No Red Lions. No armoured mobile columns. No view of the fireworks.
The 2016 National Day Parade (NDP) at the National Stadium has ignited some fireworks of its own.
Critics have been up in arms about the organisers’ choice of the Sports Hub for the nation’s biggest extravaganza and demanded that it should not be held there in future.
Some of them have gone so far as to suggest the cost of holding the NDP at the Sports Hub was $10 million but the actual cost is much lower. Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen addressed this point in Parliament on 29 February 2016 when he said the venue cost is 15 per cent of the overall $39.4 million NDP budget. This works out to be a little under $6 million.
The structural design of the Sports Hub is a key factor behind the NDP 2016 programme. Its domed roof has to be closed to execute some of the acts and certain crowd favourites have to make way.
So there will be no parachutists, fireworks and armoured mobile columns, just like in 1976, 1980 and 1985 at the old National Stadium.
Fireworks only made a debut at the 1984 NDP at the Padang. The Republic of Singapore Air Force’s Red Lions appeared for the first time in 1989. Heavy armoured vehicles were not featured at the 14 NDPs at Kallang as stadium tracks were never made for such a purpose.
The three NDP items have traditionally made the celebration of the nation’s birthday an unforgettable experience. They exemplify what a small nation wants to say at every independence day after many had written off our chances of survival beyond 1965: that we are flying high and will continue to do so.
While their absence this year has irked some, the organisers knew from the start that to execute a theme about the future, holding the NDP at the futuristic Sports Hub is the only way that they can get the job done.
Brigadier General (BG) Kenneth Liow, chairman of the NDP 2016 executive committee, alluded as much to this earlier in March.
“This year marks the first of the next 50 years of our Singapore story,” BG Liow, who is also the Chief Armour Officer, told the media. “We wanted a theme that is more futuristic and addresses the Singapore of tomorrow.”
The chairman of the NDP Show committee, Senior Lieutenant Colonel Jason See, said, “We’ve taken a bold and innovative approach to refresh the show experience.” Continue reading here
First published in Yahoo News on Aug 3, 2016