Sunday, 8 March 2015

NDP 2015 unveiled: More vantage points, funpacks for all households

Mega-NDP across Marina Bay area to draw 150,000
By Matthias Tay, TODAY, 6 Mar 2015

The Marina Bay area, spanning from Gardens by the Bay to the Padang, will become the stage for Singapore’s biggest National Day Parade (NDP), with the show on Aug 9 to be held at two locations: The Padang and The Float @ Marina Bay.

In addition, the Marina Bay Sands Event Plaza, the Promontory, Gardens by the Bay, Marina Barrage and Merlion Park will be included in NDP festivities and the Republic’s biggest fireworks display will be visible from all five locations.

Traditional elements of the parade — the march-past and mobile column — will take to the streets and make their way to some of these sites where possible. Some sites will also have giant LED screens to show the parade live.

Together, these areas can accommodate more than 150,000 people.

The fun packs will come in 50 designs — by celebrities, prominent Singaporeans and other members of the public — and feature nostalgic favourites such as chaptek, a traditional game requiring players to keep a feathered shuttlecock in the air, and a commemorative collectible Singa lion plush toy that comes in 15 designs.

Highlights include the annual aerial display, with more than 50 aircraft involved this year — the biggest display ever — and a Vintage Parade, which showcases performers in old military and civil service uniforms.

Sharing details of the parade — which will cost twice as much as those of previous years — during the Ministry of Defence’s Committee of Supply debate yesterday, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said: “There have been many calls to the NDP Organising Committee to allow as many Singaporeans as possible to share in this historic 50th NDP. There is a limit to the number of people that can watch the show on the Padang, but I am happy to announce that we have changed the format so that many more people can share in this moment on Aug 9, 2015. We do want to make this Golden Jubilee celebration special for as many Singaporeans as possible.”

The theme of the parade will be “Majulah Singapura”.

“(It) reprises the clarion call to all Singaporeans when we were a poor nation at independence, beset on all sides with problems of inadequate jobs, housing, education and other basic necessities of life,” Dr Ng said. “‘Majulah Singapura’ was the rallying cry to all of us to move forward as one people to overcome these challenges and more. And we have succeeded.”

The parade, he said, will tell this story to remind Singaporeans of their roots and recognise the contributions of the pioneer generation and leaders in nation-building.

Asked by Member of Parliament Irene Ng (Tampines GRC) whether the participants who marched in the first NDP would be invited to the parade this year, Dr Ng said participants of the first few NDP contingents will be invited as spectators.

Details on ticket balloting for both venues will be announced at a later date and the public will be able to choose their preferred parade site. The Padang can accommodate 26,000 spectators and The Float @ Marina Bay 25,000.

Dr Ng said the cost of the NDP at one site in previous years had been about S$20 million, which included logistics, equipment for rehearsals, the four National Education and preview shows and the actual show.

The cost this year will be about twice that of previous parades. The 1.2 million fun packs will be an additional S$10 million, part of which will be supported by corporate sponsorships, he added.

With large crowds expected, he stressed the need to pay attention to personal safety and that of others around. “We are working with (the Home Affairs Ministry), but we need members of the public to take personal responsibility too. If everyone follows instructions, the risks of mishaps will be mitigated,” Dr Ng said.

Civility and cleanliness are also key.

“As we celebrate during NDP, we should do so as one people who have achieved so much together. We do not want to diminish this by littering all over the Marina Bay area,” Dr Ng said. “Organisers will provide more rubbish points, but I am flagging safety and cleanliness early, so that it enters our collective consciousness and aspirations for National Day.”

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