NDP 2015 to recreate nation's first parade; free funpacks for 1.2m households

SINGAPORE - It will be back to the start for this year's National Day Parade, as the country celebrates 50 years of independence by recreating the nation's first parade.

Policemen in shorts, nurses donning their white vintage caps and trishaw pullers of yore will be part of a vintage parade in this year's National Day Parade (NDP).

Parade organisers are planning to recreate the parade of the 1960s and 70s, which will also showcase participants, including the nation's pioneers, in the army's old Temasek green uniforms and now-defunct Fire Brigade's helmets.

The golden jubilee celebrations will be staged at the Padang, where the first NDP was held in 1966.

As part of this year's birthday bash, every Singaporean and permanent resident household - about 1.2 million in all - will each receive a funpack, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen.

"This will allow everyone, at home watching their TVs or out, to wave the same banner, slap the same clappers all over the island," said Dr Ng during his ministry's Budget debate on Thursday.

The golden jubilee will also include more people, with the NDP show to spill beyond the Padang to involve more than 200,000 revellers in Marina Bay.

 

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Brigadier-General Melvyn Ong Su Kiat, who will be in charge of coordinating the extravaganza, said the public will get to choose to ballot for coveted seats to catch the action at not only the Padang but the Floating Platform.

The jubilee show will be bigger and snazzier on land, sea and in the air.

They include fireworks going off in at the Padang and Marina Reservoir; 50 Republic of Singapore Air Force warplanes staging an aerial ballet, including forming the number 50 up in the air; and more than 160 war machines trundling down the road in the mobile column. Eight naval vessels, double the number in previous years, will put up a show of force on the Marina Bay.

All in, this year's bigger NDP celebrations in additional party venues will cost about $40million, twice the amount needed to stage previous NDPs in one venue.

jermync@sph.com.sg