Don’t “update” NDP too much okay?

Mar 10, 2016 10.30AM |

by Bertha Henson

I DID a double-take reading ST’s article on the futuristic National Day Parade this year. What indoor fireworks? Only those with tickets to the National Stadium will get to see that fantastic once-a-year explosion taking place under the roof? Hey, what about the rest of us clinging to balconies and peering through our windows on August 9?

So I gave the NDPeeps Facebook people a shoutout. The answer: “NDP 16 will feature both outdoor and indoor fireworks. The indoor fireworks take advantage of the Stadium’s large enclosed space to bring the fireworks effects closer to the spectators. Outdoor fireworks, a traditional favourite, will remain for the many Singaporeans viewing at home and in the vicinity of the Stadium.”

Ah. So that’s still there….Thank goodness!

So NDP51 will be a peek into the future, the start of Singapore’s journey to SG100. It will have props  and people suspended in the air, 3D projections and drones flying around. (I suppose given that it’s indoors, there’s no need for clearance to fly the drones. Plus they’re probably operated by people who know how to fly the real things.) But what’s with the geometric heart, the public choice of NDP logo submitted by more than 200 people? I like my heart rounded, not with sharp edges that will hurt.

So it’s back to the National Stadium for NDP after a 10-year hiatus, and those of us who have sat in the stands to watch the parades of the past will experience a lump in the throat if we do get tickets again. But there is no mobile column rumbling through and no parachutist landing on the green artificial turf. I’ve always enjoyed the display of military might. I believe the men like it too, just so that they can tell the women folk which moving vehicle does what – and whether they’ve been in one.

There will still be mass performances I reckon, with students and volunteers taking part. I don’t suppose they will be in space suits or lugging laptops or demonstrating some sort of circuitry, screaming WE ARE A SMART NATION?

The NDP motto is Building our Singapore of tomorrow, which looks like part of a concerted attempt to focus on the future with discussions on the economy and what sort of Singapore we (or young people) want for themselves. It’s yet another national conversation we’re having, after celebrating 50 years of our past.

Some bits of the future should be fine but not if it becomes so way ahead that the older folk won’t recognise what they are looking at.  In the haste to upskill, upgrade, upsize and outsmart, we have to remember that some people will be left out. And it would be a pity if old folk come away from the nation’s 51st birthday bash thinking that the future is not for them.

There’s still something to be said for traditional displays by people in traditional costumes. We have a colourful heritage and a diverse music and dance culture – and no, they needn’t be “updated”.


Featured image by Flickr user Gyver Chang.  CC BY-ND 2.0

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