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Friday, August 12, 2005

The Brief History of Munn Through NDP Memories

August 9. Significant date for Singapore. A date easily remembered by most Singaporeans. Here, I try to recall my 30 years' worth of August 9s....

1979? 1980?:
Pre-1984 NDPs were held in a few stadiums. Decentralized parades is not a new thing. They've had it even before 1984. Why 1984? That year was also the Olympic Games in Los Angeles. It was also the first time the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games had mass performances. Singapore couldn't lose out, so the NDP committee copied the mass performances concept from the LA Games. Anyway I think it was in 1979 or 1980 when my parents brought Fye and me to Bedok Stadium to watch the parade. Yes! It was purely THE parade! Even then I was awestruck with marching and footdrill and soldiers and SIA girls... haha... Hey, there were even contingents from PAP, NTUC, PUB, SIA, Nurses Union, etc... Singapore then, as I recalled, was truely Singaporean and truely one united people. I think the reason why we don't really see these contingents marching is coz most of the people who make up the contingents now are foreign workers. Therefore cannot say it's a Singapore thingy.

Singapore celebrates her 24th birthday and I was in Sec 2 then. I was involved in the mass display for TaeKwondo. I remember we spent our saturday afternoons practising at Farrer Park. We even got our black belts (when we were actually green belts that time). Then on the full-dress rehearsal, I got into a fight with Shaoming in school before the mass display. He broke my glasses and I couldn't see properly. Because of this, I wasn't allowed to perform at the National Stadium on full-dress rehearsal. I ended up sitting at the grand stand and blind as a bat!

I was doing NS at 3rd Guards. The Guards Formation was in charge of organising the NDP at the National Stadium. Weekends were burnt. I wasn't performing but was part of the logistics crew. I remember following the 3-tonner drivers to far-flung KFCs to collect rations for the performers. At one stage I was also the OC runner, carrying his signal manpack set running up and down the grand stand. Those were the days before handphone! I also recall during one of the rehearsals, my pager kept beeping and I called home to find out Fye was admitted to the hospital for drug allergies. He was warded in Toa Payoh Hospital, which is also long gone.

Singapore celebrated her 31st birthday! And I also left Singapore on this very day for Purdue University. I think there were more people in the airport sending me off than there were people watching the NDP. No lah.... like real....

Summer holidays for me. Came back to watch the fireworks with Dad and Dave Ong at the Kallang River. We were supposed to take photos of the fireworks. Ah Ong forgot to bring his cable release for the shutter.

One of our Purdue buddies - Gregg - was doing his NS. He was performing as a huge flower (don't ask me why). Anyway he had 2 free tickets for the full dress rehearsal. So Ah Ong and I went. Ah Ong and I brought our cameras again. And after the previous year's experience, Ah Ong learned his lesson and brought his cable release. But he forgot to bring batteries for his camera! COCK RIGHT? So he spent most of the full-dress rehearsal asking other spectators for spare batteries. He never got them.

The Guards Formation were the organisers again. As reservists from the Guards Family, we got tickets for one of the rehearsals. JA and I went.

Every year also the same kind of NDP - Red Lion commandos freefalling, flypast, Mari Kita, flash-card display. No mood for NDP... so this year, Dad, Mom, JA and myself fly over to Chiangmai to be with Fye. We had a great time there as a family.

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