NDP 2020 evening show highlights stories of ordinary Singaporeans overcoming the odds

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The performance will feature six sections, mostly devoted to showcasing how Singaporeans have dealt with the effects of the pandemic.
Among those performing in, hosting and organising the NDP are (from left) Shahrin Johry, Shazuan Shirag, Wong Shi Ming, Hann Chia, Suthasini Rajenderan, Johann Bin Annuar, Royston Tan, Nathan Hartono, and Jacqueline Theresa Pereira. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Singer-songwriter Shazuan Shiraj, who goes by the stage name Abangsapau, lost his father suddenly in May while Singapore was in the grip of the circuit breaker during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As always, to cope in tough times, the 21-year-old turned to what he knew best - writing music.

At the beginning of the circuit breaker he had already written a song titled Each Other, and come Aug 9 at the National Day Parade (NDP) evening show, he will be singing it alongside his mother, Madam Farhana Ibrahim, 50.

He said: "I'm just really grateful to be performing a song that was truly from my heart and the fact that the NDP (organisers) believe in me and my message enough to give me such a platform means a lot to me."

Dedicated to Mr Shazuan's late father, the track is meant for anyone who has experienced loss during the pandemic.

The singer-songwriter, who is performing in the NDP for the first time, has also helped his mother fulfil a life-long dream.

He said: "I went to the studio the day before circuit breaker was implemented to record this and I felt like I wanted female vocals on it. So I was thinking who I could approach for it, and I realised I had someone right at home. My mother always wanted to be a singer and to be able to bring her onboard has been magical."

Ordinary Singaporeans overcoming the odds will be a recurring theme at the NDP this year.

The show, which has been revamped since the emergence of Covid-19, will feature a mix of local talents, front-line workers and community heroes.

All the performers underwent a swab test for Covid-19 in July and will have a second one in the days leading up to the show.

They have also had their temperatures taken twice daily and had to use the TraceTogether mobile app and SafeEntry.

The choreography has been tailored to allow for safe distancing between participants, with the total number of people on stage at a time not exceeding 50 at any point.

Masks are worn except when the dance routines are strenuous or the participants are singing, and microphones are individually assigned and disinfected after each use.

Off stage, participants have been split into groups of five for breaks and staggered meal times. They are not allowed to mingle between groups.

For viewers at home, a digital NDP Show guide will be released. It will provide a synopsis of the show to explain highlights using text and pictures, as well as song lyrics.

Viewers can expect an NDP unlike any other since the entire show has been conceptualised to be viewed on screen.

Six sections make up the evening show, mostly devoted to showcasing how Singaporeans have dealt with the effects of the pandemic.

A virtual choir, a mix of thousands of submissions from Singaporeans singing We Are Singapore, will be unveiled.

Those at home can also sing along, with performances of classic NDP songs also being broadcast during the show.

The pledge will be said in unison at 8.20pm.

Following this, households are encouraged to use the red torch stickers inside the Singapore Together Pack on their phone torchlights to show appreciation to the front-line fighters, essential service workers and community heroes.

The show will conclude with fireworks across the island.

Sharing his thoughts on the NDP's evening show, Creative Director Royston Tan said: "We had hoped to capture the very real and relatable experiences of Singaporeans this year. 2020 has not been rosy, but amidst the struggle, there have been incredible acts of kindness, resilience, and unity, which we want to share with the rest of Singapore."

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