Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Red, White and WOW :)

Singapore celebrated its first National Day in 1966, one year after Singapore's independence from Malaysia on 9 August 1965. And every year since, the Parade has become the biggest national event in Singapore.

The National Day Parades are organised by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), with the involvement of a multitude of public and private organisations. Each year's parade will see the formation of an NDP EXCO which oversees various aspects of the parade, from the Parade & Ceremony to the Show, from SICUS (Seating, Invitation, Car parking, Ushering and Security) to Website & Publicity. The EXCO is formed by military personnel and is usually headed by the Commander of the organising division.

What is perhaps most memorable at each celebration is the fireworks display marking the climax of the parade. This year was no exception.

The picture above shows fireworks erupting over the Padang at the centre of Singapore's civic district, ringed by the sparkling skyscrapers of the business district and thee distinct shape of the Marina Bay Sands resort. (ST photo by Malcolm Koh)

Members of the One Voice Show Choir, comprising 1,000 students from eight secondary schools, waving small lighted flags as the first fireworks of the evening erupted spectacularly around the Padang.

The Red Lions (Singapore Armed Forces Parachute Team), a perennial crowd favorite, were part of the pre-parade segment, dropping onto the Padang after exiting their aircraft up in the sky. The picture shows the last Red Lion commando swooping down from the skies past the dome of the old Supreme Court building near the Padang.

The parade has been a traditional staple of the National Day Parade. Participants of the parade include members of the Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore Police Force, Singapore Civil Defence Force, representatives of the different unions and Ministries as well as students in uniformed groups and representatives of various Singapore business entities.

Participants are spilt into two main sections: the Guard-of-Honour (GOH) contingents and the Supporting Contingents. Looking smart in their white ceremonial uniforms, the Republic of Singapore Navy's Guard-of-Honour contingent marching past the old Supreme Court.

During the inspection of the GOH contingent, the President will be accompanied by the Chief of Defence Force, Contingent Commander of the Army GOH and the Parade Commander. A presidential 21-gun salute is also given to the President during this time.

This year the SAF servicemen were at the War Memorial Park firing six 25-pounder ceremonial guns as part of the 21-gun salute.

After the inspection ends, the President will return to the podium before the Guard-of-honor contingents presents a Feu-de-Joie led by the Parade Commander.

After the Marchpast this year, there was the Mobile Column, a parade of vehicles and other hardware from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Singapore Police Force and Singapore Civil Defence Force. This year's NDP mobile column featured the SAF's newest vehicles such as the Leopard 2A4 main battle tank, G550 Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft, F-15SG fighter jets, F-16 fighter aircraft etc.

Soldiers from the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Explosive Defence Group showed how they deal with nuclear and radioactive substances during the mobile column display.

The show segment follows the traditional parade and ceremony, and lasts normally for 45 minutes.

"Majulah Singapura" which means "Onward Singapore". It is also the national anthem of Singapore and is sung with its original Malay lyrics since it was formally adopted as Singapore's national anthem in 1965.


desmond said...

The first photo is very nice :)

alex teo said...

Agreed :) these professional photographers are allowed access to these special vantage points to take pictures like these. I had the opportunity to work with the NDP EXCO twice and know a little of the things they do to make the show better every year