We managed to get tickets to the rehearsal show for Singapore's 48th National Day Parade as Daddy was part of the working party. We arrived at the fun-pack booth at 4pm to meet some friends who were also joining us for the show. There was a light drizzle that had been dragging on since early morning, but Daddy had told us that ponchos were available in the fun-packs, which we donned on quickly before heading up to the spectator gallery. This was helpful as it meant we didn't have to bring our own raincoats, which would have added to the weight Mommy had to carry. In the fun-pack were a number of small packaged snacks, packet-drinks and bottled water, pamphlets and vouchers, and light-sticks which we will have fun with after the sun sets. Daddy had been on duty since the morning and he would be meeting us later midway through the show. Before heading to our seats, Mommy made sure that the kids made a visit to the toilet.
|Guess who made a special appearance? Nila, the beloved Singapore Community Games mascot mingles with the crowd.|
|Merlion shaped biscuits come come in the Fun Pack! Snacking was never so patriotic!|
We were allocated a section with a wonderful view. The seats were still wet due to the drizzle, which was slowly clearing up just in time for the show. Throngs of primary school students were still making their way to their seats for the National Education Show. They looked so colourful as a result of the ponchos they were wearing.
Before the show started, the early birds got a kick out of spotting themselves on the big-screen as the roving cameras panned the the spectator stands for random shots. There were also some very creative on-screen games, when the big-screen video will focus on one person in the stands and flash a multiple choice question. The person can answer the question by flashing his or her choice of the answer by showing a 'one', 'two' or 'three' using their fingers.
|"Busy-Bees" leading the songs!|
|Our beloved "Kacang Puteh"men! Note the ponchos on the spectators as the drizzle clears up.|
The pre-parade segments began at about 5pm, with the Busy-Bees, motivational cheer and song leaders made up of volunteers, led us in a sing-along medley of local songs, one in each language. We were pleasantly surprised by the Kacang Puteh men who spontaneously appeared out of nowhere and tossed yummy peanut snacks into the crowd randomly. Our emcees for the show were the Gurmit Singh, Vernetta Lopez, Sebastian Tan and Siti Khalijah. Despite the number of rehearsals already done and hours put in before, they seemed to be full of energy and were dynamic and energetic from the start. You could see they were having fun doing their job, as they interjected and interrupted each other with humorous lines much to the delight of the crowd. The SAF Red Lions are an annual crowd favourite and they did not fail to please once again. This year features the first woman Red Lion, Shirley Ng.
|"Kacang Puteh!!!" These were the most generous peddlers we've ever seen, throwing out packets of peanuts in all directions! It must be the pay-it-forward movement!|
|Vernetta interviews the rose among the thorns...|
|Anti-terror police move in to take down the gunmen...|
|... they move into the crowd to seek out the fleeing terrorists...|
|The army has been deployed and are combing the built up areas...|
|The SAF's monsters of the road... Leopard Tanks!|
|The Civil Defense tending to the injured civilians 'hurt' in the terrorist attack...|
|A final wave goodbye from representatives of the real life heroes who keep our country safe!|
The Parade and Ceremony segment kicked off at about 6pm, and the contingents were marked in like clockwork to the steady beat of the SAF band. A pleaser for us was how much ‘thump’ we were able to experience just being there. Every year we would watch the parade and show on our television screens, but being in the spectator gallery, we could feel every beat of the bass drum shaking the ground, every powerful shot of the 21-gun artillery salute pounding the stands, feel the sonic boom of the aerial flypasts and watch everything unfold around us wider than wide-screen. It was truly an eye (and ear) opening experience, so much so that certain parts of the parade required us to cover our ears due to the loud noise! One of our favourite parts of the parade was when the National Anthem was played, the Chinook brought in the flag fly-past flanked by two Apache attack helicopters. However, we did not manage to get any pictures of it as we were all at attention! You can Google for photos of the majestic sight I guess.
|Contingent march past.|
|F-16s doing the 'double shackle'!|
|The traditional 'Starburst' formation by the F-16s! Powerful sonic booms here!|
The theme ‘Many Stories, One Singapore’ was strongly emphasized throughout the show segment, beginning with traditional legends of Singapore told by the energetic child emcees. There were numerous dance items by different groups, of which some photographs are featured here. Each act was a treat for the senses, either music to our ears or a spectacular combination of lights and sound. Kudos to the participants and artistic team led by Dim Sum Dolly Selena Tan!
|Little Gurmit tells the legend of the swordfish!|
|What's a story session without the legend of the how Singapore got its name?|
|Note that the background imagery is innovatively made up of pixel boards held up by student participants!|
|This segment celebrates how Singapore's city skyline has changed over the years.|
|Light sticks from the Fun Pack come in handy as we sing along!|
|This shot of the stunt-bikers, roller-bladers and skate-boarders is blurry due to the fast speed they were moving at and the fog effects that accompanied it!|
|With the setting of the sun came a very different atmosphere.... and fun with lights!|
|Each item became more and more brightly lit!|
|There was a special appearance by our beloved mascot, the Merlion! What's he doing on stage?|
Before the show comes to an end, there's always the much anticipated volley of fireworks we've seen from a far or on television many times. Being on the scene gave us a different dimension, as it was not confined to a spot on the skyline. It was everywhere, like the difference between watching a movie on the television and being in a 4-D movie theatre! It seemed like despite it being simply a rehearsal, they were letting it all fly! Perhaps they needed to test the full effect! More photos here for us to enjoy!
The Finale was a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem with all our performers on stage together, followed by an impressive display of fireworks again.
The show ended a little past 8 pm and we had to walk quite a bit to find a spot we could conveniently take a cab from due to the competition for public transport and road closures. Mommy did a good job of shepherding two tired kids out of the Marina Bay Float as Daddy was on duty till much later that night. However, the reward for all that effort was an opportunity to experience a preview of the nation's biggest party, and what an eye-opener it was. The kids enjoyed it thoroughly, and we'd hear them bellow their own rendition of the songs and re-enact out their favourite items for the rest of the week.