NDP returns to Padang with flypast around heartlands
Story by Thrina Tham / Photos by Chua Soon Lye & PIONEER Photographers
This year's National Day Parade (NDP), themed Onward as One, will be the first full-scale NDP at the Padang since 2019.
It's that time of the year to get your red shirts ready!
The NDP will return to the Padang on 9 Aug, with the State Flag Flypast and fighter aircraft soaring through the heartlands. There will also be heartland celebrations over the weekend of 5 and 6 Aug at five sites across Singapore.
At the Padang, audiences can expect an enhanced aerial display to commemorate the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)'s 55th anniversary – with more aircraft and manoeuvres than previous years.
There will also be a Total Defence (TD) Parade, featuring floats and assets from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Singapore Police Force and Singapore Civil Defence Force together for the first time.
The SAF's Digital and Intelligence Service – established last October – will also make its inaugural NDP appearance, with its Guard of Honour marching contingent.
Delivering a heartfelt experience
Chairman of the NDP 2023 Executive Committee Colonel (COL) Terence Ho said that this year's NDP, themed Onward as One, aims to inspire Singaporeans to come together to build a shared future.
"Singaporeans can look forward to a vibrant and uplifting celebration as we return back to the Padang. We hope to call upon Singaporeans to look forward confidently…to come together to build a shared future that is inclusive (and) full of opportunities."
COL Ho recalled watching the parade overseas back in 2018 when attending a course in Australia.
"When the National Anthem was played, I was literally the 'Azuan' in NDP – I teared and it made me realise that there's no place like home, and there's no place like Singapore", he said, referring to Mr Azuan Tan, a teacher whose heartfelt reaction was caught during the 2022 broadcast.
"This is what I thought would be important to deliver to Singapore – the same experience, the same feelings, the same sentiments."
A feel-good number this year
Singaporeans always have something to say about NDP songs (whether positive or negative!), and this year's theme song does not aim to disappoint.
Titled Shine Your Light, the upbeat number is composed by Don Richmond, who co-wrote it with ShiGGa Shay. It is performed by an ensemble cast including 53A, The Island Voices, lewloh, Olivia Ong, ShiGGa Shay, Iman Fandi, and Lineath.
The idea behind the song's lyrics is about "bringing out the best in all of us, and hopefully inspiring the next person," shared Mr Richmond.
"But it's also to have a song that is 'feel good', that's catchy, infectious, and puts a smile on (the faces of) all Singaporeans. So, the way we are doing this is by having a big group of great musicians."
He added: "Hopefully in no time, the kids will be clapping along and singing along as well."
Check out the music video here:
Celebrations at the Padang & heartlands
About 27,000 audience members are expected to watch the parade live at the Padang this year.
A highlight will be the TD Parade segment which will feature the six pillars of TD through floats, along with military and Home Team assets. There will also be a Show segment with four Acts and three short films.
Crowd favourites – such as the Red Lions, State Flag Flypast and Presidential Gun Salute – are also set to return.
Those at home will also get to join in the excitement by catching the State Flag Flypast and fighter jets as they soar through the heartlands again on 9 Aug.
Early celebrations will also take place with NDP heartland events on the weekend of 5 and 6 Aug, co-organised with Sport SG for the first time.
Themed GetActive!, the festivities will take place at five sites across Singapore – Bedok Stadium, Jurong West Stadium, Toa Payoh Stadium and Woodlands Stadium.
They will include sports activities, games, and live performances in a carnival-style event.
Finally, the public can also catch the fireworks display at these five sites – which will go off in tandem with the fireworks at the Padang to cap off celebrations.