NDP 2022: Singapore marks 57th birthday with biggest parade in 3 years

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (front row, right) arrives at The Float @ Marina Bay on Aug 9, 2022. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
The feu de joie during the parade at The Float @ Marina Bay on Aug 9, 2022. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Members of Parliament including Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh (centre) arrive at The Float @ Marina Bay on Aug 9, 2022. ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM
About 2,000 participants from 37 virtual and physical marching contingents lined up for this year’s parade and ceremony segment. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Spectators at The Float @ Marina Bay on Aug 9, 2022. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - The Float @ Marina Bay was filled to capacity on Tuesday (Aug 9) with spectators eager to catch this year’s National Day Parade (NDP).

This year's parade - themed Stronger Together, Majulah - celebrates Singapore's 57th birthday and is the first since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic to take place in front of a crowd not limited by public health safety measures.

The culmination of months of training and rehearsals, the Aug 9 bash is featuring thousands of parade participants as well as show performers - significantly more than the NDPs in 2021 and 2020.

Fully vaccinated audience members streamed into The Float from 4pm on Tuesday, going through security measures such as metal detectors and X-ray machines.

The 25,000-strong crowd at the platform - which is hosting its final parade before being redeveloped into the NS Square - was mostly a sea of red and white.

The crowd was kept entertained by hosts comedian Rishi Budhrani, actress Siti Khalijah and radio personalities Joakim Gomez and Sonia Chew before the start of the parade.

Previously, at one of the previews of the parade, the 37-year-old Budhrani had said in an interview that he was not feeling any pressure and paid tribute to the crew and his fellow artistes.

Following the arrival of Members of Parliament and Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, the Float @ Marina Bay was treated to a crowd favourite - the Red Lions free-fall jump.

There were audible "oohs" and "aahs" as the 10 commandos jumped out of a C-130 aircraft and deployed their parachutes, although one of them suffered a rough landing and was stretchered off. The audience was later told that his condition was stable.

Third Warrant Officer Jeffrey Heng was the last of 10 parachutists to land. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

The ninth to make the jump was Second Warrant Officer Shirley Ng. The fourth-time NDP participant had told ST previously that she had joined the parachuting team to overcome her fear of heights.

She overcame her fear by focusing more on the training and execution, and applying the skills learnt.

People in the stands were on their feet for the arrival of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Float.

In his National Day message on Monday, he said the Republic has to look to the long term, beyond addressing immediate issues such as inflation and the cost of living.

About 2,000 participants from 37 virtual and physical marching contingents lined up for this year’s parade and ceremony segment.

Titled Strength Of Our Nation and together with the Total Defence Display, the segment saw the return of youth, social and economic contingents, with Lieutenant-Colonel (NS) Desmond Fu commanding the parade.

Total Defence display at The Float @ Marina Bay on Aug 9, 2022. ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

The four guard-of-honour contingents, each comprising 72 personnel, are from the 1st Commando Battalion, Naval Diving Unit, Air Power Generation Command and Home Team Academy.

The first part of the Total Defence Display, which is titled Defending Our Country, took place moments before the parade lined up - this was the first time the display was seen at the NDP since 2017.

Republic of Singapore Air Force’s F-16 fighter aircraft performed aerobatic manoeuvres over and around the Marina Bay area, and naval divers jumped off a helicopter into the waters of the Marina Bay.

The helicopter is RSAF’s new Chinook helicopter - the CH-47F - which is taking part in this event for the first time.

President Halimah Yacob arrived at the floating platform to attend her fifth NDP as the head of state.

President Halimah Yacob arrives at The Float @ Marina Bay on Aug 9, 2022. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

This was followed by a salute to all national servicemen to mark 55 years of national service this year.

Servicemen in the audience were asked to stand and there was a tribute video played, featuring various national servicemen reflecting on their experience in uniform. 

Audience members witnessed a live demonstration of a hostage rescue demonstration from a "hijacked" bus during the second part of the Total Defence Display, named Securing Singapore Together.

Special Forces from the Singapore Armed Forces’ Special Operations Task Force were on hand to rescue the hostages, as part of a display meant to showcase Singapore’s inter-agency response to a range of peacetime contingency scenarios such as firefighting, first aid and counter-terrorism operations.

Among the vehicles on display were the Singapore Civil Defence Force’s Light Fire Attack Vehicle, also known as Red Rhino, and the Singapore Police Force’s next-generation fast response cars.

With the parade’s end marking the halfway point of this year’s NDP celebration, the show segment began.

A motivator hypes up the crowd at The Float @ Marina Bay on Aug 9, 2022. ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

The Story Of Us, as the show is called this year, was kicked off with This Is The Life - a performance by students from the halls of National University of Singapore and youth volunteers from Touch Community Services.

This year’s show segment is directed by veteran actor Adrian Pang. The 56-year-old co-founder of local theatre company Pangdemonium called himself a bit of a “wild card” as creative director due to his independent streak.

He added that the challenge this year was to celebrate Singapore’s birthday in a way that acknowledges the hardship of the past two years, while still illuminating the future with a sense of hope and optimism.

Stay tuned to The Straits Times for NDP updates.

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