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NDP affirms S’poreans can overcome and thrive as one

While millions of Singaporeans took in the sights and sounds of the National Day Parade (NDP) celebrations at the Padang on Aug 9, thousands more worked behind the scenes for weeks on end to make the celebration a success.

Together, they showcased the country’s resolve to keep moving onward as one in the face of threats, which was the theme of NDP 2023.

Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen pointed to the Covid-19 pandemic as one such threat that Singaporeans had to weather together.

“With each NDP, we collectively affirm that no matter what Singapore faces, all Singaporeans will overcome and thrive as one,” he said on Thursday at an NDP appreciation function at Gardens by the Bay to honour those who worked to make the nation’s 58th birthday celebration a hit.

The group includes participating organisations, sponsors and key staff of the NDP organising committee.

NDP 2023 saw full-scale celebrations resume for the second year running, after the Covid-19 pandemic forced NDP 2020 and 2021 to be muted affairs.

“Without the NDP celebrations, something feels amiss, lacking. To say in Hokkien, boh song, buay song, and the year seems incomplete,” said Dr Ng, using dialect terms that mean a lack of satisfaction.

On Thursday, he presented awards to 15 Gold Award recipients and 73 principal partners to thank them for their hard work and dedication. Chief of Defence Force Vice-Admiral Aaron Beng also presented awards to 47 major partners and 124 co-partners of NDP 2023.

Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Ng said: “It took thousands who worked hard and gave up weeks of their lives to make NDP happen, but because of your efforts, hundreds of thousands more could enjoy and celebrate another year of Singapore’s independence.”

Some 2,400 performers and 43 artistes were involved in NDP 2023.

More than 81,000 people watched the ceremony live at the Padang across the previews and the actual day.

Around three million viewers watched the parade from home on Aug 9, while nearly 100,000 attended the heartland celebrations, Dr Ng said.

This was the first time a full-scale NDP celebration was held at the Padang since 2019.

When construction of NS Square at the site of the Marina Bay floating platform is completed – expected to be by the end of 2026 – it will become the primary venue for future NDPs.

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