Mobile column at NDP to cover record 200km, reach deeper into heartland

While scaled down for this year's National Day Parade, the mobile column will travel into the heartlands and salute healthcare workers as it travels past several key locations.
ME2 Vaengadis Waran, 40, and the Republic of Singapore Navy's Protector Unmanned Surface Vessel, one of the assets in the mobile column. Vehicles lined up in preparation for the mobile column rehearsal yesterday. The column will travel on five routes
ME2 Vaengadis Waran, 40, and the Republic of Singapore Navy's Protector Unmanned Surface Vessel, one of the assets in the mobile column.ST PHOTOS: TIMOTHY DAVID
ME2 Vaengadis Waran, 40, and the Republic of Singapore Navy's Protector Unmanned Surface Vessel, one of the assets in the mobile column. Vehicles lined up in preparation for the mobile column rehearsal yesterday. The column will travel on five routes
Vehicles lined up in preparation for the mobile column rehearsal yesterday. The column will travel on five routes - in the north, south, west, north-east and south-east areas of Singapore - from 10am to 1pm on National Day.ST PHOTOS: TIMOTHY DAVID

The mobile column, a drive-past of military vehicles and assets, will be scaled down for this year's National Day Parade (NDP), with 66 assets from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and Singapore Police Force (SPF) on display.

There will be 22 different types of equipment rumbling through five routes as the mobile column makes its way into the heartland for the second year in a row. These include the crowd favourite Leopard 2SG main battle tank and the SPF's new, next-generation fast response car. The mobile column in last year's NDP featured 79 types of equipment and a total of 171 assets.

Each of the five routes for this year - in the north, south, west, north-east and south-east areas of Singapore - will feature 13 or 14 assets and 60 to 70 participants, including the mobile column crew. About 100 front-line workers battling the pandemic and essential workers will also be aboard the vehicles.

The routes will cover a total distance of about 200km, the longest distance covered by a mobile column in the heartland to date. Last year's routes totalled 133km, and the previous one in 2010 totalled 80km.

"The NDP mobile column is a display of our nation's strength and unity. It is a perennial Singaporean favourite," said Lieutenant-Colonel Low Youwen, chairman of the mobile column committee, at a media briefing yesterday.

The mobile column will also salute healthcare workers as it travels past several key locations. These include Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Sengkang General Hospital, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and the community isolation facility at Singapore Expo.

One participant in the mobile column this year is Captain Eastina Tan, 29, who is the formation liaison officer for the Terrex infantry carrier platform.

The SAF regular said the drive-past and salute will pay tribute to the perseverance and dedication of front-line workers during the pandemic - something especially meaningful for her as her mother is a nurse with the Methodist Welfare Society who looked after patients during the circuit breaker period.

Another participant is Captain Syafiq Mohd Abdul Muhaimin Ong, 25, an SCDF regular who has been deployed to the command centre of a government quarantine facility. He will be a vehicle commander for one of the SCDF's fifth-generation Pump Ladder fire engines in the mobile column.

"This NDP is not just a tribute to our front-line fighters, but also a celebration of Singaporeans' resilience, adaptability and compassion," said Capt Syafiq.

Station Inspector Jacky Kwan, 38, will be a vehicle commander for the only asset to make its NDP debut this year, the SPF's next-generation fast response car.

  • 100

    Number of front-line workers battling the pandemic and essential workers who will be aboard the vehicles in the mobile column.

The new police dispatch vehicle is being rolled out progressively, with new systems and features to help ground response officers like him respond quickly to 999 calls. Station Insp Kwan will drive past his own neighbourhood in Whampoa on his designated route. His son and daughter, aged seven and five respectively, are looking forward to cheering him on, he said.

The mobile column will travel through Singapore from 10am to 1pm on National Day, after the morning parade at the Padang. It will be broadcast live on free-to-air TV channels and the NDPeeps YouTube channel.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 02, 2020, with the headline 'Mobile column at NDP to cover record 200km, reach deeper into heartland'. Print Edition | Subscribe