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NDP 2021 may be held at the Float @ Marina Bay 'if situation allows': Ng Eng Hen

NDP 2021 may be held at the Float @ Marina Bay 'if situation allows': Ng Eng Hen

The National Day show as part of Singapore's 55th birthday celebrations. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: Singapore's National Day Parade (NDP) in 2021 may be held at The Float @ Marina Bay "if the situation allows", said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Friday (Aug 28).

Dr Ng was speaking at a virtual function on Friday for participating organisations, sponsors and key appointment holders of the NDP 2020 organising committee, in recognition of their support and contributions towards this year's NDP.

"If the situation allows, we will bring NDP back to the Float @ Marina Bay. That's the plan - NDP 2021, COVID-19 is under control, we will go back to the Float," said Dr Ng.

"And if it does, it will be the 10th time that NDP is held at the Float. I think a good round number to end off the series of NDPs for what was meant to be a temporary floating platform before it is rebuilt into the permanent NS Square."

The NS Square is set to replace the Float @ Marina Bay, which would be redeveloped into a permanent space to commemorate National Service and serve as the primary venue for the National Day Parade, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2017.

READ: NDP 2020 evening show pays tribute to frontline workers amid COVID-19 pandemic

Dr Ng said that even if the COVID-19 pandemic persists in August 2021, he is certain NDP 2021 will carry on, just as how this year's parade went ahead.

"Singaporeans have proven through NDP 2020 that how we celebrate NDP each year is a matter of choice, and we choose to celebrate NDP, come rain or shine, virus or no virus.

"Each year’s NDP celebration is that annual reminder to ourselves and to the World that this little red dot is determined to shine, no matter the difficulties that come our way," he said.

SINGAPOREANS WANT TO BE PART OF NDP

Even amid difficulties, Singaporeans want to be part of the parade, said Dr Ng. 

"This is a virtuous trait that we should further support and encourage in subsequent NDPs, even when conditions allow us to hold centralised NDPs," he added.

Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen speaking at a virtual appreciation function on Aug 28, 2020 for participating organisations, sponsors and key appointment holders of the National Day Parade 2020 organising committee. (Photo: MINDEF)

Dr Ng asked, for example, if it was possible to continue having NDP packs for all households, Chinooks flying around Singapore with the state flag, Red Lion teams parachuting into HDB estates and fireworks across the skies as standard items at each parade.

"I’m not making an edict here, but I'm just asking that subsequent (executive committees) study what Singaporeans are asking for, which elements can be incorporated at every NDP at a sustainable level, and of course, depending on the ground support for these activities," said Dr Ng.

This year's parade was held during the pandemic, which started in Singapore in January, about nine months before the event, he noted.

While the first iteration of the parade had included massive crowds and thousands of performers, these were dropped as the number of COVID-19 infections in the country began to rise.

READ: NDP 2020: At downsized Padang parade, frontline and essential workers get salute

"But as the number of infections rose through January, February, and the circuit breaker, I think it became quite clear that we had to jettison all these plans and instead come up with a relatively COVID-proof way to prepare for and celebrate NDP," said Dr Ng.

Crowds could not gather to watch the parade, nor were mass performances allowed to take place due to COVID-19.

"So, if Singaporeans can’t come to watch the NDP, then we must bring the NDP to Singaporeans," he said.

This was "the core concept" that led to many good ideas about celebrating NDP in the heartlands this year, said Dr Ng, adding that the feedback received from many Singaporeans were very positive.

The minister said he was glad that Singaporeans chose to come together during this year's NDP to celebrate the country's "unity, resolve and resilience as one people".The Red Lions land near Sengkang General Hospital on Aug 9, 2020. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

"Whether it was during the decentralised flag raising ceremonies across the island, the mobile columns, the Red Lions in the heartlands, the naval sailpast or the F15s and Chinooks in our skies – Singaporeans did not shy from showing their support.

"They waved their flags vigorously and cheered through their masks," said Dr Ng.

This year's NDP was a "fitting tribute" to frontline and essential workers, the defence minister added.

READ: NDP 2020: Healthcare workers saluted as National Day Parade comes to the heartlands

"(The night show) provided a glimpse of the innumerable displays of unity, resilience and ground-up acts of kindness among Singaporeans ... All these were timely reminders that this is what we celebrate and defend – Singaporeans, who care for the country and one another, for Singapore."

Dr Ng also thanked all the performers who "pulled off" a spectacular show at this year's celebrations despite the difficult conditions imposed by the COVID-19 situation.

"Each performer I know had to undergo two swab tests and I am very glad that all were healthy and the show could go on," he said.

He also thanked the NDP 2020 organising committee, parade participants, partner agencies including the Home Team, and sponsors for making NDP 2020 a safe and successful one.

"NDP 2020 uplifted Singaporeans to rise above present difficulties, to forge ahead with the assurance that we will surmount each challenge taking care of one another," Dr Ng said.

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Source: CNA/lk(mi)

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