NDP 2016 to feature performers with special needs
NDP 2016 will have song signing segment and performers with special needs
Ensure nobody gets left behind as we progress as a country - this is one of Ms Beatrice Chia-Richmond's hopes for Singapore this year.
That is why the 42-year-old creative director for this year's National Day Parade (NDP) wanted to include those in our society with special needs and give them a share of the spotlight.
Part of the 45-minute show segment of this year's parade will feature individuals with special needs.
"It's important that we move into the future together (and) take... every single one of us," she said at a press conference yesterday.
As part of one segment, volunteers from the Singapore Soka Association will be changing the colours of their skirt-like props to recreate five hand-painted images done by students from Touch Community Services.
TOGETHER: A segment featuring performers with special needs. PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES
For the first time in NDP's history, there will also be a song signing segment, where 150 special needs participants - helmed by Miss Neoh Yew Kim, a deaf 22-year-old sign language instructor - will lead the 55,000-strong audience in signing to familiar NDP songs like Home and Count On Me, Singapore.
A video, which will be screened during the parade, will show her demonstrating how to sign the songs.
Miss Neoh said: "NDP is a very good platform for us because all Singaporeans are included in the event.
"As Singapore is gearing towards a more inclusive society, people with special needs can show our abilities instead of our disabilities."
Mr Quek Swee Hai, 51, a special needs performer from the Handicaps Welfare Association, agreed.
Although he was worried that he would not be able to sign due to a stroke that affected the right side of his body, he is soldiering on.
"Disabled doesn't mean unable, and we can do it," he said with confidence.
Ms Chia-Richmond said: "It's not just being aware of (those with special needs), but... making an effort to communicate with them."
She added that all the participants in this year's parade learnt the signing as well.
"We felt that this could be something that we can ask the entire nation to learn with us. The song signing moment became a uniting gesture (for the NDP participants)," she said.
Singapore Soka Association performer Tay Qing Yi, 20, said this was a heart-warming move.
"I think it's a good opportunity to (teach) other Singaporeans (the importance of being) inclusive in our society.
"They are not any different from us, we are all the same," she said.