WhyItMatters

Salute to those who served NS

Situated in the heart of the city, a permanent monument to national service will soon stand beside such prominent landmarks as Marina Bay Sands and the Esplanade.

The Government's decision to develop the floating platform at Marina Bay into the new NS Square is a fitting tribute to NS, which is one of Singapore most crucial institutions.

Giving it pride of place in the heart of Singapore is also a concrete manifestation of the continued importance of NS to the country.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who announced the development of the landmark on Monday, said its permanence and prominence in Marina Bay, beneath Singapore's brilliant skyline, will reflect "the central role that NS plays in our lives".

But what is perhaps most significant is that it is an enduring salute to the more than one million Singaporeans who have given their blood, sweat and time to keep the country safe and secure.

The move will also be popular with Singaporeans for another key reason.

The new NS Square has been earmarked to be the primary venue for the National Day Parade (NDP).

Its unique location by the waters of Marina Bay, with an unobstructed view of the skies, means that the thrilling performances of the Red Lions skydivers and the dazzling sight of the mobile columns and naval vessels can take centre stage each year. Indeed, the existing floating platform, which seats 27,000 spectators, has become a favoured location for the NDP because it offers multiple vantage points to watch the fireworks display.

This was brought home to thousands attending last year's NDP held at the National Stadium. They could not see the fireworks that went off outside because the stadium's roof blocked their view.

The irony is that the floating platform was built as a temporary site for the NDP while the National Stadium was being constructed to be the parade's permanent venue. But now, few will dispute that NS Square will be the hostess with the mostest for Singapore's annual birthday bash.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 01, 2017, with the headline 'Salute to those who served NS'. Print Edition | Subscribe