Together we achieve

Scaling heights together

Actor Tosh Zhang performing a rap about his family's struggles during the 1997 financial crisis in the third act titled Thriving Together. With him on stage were about 30 parkour performers from A2 Movements. Cycling group Joyriders making its debut.
Performers from the Music and Drama Company scaling a “mountain” in the final act, which focused on Singapore as one nation, celebrating the achievements of people from all walks of life.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Actor Tosh Zhang performing a rap about his family's struggles during the 1997 financial crisis in the third act titled Thriving Together. With him on stage were about 30 parkour performers from A2 Movements. Cycling group Joyriders making its debut.
Actor Tosh Zhang performing a rap about his family’s struggles during the 1997 financial crisis in the third act titled Thriving Together. With him on stage were about 30 parkour performers from A2 Movements. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Actor Tosh Zhang performing a rap about his family's struggles during the 1997 financial crisis in the third act titled Thriving Together. With him on stage were about 30 parkour performers from A2 Movements. Cycling group Joyriders making its debut.
Cycling group Joyriders making its debut. Riders, with lights attached to the wheels of their bicycles, cycled in formation in the dark before coming together to form an arrow that symbolised pointing to the future. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
Actor Tosh Zhang performing a rap about his family's struggles during the 1997 financial crisis in the third act titled Thriving Together. With him on stage were about 30 parkour performers from A2 Movements. Cycling group Joyriders making its debut.
Aerial dancers and futuristic motifs were part of the fifth act, which represented the idea that while the nation celebrates what it has achieved, it should also continue to renew and innovate ahead of the times. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Actor Tosh Zhang performing a rap about his family's struggles during the 1997 financial crisis in the third act titled Thriving Together. With him on stage were about 30 parkour performers from A2 Movements. Cycling group Joyriders making its debut.
Olympic champion Joseph Schooling and Paralympic champion Yip Pin Xiu emerging from the summit of a “mountain” that symbolised the challenges that Singaporeans have conquered.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Parade showcases how the nation keeps adapting to new challenges

One group leapt and danced while another group cycled around.

But there was a deeper meaning behind the performances by the Joyriders cycling group and A2 Movements' parkour practitioners: to showcase Singaporeans' adaptability and willingness to embrace disruption, as well as to innovate.

Close to 30 members of A2 Movements shared the stage with actor Tosh Zhang, who performed a rap about his family's struggles during the 1997 financial crisis.

Parkour instructor Tan Chi Ying, 31, said that one challenge the group members faced was coordinating their choreography with the 3D projections on the stage. It was the first time they had to time their stunts with such visuals, which included an illusion of the ground crumbling under their feet.

"This segment of our performance is mainly to showcase how Singaporeans need to stay nimble and adaptable to situations," said Mr Tan. "As kids, we used to play in the playground and it was the pioneer generation that experienced the struggles of the 1997 crisis."

Although it was A2 Movements' second time performing at the National Day Parade, it was the first time it had a segment of its own, said Mr Tan, adding that it was an honour as parkour is still a "niche activity".

Yesterday marked the NDP debut of recreational cycling group Joyriders, which was set up in 2006 and has over 2,000 members.

  • 60 Number of cyclists from the Joyriders club involved in this year's NDP. They cycle almost every day, covering distances of between 40km and 100km.

Practising for the performance was a ride in the park compared with the 40km to 100km distances that they cycle almost every day, said Joyriders founder Joyce Leong, 61.

In the fifth act, 60 riders, with lights fixed to the wheels of their bicycles, cycled around the stage in formation. "The biggest challenge was riding together in a straight line, side by side, with the same timing and pace... and all in the dark," said Ms Leong.

Called Progressing Together, the segment aimed to show how Singapore must continue to keep ahead of the times. "Cycling, in a way, is futuristic," said Ms Leong. "It promotes a clean and green lifestyle, without pollution."

Olympic champion Joseph Schooling and Paralympic champion Yip Pin Xiu also made an appearance last night, emerging on the summit of a "mountain" which symbolised challenges that Singaporeans have conquered.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2017, with the headline 'Scaling heights together'. Print Edition | Subscribe