The National Day Parade (NDP) is the spectacular highlight of the Singapore year. However, as this year's NDP showed, it fulfils a deeper purpose as well. The moving use of personal stories to weave together Singapore's national story is a reminder that for all their differences of race, religion and class, Singaporeans remain creations of a single nation that rises above the fitful lives of the day.
A few stories stood out for many watching the parade - whether live at Marina Bay, or on television and online. Primary school teacher Chee Siew Chuan, now 75, got her class to put together a set of stationery and a school bag for her pupil Veera Sekaran when she found out that he could not afford even a pen. Mr Veera went on to study botany at the National University of Singapore, where he experienced another act of kindness, when a lawyer offered to pay his tuition fees because he did not have the money. Today, Mr Veera is the founder of a company providing horticultural consultancy services.