As the COVID-19 pandemic takes over the globe for nearly the first half of 2020, it is difficult to predict when it will be over.
Even so, the National Day Parade (NDP) 2020 Executive Committee (EXCO) has decided to carry on with this year’s NDP to commemorate Singapore’s 55 years of independence.
According to the official media statement released by the NDP2020 EXCO earlier today (20 May), this year’s National Day celebrations will go on. However, the Committee assured that the celebrations will not require Singaporeans to “congregate at a certain location”, adhering to the social distancing measures.
Brigadier-General Frederick Choo, the Chairman of the NDP2020 EXCO, acknowledged that it will be the first time since the country’s independence that the NDP will be “brought into every Singaporean home”.
He expressed that the NDP2020 will be an “unyielding reminder” that Singapore will persevere amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering how mass gatherings are not encouraged during this period, he noted that the Committee is firm on its stance in continuing with the celebrations though with a different approach.
“This year’s NDP will be a landmark one – for the first time since our independence, instead of bringing Singaporeans to a location, we will bring NDP across the island into every Singaporean home. Just like the past 54 NDPs, NDP2020 will be an unyielding reminder that Singapore will keep going on. COVID-19 will not deter us and we will continue to celebrate, but differently.
Mr Choo invited all Singaporeans to join the NDP to celebrate at home as a way to create a “stronger and more united” Singapore.
We call on all Singaporeans to join us in the coming weeks and months as we build up towards the 9th of August. And together, through this, we want to rally Singaporeans. Let us emerge from our challenges a stronger and more united Singapore.”
To let Singaporeans take part in the NDP2020, the Committee announced that citizens are encouraged to upload videos, photos, well-wishes, reflections, or stories onto their social media accounts, along with the hashtags #TogetherStrongerSG and #NDP2020.
As introduced on the NDP’s official website, the celebrations will be divided into morning, afternoon, and evening segments on 9 August. These segments are titled ‘Strength of Our Nation’, ‘Active Participation by Singaporeans’, as well as ‘The Show’ respectively.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be delivering the National Day message in the morning to kick-start the celebrations, followed by a parade at the Padang.
According to Yahoo News, there will only be about 200 personnel from the Singapore Armed Forces taking part in the morning parade. This will be a huge reduction as compared to the size of 1,800 participants in the parade in 2019.
The afternoon segment will allow Singaporeans to participate at the comfort of their homes, with a range of suggested activities such as cooking and working-out together.
The evening show is planned to be held indoors at The Star Performing Arts Centre. Approximately 80 to 100 participants will be involved in the show, creating an “intimate” and “meaningful” night for Singaporeans to enjoy at home.
Acknowledging the current pandemic, Mr Choo mentioned that the Committee is “very mindful” of the developing situation, adding that they have been working towards improvising the NDP celebrations for 2020.
“With the turn of the year, with the situation developing, we were very mindful and we were determined to develop a concept that will bring NDP to Singaporeans on the 9th of August, come what may.”
“For the first time since independence, instead of bringing Singaporeans to a location, we will be bringing NDP into every Singaporean household.”