SINGAPORE- The National Day Parade returns to Marina Bay Floating Platform after a two-year hiatus, which also means crowd favourites like the Red Lions skydivers and the Dynamic Defence Display are making a comeback.
In a first for the celebrations, this year's theme - #OneNationTogether - will incorporate a hashtag symbol (#) to enable Singaporeans to share the rally call via social media.
The theme was announced by Colonel Melvin Ong Yoke Lam, who chairs the NDP 2017 executive committee, at a media conference on Wednesday (May 17).
He said the theme reminds Singaporeans that regardless of origin or background, they stand together. The theme also emphasises the importance of unity in times of uncertainty and challenges.
"It is in this unity that we will continue to rally together as one people and one nation, against all future challenges, striving ahead towards a brave and confident future," he said.
In another first, the Dynamic Defence Display, which can be staged only when the NDP is held at the floating platform, will be organised in two segments.
The first will focus on the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) defence capabilities and the second on collective efforts between citizens and defence forces to tackle the rising threat of cyber-attacks and terrorism, where there will be a simulated cyber-attack. The Terrex infantry carrier vehicles will also be part of this year's defence display.
Touted as the largest of its kind in the world, the Marina Bay Floating Platform was built in 2007 and can seat up to 27,000 in its grandstand, but was deemed to have staged its last NDP in 2014.
Said Col Ong: "It's amazing, when we started the (Marina Bay Floating Platform) project we knew it might be temporary, but to see that it has been used for a few major events in Singapore speaks of the innovativeness of our country.
"To be able to create a space out of nothing and to bring shows with a backdrop against the Marina Bay skyline is truly amazing."
Last year, NDP was held at the new National Stadium but had faced some issues, such as safety and other venue restrictions that meant the Red Lions skydivers and a mobile column of military equipment could not be in the parade then. Issues were also raised over renting the National Stadium as it carried an estimated price tag of $39.4 million, about double that for the floating platform.
The same year, the floating platform was announced as the venue for this year’s NDP. Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen explained then that the site has become a favourite venue among some Singaporeans and it was the “only place where you can have air, land and sea” elements. He said another important reason is that the venue is still available for use since it is not meant to be a permanent site.
A unique use of technology will also allow audiences at home and abroad to enjoy the parade through a live 360 Degree video streaming on YouTube in addition to the live broadcast on national television.
The committee is partnering with Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) to make this immersive experience possible.
Highlights of the the bash also include traditional celebratory elements like the military tattoo performance, Presidential Gun Salute on the M3G Raft, a Salute to the Nation performed by the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the State Flag Flypast.
A special tribute to 50 years of National Service, being marked this year, will also be made at the celebration.
"It's through the one million Singaporean sons who have served with conviction and commitment and the future Singaporean sons that will ensure we have a chance at a future," added Col Ong.
The NDP show will also provide captivating and rousing experiences for viewers who will be treated to six acts - a mix of mass displays, special effects and small group performances- that celebrate Singaporean achievements and highlight how as a nation, citizens have overcome the odds together.
Close to 14,000 participants, volunteers and personnel will be participating in NDP 2017 organised by the Headquarters Singapore Combat Engineers and agencies from the public and private sectors.