Preparation under way for NDP to be staged at Marina Bay

Recent tenders called for goods and services, including provision of costumes and lighting

The state flag fly-past at the National Day Parade in 2018, which was the last time the parade was held at the Marina Bay floating platform. When ST visited the floating platform last week, a sign said maintenance was in progress from April 26 to Jul
The state flag fly-past at the National Day Parade in 2018, which was the last time the parade was held at the Marina Bay floating platform. When ST visited the floating platform last week, a sign said maintenance was in progress from April 26 to July 3. What appeared to be two giant screens were being set up - similar to what was seen at the 2018 parade - along with a stage on the float.ST FILE PHOTO

Preparations are being made for this year's National Day Parade (NDP) to be held at the Marina Bay floating platform, despite uncertainties over the number of people who will be able to attend under Covid-19 restrictions.

The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) called five tenders between February and last month for goods and services specific to NDP 2021, with the caveat that requirements might change because of the evolving situation.

In tender documents seen by The Straits Times, organisers called for the provision of publicity materials, props, costumes, lighting systems and a rainfall special effects system.

Mindef did not respond by press time when asked about the tenders, the latest of which was published on government procurement portal Gebiz on May 17.

The latest tender sought the rental of rainfall special effects for the parade at an "outdoor venue" which measures 120m by 83m and "moves vertically in water with the changing water level".

It stated that the scope of the services cannot be provided fully at the moment because of the evolving nature of NDP 2021, and the organisers reserved the right to require that additional services be provided by the contractor that is eventually selected.

When ST visited the floating platform last week, a sign said maintenance was in progress from April 26 to July 3. What appeared to be two giant screens were being set up - similar to what was seen during the last NDP at the floating platform, in 2018 - along with a stage on the float. No publicity materials were seen.

A tender for "creative services" published in February was awarded to public relations firm Tate Anzur in April.

Among other things, the firm was to come up with the logo design, a show guide, a commemorative book and decoration of the floating platform. It was also required to come up with design services for up to six heartland sites and decoration for their surrounding areas. It was not stated what would happen at these sites.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen told an annual NDP appreciation function last August that the parade would be held at the floating platform if the Covid-19 situation were under control.

Last year's NDP was held in a decentralised format. The celebrations included a morning parade at the Padang and an evening show at Star Vista with far fewer participants than usual, as the organisers sought to avoid having large crowds form.

Under the heightened restrictions currently in place until June 13, live performances should be deferred. Since May 16, audience sizes for shows have been capped at 100 people with pre-event testing, and at 50 without.

Another tender published on April 13 was for costumes, including up to six for male and female show hosts; for performers in each of four acts; and for a "featured Singaporean" in Act 4, whose identity was not disclosed and who would be in running attire.

Sketches of what these costumes should look like were included in the documents, which stated that the costumes should be delivered by July 15. This tender closed on April 23, and was awarded on May 27 to P'art 1 Design.

Timelines for this year's NDP were also given in some of the documents. They stated that combined rehearsals will start on July 3, with at least two more on the following two weekends.

This year's schedule appeared to be later than the norm before the pandemic. For instance, the first combined rehearsal in 2019 was on June 15.

This year's preview is scheduled for July 31, with Aug 1 as the reserve date. The actual show is to be on Aug 9 as usual, with Aug 14 as the reserve date.

Another tender published in March called for 40 flags, 700 umbrellas and 16 unique pieces of inflatables, among other items. This contract was awarded in April to Q's Advertising and Event Galaxy.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 02, 2021, with the headline 'Preparation under way for NDP to be staged at Marina Bay'. Subscribe