NDP 2023: Festivities in 5 heartland locations before Padang party on Aug 9

The National Day Parade returns to the Padang for the first time since 2019 with the theme Onward As One. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE – National Day festivities will kick off in the heartland the weekend before Singapore turns 58 on Aug 9, with carnival games and activities at five locations across the island.

Organised with Sport Singapore, the GetActive! Singapore Heartland Festivals will be held at Bedok, Jurong West, Toa Payoh and Woodlands stadiums, and at Our Tampines Hub. 

Tickets for these activities, as well as the 2023 National Day Parade (NDP) to be held at the Padang, will be free, with details to be announced soon.

On Aug 9, attendees at the five locations may also be able to catch the state flag fly-past. Fireworks will go off at the same time in the heartland and at the Padang.

The parade returns to the Padang for the first time since 2019 with the theme Onward As One, which calls on Singaporeans to look forward and move onwards together, said organisers on Thursday.

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Colonel Terence Ho, chairman of the NDP 2023 Executive Committee, said: “We hope to call upon Singaporeans to look forward confidently, move onwards together, and come together to build a shared future.” He added that the use of “onward” in the theme carries significance to Singaporeans as a direct translation of the Malay word “majulah”.

The activities in the heartland will be held on Aug 5 and 6 at Bedok, Jurong West, Toa Payoh and Woodlands stadiums, and on Aug 6 at Our Tampines Hub. They will feature family-friendly programmes such as sports try-outs that promote active lifestyles for people of all ages, as well as live performances.

The celebrations at the Padang will feature a new Total Defence Parade, which will showcase the six pillars of Total Defence using floats, machinery used by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and Home Team, and multimedia elements.

“(We) want to inspire the next generation of Singaporeans to continue to play a very strong role towards the strength and security of Singapore,” said Col Ho, who is the chief engineer officer in the army.

Colonel Terence Ho, chairman of the NDP 2023 Executive Committee, said the committee hopes to call upon Singaporeans to come together to build a shared future. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Aside from crowd favourites such as the Red Lions, presidential gun salute and fireworks, Singaporeans can also expect an enhanced aerial display to commemorate the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s 55th anniversary.

Col Ho said the display will feature more aircraft and manoeuvres than in 2022, but more details will be shared at a later date.

Also new to the parade is the Digital and Intelligence Service’s guard-of-honour marching contingent, who will make an appearance for the first time. The service is the SAF’s fourth arm, established in 2022 to provide timely intelligence and to safeguard Singapore against digital threats, including cyber attacks and electronic warfare.

The show segment, themed Building Our Shared Future As One, will be told across four acts and three connecting short films.

It will tell inspirational stories of Singaporeans who overcame adversity to chase their dreams. They include sprint queen Shanti Pereira, furniture maker and designer Ahmad Habshee, and deaf teacher Charlene Wong.

“Coming out from the pandemic (over) the last three years, we want to give Singaporeans that confidence to look forward to the future, to move forward together, and also to build a shared future,” said Col Ho.

This is reflected in the upbeat NDP theme song Shine Your Light, which was released on Thursday.

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The song was composed and co-written by Don Richmond. Singapore rapper Shigga Shay co-wrote the song and also performs on the track with a slate of artists – 53A, The Island Voices, lewloh, Olivia Ong, Iman Fandi and Lineath. The rapper also directed the music video.

Richmond, who also wrote the NDP 2022 theme song Stronger Together, said the upbeat and catchy tune aims to ignite the spirit of all Singaporeans and give them something to smile about.

“Hopefully, in no time, the kids will be clapping along and singing along as well,” he said.

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