Relook purpose of costly NDP

The report about this year's National Day Parade (NDP) costing almost $40 million is cause for concern ("NDP 2016 at Sports Hub to cost $39.4m"; March 1).

But first, I must say that I agree with Mr William Tan Whee Kiem ("Value of show goes beyond dollars and cents"; March 2).

The NDP should not be regarded solely as an annual birthday show. Instead, it should be a solemn event, meaningful and appropriate enough for all Singaporeans to reflect on our rich history, current standing and future as one united people.

Almost every year, we have the same line-up of events: the march-past, the forming up of the various uniformed groups, the dancing and singing, and the extravagant fireworks.

As we have just moved on from our Golden Jubilee celebrations, maybe it is time that the Government took another look at the purpose of the NDP show.

Based on media reports, social media and even our own experiences, more and more Singaporeans are spending the Aug 9 public holiday overseas or engaged in some other activity, rather than watching the NDP show live on TV at home or at another venue.

Huge expenses are needed for the NDP and all the preparations, especially for this year's parade.

We are currently in a slow and worrying economy, so perhaps the money could be better utilised in more meaningful ways to boost our economy and provide support to ordinary Singaporeans.

Muhammad Dzul Azhan Haji Sahban