Wednesday, July 23, 2014

National Education Show 2014 - A Spectacle of Light & Sound!

"Here we go again!"

For a second year in a row, Daddy managed to get tickets to the National Education (NE) Show. Reminiscing the highlights from last year's edition (click HERE for the experience), we were more than excited about having this privilege once again. It must be difficult for the event organizers and creative directors to 're-invent' the National Day Parade (NDP) 49 years in a row. This year's theme: "One People, Our Home'.

Participants waving their Singapore scarves proudly. These limited edition items came in the Fun Pack.

We attended the second of three shows and met our cousins there shortly after 4 pm. We picked up our Fun-Packs, which came in the form of brightly coloured back packs. The pre-parade starts at around 5.30 pm, and were surprised to find that by the time we made our way up to the yellow section of the seating gallery at around 4.30 pm, there was already a crowd and limited available seats were left. We settled for seats next to a stairwell, which we later found less than ideal as people in and out of it crossed our line of sight with the stage. There was much to be thankful for: the chance to see the show live, the late-morning thunderstorm had cleared and the sky was intermittently cloudy with a cool breeze, even though it was very hot till about 6 pm.

Singing along to our favourite National Day songs!

The 'Motivators' transferring their enthusiasm and energy to the crowd!

Interactive on-screen quizzes, crowd games, sing-along sessions and our lovable mascots highlighted the pre-parade. The large number of children present had a kick out of trying to spot themselves on the big-screen. The ever energetic Hossan Leong who was hosting NDP for the first time anchored an equally enthusiastic cast of emcees including Siti Khalijah, the only returning member from last year's group. There was a huge disappointment among the spectators, however, when it was announced that the Red Lions, the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF) parachute team, would not be making an appearance for safety reasons due to the unfavourable weather that evening. At least we witnessed it last year during the NE Show we attended, as I heard they did not get to jump on the actual NDP 2013 either.

It's a cloudy day which meant a nice cool temperature, but sadly, it was too cloudy for the Red Lions to jump.

Instead, we have interviews with the 'Junior Red Lions', children specially selected to undergo training with the Red Lions as part of the National Day celebrations. Wow!

Interactive on-screen quizzes engage the primary five students there for the NE Show!

Phew! Got that one right!

The parade and ceremony segment brought with it a solemn and reverent atmosphere. The parade began with a 'Military Tattoo' combined performance by the Military Police Precision Drill Squad and the SAF Combined Band before the marching contingents were marched in. We always look forward to the marching in of the Colours party, and the land, sea and air contingents of the SAF all decked out in their smart Number One uniforms. We marveled at the achievements of the parade key personnel as they were introduced on screen as both excellent soldiers and family men. The parade is also an opportunity to experience one of our favourite majestic moments: the Chinook and Apache flypast flying the national flag during the singing of the National Anthem!

Combined Band performing with the Precision Drill Squad.

One of the marching formations as seen on the big screen.

Drumming to the beat of the Military Tattoo by MINDS, the first time they are performing for the NDP!

Contingents come a marching in!

Proud bearers of the SAF Colours and ......

... their Guard-of-Honour contingents.

Bagpipes have a unique sound that adds to the celebratory mood of the parade!

Traditional volley of fire!

21-gun salute rocks the place!

The reviewing officer for the show was Minister for Education, Mr Heng Swee Keat.

"Parade formed up and ready for your inspection, SIR!"

The rotary-wing fly-past with the national flag against the Singapore skyline... nice!

Fly-past by the F-15 Eagles! Their sonic boom shook the entire stadium!

Following the parade, we always look forward to the Dynamic Defence Display (D3) as we get to witness some of impressive military hardware up close. Compared to the flashy story-line, crowd involvment and larger involvement of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) last year, this year's display appeared to be scaled-down version. There was considerably less aerial display, and we missed the magnificent acrobatics of the F-16s and Chinook water-jumps from last year. In fact, this year's RSAF hardware was on the ground in the form of the SPYDER Ground-Based Air Defence (GBAD) system. The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) brought in their Unmanned Fire Fighting Machine (UFM) and there was a tactical fire movement demonstration by the Singapore Police Force's (SPF) Anti-Swarming Unit.

The Bionix Infantry Fighting Vehicle

The Light Strike Mk-II, an improved version of the LSV.

The Primus self-propelled howitzer.


A formation by the Total Defence contingents to commemorate 30 years of Total Defence.

Now it's the Home Team's turn: the Anti-Swarming Unit at work.

The firemen cool the crowd!

Total Defence contingents get up close and personal with a march through the seating-gallery.

The Show segment is traditionally the Singapore story told through light and sound. For the kids, this is where we marvel at the sharpness of the mass dance routines and technological pow-wow of the stage. The backdrop looked unusually bigger this year with more screen panels. The smoke and light effects combined with occasional firework displays.

The sun has set and the out come the light-sticks! The Helix-Bridge at Bayfront Avenue comes alive too!

Spectacular light beams through the smoke.

Everyone's excited about the show! Large floating balloons lined the edges of the seating gallery.

However, nothing rouses the senses more than the finale volley of fireworks after the second National Anthem. Here, it's only right that I let the pictures do the talking!

The view from Esplanade Bridge taken by Daddy.

The show ended around 8.30 pm, and we left Daddy to fulfill his duties and made our way from the Float via the Esplanade to Cityhall. By the time we navigated through the crowd, made a toilet stop and got a cab, it was 9.30 pm. However, the spirit of the show didn't end there. At home, the singing and dancing continued, with the girls taking turns to play the roles of the performers, song leaders and motivators. Over the next few days, modified versions of 'Five Stars Arising' and 'One People, One Nation, One Singapore' filled the living room, Daddy helped the girls assemble their little Nila cardboard models, and we were eating Merlion and heart-shaped Kong Guan biscuits, Hello Panda biscuits with chocolate filling and Sunshine Milo buns from the Fun-Pack for breakfast and tea.

Plenty of these for tea over the next few days!

The outing was a tiring one for Mummy who had the responsibility of managing the kids and 'barang-barang' up and down the stairways of the seating gallery, planning for weather contingencies (which we thankfully did not have to exercise), and getting us there and back home safely. However, the privilege was indeed rare and not to be taken for granted. We are sure that the actual NDP will be even more special than the show we just witnessed! Happy Birthday, Singapore!