Look who's dancing with grandma

Kyler Toh, 11, and his grandmother, 66-year-old Irene Chooi, will be performing a dance together during the National Day Parade.
Kyler Toh, 11, and his grandmother, 66-year-old Irene Chooi, will be performing a dance together during the National Day Parade.ST PHOTO: BENJAMIN SEETOR

It will be Madam Irene Chooi's second time participating in the National Day Parade (NDP). But this year will be even more special for the 66-year-old retiree.

She will be performing with her grandson Kyler Toh, 11, who is taking part in the NDP for the first time.

"We are quite close because he lives with me, but attending the training and sometimes teaching each other the dance moves has brought us closer," she said. "We both love dancing and performing, and he sometimes comes with me to my ballroom dancing class."

They will be performing a dance with about 500 others from the People's Association contingent during the grand finale of the parade, before the fireworks display. They will don colourful costumes and dance with ethnic drums in the performance celebrating Singapore's resilience and community spirit.

Madam Chooi, who has two other grandsons, said Kyler, who had participated in the annual Chingay Parade, was very excited to attend the NDP auditions earlier this year.

On the day of the audition, "he woke me up at 7am because he was afraid we were going to be late", she said.

Both of them have been training with the contingent since April this year. Twice every week, they will attend rehearsals at The Float@Marina Bay, where the Aug 9 parade will be held.

"It's tiring, but I want to be an athlete, so it's all right," said Kyler, a Primary 5 pupil whose co-curricular activity is track and field.

The duo spoke to The Sunday Times hours before their full-dress performance at the first National Education show last night that was attended by about 15,000 students from 65 schools.

The light drizzle did not dampen the spirits of the performers and audience as they belted out crowd favourites such as Home, One People, One Nation, One Singapore and local musician Charlie Lim's rendition of We Are Singapore.

The Red Lions, the Singapore Armed Forces' parachute team, jumped from a height of 3,800m, the highest they are jumping for the parade.

They were joined by naval combat divers who free-fell from about 1,800m into the waters next to the Marina Bay floating platform.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 08, 2018, with the headline 'Look who's dancing with grandma'. Print Edition | Subscribe