TL;DR – What we loved, what we miss and #allthefeels
Let me start by saying how much I love attending National Day Parades! National Day is the one day you get to be so outwardly patriotic (singing… I mean tearing when the national anthem plays, unabashedly wearing bright red, having tattoos of the Merlion AND Singapore flag on your face, waving your flag like mad and the list goes on) without feeling too embarrassed.
So to have managed to ballot for tickets for #NDP2016 – the first NDP to be held in the new National Stadium in 10 years was incredibly exciting for me! Having attended NDP at the old National Stadium before as well as the ones at Floating Platform and Padang, I was curious to see how different it’d be from previous ones. These were some of the hits and misses (or rather… what we missed) that came to mind!
What we loved
1) Our own local superhero -Badang
Based off an old Malay folk tale, the segment told of how a young fisherman named Badang was granted his wish for superhuman strength which he used to help his fellow villagers. The King soon took notice of him and appointed him as his Royal Guard. Afterwhich, many came to challenge him and in one test of strength, he flings a heavy boulder into the Singapore River. Illustrated by Mr Elvin Ching as a comic book included in the funpack, the story of Badang represents the strength and resilience of Singapore in the face of challenges.
2) Great use of the high ceiling
Because there were no ceilings to utilise in the previous years, it was certainly interesting to see the numerous aerial props that were suspended from it in this years’ choreography. From a glittering unicorn that seems to float weightlessly to towering 3-D skyscappers and buildings, it was certainly a visual feast!
3) Kallang Wave and wave and wave and wave…
As homage to the first NDP back at Kallang after a decade, the Kallang Wave literally came in waves – round and round while spectators partook in the sacred National Day tradition. If memory served me correctly, I did no less than 10 Kallang Waves, many only stopping when the show segments “had to go on” and they started playing videos on screen. It a display of the Singapore spirit like no other!
4) Futuristic feel & use of cutting edge technology
From LED wristbands that were programmed to flash in synchrony alongside the performances to 3D image mapping with real-time tracking technology to performers dressed in what looked like multiple glow sticks strung together ala the sci-fi movie Tron, the use of cutting edge technology sure made for a multi-sensory experience.
5) Re-usable funpack bag
From the countless years I’ve been to the NDP, I’ve always given away or donated the bag and this is the first time I’m keeping the funpack bag to reuse. It’s durable, waterproof and great for beach outings. There is no obvious NDP logo printed on the bag and makes it “less paiseh” to bring around – don’t judge! 😛
What we miss
1) Aerial displays and the red lions
As cheesy as it was, I loved it when the Red Lions were parachuting out of the planes and everyone at the parade would go “woahhhhhhhhhhhhh” in unison and erupt simultaneously into cheers when each jumper lands safely within the target area. Missing from this year was also the “flag fly by” as we weren’t able to see the flag from inside the stadium. I also really enjoyed previous years of aerial displays with the fighter jets performing amazing stunts in the air.
While the NDP2016 incorporated a lot of pyrotechnics and indoor fireworks that made for such a novel show. It was too late for spectators to “run out of the stadium” to catch the actual firework display outside.
3) And of course… Mr Lee =_)
I was fortunate enough to attend the NDP 2014 where he made his last NDP appearance and the second the emcee announced the Mr Lee Kuan Yew had arrived, everyone jumped… and I really meant JUMPED to their feet, waved their flags with so much vigour and cheered at the top of their voices. I remember tearing (yes – I tend to do that a lot) and feeling an immense sense of overwhelming gratefulness to Mr Lee, pride at how far we’ve come as a nation and sadness at seeing how frail he was all at once. This is one special NDP memory that will always be etched in my mind… and in my heart.