warrant Officer Shirley Ng high-fives a junior Red Lion after completing her jump during NDP 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Third Warrant Officer Shirley Ng high-fives a junior Red Lion after completing her jump during NDP 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Majulah Singapura, even in cloudy weather. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Majulah Singapura, even in cloudy weather. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
The State Colours blazing the trail for the march past. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
The State Colours blazing the trail for the march past. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Dodging unexpected "rain" as the SCDF's unmanned firefighting machine showers the crowd. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Dodging unexpected "rain" as the SCDF's unmanned firefighting machine showers the crowd. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
The sun sets, casting a mesmerising glow. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
The sun sets, casting a mesmerising glow. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
The show segment features a catchy electro pop remix of Dick Lee classic Big Island. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO 
The show segment features a catchy electro pop remix of Dick Lee classic Big Island. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO 
Singapore celebrates its 49th year of independence at the Marina Bay Floating Platform. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Singapore celebrates its 49th year of independence at the Marina Bay Floating Platform. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the National Day Parade 2014. -- ST PHOTO: STEFFI KOH
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the National Day Parade 2014. -- ST PHOTO: STEFFI KOH
The Army, Navy, Air Force and Police Force also put up an impressive performance, showing off their capabilities and equipment in a 10-minute display. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
The Army, Navy, Air Force and Police Force also put up an impressive performance, showing off their capabilities and equipment in a 10-minute display. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
The National Day Parade ended with a fireworks display. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
The National Day Parade ended with a fireworks display. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
The National Day Parade ended with a fireworks display. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
The National Day Parade ended with a fireworks display. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - Rain - a drizzle from cloudy skies early in the evening - followed by jets of water from the Singapore Civil Defence Force's (SCDF) firefighting vehicles later only added to the fun for the thousands singing, cheering and waving flags at this year's National Day Parade.

The rousing parade officially kicked off with a military tattoo for the first time, featuring a combined band and a precision drill squad strutting their stuff to the beat of well-loved classics like We Will Get There.

Also performing for the first time were eight participants from Minds - the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore - on the taiko drum.

The 35 marching contingents were made up of more than 2,000 people - the largest number ever present for this segment at the floating platform.

Earlier, energetic parade hosts Hossan Leong, Jean Danker, Siti Khalijah, Ebi Shankara and Joakim Gomez led the 27,000-strong crowd at the Marina Bay floating platform in cheering and performing a Kallang wave.

They also went through the items in this year's funpack, which included a Singapore scarf, a light stick, button badges and a light-emitting diode (LED) wristband.

A big hit with the crowd was the Singapore Armed Forces Red Lions. The 27,000-strong crowd cheered as the nine parachutists soared in across the bay to land safely on the floating platform.

Among them was the first female Red Lion parachutist, Third Warrant Officer Shirley Ng. Her maiden National Day Parade jump last year was called off due to cloudy weather.

The crowd's enthusiasm reached an all-time high with the arrival of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who received the loudest cheers from the audience. He arrived before Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. As the former prime minister took his seat, the audience gave him a standing ovation.

Some minutes later, the national anthem was sung and the flag flown past by three helicopters in one of the parade's most iconic moments.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam then inspected the parade to a 21-gun salute, rounded off by three celebratory volleys of a feu de joie - French for "fire of joy".

 

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During the Dynamic Defence Display, those seated in the front rows squealed as they were soaked with jets of water from the SCDF firefighting vehicles, including a new remote-controlled vehicle.

The Army, Navy, Air Force and Police Force also put up an impressive performance, showing off their capabilities and equipment in a 10-minute display. This year's defence display also marks 30 years of Total Defence in Singapore.

The show segment kicked off with some 580 performers in neon costumes and glow-in-the-dark props. The mass display, representing people in five key sectors of Singapore's economy, paid homage to those who had contributed to the country's success.

Classics like Chan Mali Chan and Munnaeru Vaalibaa formed the musical backdrop for the second act, which depicted scenes of daily life in Singapore.

One of the most eye-catching moments came towards the middle of the act, when a line of performers whipped out sheets of cloth resembling giant roti prata and started twirling them in time with the music.

For the grand finale, performers from the previous acts mingled on stage. It also featured cheerleaders dressed in the national colours performing acrobatics.

To mark the end of the evening's festivities, the crowd recited the pledge and sang the national anthem again as the fireworks display began overhead.

This year's parade will be the last one at the bayside venue for at least a few years, as the event moves to the Padang next year and to the Sports Hub in 2016.