Singapore is celebrating its 55th independence day today. The biggest event of the day, the National Day Parade (NDP) was held with restrictions. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong relayed his televised message on the occasion and urged Singaporeans to be resilient in facing the COVID-19 crisis.
This year's national day was celebrated by remembering the services of those working in the medical sector. Tributes were paid to the frontline and essential workers throughout the morning parade. Here is all you need to know about NDP 2020.
This year too the national day celebrations are taking place in two events in the morning and evening. The maximum number of people allowed to take part in each event is 300. This year's NDP featured the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) flypast with F-15SG fighter planes along with Singapore flag flypast and the mobile column.
Singapore's Glory in the First Mobile Column
The mobile column was selected with care and featured Singapore Armed Forces, the Singapore Police Force, and the Singapore Civil Defence Force. The first time the mobile column was introduced in the national day parade was in 1969. The NDP included 18 AMX-13 light tanks. This was considered as an achievement as Malaysia did not have any tanks then. Singapore had secretly bought 72 AMX-13 tanks from Israel in January 1968, wrote a history expert on Twitter.
This year, the second part of the celebrations is getting marked with fireworks in the evening at Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Buona Vista, Jurong Lake Gardens, Marina Reservoir, Punggol, Sembawang, Tampines, Woodlands and Yew Tee. The celebrations including the parade are held at the Float at Marina Bay and decentralized venues all over Singapore including Padang and the National Stadium.
Firsts in National Day Parade
Singapore got its freedom from Malaysia on August 9, 1965. The first NDP was held the following year on the same day in 1966. Here are the details of years of interesting additions made to the NDP. The feu de joie of the Guard-of-Honor contingents were introduced for the first time in 1980 during the 15th NDP. The late evening celebrations were added into NDP for the first time in 1986 and the audience was allowed to use flashlights. In 1989, the parade was held in the afternoon. But from the following year, it returned to the morning and evening format.
The public interaction was allowed in the NDP in 1993. National Education Show was introduced in 1997 that gave a chance for five primary class students from the selected number of schools to attend one of the rehearsals of the NDP.
In 2003, an electronic voting ticketing system was introduced to deal with overcrowding during the NDP. Accordingly, a ballot was conducted where citizens had to register their e-mail ids or phone numbers to win tickets for the NDP. The result was announced on the NDP website.
Recently, there was a controversy regarding the National Day Parade song sung by the celebrity singer Nathan Hartono. People claimed that the celebrity was an Indonesian and slammed for making him sing Singapore's NDP song. However, Hartono clarified the issue and said that he was a first generation Singaporean and brought an end to the controversy.