NDP 2023 Parade Commander’s Young Sons Salute Him At Home – Aww!
In just a couple of days, it will be Singapore’s 58th National Day. This year’s National Day Parade (NDP) sees the return of a full-scale physical Parade and Ceremony at the Padang, which will involve 34 marching contingents and more than 1,700 participants.
Making up this impressive assemblage will be the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Colours Party, five Guard of Honour contingents, five contingents from the SAF, Singapore Police Force and Singapore Civil Defence Force, 10 contingents from Youth Uniformed Groups, 14 contingents from social and economic groups, and the Combined SAF-SPF and Schools Band.
And the man leading the pack: Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Ragumaran S/O Davindran, this year’s Parade Commander (PC).
Although this year's outing will be his second time participating in NDP (he was the PC Reserve last year), it will most likely be even more memorable for the 38-year-old Commanding Officer of Supply Base North, Supply Command.
“Initially, I was just in a state of shock, especially when I was told that I would be the first Supply Officer to be NDP Parade Commander. This is a career-defining milestone, something which I could have never imagined, and I truly feel privileged and humbled to be given this opportunity,” he says, adding that the first person he announced this appointment to was his wife, Veni, followed by his parents.
“My family was equally excited and elated upon hearing the news. To date, at times, my two sons candidly address me as ‘Parade Commander Sir!’ with the accompanying hand salute at home! I can sense that they are proud that their dad is going to be this year’s NDP Parade Commander.”
We speak to LTC Ragumaran about his personal goals as PC, and getting tips by being part of a “sacred chat group” of PCs past.
LTC Ragumaran, who is Commanding Officer, Supply Base North, Supply Command, giving his opening address at a unit safety seminar in April this year. | IMAGE: NDP 2023 EXCO
Congratulations, Sir! How do you feel about being the first Supply Officer to be an NDP PC?
I am indeed privileged and humbled to be given the opportunity to represent our Army’s Logistics community, also known as Combat Service Support Command (CSSCOM for short), and the Supply Formation. It is a testament to how much we have grown over the years and the trust that has been bestowed upon us.
LTC Ragumaran (right) with Parade Regimental Sergeant Major, Master Warrant Officer Pandykumaran S/O Arthiappan from the Republic of Singapore Air Force. | IMAGE: NDP 2023 EXCO
What are your personal goals as a PC, apart from conducting a smooth parade?
To meet new people and make new friends, as the volume of interactions and collaborations we have with civilians, students and different uniformed groups is something that we don’t often experience in our daytime jobs.
Did you seek any advice from past PCs?
Yes, in fact, I have a sacred chat group comprising Parade Commanders from many, many years ago! The best piece of advice was to “Keep calm, pace yourself and enjoy the journey”. This NDP journey is truly a long one, with many ups and downs. Our deliberate efforts to celebrate “small wins” helps upkeep the morale and builds us up to achieve something greater.
IMAGE: NDP 2023 EXCO
The best advice that LTC Ragumaran has received about being Parade Commander: "Keep calm, pace yourself, and enjoy the journey." | IMAGE: SIM DING EN
Speaking of the NDP journey, what's been your biggest takeaway from the NDP 2023 training and experience?
Training has been tough, but realistic. Seeing people from various walks of life - from different age groups, ethnicities and backgrounds, coming together to give it their all in less than favourable environmental conditions and sacrificing multiple weekends, has definitely entrenched a very strong “Singaporean Spirit”. Very relatable to our NDP theme, “Onward as One” - this has definitely been inspiring for me.
Absolutely! How does the theme “Onward As One” resonate with you?
It is about me playing my part to nurture inclusiveness and unity to those within my sphere of influence, and to advocate resiliency in dealing with challenges. From the soldiers under my purview to my two young sons at home, the younger generations of Singaporeans must be able to weave a strong social fabric, especially during challenging times.
LTC Ragumaran with his wife Veni and two sons, Jay, 9, and Jivith, 7. Fun fact: Jivith will be a float participant in the Total Defence Parade segment. | IMAGE: NDP 2023 EXCO
You mentioned that training has been tough. How do you balance all your work and family commitments with NDP rehearsals?
Concurrently managing multiple commitments is definitely no easy feat. This is undeniably a very busy year for me, and I am truly blessed to have very strong family support and accommodative working colleagues. Forward planning and being flexible to adapt to changes are also key success factors in balancing these commitments.
Ok, we better let you get back to your duties, Sir. Last question: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Spending quality time with my loved ones and watching my favourite football team, Manchester United!