SINGAPORE: A giant metallic lion will stride across the stage at this year's National Day Parade (NDP) show segment - not as a float, but as a six-metre tall puppet, the biggest prop in NDP's recent history.
It will make its way past audiences at the final moment of the fifth act, in a spectacular display that includes a dazzling 30-second laser show.
The lion will be one of nine giant puppets featured at this year's NDP show, announced the NDP Show Committee at a media briefing on Wednesday (Jul 3).
The other eight puppets - all about 4.2 metres tall - will be designed in the style of wayang kulit, dressed in ethnic costumes from Singapore's four official races. They will be part of Act 3, which focuses on Singapore's "rich multicultural heritage".
The theme of this year's NDP is "Our Singapore", calling for Singaporeans to unite and be pioneers of the future, with about 2,700 performers involved in the show.
"National Day Parade 2019 will be staged as one integrated show to tell Singapore's story from past to present. We will also celebrate our values of unity, resilience and the courage to dream," said chairman of the show committee Colonel Lim Han Yong.
"These values have defined Singaporeans over generations and they will continue to guide us as we chart our way forward as pioneers of our future."
BICENTENNIAL FLOATS, SINGAPOREAN STORIES AND YOUTH PERFORMERS
Divided into six acts and a prologue, the show has a focused narrative of Singapore's history from its earliest days to the present.
The prologue will have eight floats centred on nine organisations established in the 19th century, such as the Singapore General Hospital, the Singapore Fire Brigade and the General Post Office. This will be part of Singapore's Bicentennial commemorations.
The Red Lions will also be returning to the Padang in a thrilling 10,000-foot descent as part of the prologue.
For the first time, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and HomeTeam Volunteer Corps will appear as a marching contingent at NDP in Act 1. The traditional flypast will be enhanced, with the Multi-Role Tanker Transport on display.
The second Act will see the Mobile Column returning to the Padang, as a tribute to its first appearance 50 years ago, emphasising Singapore's readiness to defend the nation.
Act 4 will screen a short film featuring four stories of Singaporeans who have "shown resilience and courage in overcoming their fears and challenges".
An LED wristband given to audiences will also light up in time to a drum performance in this segment, creating a "massive visual display" and integrating audiences into the show itself.
In the final act, Singaporean singers of all ages will assemble to sing this year's theme song, a mash-up of two crowd-favourite NDP songs We Will Get There and Our Singapore.
Each act will be anchored by renditions of classic NDP songs, such as Stand Up for Singapore, Count on Me Singapore and One People, One Nation, One Singapore.
This year, 85 per cent of performers will be youths, the highest proportion of youth performers in a decade. This is to emphasise the key role of Singapore's youth as the "pioneers of tomorrow".
Running the show as creative director for the fifth time is singer-songwriter Dick Lee.
Reflecting on the challenges of putting together this year's NDP, he said: "As time goes on, technology gets better and people’s expectations are higher. It’s always a bit stressful to put up a show that will wow everybody and make everybody feel strong and powerful."
"(But) I think it’s nice to return to it. For me, I love doing it because it’s just a way I can express myself as a Singaporean," he added.