Friday, 10 August 2012

NDP 2012: Singapore celebrates 47th birthday

By Tan Qiuyi, Vimita Mohandas, Joanne Chan, Channel NewsAsia, 9 Aug 2012

Singapore marked its 47th birthday on Thursday with tens of thousands of people gathered at the downtown Marina Bay area to soak in the celebrations.

The Marina Bay area was a sea of red as 26,000 spectators packed the floating platform - the centre of activity.

And it was nothing short of funfare and bright smiles.

Singaporeans of all ages and families were eager to enjoy the birthday celebrations themed "Loving Singapore Our Home".

A spectator said: "The favourite part is the parade when I see all the officers in their dresses (uniforms) - it makes me proud; they look beautiful, wonderful."

The Red Lions - free-fallers from the Singapore Armed Forces - were the usual crowd favourites.

Adding to the pomp of the parade was the Commitment to Defence March with some contingents marching in from the seating gallery amidst the spectators.

New at this year's parade was the dress theme - red and white - seen on many of the MPs, cabinet ministers and former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, compared to the mainly all-white of previous years.

And making his first inspection of the parade contingent as Head of State was President Tony Tan Keng Yam, who took office in September last year.

This year's parade commemorated 45 years of National Service paying tribute to NSmen - past and present - with a 10-minute salute from the ground, the sea, and the air.

The sky was definitely not the limit for this year's fireworks display.

The Singapore SOKA Association - a long time contributor to the National Day Parade - upped the ante with a stunning display of pyrotechnics.

By sun down, more than 4,000 performers put up a spectacular show, urging everyone to reflect on what they love about Singapore.

A spectator said: "Not only loving ourselves, our family, probably we should also love those who come to our shores to better themselves and better their lives."

A large part of the success of the parade was also due to the enthusiastic crowd who cheered on the participants non-stop throughout the whole day.

Mr Choo Khoon Hock, who has attended every single National Day parade since the first one in 1966, said: "Partly, I was in the Cadets Corp and I liked the marching tune. I joined the Singapore Volunteers Corp, so I got hooked. Every August, I would spend my time seeing every rehearsal."

Spectators also grooved to the medley of National Day songs through the years.

The parade culminated with a burst of colours in the sky, a fitting end to a superb birthday celebration.

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