Are you ready for the Anthem Moment?While you’re watching the National Day Parade (NDP) from home this year, don’t be surprised if you hear the familiar chorus of “Majulah, Singapura!” echoing through your neighbourhood.
// Story by Benita Teo
// Photos by PIONEER photographers
On top of parade favourites like the marchpast, state flag and F-15SG flypast, and Presidential Gun Salute, this year's Parade at the Padang will feature a special Anthem Moment, to rally Singaporeans at home to stand together and sing the National Anthem.
"The Anthem Moment is significant because it represents a moment of unity for the entire country to come together in spite of the challenges that we face, to look to the future, full of hope and optimism," said Colonel (COL) Cai Dexian, 36, Chairman of Home Celebrations and Engagement Committee.
Here's what you need to know to join in this special Anthem Moment:
Rally call: listen out for the "All-Clear" siren at 10.30am!
At approximately 10.30am, the Public Warning System siren will be sounded, signalling the start of the Anthem Moment. Wherever you are watching the parade from, remember to stand up and participate in the moment!
Cheer on 3rd Sergeant (3SG) Lim Yu Jie as he raises the state flag at the Padang
Full-time National Serviceman 3SG Lim will be raising the state flag during the Anthem Moment. This is the first time that he is participating in the NDP.
"My role requires me to raise the state flag in sync with the national anthem, without being able to look up at the state flag – that is the challenge. It requires precise movements," said the 20-year-old Military Policeman from the Military Police (MP) Enforcement Unit, Singapore Armed Forces MP Command.
However, he is no stranger to this prestigious and important ceremony: as a Presidential Guards Section Commander, he is also in charge of raising the state flag, known as the Presidential Standard, at the Istana each morning when he is on duty. But as the flag used for NDP is smaller and lighter, he has to work hard to make sure he keeps time and applies the right amount of force when hoisting the flag.
To do so, he trains three times a week. He also listens to the National Anthem in his free time and runs through the motions in his head.
"There's definitely more pressure, and I feel more nervous, especially since the parade will be broadcast live on TV. But I keep my cool by talking to my friends before the parade. We psyche each other up, and relax by taking deep breaths."
Watch for the concurrent flag-raising ceremonies held at eight locations around Singapore
As the National Anthem is played at the Padang, flag-raising ceremonies will also be conducted at eight locations across the island, each representing a key national sector.
"Each of these locations is full of meaning and significance, because they represent some of the essential work, behind-the-scenes work (that) many of our unsung heroes do to keep Singapore going (during the COVID-19 pandemic)," said COL Cai on the choice of the locations.
Ministers will be present at the locations to lead in the ceremonies and meet with the participants. Snippets of these satellite ceremonies will be broadcast on TV and radio.
The locations are:
- Padang, representing the nation's defence & security, and culture & heritage;
- Changi Airport, representing transportation;
- Enabling Village, representing the social services;
- Kampung Admiralty, representing housing and community;
- Lifelong Learning Institute @ Paya Lebar, representing employment & skills;
- National Centre for Infectious Diseases, representing healthcare;
- North Vista Secondary School, representing education; and
- NTUC FairPrice Hub @ Joo Koon, representing Trade & Industry.
Experience the Anthem Moment 'live' through the participants onsite at the locations
"It's my dream come true - I'm always the one who will stand up for the National Anthem (during NDPs)!" gushed Ms Maslindah Binte Fadzilah, a Hospitality Manager at INSEAD Residences.
The 40-year-old had always wanted to be a part of the NDP celebrations. This year, she is one of the Singaporeans invited to join in the Anthem Moment at Kampung Admiralty.
When INSEAD Residences was converted into a Government Quarantine Facility, she was placed in charge of overseeing the operations and caring for the well-being of its residents. However, her work extends beyond just a day at the office:
"Sometimes, they text me in the middle of the night. (If I'm unable to speak their language) I will use Google Translate to try and understand what they are saying. I'm glad that they turn to me (when they have problems).
"Even though we are only talking to them (the residents) remotely, we want to assure them that we are always here for them. We want them to know that they are not alone," said the mother of nine-year-old twins, a boy and a girl.
Listen to the stories of Singaporeans who are making a difference, in the "Stories of Strength" films
This year's National Day celebrations will feature 55 stories of everyday Singaporeans who embody strength and resilience. Their stories will be told in films that will be aired during the day, with 20 being showcased in the morning segment.
One of these Singaporeans is Mr Gurdip Singh. The sprightly 67-year-old may be a retiree, but he is definitely not one to spend his silver years relaxing.
After winding down his luggage and travel goods business seven years ago, he picked up volunteering as a past-time. He joined RSVP Singapore The Organisation of Senior Volunteers, where he acts as a guide to visitors at places such as the URA City Gallery and Wisma Geylang Serai Heritage Gallery.
Unfortunately, these activities came to a halt when COVID-19 broke.
Mr Gurdip then began taking Zoom lessons on through RSVP Facebook. He became so well-versed that he is now able to conduct tours through the online platform!
"This is a new world. If we don't embrace it, we will be left behind. And I don't want to be left behind," he said.
"I'm now very comfortable with Zoom. I was able to host RSVP's first virtual open house. I'll also be co-hosting with Singapore Art Museum."