When my siblings and I were very young – my age was a single digit – we would count down to the minutes before the parade and wait in anticipation on little chairs in front of the television. As the live audience cheered and did the Kallang roar, so did we while waving our little flags filled with candy that rattled in the plastic staff.
Singing happily to the tunes of ‘We Are Singapore’, ‘Chan Mali Chan’, and ‘xiao ren wu de xin sheng’ led by celebrities and backed by the choir, it was our way of celebrating the nation’s birthday.
The funny thing was, right after all that singing, we would switch off the TV upon the appearance of the various contingents, what we called the ‘boring marching people’. Lol. We would estimate about 30 minutes, during which we would take a bath and prepare snacks for the next part of the show.
How we loved the ensuing performances! The group formations of the Singapore flag, lion head, national flower, and various shapes were wonderful to look at. The display of pyrotechnics and color and rhythm showcasing the four main cultures of Singapore brought the stage to life. How I wished I could don one of those flamboyant costumes and disco my way through the night!
Combined school choir in 2005 Source: MOE
We said our pledge and sang Majulah Singapore with pride, complete with straight posture and fist on the heart. It made us feel very part of the live audience at the all-round stage at the National Stadium.
When the skies grew dark, my siblings and I brought the ‘live’ mood into our home by switching off all the lights in the house and we swayed our torchlights and bodies to the rhythm of the songs, singing at the top of our voices.
We didn’t have the NDP goodies bags, as it was then called, so we invented our own. If you were born in the 80’s, you would recall the McDonald’s plastic lunchbox that came in either red or green. In mine I had a torchlight and a water bottle. Simple yet adequate for a night in. =)
The mood was revved up with the finale fireworks display – spurts of light that shot straight up into the black canvas, exploded into streaks of color, and faded into the darkness like drizzling gold coins.
Ah, such happy childhood memories of the National Day Parade!
It was many years later that I finally got to be a live audience at the National Stadium. If you’ve been at the live National Day celebrations, you’d know just how different the mood was!
Sitting beside strangers checking out their goodie bags, some lapping up dinner of oily KFC and Pizza Hut food sold at makeshift stalls at the entrances, some taking photos with film cameras that went ‘CHEE-Keeeee’, some fanning themselves with cardboard paper, and others just feeling awesome and grateful to be part of the live audience – like me; the feeling was just indescribable!
I was on a constant high throughout the show, and I even learnt to appreciate the significance and solemnness of the military contingents segment – the people who defend the place we call home.
Check this out! HAHAHA!
I was 16 and had a flag and fireworks on my cheek, the theme logo sticker on my forehead, and another flag on my neck. Somebody give me an award for Absolute Patriotism.
Please continue reading the rest of this post to see updated pictures of me and don’t ask what was the thing I mosaiced. Thankyouverymuch. LOL.
Alas, gone are the days where we could queue to get tickets for the parade. As I mentioned in a previous post on how I got to be a live audience for so many years, my luck stopped the moment ticketing went online. Boo. I would love to queue! Qiuqiu and I can go queue together. But we’ve got to move with the times. Logistics was a headache and people are busier these days…
9 August was THE DAY for all Singaporeans to come together and celebrate the nation’s birthday.
Why did I highlight ‘THE DAY’?
Because this year, we don’t have to wait till THE DAY, 9 August 2012, to express our love for our homeland! I hear ‘WHAT? Express our LOVE?? We are Asian!’.
Okie, participate. Participate can?
While we don’t tell our family and friends ‘I love you guys so much, you are everything to me, I cannot live without you’ on a daily basis, we show our love and concern through actions. And actions speak louder than words!
You probably don’t fancy going round yelling into people’s faces ‘I LOVE SINGAPORE!!!’. Nah, it probably isn’t our style. What we can do is participate in the NDP activities! And I tell you, the activities are so much fun this year!
The NDP committee brainstorms for a new theme for the National Day Parade every year, but this year is VERY different! It will no longer be just a parade, but an ongoing string of activities hosted nation-wide which started way back in March 2012! Many of these activities are completely new! Check them out here!
This year’s theme is ‘LovingSG: Our Home’, and the activities were created to evoke emotions and memories of what we love about our country. We may not say it, but we can show it; we may not be able to express it in words, but we can represent it with acts of love.
Official NDP 2012 website: http://www.ndp.org.sg/
Instagram Photo Competition
For instance, there’s an Instagram competition for people to upload their Instagram photos and stand to win prizes such as Tablet PC, Smartphone, Movie Vouchers as well as other goodies! Every two weeks a new theme will surface for variation. By the time you read this, it should be Instagram #4 – My Favorite Hangout.
#1 – My favorite spot at home (24 March – 8 April)
#2 – My favorite pastime (23 April – 7 May)