NDP 2016 to have new show elements as it celebrates Singapore's heritage and inclusiveness

Indoor fireworks, larger-than-life props hanging from the roof and song signing will be among fresh elements at this year's National Day Parade (NDP), to be held for the first time at the Sports Hub.
This year's National Day Parade will feature a song signing segment, including NDP favourites such as "Home" and "Count on me, Singapore," which audience members are invited to join.
This year's National Day Parade will feature a song signing segment, including NDP favourites such as "Home" and "Count on me, Singapore," which audience members are invited to join. ST PHOTO: SEOW BEI YI

SINGAPORE - Indoor fireworks, larger-than-life props hanging from the roof and song signing will be among fresh elements at this year's National Day Parade (NDP), to be held for the first time at the Sports Hub.

Launching the show segment on Wednesday (July 13), creative director Beatrice Chia-Richmond called it "the first of a new chapter that is going to be about the future".

While the future is exciting with limitless possibilities, she said, there is also the question of what kind of home Singaporeans want.

"We have a nation that is anchored on Singaporean values, hopes and dreams," she said, adding that the more the team projected into the future, the further back into the past they looked as well.

The show this year kicks off with a lesser-known legend, of Badang and the Singapore stone, representing qualities such as strength and resilience that helped the nation through its past challenges.

Badang, it was said, was a village fisherman who defeated a river hantu, gaining super strength. He later became the Sultan's royal guard and lifted a giant boulder that sat on a hill for centuries. A fragment from it became known as the Singapore stone.

The show then moves on to celebrate the country's four civilisations and diversity using 8m-tall, culturally-inspired costumes suspended in the air alongside dance formations. They then transition into a futuristic display that involves a glimmering unicorn, LED costumes and a giant sky city prop.

This "sky city" is made up of 15 buildings, each up to six storeys tall. They include icons such as the Changi Airport, and the cloud forest and flower domes of the Gardens by the Bay.

For the first time, NDP 2016 will have a song signing segment, too, aimed at highlighting the importance of an inclusive and caring nation.

Led by Ms Neoh Yew Kim of the Singapore Association for the Deaf, over 150 special needs participants from seven voluntary welfare organisations will perform NDP favourites, Home and Count On Me, Singapore.

The audience will be invited to sing and sign along with them.

Said Ms Neoh, 22, who has a hearing disability: "This experience is really good for me because it gives me an opportunity to showcase the beauty of sign language.

"At the same time, I'm able to raise awareness in Singapore... As Singapore is gearing towards a more inclusive society, we people with special needs can show our abilities rather than our disabilities."

It will also be the first time an NDP features an indoor fireworks display, in a show featuring lasers, flame projections and 3D projection mapping that brings props to life.

Chairman of the show committee, Senior Lieutenant-Colonel Jason See, said that this year's show is not just a celebration of 51 years of achievements, but "also a platform for all Singaporeans to dream about the exciting future that awaits and pledge our commitment to create a better Singapore together".

He added: "The show celebrates our rich and diverse heritage, the harmony we have enjoyed and the importance of building a kind and gracious society which embraces people from all walks of life."

Correction Note: An earlier version of this story said that Ms Neoh Yew Kim has a hearing and slight speaking disability. It is incorrect. She has a hearing disability. It has been corrected.