SINGAPORE: This year’s National Day Parade (NDP) will be split into morning and evening shows, with participant numbers drastically reduced in line with COVID-19 guidelines.
Fewer than 300 participants will be involved in both segments of the show, and the committee does not plan to allow spectators into the evening show at the moment, said Brigadier-General Frederick Choo, chairman of the NDP 2020 Executive Committee on Wednesday (May 20).
Unlike previous years, large groups of volunteers from organisations like the People’s Association, Singapore SOKA Association and the Ministry of Education will not be involved, with performances limited to the Home Team, the Singapore Armed Forces, the Music and Drama Company and some selected performances and artistes.
Safe distancing and hygiene measures will be implemented for performers, and this includes the wearing of masks and having different holding rooms for different groups of performers.
Rehearsals have also been postponed to the end of the “circuit breaker”, despite typically starting in March. Preview shows will not be available for Singaporeans either.
The circuit breaker will end on Jun 1.
The NDP executive committee unveiled this year's theme and logo during Wednesday's media briefing.
Under the theme "Together, A Stronger Singapore", this year's NDP calls on Singaporeans to stay united as one people and work together to emerge from challenges "stronger than before", said the committee.
This year's logo consists of a heart to represent compassion, paired with a fist to signify conviction. The logo's red-to-purple gradient signifies "passion flowing into an inspiring future".
MORNING AND EVENING SHOWS
The morning show will start with a broadcast of the Prime Minister’s National Day Message.
There will be a “dignified and compact” parade at the Padang reviewed by the President.
In line with the new concept of “bringing NDP across the island into every Singaporean home”, the state flag and the F-15 fighter jets will be flown all around Singapore. The mobile column will return and the Red Lions parachutists will also be landing in the heartlands for the first time, said BG Choo.
About 200 participants will be involved in the parade, a 90 per cent reduction from the regular parade size.
The evening show will have “more intimate and small-scale performances”, without the mass performances that have become a staple of NDP. The show will be held at Star Vista’s Star Performing Arts Centre, with about 80 to 100 participants.
The evening show will have a stronger emphasis on films, telling stories of Singaporeans including one about a veteran nurse, Nora, who served during the SARS outbreak and continued to work during COVID-19 even while she was pregnant.
Fireworks will also be available at more than 10 locations, to “allow as many Singaporeans to see it as possible”.
While the NDP committee has planned the celebrations in line with strict COVID-19 safety measures, there is room for adjustment, depending on how the COVID-19 guidelines evolve in Singapore, said BG Choo.
ACTIVE PARTICIPATION BY SINGAPOREANS
Although broadcast remotely, Singaporeans will have a chance to take part in NDP. They may submit a recording of a common national day song which the committee will put together to create an NDP virtual choir. There will also be a light-up segment where Singaporeans can show their appreciation for community heroes by lighting up their phones.
Each household will receive a fun pack containing items that allow them to interact with the parade and within their family. Singaporeans are also encouraged to fly the national flag in the lead up to Aug 9.
“This year’s NDP will be a landmark one. For the first time since independence, instead of bringing Singaporeans to a location, we will bring NDP across the island into every Singaporeans' home,” said BG Choo.
“Just like the past 54 NDPs, NDP 2020 will be an unyielding reminder that Singapore will keep going on. COVID-19 will not deter us and we will continue to celebrate but differently.”
In a Facebook post, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said: "True to our Singapore spirit, this year’s NDP will turn an adversity into triumph.
"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will not be possible to hold the NDP in the traditional format, where thousands of participants practice for months, and for many more thousands of spectators congregated at the Floating Platform or Padang."
Instead, this year's parade will be brought "right to the homes of all Singaporeans", he said, adding that a "special NDP night show" will be broadcast on TV and Internet platforms.
"Singaporeans can be both spectators and participants at the same time, as interactive elements will be incorporated."