Yesterday, I was amongst the 26,000 Singaporeans to catch the SG50 Golden Jubilee National Day Parade 2015 at the Padang.
This special choice of location had brought the Parade back to its roots, as the very first Parade had been held there in 1966 – one year after Singapore’s separation from Malaysia.
Besides Padang though, Singaporeans could also catch the celebrations live on TV, from other sites such as the Float @ Marina Bay, the Esplanade or heartland community areas which had been specially set up to broadcast Singapore’s Golden Jubilee Celebrations.
Excitement and enthusiasm was in the air
The enthusiasm and excitement was definitely in the air, as I stepped out of the MRT train at the City Hall Station a few minutes before four o’clock in the afternoon. There were so many people milling around – and almost all of them had been dressed in red & white – the two colours of Singapore’s national flag.
We followed the crowd from the station towards the Padang. It grew gradually thicker as we neared the Parade venue. I admit that I had been expecting a bit of a queue to get inside the Padang, but surprisingly this took place quite fast, despite the large numbers of people. I went through the baggage checks and collected my Funpack pretty quickly. There was a short queue though when we climbed the rickety metal steps of the spectator stands, but the wait had been probably only about 15 to 20 minutes long.
Managed to get a rather decent seat to catch the Parade
At the venue, it was free seating, but fortunately I still managed to get a rather decent spot with a fairly good view – to catch the Parade. Soon after being seated, I quickly began to feel the heat, but the good thing was that a cap had been provided in our National Day Parade Funpacks, so I took this out to give myself a little protection from the sun.
While waiting for the Parade to begin, I entertained myself by looking through my Funpack and peeping at the goodies that were available this year. The contents of the Funpack were slightly different to the ones that had been distributed earlier to more than 1.25million households – there were a little more food and drinks for parade-goers and this had included biscuits, lozenges, chrysanthemum tea and water, to probably to energise us.
Emcees were bubbly and full of energy
Finally, the Parade began – with the bubbly emcees making their entrance and working up the crowd to sing the Happy Birthday Song as well as the chorus of this year’s very catchy National Day Theme Song, “Our Singapore.” At the same time, the iconic Padang Wave was also out in full force.
Special tribute to Mr Lee Kuan Yew
Quite early on during the parade though, there had been a very special tribute paid to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding father who had passed away in March this year. Many in the crowd were teary and feeling rather emotional as this video tribute was being played.
Also, his seat had been left empty at the Parade this year – and was being marked by a bouquet of flowers. This gesture had touched many of those at the parade.
Red Lions didn’t jump
I had been a little disappointed that the Red Lions didn’t jump this year, due to inclement weather. But then again, we could not complain, as their safety is also important too.
Appearance of the Singapore Airlines A380
But there were plenty of other sights. These had included the very first appearance of a Singapore Airlines A380 plane performing a flypast around the Padang – all decked out in the colours of the Singapore Flag.
This was quite a sight, as we do not usually see such huge planes circling the Singapore city area. As well, the aerial performances by the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s fighter jets and the Black Knights displays, were quite magnificent.
Throwback to the National Day parades of Yesteryear
The vintage throwback to the National Day Parades of Yesteryear – where people from different organisations donned 1960s and 1970s style uniforms, was also a touching addition to Singapore’s Jubilee Parade and probably brought back many fond memories for some of our nation’s senior citizens.
Some of these organisations had included the Singapore Armed Forces, the Singapore Police Force and even the girls from Singapore Airlines – marching by in trishaws and their trademark traditional sarong kebayas.
Mobile Column was a sight to behold
The Mobile Column was also quite spectacular. This showcased Singapore’s military vehicles. This Mobile Column, which showcased a total of 177 vehicles, had been making its first appearance at a National Day Parade since 2010 – it was definitely quite a sight to behold.
A colourful and magical parade
The Parade ended with beautiful performances by Stefanie Sun, Kit Chan and JJ Lin who roused the crowd magnificently. I particularly loved Kit Chan’s powerful rendition of my all-time favourite National Day Parade theme song, Home.
Following that, we all sang the National Anthem as well as recited the Singapore Pledge. Being part of this was very touching and I could really feel the sense of energy from everyone, as the crowd united together as a nation – in support of their country.
Didn’t get to see fireworks
After experiencing such a lovely night, my only disappointment, was that I did not get to see the main fireworks after hearing so much about a spectacular fireworks show, which instead took place at the Marina Bay area. But this was just a small setback from a very wonderful National Day Parade experience.
Happy 50th birthday once again, Singapore.