Jul 31, 2014

9 Things Not to be Missed at NDP 2014

Media Invite

National Day Parade (NDP) tickets are the hottest commodity whenever August rolls by, and it is always a near-impossible task in trying to snag those pieces of prized paper. So imagine our huge delight when we were invited down for the NDP Combined Rehearsal show a few Saturdays back.

Playing the fool with the SengkangBabies and PrincessDana

NDP 2014's theme is Our People, Our Home - where we celebrate us, ordinary people who can do the extraordinary when we come together as one community, one people.

I will tell you who is extraordinary. 

This guy.

For some reason, Ayd is the one who always revel in such a highly-charged atmosphere. He cheers on cue, waves the flag on cue, screams himself hoarse on cue... in short, he does EVERYTHING throughout the entire NDP show with unparalleled passion and fervor.

Suffice to say, he loved every part of NDP 2014. Which segments stood out for me? Here are 9 things to look out for during this year's NDP.

1. The Red Lions

A crowd favourite, the Red Lions always have spectators craning their necks towards the sky in a bid to catch their free-fall.

Last year's NDP was supposed to mark the first time that a female Red Lion(ess) took part in a NDP free-fall display. Unfortunately, that did not materialise as the jump was cancelled during the actual parade due to bad weather. So fingers crossed for Third Warrant Officer Shirley Ng, who will be hoping to make history at this year's NDP!

Also participating in the Red Lions free fall display for the first time this year are the Junior Red Lions, made up of specially-selected Primary 4 and 5 students. No, they will not be jumping but will be welcoming the Red Lions as they descend on the Floating Platform.

2. 'A Salute to the Nation' Flypast 

One of the key fixtures of all National Day Parades has got to be the moment when a RSAF chinook flies the huge Singapore Flag across the performing area.

Also too, is what comes right after we have sung the National Anthem - the sight of F-15SGs streaking across sky, complete with their supersonic roar!

Things got a tad special for me this year when I got to see the hard work that went behind the scenes in preparation for the flypast. The entire thing may last just a mere ten seconds, but the perspiration and passion that behind the flypast goes way beyond that.

3. A Parade with A Heart

For some, the Parade and Ceremony segment might be the most boring part of NDP - just standing still and marching and more marching, no? It will be different this year, in a good way of course.

This year will be the first time that the Parade and Ceremony will begin with a Military Tattoo, a seven-minute formation display put up by the Combined Band and the SAF Precision Drill Squad. This will also be the first Parade in history that Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) is participating in the Parade.

Through moments termed "Heartbeats", the Parade and Ceremony pays tribute to our pioneers who worked against great odds and uncertainties to build Singapore to where it is today. 

"Heartbeats" also celebrate the unity of Singaporeans, as well as the importance of families and our community in supporting the individual.

4. Dynamic Defence Display

2014 marks the 30th year of Total Defence in Singapore, and what better way to celebrate it than showcasing over 30 pieces of defence hardware. We were given a sneak peek at the various platforms from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) before the parade and it was an eye-opener for the monkies.

After all, how often can one can to shout "Missiles away!" while pretending to aim through a missile launcher?

Or pretend to steer a huge fire engine?

Or to don a erm, a really oversized Fireman uniform?

The 10-minute Dynamic Defence Display will definitely exhilarate the audience with an all-action display that is interwoven with music, multimedia and pyrotechnics. 

Keep your eyes peeled for Republic of Singapore Navy's Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (or RHIBs for short) too!

The RHIBs are part of Sea Display segment, where it simulates naval divers on two RHIBs who will interdict a target vessel at Marina Bay. I went aboard the RHIB during one of its rehearsals and let me just say it is no easy work. Precision is key, and I ended up spending one hour on my 'cruise' with 5 rehearsal runs in total under the hot sun.

5. The Big Show

This is the biggie, or least in the eyes of the monkies, as this is the part of NDP that fully captures their attention every single year. For this year's NDP Show, it celebrates the can-do spirit and caring attitude of
Singaporeans through vibrant multimedia and lively mass displays in four acts.

Act 1,"Celebrate It!", celebrates Singapore’s success story as the little island that dreamed big, with Singaporeans from all walks of life contributing to make our nation what it is today. 

Act 2, "Love It!", recreates the warmth of our family and multi-cultural society. And what better way to showcase the ties that bind us than through our wide array of local food!

Act 3, "Live It!", then brings the audience into a reflective mood as it acknowledges Singaporeans’ individual challenges with the stage filled with a sea of performers dressed in black and white, illustrating the personal challenges we each face.

As the performers find the strength and determination to push forward, the sea of black and white on stage transforms into a vibrant red and setting the stage for the final act.

Act 4, "Be It!", will be put up by young performers, who will be performing the precision drill as red and white flag-bearers - which symbolizes the rallying call for all Singaporeans to come together as one people.

I felt that the show is extremely different compared to previous years. After all, there can only be so many times that one can retell the Singapore Story, or incorporate Sang Nila Utama or Sir Stamford Raffles into an NDP show.

Instead, bright colours and pop music feature strongly this year... which makes perfect sense after I found out that the Creative Director for NDP 2014 is Dick Lee. The entire show is truly refreshing, and focuses heavily on the one thing that truly make up Singapore - her people. Which brings me to my next point.

6. Stories of Five Ordinary Singaporeans 

The stories of five Singaporeans intersperse the Show and reflect the narrative of the four acts. Through depicting the challenges each character faced -  such as an ex-convict having difficulties finding a job and a disabled child whose character was inspired by Singapore's "Blade Runner" Shariff Abdullah - and how they overcame them with the care and support of their family and community, these stories acknowledge the can-do and caring spirit of our people and celebrate our everyday Singaporeans.

7. Dancing Fountains  

For the first time at NDP, two fountains have been installed in the waterway between the promenade and the stage which will be complementing the Show segments. 

Spanning a distance of 30m each, each fountain is able to reach a height of 10m and will be dancing along to the songs, complete with a changing display of lights to match.

8. Marina Bay Backdrop

With the new National Stadium up and running, it may just be time to bid the Floating Platform farewell. Singapore's 50th Birthday Bash will be held at the Padang next year, with the subsequent year's NDP to be held at the new stadium at Kallang.

So this NDP, cherish in what could possibly be last year where the Marina Bay skyline acts as an awesome backdrop for the NDP show and fireworks display.

9. 'Five Stars and a Moon' Fireworks Display

What is NDP without Fireworks? This year's finale will feature pyrotechnics like no other - in the form of Singapore's crescent moon and five stars! Each star is made out of 49 individual red flames and the
crescent moon with 4 sets of 49 individual red flames.

For obvious cost reasons, the 'Five Stars and a Moon' fireworks did not feature in the combined rehearsal that we went to. So you can be sure that we will be glued to our TV come 9 August!

And if you are planning to head down to catch the Fireworks in all its full glory, here are the best Vantage spots around the Marina Bay area to view them.

Fireworks-viewing sites are highlighted in dark slate blue.

View more photos of our NDP 2014 experience in our Facebook Album HERE!

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Michelle said...

Hi Kevin, what lens are using normally to capture all the best moment?

Cheekiemonkies said...

Hi Michelle,

I'm using an Canon EOS 600D camera and EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens.

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