Record-breaking show a journey through Singapore history

When polytechnic lecturer Fattimah Shekh Adip Ally signed up for this year's National Day Parade, she thought she could be cast as a member of Sang Nila Utama's entourage in a dance segment.

Sang Nila Utama was a 13th-century prince from Palembang in Indonesia. He is believed to have named Singapore as Singapura, which translates loosely as "Lion City" in Sanskrit.

However, it was Ms Fattimah's son, five-year-old Aydan Ally, who was selected to join the group, while she was cast as a vegetable seller. Still, she was game and stepped up to the role.

"I said, why not, it's an entrepreneurial role! Little did I know there were so many dance steps," she said with a chuckle, speaking to reporters at a media preview of the NDP's show segment.

"I hope when people watch the parade, they will feel a little sentimental, but also a great sense of nationhood," added Ms Fattimah.


Ms Fattimah Shekh Adip Ally and her son, Aydan Ally, at the preview. ST PHOTO: LEE JIAN XUAN

The lecturer celebrates her 50th birthday today, a month ahead of Singapore.

The mother and son are among about 3,500 show participants - the most in NDP history - who will perform at what is billed as Singapore's biggest and most ambitious parade at the Padang, where the country first celebrated its independence.

Other performers range from primary school children to members of the People's Association and the Singapore Soka Association.

The 26,000-strong live audience can catch the parade's happenings on a massive panoramic screen made by connecting high-definition LED panels together. It is the largest LED screen built for the parade.

Show organisers have erected a 120m by 80m stage, the biggest NDP stage built at the Padang, as well as other mobile stages that can be raised for performances.

To augment the audiovisual experience, they also installed 64 high-definition projectors and six sound towers.

In total, this year's parade will consume 10 megawatts of power, double the amount in 2010.

Attractions supervisor Moh-mad Amiruddin Casperico Ali, who is performing for the 18th time in the NDP since he first joined as a student in 1997, is raring to go. The 32-year-old said: "We are showcasing everything from the olden days to today, our golden jubilee. The parade will pay tribute to our forefathers, and also be modern and catchy."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 10, 2015, with the headline 'Record-breaking show a journey through Singapore history'. Print Edition | Subscribe