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MWO Pandykumaran S/O Arthiappan is this year’s Parade Regimental Sergeant Major. IMAGE: SIM DING EN

NDP 2023: He’s The Man Who Plans The Parade’s Shape And Form

While Master Warrant Officer (MWO) Pandykumaran S/O Arthiappan from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) is no stranger to the National Day Parade (NDP), he is no less excited about being part of NDP 2023, which sees the return of a full-scale physical Parade and Ceremony at the iconic Padang, one of Singapore’s numerous National Monuments.

In fact, this is MWO Pandy’s fourth outing at NDP. Taking on roles previously as Engagement Secretariat and PSG Trainer, he was also Parade Regimental Sergeant Major (PRSM) Reserve in NDP 2022 – a role that saw him beginning training as PRSM in NDP 2023. This latest appointment was decidedly unexpected.

“The nomination surprised me, and I had to calm my nerves while trying to internalise the nomination,” he confesses. “My family members were shocked and excited when they heard of my nomination.”

MWO Pandy (left) with NDP 2023 Parade Commander LTC Ragumaran S/O Davindran. | IMAGE: NDP 2023 EXCO

The 43-year-old – who is Command Chief, Changi Air Base, Air Power Generation Command by day – is “humbled and privileged” and considers the appointment “an honour”.

“Importantly, it will be a special moment for my mother and my spouse, both of whom have always been pillars of support for me,” he adds.

We speak to the devout family man and father of one about his passion for drills as a student, what his role as PRSM entails, and his love for reading psychology-related articles.

MWO Pandy in an NDP 2023 rehearsal at Seletar Camp. | IMAGE: NDP 2023 EXCO

Congratulations on being nominated the PRSM at this year’s NDP! First off, what does your role as PRSM entail?

As the National Day Parade 2023 Regimental Sergeant Major, I actively focus on planning for the parade’s form and shape while creating a detailed training plan for all entities involved in the parade.

In tandem, I also coordinate closely with the trainers to customise progressive training plans and objectives for the parade participants and ensure that the parade’s standards are met.

Notably, I also conduct and oversee the training rehearsals, and actively engage the participants to boost their morale and motivate them to enjoy the NDP journey.

We hear you enjoyed drills and parades when you were young – tell us more about that.

I have always had a strong interest in drills and parades, which inspired me to join the Boys Brigade in primary school. A personal dream of mine has always been to march at the Padang, especially during NDP. Finally, the dream will come true. This NDP journey will be a significant milestone in my career and life.

This must be a very special year for you also because it is the RSAF’s 55th anniversary. What progress have you witnessed in the RSAF since you first joined it?

I joined the Republic of Singapore Air Force in 1998. Since then, the RSAF has undergone transformation and restructuring to enhance its ability to defend Singapore. In addition, the RSAF has continued to leverage on technological advancements to enhance effectiveness and efficiency in its operations.

I am humbled and privileged to be appointed as the PRSM for NDP 2023, which will also commemorate the 55th anniversary of the RSAF through an enhanced aerial display.

Command Chief, Changi Air Base MWO Pandy (second from right) engaging Changi Air Base personnel with Senior Commanders. | IMAGE: NDP 2023 EXCO

What does this year’s NDP theme “Onward As One” mean to you – as a soldier, as a Singaporean, and as a family man?

The NDP 2023 theme, “Onward As One”, resonates deeply with me, as I have always believed in teamwork. The theme underlines the importance of advancing as a community as we create our shared future. The success of Singapore, the military, and a family depends on people and teamwork. For our country to succeed, teamwork is crucial.

Whatever our backgrounds or passions, Singaporeans must unite as a single nation and take action in the causes that matter to us. Together, we can build a Singapore that continues to turn diversity into strength and opportunities into challenges.

MWO Pandy (fourth from right) with some of those involved in the Parade and Ceremony segment. | IMAGE: NDP 2023 EXCO

What’s your biggest takeaway from the NDP 2023 experience so far?

The NDP 2023 parade participants are made up of social, economic, uniformed, and military groups with varying parade experience. Throughout the NDP training, it’s been amazing to watch our parade participants, both young and old, from various backgrounds and ethnicities, come together and move forward as one.

They have a great positive attitude, and I admire their determination to always do their best. They make even the most impossible tasks possible, which indicates their strong sense of national pride as Singaporeans.

I always look forward to my engagement meetings with them, where we discuss our experiences and fun moments from the NDP 2023 journey.

MWO Pandy with his wife, Anitha, and daughter, Rhea. | IMAGE: NDP 2023 EXCO

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

My free time is always reserved for my family, and we actively plan activities to help us forge closer bonds. In addition, I also prioritise my free time to read psychology-related articles, which will aid in the completion of my assignments and preparation for examinations, as I am currently in the final year of my undergraduate studies. I’m pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Murdoch University.

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