NDP2016: Reliving the past, in the present
NDP returns to National Stadium after 10 years
It was a night tinged with nostalgia for many at the National Day Parade (NDP).
After all, it was a return to "familiar ground" - even though the venue is new.
This year's parade was held at the National Stadium after a decade away when it was staged at the Floating Platform at Marina Bay, or at the Padang.
Madam Som Said once danced for the audience, then progressed to choreography at the old stadium before it was rebuilt.
The 65-year-old said: "Watching the performers and the precision needed in the steps really reminded me of my days performing."
Madam Som is a pioneer in Malay dance. In 1987, she won the prestigious Cultural Medallion - Singapore's highest accolade for the arts - for her work in dance. She now runs a performing arts company.
She bid for tickets to this year's parade which she attended with her husband.
Madam Som said: "I've been in so many NDPs, more than my two hands can count.
"I spent the night reminiscing the old days. I know how it felt (to be part of NDP)... The experience sticks with you for a lifetime."
Also recalling the old days was retiree Divyanathan Achuthan, 77, who said the venue brought back old memories of him marching as a volunteer back in 1966.
It was the first time he had attended a parade since his marching days. He usually watches it on television.
For Mr Ho Hwee Choon, 64, the venue marked the return of the Kallang Wave.
It was made iconic after Singapore's matches in the Malaysian Cup which were held at the old stadium in the 1990s.
Mr Ho, who works in property management, said: "The National Stadium was where we saw the first Kallang Wave.
"I think watching NDP back here after so many years made me remember the past."
Yesterday, the audience enthusiastically brought back the Kallang Wave, which made its way round the stadium several times.
The audience was also treated to a visual feast of lights and colours.
Even when the stage lights dimmed, the stadium remained illuminated by the audience's LED wristbands which lit up automatically.
Madam Som was full of praise for the parade. She was especially dazzled by the special effects.
She lamented the lack of technology in the past, which meant NDPs were kept basic.
"Tonight's performance was so spectacular. In the past, it was very simple. Nowadays, they have raised stages and all that.
"Children today are lucky to get proper training (for the performances). Coupled with modern technology, the show tonight was amazing," said Madam Som. .
Beyond the entertainment value, she also saw the hard work behind each segment.
Madam Som said: "I see it with different eyes (from the audience). When you are doing choreography on such a huge stage, you have to make sure the children run in and run out of the stage within a few counts...
"I was definitely touched by the performances."
The dance segments also reminded her of her teenage years spent in the first few NDPs, she added with a chuckle.
But some things stay the same.
Said Madam Som: "The programme gets better and better every year, but the values never change.
"NDP has always been about working together, about passion, about dedication. You don't walk alone."
It was a lesson to learn not just for my children, but for me as well. This was the first time I learnt about the legend of Badang... I am going to see the singapore stone at the national Museum of singapore.
— Mr Vincent Ling, 33, executive chef, with his family (above)
I came at around 2.15pm because I wanted to enter the stadium early to get a good spot for good photographs
— Mr William Chan, 83, retiree (above)
1 Local band 53A kicked off the parade by leading the crowd in a singalong to some National Day favourites like Stand Up For Singapore, Singapore Town, Chan Mali Chan and Home.
2 The Kallang Wave was a hit with the 55,000-strong crowd and went around the National Stadium multiple times as the audience cheered with flags and clappers.
3 The military tattoo gave a sharp performance by marching to an original composition and creating impressive formations. This was followed by the march-in of the 31 contingents, comprised of 1,424 participants.
4 Shortly after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrived, President Tony Tan Keng Yam surprised the crowd with a video call from his car to let them know he would be arriving shortly. The crowd roundly cheered his arrival and when he traversed the parade grounds in an open-top jeep.
5 Sixteen massive flags were unfurled during the singing of the National Anthem and were passed around the stands by the audience.
THE TEAM : REPORTS BY: FOO JIE YING, LINETTE HENG, TAN TAM MEI, PHOTOS BY: CHOO CHWEE HUA, JEREMY LONG, ISKANDAR ROSSALI, PHYLLICIA WANG
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