Five things to know about NDP 2020: Celebrating at home, joining the virtual choir

Parade segments will move into the heartland. PHOTOS: LIANHE ZAOBAO, ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Plans for celebrating Singapore's birthday on Aug 9 this year were unveiled by the National Day Parade (NDP) executive committee on Wednesday (May 20), with a different concept amid the Covid-19 outbreak from previous parades.

Here are five things to know about NDP 2020.

1) Celebrating at home

This year's celebrations will bring the Singapore spirit livestreamed into every home, and there will be interactive elements for Singaporeans to participate virtually with their families, said the committee.

Instead of having NDP at a central location like the Marina Bay floating platform, parade segments will move into the heartland. These include fireworks, an aerial display, Red Lions parachutists, and the mobile column, which returns again this year.

About 1.2 million funpacks will be given to each Singaporean and permanent resident household.

There will be items to encourage participation, such as handheld flags, torch filters, and pledge cards.

2) Day-long programme

Aug 9 will start with a morning segment, featuring the Prime Minister's National Day Message and a parade with about 200 people, reviewed by the President at the Padang.

When the National Anthem is played at the Padang, Singaporeans will be asked to sing together, with flag-raising ceremonies taking place across the island.

The evening segment will involve about 80 to 100 people, with no live audience for now. This will be held at The Star Performing Arts Centre, culminating in a nationwide pledge and anthem.

Fireworks will be set off from more than 10 different locations.

3) Celebrating safely

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the organisers have taken steps to ensure the safety of the participants.

Unlike previous years, there will not be large numbers of people taking part from the Singapore Soka Association, People's Association or the Ministry of Education, said the NDP executive committee chairman, Brigadier-General Frederick Choo, on Wednesday.

Performers will largely be from the Home Team, the Music and Drama Company, and local artists.

The number of people involved in the morning parade and the evening show will be reduced by about 90 per cent or more, compared to last year's parade and show at the Padang.

BG Choo said there is a dedicated team to ensure that all safety measures are adhered to. It oversees measures such as the wearing of masks and having different holding areas at rehearsals.

No rehearsals have been held so far, and they will start only after the circuit breaker period ends on June 2.

4) Taking part in a virtual choir, NDP-themed workouts

Singaporeans will be invited to submit recordings of themselves singing a common National Day song to form a virtual choir for the evening show.

They can also participate in activities such as an NDP-themed workout and a family cooking activity between the morning and evening segments on Aug 9.

Remote video URL

Towards the end of the evening show, Singaporeans will be asked to light up their phones in a sign of solidarity.

They are also encouraged to upload videos, photos, wishes and reflections on their personal social media accounts, and use the hashtag #TogetherStrongerSG and #NDP2020.

5) The show must go on

Asked if there were any scenarios under which this year's NDP could not carry on, such as widespread community transmission, BG Choo said this year's concept for NDP does not require mass performances, or Singaporeans to gather at a certain location.

Since the organising committee started work in July last year, it has observed the Covid-19 situation developing. "We were very mindful and determined to develop a concept that would bring NDP to Singaporeans on Aug 9, come what may."

"We believe that as long as there's a Singapore, there will be an NDP. An NDP is our way of saying in a firm manner that Singapore will keep going on," he said.

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