Make this NDP special

This year's National Day Parade will pay spectacular tribute to a historic occasion. The 50th anniversary of Singapore's Independence will be commemorated with the biggest parade ever, plans for two shows, and twice the number of spectator seats. The main show, at the Padang, will recall the formative influence of the place where the NDP originated in 1966. The bayside show at The Float @ Marina Bay will complement those living memories of the past with contemporary proof of how far Singapore has come since Independence. Indeed, Marina Bay will turn into a mega-party zone for revellers.

These efforts to inject grandeur of scale into what already is Singapore's largest annual national celebration are welcome. This year's NDP must be memorable even by the increasingly high standards of innovation and performance that Singaporeans have seen at the parade every year. It must showcase what 50 years of nationhood mean to citizens individually and collectively.

Traditionally, the NDP has been an occasion largely for families to cross an annual milestone together. Now, in the spirit of celebrating half a century of survival and success, and given the vastly expanded geographical scale of the parade, Singaporeans could make a special effort to reach out to those outside their immediate family and social circles. Why not invite neighbours and friends of all races to join the family in marking the day?

After all, the parade is an expression of a national identity that demonstrates a desire to bridge gaps of privacy and anonymity that people take for granted in their everyday lives. National occasions afford all residents an opportunity to overcome social inhibitions and reach out to fellow Singaporeans and friends of the Republic in the spirit of goodwill. At this year's National Day Parade, let that spirit shine through in proud display.