PICTURES

NDP 2013: Early birds line up to snag best seats at National Day Parade

Mr Abdul Manan (right) is one lucky man, having snagged six tickets on his first try. His nagging injury - his leg was injured in an old motorcycle accident and needs crutches - couldn't stop him from attending the parade with his wife and three chil
Mr Abdul Manan (right) is one lucky man, having snagged six tickets on his first try. His nagging injury - his leg was injured in an old motorcycle accident and needs crutches - couldn't stop him from attending the parade with his wife and three children. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG
Mr Soh Cher Yee (right) may be enlisting with the commandos on Monday, but he has chosen to spend his last "free" weekend soaking in the National Day mood. The Sohs came prepared with bags of crackers, litres of water and even a birthday cake for Ms
Mr Soh Cher Yee (right) may be enlisting with the commandos on Monday, but he has chosen to spend his last "free" weekend soaking in the National Day mood. The Sohs came prepared with bags of crackers, litres of water and even a birthday cake for Ms Soh Siew Hoon (his aunt), who turns 45 tomorrow. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG
Mr Soh Cher Yee (right) may be enlisting with the commandos on Monday, but he has chosen to spend his last "free" weekend soaking in the National Day mood. The Sohs came prepared with bags of crackers, litres of water and even a birthday cake for Ms
Mr Soh Cher Yee (right) may be enlisting with the commandos on Monday, but he has chosen to spend his last "free" weekend soaking in the National Day mood. The Sohs came prepared with bags of crackers, litres of water and even a birthday cake for Ms Soh Siew Hoon (his aunt), who turns 45 tomorrow. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG

It is eighth time lucky for Mr Soh Cher Yee, who finally made it to the big show this National Day.

Carrying bags of crackers, bottles of water and even a birthday cake, the 21-year-old arrived at the Floating Platform at Marina Bay with his family two hours before the gates opened at 4pm.

"I put it down to my determination: I've balloted without fail all these years," said Mr Soh.

His timing could not be better either: come Monday, he will be enlisting with the commandos and starting his two-year national service stint.

Like with the Sohs, the light drizzle and humid weather did not deter the early revellers. By 3pm, some 100 early birds to the National Day Parade had already lined up outside the security screening area near Millenia Walk, hoping to snag a good seat.

Some, like Mr Abdul Manan, 51, was first-time lucky. The dishwasher said he was paying his utility bills at the AXS machine when it prompted him to ballot for parade tickets. He was so surprised to find out he had won six tickets that he had to scramble to find something red to wear.

"I tried, just for fun," grinned Mr Abdul Manan, wearing a red Timberland cap - the only item he could find in his wardrobe of the colour. He is watching the parade together with his wife and three children.

Behind the scenes, the F1 paddock was abuzz with anticipation, as thousands of performers and parade contingent members made sure their preparations were spot-on, running through their parts one final time after months of rehearsals.

"It's been 11 Saturdays - there's a sense of anticipation," said Singapore Workforce Development Agency contingent marcher Andrew Ho Ching Loong, 48.

"We've been waiting for this moment."