NDP spotlight on five who overcame adversity

The 34-year-old Mr Boo Junfeng is the youngest creative director for the National Day Parade and the first full-time film-maker to take on the role.
The 34-year-old Mr Boo Junfeng is the youngest creative director for the National Day Parade and the first full-time film-maker to take on the role.
Singer Gareth Fernandez at a showcase of Act 1: Our People, Our Home, during a media preview of National Day Parade 2018 on Wednesday. The performance will feature 600 Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students and 200 participants from the labo
Singer Gareth Fernandez at a showcase of Act 1: Our People, Our Home, during a media preview of National Day Parade 2018 on Wednesday. The performance will feature 600 Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students and 200 participants from the labour force.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
Singer Gareth Fernandez at a showcase of Act 1: Our People, Our Home, during a media preview of National Day Parade 2018 on Wednesday. The performance will feature 600 Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students and 200 participants from the labo
ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
Singer Gareth Fernandez at a showcase of Act 1: Our People, Our Home, during a media preview of National Day Parade 2018 on Wednesday. The performance will feature 600 Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students and 200 participants from the labo
ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

Stories of these Singaporeans across different generations to be told through a film and mass-display performance

Spectacular lights and sounds, brilliant bursts of fireworks and catchy melodies have been familiar staples in past National Day Parades.

But for this year's creative director Boo Junfeng, the show will not just be a spectacle, but also an introspective look into the lives of Singaporeans who have overcome adversity.

The award-winning film-maker will tell the stories of five Singaporeans across different generations. It will be done through an integrated film and mass-display performance featuring over 3,300 participants across three acts and a grand finale.

"It really is about how we can look at the personal. Unity is also about our own experiences as human beings and the challenges we face every day," said Mr Boo at an NDP media showcase on Wednesday. "These are things that bond us."

One of the main characters of the film is Madam Mary Klass, 83, who overcame her father's opposition to represent Singapore in athletics at the 1956 Olympics. Mr Boo said: "These are experiences that are still happening today with anyone who has ambitions but is facing obstacles... There's a timelessness to what the stories are about."

Overcoming personal challenges is a theme that strikes home for Ms Yeo Bee Loon, 40, the main choreographer for the Act 3 dance presented by about 650 volunteers from the Singapore Soka Association.

Amid her gruelling NDP rehearsal schedule which takes up five days a week, she has to care for her 76-year-old father, who has Stage 4 lymph node cancer. "The theme of the act - Our Spirit, Our Strength - really resonates with me," said Ms Yeo, who is married with a seven-year-old daughter.

  • Show synopsis

  • PRE-PARADE: The Red Lions and the naval combat divers will demonstrate their free-falling prowess, and iconic local mascots like Sharity Elephant will interact with the audience.

    ACT 1 - Our People, Our Home: A performance featuring 600 Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students and 200 participants from the labour force that depicts people from diverse backgrounds working together to forge Singapore's future.

    ACT 2 - Our Hopes, Our Aspirations: A visual spectacle of lanterns and 18m-long balloon garlands, as well as a water procession of 18 boats and floats comprising playground designs.

    ACT 3 - Our Spirit, Our Strength: A dance portraying the Singapore spirit with eye-catching costume changes, performed by about 650 Singapore Soka Association volunteers.

    GRAND FINALE - We Are Singapore: An energetic performance with drum beats that rallies Singaporeans to action, presented by about 500 People's Association volunteers.

Mr Boo, 34, is the youngest NDP creative director and the first full-time film-maker in the role. His psychological drama Apprentice won the top accolade, the Grand Prix (Grand Prize), at the Fribourg International Film Festival last year.

The 10-minute NDP film will be weaved into the parade acts on a state-of-the-art swivelling projection screen.

The stage design is part of a spectacle which promises much for the nation's 53rd birthday on Aug 9.

The Red Lions, a perennial highlight, will be jumping from higher than ever at 3,800m. In a first, they will be joined by the naval combat divers free-falling into the waters next to the Marina Bay Floating Platform from about 1,800m.

Also featuring at the NDP are a procession of boats and floats around the Marina Bay and beloved mascots such as Sharity Elephant.

NDP show committee chairman Goh Pei Ming, 35, said: "This year's show will be exciting, engaging and emotive, and we hope to inspire Singaporeans out there."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2018, with the headline 'NDP spotlight on five who overcame adversity'. Print Edition | Subscribe