Singapore's upcoming National Day celebration to adopt new format due to COVID-19 concern

For the first time since Singapore's independence, its National Day Parade (NDP) celebrations in August will focus on Singaporeans celebrating in their homes, instead of gathering at a central location like the floating platform at Marina Bay.

Themed "Together, A Stronger Singapore," this year's NDP marks Singapore's 55 years of independence.

It will be split into morning and evening shows, with reduced participant numbers in line of COVID-19 guidelines. Many parade segments will be moved to the heartland and streamed live on TV as well as Internet platforms, said the organizing committee Wednesday.

This year's Aug. 9 celebrations will start in the morning with a national broadcast of the prime minister's National Day message. There will also be a parade reviewed by the president at the Padang, a large field near City Hall in Singapore's downtown area.

In line with the concept of bringing the Singapore spirit into all Singapore homes, the state flag flypast, aerial display, Red Lions parachutists and mobile column will take place in the heartlands. There will also be a special showcase to show appreciation to frontline fighters against COVID-19.

The evening show, to be held at The Star Performing Arts Centre, will have smaller-scale performances and will feature films and performances by Singaporeans.

The festivities will end in a coordinated fireworks display at multiple locations across Singapore.

Chairman of the NDP2020 Executive Committee, Brigadier-General Frederick Choo said, "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," he added.

Performers will have to abide by safe distancing and hygiene, such as wearing of masks and being spread across different holding rooms for different groups of performers.

In a Facebook post, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said "Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will not be possible to hold the NDP in the traditional format, where thousands of participants practice for months, and for many more thousands of spectators congregated at the Floating Platform or Padang."

"Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Through this unique way of celebrating NDP 2020, let us show that Singaporeans are indeed extraordinary," said Ng. 

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