SINGAPORE - Volunteer defence psychologist Neo Li Fang has taken part in the last three National Day Parades (NDP) as a para-counsellor to provide medical support.
This year, the senior clinical psychologist at Alexandra Hospital, 33, will march for the first time as contingent commander for the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and Home Team Volunteer Contingent, which will debut at this year's parade.
The contingent is made up of 72 people from the SAF Volunteer Corps, the police's Volunteer Special Constabulary, and the Singapore Civil Defence Force's Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit.
Dr Neo, who joined the SAF Volunteer Corps (SAFVC) in 2015, said: "I thought having such a combined contingent was really meaningful. It's not about one service, but people from all walks of life coming together, and we don't do it as a job.
"We really believe in that role and have that passion, to step up over and above our daily work."
More than 2,600 participants will be involved in the parade and ceremony segment at the NDP this year, titled My People.
There will be 38 marching contingents, including four guard-of-honour contingents, the combined band, six SAF and Home Team contingents, and 16 social and economic contingents, such as from Nanyang Polytechnic and the People's Association Youth Movement.
Chairman for Parade and Ceremony, Senior Lieutenant-Colonel Loh Woon Liang, 40, shared highlights of the parade segment ahead of the first combined rehearsal at the Padang on Saturday (June 15).
Referring to the volunteer contingent, he said: "They signify generations of Singaporeans who are willing to go the extra mile in protecting our country."
He added that these organisations are rich in history, with the SAFVC, for example, tracing its roots back to the Singapore Volunteer Rifle Corps which was formed in 1854.
The parade segment will also feature a synchronised performance by the first-ever Combined Drum Band, comprising 24 drummers from the SAF Military Band, Singapore National Cadet Corps and Association for Persons with Special Needs Tanglin School.
Lieutenant-Colonel Alvin Choo Weng Kwai, 44, who is commander of the operations group at the Naval Diving Unit, is the parade commander this year.
He was previously parade commander at the SAF Day Parade in 2016, and at the Singapore International Maritime Review in 2017, when the Republic of Singapore Navy marked its golden jubilee.
He said: "I think the key difference (this time) is that I'm meeting with a diversity of people. In the SAF, it's the military regulars, but for NDP, I'm meeting with children as young as 13, and as senior as 71. This gives me energy and makes me want to share more and walk the journey with them."
The parade regimental sergeant major, Master Warrant Officer Shon Chong, 43, said he took pride in planning the NDP.
"We have participants from all walks of life coming together, dedicating long hours of training, and our aim is to make sure that we can present a well-coordinated and precise parade."
"I'm very heartened by their hard work and motivation, and we're looking forward to present and put up a spectacular parade on National Day," added the brigade sergeant major at 3rd Division Artillery.
The organising committee is encouraging Singaporeans to upload photographs, well-wishes, reflections or stories on their personal social media accounts with the hashtag #NDP2019.
They can also visit NDP social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for more information.