Kopitalk with Parade Sergeant Major for NDP 22

Kopitalk with Parade Sergeant Major for NDP 22

This year’s National Day Parade (NDP22) sets a milestone in history as Singapore's first full-scale NDP since the COVID-19 pandemic. Master Warrant Officer (MWO) Yeo Kai Kiat Kelly, Head of Training Audit & Development, HQ Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), and concurrently Brigade Sergeant Major (SM), 5th Singapore Infantry Brigade (5 SIB), is also the Parade Regimental Sergeant Major (Parade RSM) for NDP22.

With a wooden Pace Stick comes great responsibility - MWO Yeo is in charge of planning and overseeing the training of all participants in the Parade & Ceremony (P&C) committee. Together with his Tri-Service contingent trainers, MWO Yeo ensures the rehearsals run smoothly.

Tell us about your role in NDP22, and what are your feelings when you were nominated to be the Parade Regimental Sergeant Major for this year’s NDP?

My role involves planning for the parade form and shape, training schedule, training objectives, working closely with trainers to ensure that parade standards are met, and conducting the rehearsals; I also engage the participants to keep them motivated and checking in on their well-being.

Being nominated as the NDP22 Parade Regimental Sergeant Major is a dream come true. I am truly thankful to my bosses who have entrusted me with this role, and my family and friends for supporting me throughout this journey. It is indeed an honour to be able to be part of such a momentous celebration for our nation.

What are some challenges faced on the job, and what are some key values that have helped you tide through them?

This year, we welcome back the youth uniform groups, and the social and economic contingents back for physical rehearsals after two years, due to COVID-19. As such, conditioning the participants for the parade and ensuring the safety and well-being of the participants are crucial.

To prepare myself, I sought advice and tips to better manage this year’s NDP by proactively engaging past NDP Parade RSMs. This year also marks and celebrates National Service 55 (NS55). By cross-analysing quinquennial National Day Celebrations such as NS45 and NS50, I have been able to gain insights, which has enabled me to have a smoother planning process.

The words of encouragement and affirmation from friends and bosses continue to spur me on to do my best even though the walk in this journey at times seems rough and difficult.

Furthermore, the positivity, passion and smile from the participants wanting to participate in NDP, reaffirms me that what we are going through is definitely worth it. 

Parade Regimental Sergeant Major, MWO Kelly, during NDP22 rehearsals

Parade Regimental Sergeant Major, MWO Kelly, during NDP22 rehearsals

How has it been working with our Army trainers for the NDP, and what are some of the more memorable experiences you had?

Every trainer treats one another with professionalism and respect. Trainers play an important role in delivering a sharp and dignified parade for the audience. Every successful execution of the P&C segment we witnessed during the show is a testament of the team’s effort in getting the participants ready during the many rehearsals over weekdays and weekends. The professionalism of the trainers to adapt to changes such as the NS55 Transformation and the Forward March shows that we want to deliver the best for the nation.

MWO Yeo (left) and 1WO Alvin Tan, ensuring that the NDP22 Parade & Ceremony (P&C) runs smoothly.

MWO Yeo (left) and 1WO Alvin Tan, ensuring that the NDP22 Parade & Ceremony (P&C) runs smoothly.

How have your friends and/or family supported you in your daily work, and now in your role as Parade RSM?

My office believed in working as a Team as our office setup is small and I thank them for being understanding and helpful when I was busy with NDP22. Even when I seek help in the capacity as a Parade RSM, they are eager to help without questions asked. One of them, 1WO Neo Kim Choon, is also a State Colour Party Trainer in NDP22.

As a Parade RSM, without my three secretaries, a lot of things would not have gone through smoothly. 1WO Alvin Tan, my right hand man, helps to check my blind spots, manages the main bulk of coordination and works together with other sub committee secretaries. 3WO Yi Hong, who works on multimedia, helps to produce video products such as the parade animation video and NS55 transformation animation. MSG Kun Tee is in-charge of the parade marking together with the Parade Marking Team to ensure that markings are done accurately and according to plan before every rehearsal. This is one of the most important tasks in P&C which will affect the outcome of the Parade.

A big shoutout to my wife, Clare, who takes wonderful care of our three daughters when I am away during NDP22 training. My family has further shown their support by attending my Saturday rehearsals.


NDP22 P&C comprises over 1,500 participants

NDP22 P&C comprises over 1,500 participants

What are your hopes for NDP22, considering that this is the first full-scale NDP after the pandemic?

Witnessing the massive crowd dressed in red and white, returning back to the Float and celebrating NDP22 as “One People, One Nation, One Singapore” is a sign of Hope and Strength of our Nation. Let's celebrate NDP22 together as one, “Stronger Together, Majulah!”


Written by: LCP Scott Pang (Army News)

Photography by: PTE Bryan Lee (Army News) with contributions from NDP22 Media Team