Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Singapore - National Day Parade 2010

Sent by Valerie from Singapore.

This is from Wikipedia : The Singapore National Day Parade (Abbreviation: NDP, Chinese: 国庆庆典, Malay: Perbarisan Hari Kebangsaan, Tamil: தேசிய தின அணிவகுப்பு) is a national ceremony in Singapore that, as its name implies, includes a parade on Singapore's National Day on August 9, in commemoration of Singapore's independence that is usually held at the National Stadium, the Padang or The Float@Marina Bay. The most recent parade, NDP 2010, was held in the Padang, continuing the practice of holding the Parade there every 5 years.

Singapore celebrated its first National Day in 1966, one year after Singapore's independence from Malaysia on 9 August 1965.

The first National Day Parade started in the morning at 9:00 A.M. People came as early as 7:00 A.M. in order to get good vantage points. Singapore's first President, Mr Yusof bin Ishak and Singapore's first Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, were seated with members of the government at the grandstand on the steps of City Hall. When the parade began, 6 military contingents (including the Singapore Infantry Regiment, SPDF and the Republic of Singapore Police), a mobile column from the SIR, and various schools and civil contingents marched past City Hall and then into the city streets. Of course, 3 military bands accompanied the parade inspection and later the march past with military music. The Singapore Fire Brigade also took part in this first parade with its firetrucks included in the mobile column.

By next year, the contingents increased to 76, including those of the then established Singapore Armed Forces, the RSP and more cultural groups. The reason is partly due to the introduction of the National Service program in the military and police forces, and later extended to the Fire Brigade, later called the Singapore Fire Services in the 1970's.

The 1968 parade, infamous for being the first NDP to be held in the rain, also witness the first parade presentations on the Padang, made by various groups and organizations to complement the civil-military parade.

On the August 9, 1970 NDP edition, the Flypast of the State Flag and the Republic of Singapore Air Force Flypast debuted. Helicopters carrying and escorting the Flag of Singapore fly past the Padang in an iconic salute to Singapore's independence. The next year's NDP would be the first time that mobile parade floats, future regular parade participants debuted.

By 1973, the parade were now held from the afternoon to early evening. The next year, color broadcasts of the parade on television began.

The 1975 parades, held to celebrate Singapore's 10th year, were for the first time decentralized into 13 parade venues for more public participation. Almost all of them lasted for an hour and all of them even had route marches on the streets.

By the time the NDP was held at the National Stadium (for the first time) in 1976, the NDP Guard of Honour, composed of officers and personnel of the SAF and the Singapore Police Force made its first appearance, followed after the parade proper by the very first evening presentations by various groups, a prelude to future evening NDPs in 1980 and from 1985 onward.

1981's NDP was the very first parade appearance of the then SPF Civil Defense Command, presently the Singapore Civil Defense Force, later combined with the SFS in 1989. (The SCDF of today showed itself for the first time in the 1982 NDP held in the Padang.) They were held in two decentralized venues, Jurong and Queenstown Sports Stadiums for further increase public attendance and participation in the celebrations.

The 1984 NDP edition, the parade also celebrating Singapore's Silver Jubillee of self-governance was one of the most awaited parades ever staged at the Padang. It included a much more bigger Mobile Column.

Over the years, the Parade has become the biggest national event in Singapore. What is perhaps most memorable at each celebration is the fireworks display marking the climax of the parade; the sky would be bursting with the wonderful colours of the visual vista, dazzling it as well as the hearts of fellow Singaporeans. On this very special occasion, most Singaporeans would be decked out in patriotic colours - namely, red and white.

The Parade has gained enormous popularity and support from the people that it is not unusual to find massive number of citizens trying to get their hands on a ticket, which is released free-of-charge. In the past, it has been known that people would arrive hours before the ticket booths even open, such as the one in 1998, where some arrived as early as 36 hours before the actual release of tickets.

This proved to be problematic for obvious reasons and as such, the government set up the e-balloting ticketing system in 2003, in order to tackle the problem of overcrowding and possible problems that might result. Such ticketing system enables citizens to stand a chance at winning the tickets by registering their e-mail addresses or mobile numbers at the NDP website or phonelines.

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