NDP 2018

Celebrating everyday heroes

Performers holding up lighted bricks with the word "Home" inscribed on them during the first act, which represents the coming together of people from all walks of life to build Singapore.
Performers holding up lighted bricks with the word "Home" inscribed on them during the first act, which represents the coming together of people from all walks of life to build Singapore.
More than 600 performers from the Institute of Technical Education don various costumes to represent Singaporeans from different walks of life, such as engineers, traffic wardens, nurses and hawkers, in a mass dance kicking off the parade.
More than 600 performers from the Institute of Technical Education don various costumes to represent Singaporeans from different walks of life, such as engineers, traffic wardens, nurses and hawkers, in a mass dance kicking off the parade.
Joanna Dong performing during the first part of the show with a choir. She says the NDP stage is special as it is the biggest platform here.
Joanna Dong performing during the first part of the show with a choir. She says the NDP stage is special as it is the biggest platform here.

Singaporeans of different backgrounds coming together.

That was the core message of the first act of yesterday's three-hour National Day Parade.

The act, titled Diversity, opened with an electric guitar version of the National Anthem before local singer Joanna Dong appeared with a rendition of My Island Home.

Eight hundred participants showcased how ordinary citizens from different eras in the country's history helped to make Singapore extraordinary.

Dancers entered the stage dressed as construction workers and the Samsui women who came to Singapore in its early years to build up the country. Others were dressed as nurses, engineers, rickshaw riders and hawkers in early Singapore.

Buildings wrapped in construction scaffolding rose around the performers before being unveiled as brand-new Housing Board flats.

  • Diversity

  • 8,500 sq m

    Size of the stage – an NDP record

Towards the end of the act, Singaporeans - everyday heroes who actually perform these small but important roles - bank tellers, nurses, general waste collectors, bus captains and more - joined the performers on stage.

They were separated into groups of five, with each group carrying a banner with the words - democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality - that the five stars on Singapore's flag represent.

On stage, performers formed five stars with glowing red boxes that said Home.

One of the performers, 17-year-old Samson Solomon Sim, an Institute of Technical Education College Central student, said: "It's an honour to be performing in front of thousands and representing my school."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2018, with the headline 'Celebrating everyday heroes'. Print Edition | Subscribe