Saturday 10 August 2013

NDP 2013: Singapore marks 48th birthday

By Tan Qiuyi , Sharon See , Sara Grosse and Monica Kotwani, Channel NewsAsia, 9 Aug 2013

Singapore marked its 48th birthday this year with a magnificent celebration on Friday, bringing together some 27,000 people at the Marina Bay floating platform for the National Day Parade.

During the three-and-a-half hour celebrations, the spectators were treated to a display of defence hardware, aerial flypass, and a variety show with plenty of song and dance.

However, one of the National Day Parade's all-time favourites - the Red Lions' jump segment - was called off due to low cloud cover.

Among the spectators were President Tony Tan Keng Yam, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, Members of Parliament and Cabinet ministers.

By sundown, some 6,000 participants had put up a spectacular show - a rich tapestry of colours weaving in the theme, "Many Stories...One Singapore".

This year's NDP paid tribute to everyday Singaporeans, and their stories took centre stage at the show. The theme song this year, for example, was not sung by a local artiste for once, but 68 Singaporeans who together formed the Sing A Nation choir.

At 8.20pm, Singapore stood still for a quiet moment to recite the National Pledge. Then, it was time to sing the National Anthem.

The party ended with a brilliant burst of colours as fireworks were launched into the sky.

Explaining the cancellation of the Red Lions' daredevil stunts, NDP 2013 executive committee chairman Brigadier-General Perry Lim said: "The safety of all our performers is our foremost concern. Due to the low cloud cover which obstructed their view of the stage, the Red Lions were unable to execute their display jump, for safety reasons."

With the cancellation, Third Warrant Officer Shirley Ng did not manage to make history as the first woman to jump with the Red Lions at the NDP.

While the show was taking place at the floating platform, those without tickets to the NDP caught the proceedings at Marina Barrage where a large screen telecast the NDP live.

By 5pm, over 1,000 people had gathered at the grassy lawn.

Before the show, some of them took advantage of the strong winds to fly kites. Others had picnics there while some played frisbee flying, rugby or football.

Spectators were also treated to a performance by songwriter Lorraine Tan.

She composed her own National Day song, "Shine Singapore", in an effort to raise funds for charity.

Lorraine Tan said: "Through my music, I can be a gravitational force that brings people together to do something good and give back to society."

Singaporeans overseas also joined in the birthday bash.

In Western Australia, students from four universities - University of Western Australia, Curtin University, Murdoch University and Edith Cowan University - came together to pen a birthday message.

And, in true Singaporean style, the celebrations included a feasting session that also brought together Singaporean families living in Perth.

From free 'teh tariks' to face painting, there was something for everyone.

The celebrations culminated with them - some 300 of them - watching the live screening of the National Day Parade.


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