Majulah Singapura – Our Golden Jubilee: National Day Parade 2015 @ the Padang

Yesterday, I was amongst the 26,000 Singaporeans to catch the SG50 Golden Jubilee National Day Parade 2015 at the Padang.

NDP2015 at the Padang.

NDP 2015 in action 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.

Padang is all primed and ready for the Parade.

The Padang was host to the 1st NDP in 1966

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.

Fervour and excitement of Singaporeans is apparent.

There were lots of excitement at the NDP

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

Friendly motivators ready to work up the crowd.

Friendly motivators ready to work up the crowd.

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.

NDP Funpacks ready for distribution.

NDP Funpacks all ready for distribution.

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.

A special tribute was played for Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

A special tribute was paid to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

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.

A Singapore Airlines A380 made an appearance.

A Singapore Airlines A380 making an appearance.

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

POSB Girls in their vintage outfits.

POSB Girls in their vintage outfits.

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.

SIA Girls make an appearance in their trishaws.

SIA Girls make an appearance in their trishaws was an impressive sight

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.

The NDP 2015 Mobile Column.

The NDP 2015 Mobile Column.

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.

Do you fancy a huge bowl of Ice Kachang?

Do you fancy a huge bowl of Ice Kachang?

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.

The iconic Changi Airport Control Tower appears at the Parade too.

The iconic Changi Airport Control Tower appears at the Parade too.

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.

NDP 2015 was a truly unforgettable night.

NDP 2015 was a truly unforgettable night – sans fireworks though.

Happy 50th birthday once again, Singapore.

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