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Photos: Nick Chee (state flag flypast), NDP2020 EXCO (flag-raising) and Instagram/@stanley_chee (Roar of Unity and Red Lions) and @zhspotting (Mobile Column)

NDP2020: NDP Favourites At Our Doorstep, SGUnited Game Damn Strong

In an address to the nation on 12 Mar 2020 about the COVID-19 situation in Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said: "What makes Singapore different from other countries is that we have confidence in each other, we feel that we are all in this together, and we do not leave anyone behind. This is SG United, we are SG United."

Almost five months later, as we prepare to celebrate Singapore's 55th birthday on 9 Aug 2020, and even as frontline staff continue the fight against COVID-19 to keep Singapore going, the SG United spirit is unwavering.

The theme of this year's NDP is "Strength of Our Nation" (it could very well have been "Singapore Tok Kong") and it is a celebration not only of our resilience during this pandemic, but also of our strength and unity built over the past 55 years. The best part: all our NDP favourites will be coming to our doorstep!

Photo: NDP2020 EXCO

1. Everybardy sing National Anthem together

“Many of us think of our national anthem as a musical expression of Singapore’s identity as a nation. It conveys our enduring hope as well as a spirit of progress. And this year, we hope to unite Singapore in a collective national anthem moment,” says COL Cai Dexian, Chairman of the Home Celebrations and Engagement Committee, and Commander of the 8th Singapore Armoured Brigade.

COL Cai Dexian, Chairman, Home Celebrations and Engagement Committee.Photo: Sim Ding En

The 36-year-old father of two also goes on to explain that at about 10.30am on 9 Aug 2020, the Public Warning System will sound - essentially a clarion call to rally Singaporeans to participate in the "Anthem Moment", during which the National Anthem will be played.

This event, which will be broadcast live over TV and radio, will see eight flag-raising ceremonies taking place concurrentlly across the island - at the Padang, Changi Airport, Enabling Village, Kampung Admiralty, Lifelong Learning Institute at Paya Lebar, National Centre for Infectious Diseases, North Vista Secondary School, and NTUC FairPrice Hub at Joo Koon.

2. Fighter planes and helicopter lai liao

“Our F-15SG fighter jets will perform a Roar of Unity over the parade at the Padang, but thereafter, they’ll be flying in loops around the island," says COL Cai, who added that the jets will be flying over some of our public hospitals, paying tribute to frontline and healthcare workers.

"They’ll also be flying around the island, and people will be able to enjoy and hear the sound of the F-15’s roaring over their homes.”

And if you can't catch the soaring sextet, the two state flags - yes, two; there's an additional one this year - will be moving at a pace that even Ah Ma can capture on her mobile phone.

And talk about putting the "heart" in "heartlands": As one state flag makes its way around Singapore along an eastern aroute, and the other on a western route simultaneously, they will form the shape of a ❤️.

Photo: Nick Chee

3. Trundling tanks and daredevil drops

"This year, we decided that we wanted to bring the Mobile Column and the Red Lions across the island and as close to people’s homes as possible," says COL Cai.

"Each of the routes was designed very deliberately to maximise our coverage of residential areas, so that we enable Singaporeans to enjoy the sight of the Mobile Column, wave their flags, cheer (the Mobile Column) on, and watch them drive past their homes."

So if you live in these areas, take note: monstrous vehicles will be trundling past (aka that moment when the SAF can flex their arsenal of don't-mess-with-us machines):

West: Jurong West, Jurong East, Bukit Batok, Bukit Panjang, Choa Chu Kang
North: Khatib, Yishun, Admiralty, Marsiling, Woodlands, Sembawang
Northeast: Seletar, Buangkok, Sengkang, Punggol, Pasir Ris, Tampines
South: Clementi, Queenstown, Bukit Merah, Tanjong Pagar, Kallang, Bendemeer, Potong Pasir, Toa Payoh, Bishan, Ang Mo Kio, Yio Chu Kang
Southeast: Changi, Simei, Bedok, Kembangan, Paya Lebar, Hougang, Serangoon, Geylang, Marine Parade, Siglap

"This year, we will be bringing some of our frontline fighters (like healthcare workers and safe-distancing ambassadors) with us on the Mobile Column," says COL Cai.

"This will give Singaporeans the opportunity to cheer them on, and to recognise and appreciate the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to keep Singapore going."

Finally, the Commandos’ Red Lions Parachute Team will be airdropped in two locations: "One of them will be jumping in Jurong East, close to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. The other team will be jumping in Sengkang, close to Sengkang General Hospital," says COL Cai.

"I think we're all very familiar with the traditional model of NDP, where we bring Singaporeans to a central location," says COL Cai.

"This year, we've had to take a very different approach. So, instead of bring Singaporeans to NDP, we want to bring NDP to every home across Singapore, so that everyone can celebrate together with their loved ones."

Now, isn't that exactly what "SG United" is all about? ✊

Photo: Nick Chee

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