A return to the Grand Old Dame

An aerial view of National Stadium on June 21.
An aerial view of National Stadium on June 21. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

After a decade's absence, the National Day Parade will return to the National Stadium tomorrow as Singapore marks the first chapter after its Golden Jubilee.

This year's parade is set to dazzle audiences with its futuristic concept, complete with indoor fireworks, 3D projections and drones.

But even as it looks forward, the show will have an added emphasis on inclusivity. For the first time, the audience will be invited to hand-sign popular NDP songs. The parade will also feature the largest group of special-needs participants ever; there will be 150 of them leading the crowd during this segment.

The Grand Old Dame of Kallang, as the stadium was formerly known, has played host to 18 NDP shows - the first in 1976 - and other historic events.

In 1986, it welcomed the late Pope John Paul II, and in 1993 it hosted king of pop Michael Jackson.

In the heady days of the Malaysia Cup from the 1970s to the 1990s, football fans thronged the stadium to catch the Lions in action, and created the Kallang Roar with their thunderous cheers and furious stamping of feet, which shook the structures of the arena to its core.

While festivities may have been dialled down a notch compared to last year's pomp and circumstance, there are still numerous events for Singaporeans to celebrate the nation turning 51.

The historic Tanjong Pagar Railway Station will be open from 9am to 6pm to the public, who can view a selection of photos from the Singapore Land Authority's contest, Celebrating Places And Memories.

For those keen on getting creative, Urban Sketchers Singapore, an informal network of artists who sketch the cityscape, will be organising a special National Day sketch walk at the Esplanade at 2pm.

There will be a music performance staged by Indonesian and Bangladeshi migrant workers in collaboration with local artists at the Esplanade's concourse at the same time.

A National Day observance ceremony will be held at Kampong Kembangan Community Club at 7.30am, featuring a marching contingent formed by students from the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (Minds) and Ping Yi Secondary School.

Yuen Sin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2016, with the headline 'A return to the Grand Old Dame'. Print Edition | Subscribe