2015 Golden Jubilee NDP

We celebrated Singapore Golden Jubilee NDP in advance last Saturday, and we can already proclaimed 2015’s NDP the best one so far.

The storyline, the vintage parade, the jets, helicopters and tanks rumbling mere meters away from our Grandstand. There is something for everyone. Fireworks, oldies goodies songs, and the spontaneous audience.

We feel you, Singapore!
NDP Chinook National Flag
(Chinook Time 6.51pm)

Last Saturday, we joined countless other families (and a cohort of Primary 5 students) to celebrate National Day at the Padang.
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One People, One Nation, One Singapore. Does not matter race, religion and language, we were all wearing Red and White last Saturday.
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Families waited in anticipation, as segment after segment of performances kept us engaged. The Sam Willows, and sometimes Mexican waves help too 🙂

Motivators and performers lead the audience to “Chan Mali Chan” yesterday’s favorite Singapore songs.
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Red Lions(Time 5.52pm) always attract the crowd’s attention from the moment they leap off. The clear blue sky captured their trails and speedy descent. Audience chorus “OH..oH..Oh..” as Red Lions touch down so gracefully onto the tarmac.
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SAF Military Tattoo performance (combined Military Band and Precision Drill Squad) entertains with their formations and synchronisation. Look out for the classical instruments (Gu3 Zheng1) at the rear.
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Meanwhile, Boon Yee and Boon Xin eagerly posing with one of the motivators, who were busy giving away balloons and cheering the audience.
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As the Black Knights (Time 6.15pm) flew a Five Stars tribute for MM Lee, we remembered Singapore’s outpouring of emotions in 2015 Mar at Padang. This is also the same spot where we first heard Lee Kuan Yew shout “MERDEKA!” from the steps of Cityhall.
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An empty seat, a stalk of flower, a tribute to MM Lee.
Since Singapore’s independence, MM Lee has never missed a single NDP Parade before 🙁

Thank you MM Lee. One People One Nation One Singapore.
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The integrated show leads us through Six chapters, from Singapore’s early beginning to her future aspirations. Details at this link ndp.org.sg.

Chapter 1 Beginnings
A prince from Sumatra, Sang Nila Utama first discovered our island, followed by Sir Stamford Raffles.
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As the story unfolds, our forefathers (early immigrants from China, India and archipelago) streamed to Singapore to start their new lives. Hawkers, rickshaw pullers, coolies, and other professions came to our shore (Durians too!)
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Vintage parade must be one of the highlight of NDP 2015. As 2015 is Singapore’s Golden Jubilee NDP, some of the participants had marched in Singapore’s National Day parades from the 60s! The audience clap especially loud when our Vintage parade (Grandpas) filed past.

So nostalgic to see Police wearing khaki shorts, è­ŠćŻŸç©żçŸ­èŁ€! (just like Ch8 period dramas)
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Chapter 2 Progress
Parade form up, comprising members from Statboards, private enterprises, Hometeam and SAF.
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Took the opportunity to share with the kids, Red berets are the Commandos and those smart guys in all whites(shoes too) are Naval divers.
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One second, we see the “50” F16s (Time 6.53pm until 7.08pm) on the LED screens, the next second they flew over MBS towards Padang. The crowd goes Wow as the first wave of F16s approaches.
Singapore NDP Flypast

Non-stop action from the fly past! Plane and helicopters roar overhead, afterburners full blast! We have never seen such a huge gathering of RSAF assets in Singapore’s history. Formidable sight!

Do look out for the Airbus A380 on 01 and 09Aug!
is NDP Flypast loud

This F15 pilot wants to say Hello to you! Click on image below for RSAF F15SG’s cockpit video.
F15SG says Hi
(image credit RSAF Fanpage)

Love how the screen seems to extend performance to audience!
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– 25pounder Gun (Time 6.57pm) (estimated)
– Feu-de-joie (Time 7.02pm) (Guard of Honor contingents firing into the sky)

Defence Minister, flanked by CDF and Parade Commander waving to the crowd. During Dr Ng’s Guards of Honour inspection, the 25pounder ceremonial guns were firing away near Merlion.
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Marching past, making way for the Mobile Column. We can already hear the 60 tons engines rumbling from a distance!
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Chapter 3 – Strength
Boon Yee liked the Mobile column segment, he remembered all the special vehicles from an earlier media event at Kallang Leisure Dome.
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Mobile Column gif!(Time 7.21pm until 7.35pm) Love the endless vehicles passing by, we are impressed with SAF and Hometeam’s capabilities!
NDP 2015 Mobile Column

Stephanie Sun and Kit Chan will be performing our favourite songs on actual day, I am looking forward to “Home 柶“.
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As night falls, love how special lightings are casted on National Gallery’s facade. Cityhall’s Dome looks especially mesmerizing (and colonial) under the moonlight.
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Chapter 4 – Unity – Many Cultures, One Nation
Folks from Soka and others will form up words on the Padang like “Majullah”. This chapter hopes to showcase that Singaporeans are united in common ideals and goals of building a home that belongs to all of us, regardless of race, language or religion.
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From our seats, we noticed new LED screens forming an arc from left to right. There is a theater-feel as we watched the “story” unfold from one end to the other 🙂

Chapter 5 – Identity – Uniquely Singaporean
Can you recognised some of the icons from our growing up years? Expect to see some Singlish too, and kids did not understand “Blur like Sotong” haha.
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Chapter 6 – Onwards – Bright Future
Love the dancing light tubes from 600 students. When the performers are in sync, it is pretty amazing and adorable sight. We had a few giggles when someone forgot to “change” colour hee hee 🙂

Quite cool to see the colourful stickmens.
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Golden Jubilee NDP performance

Grand Finale (Time 8.12pm)
Fireworks leading to the climax of 2015 Golden Jubilee National Day Parade.
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Our happy family, super proud to be Singaporeans.
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We heard around 200,000 people will be crowding the Marina Bay area to celebrate 09Aug.
After all, how many times do we get to celebrate a nation’s Golden Jubilee?

Kudos to all the organisers and performers! They have sacrificed so many weekends to present Singaporean’s Golden Jubilee show.
NDP rew and performers
(image credit ndp.org.sg)

Thank you Mindef (Accord and NEXUS) for the invite, 2015 Golden Jubilee NDP is the best NDP performance thus far.
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Pop by the following links for more NDP updates :
– NDP Website and Fanpage
– A few weeks earlier, we rode a Bionix (From Mobile Column) into Town
– 2014’s NDP Parade (we drifted with RSN Divers’ RHIB at Marina Bay!)
2010 Mobile Column Rocks too!

– More 2015 NDP NE3 photos have been uploaded onto our fanpage album

What made our experience more memorable this year is our kids got an opportunity to pack some Funpacks too!
packing NDP Funpack

* All our NDP 2015 events can be found under #NDP2015 (NE3, Mobile Column, NDP Funpacks)

NDP Mobile Column 2015

[ Media Invite ]

We were invited to a sneak preview of 2015 NDP mobile column. The Mobile Column only appears once every 5 years, we are familiar with the usual Leopards, Bionix, Broncos and SCDF Home Team vehicles.

But we were happy to chat and learn more about the folks behind the NDP Mobile Column.
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Everyone was super friendly at NDP mobile column holding area.
Hello to SCDF team from Sengkang Fire Station, and their new Rhino.
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Captain Celestia and the six-years old commando-wannabe. She is the commander of the impressive Leopard 2 Armoured Engineer Vehicle (L2-AEV). Tasked to clear obstacles, Captain Celestia and crew will be at the frontline during any confrontations.
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CEV with fellow Nuffnang bloggers Jonathan (@jhwphay) and Jocina (Madeline not in picture).
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Major Cai, CO 48SAR (Singapore Armour Regiment), is the man running the Mobile Column. Kids got a bit too friendly with this macho CO.
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It was interesting to wave to the crowds standing by the road side and overhead. Cars slow down to watch the convoy lumber along. Last Sat, we were part of the convoy 🙂
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Kids always love the Rhino (upsize)
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Boon Wee trying to grab a K-STER (mine disposal system).
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Kids always look small standing next to the Leopard platforms.
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Friendly ME1 Koh showing us how to load the stretcher with a winch. We heard this Ford ambulance has better suspension, thus better off-road handling than its predecessor. Lifesaving equipments (AED etc) are now kept inside the ambulance.
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After a while, they wanted to know who is the driver or guardian of the mean-looking ride. Boys were intimidated by the Gurkha and they nominated Boon Xin to ask!
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His Armoured Personnel Carrier will surely attract a lot of attention in our neighbourhood carpark. Mind you, this Austrian build vehicle weighs 12 tons!
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The highlight of our tour is the convoy itself! Media group was invited to hitch a ride on Leopard, Bionix, Terrex or Bronco along the convoy route!

Hello Bionix! This is 1.4 to 1.9, rollout!
Not so fast, we need to get a safety briefing first, and vehicle-overturn drill too.
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I told Boon Wee where I used to sleep (body maintenance) during outfield exercise. (I was a gunner with 41 SAR). Armour troopers can steal a few winks when vehicles are moving but Daddy gunners had more luxury :p

Hello to the two drivers in the fourth Bionix (John and John), both NSF are in their first year with 48SAR.
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Staging area at Nicoll Highway outside Suntec city. From here, the convoy will make a loop around Padang.
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Video : NDP Mobile Column from Kallang Leisure Dome to Suntec City

A pity only those above 1.5m can go for the convoy, as smaller kids might not fit the helmets (Safety Reason).
But Boon Xin got the honour of pushing the 21 tons PRV (Protected Response Vehicle)!
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The rumbling vehicles have attracted a crowd at Suntec City.
How often do you see tanks in the city?
where to watch NDP Mobile Column
NDP Mobile Column 2015

Nothing is left to chances, low-loaders move the heavy vehicles overnight from camps to Leisure Dome carpark while we are still sleeping. There are spare vehicles to ensure there is no show-stopper.
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The full NDP Mobile Column details can be found on NDP 2015 website. The Navy’s Specialised Marine Craft will be a sight to behold. It looks so sleek and futuristic! (Click for RSN video)

Try to identify all the vehicles from the poster.
NDP mobile column vehicles

2015 NDP Mobile Column is 2km long, consisting of 177 vehicles, and needs 15 mins to pass through.
I think we can understand why Mobile Column only appears once every 5 years. It is a huge logistical undertaking to bring all the vehicles to city center. The tight timelines, support crew and multiple road closures.

Thank you for the invite, SAF. It was a fun session for the kids to get up close with the vehicles (and crew).
They call the convoy a “joy ride” but someone needs to ensure everything runs like clockwork. Countless rehearsals under the hot sun. Burnt weekends. All for Singapore’s Jubilee year!

More photos have been uploaded on our Fanpage album.
Visit our 2010 Mobile Column experience here.

* All our NDP 2015 events can be found under #NDP2015 (NE3, Mobile Column, NDP Funpacks)

A Day in the Army – recruitment drive

Simulation allows soldiers to hone their skills and train their muscle memory in a safe environment. Soldier’s reflexes and instincts will be automatically triggered during an emergency.

Simulations offer soldiers an opportunity to handle real-life scenarios which are otherwise not feasible to practice on real platforms. Example vehicle overturning drills, artillery bombardment or evasive drills from hostile helicopter gunship.

Simulation helps save precious resources like fuel, ammunition and most importantly, time.

With “hands on” confidence, soldiers improve their situation awareness, and are more effective when they get involved in real missions. With effective simulation, Singapore’s NSFs can stand on their own and match professional soldiers in overseas Leopard Main battle tanks proficiency contest.

At the “Army for a Day” recruitment exercise (Sungei Gedong Armour HQ), invited guests got an in depth appreciation of how simulation helps to enhance training. It was fun for guests to experience drifting a 60ton Leopard or testing the Bronco’s gravity defying drive-train, the adrenalin is no less than a Universal Studios ride.

Simulation is virtual, but concentration is real, perspiration is real.

We may be playing a “computer game”, but we can really feel the motion and jolt, when you drive your vehicle up and down the dunes, or when you overturn a Bronco! It was not easy to maneuver my Bionix up the ramp of a landing bridge (picture below).

Here, I would like to thanks and salute all the drivers I have come across. Be it an infantry carrier or a tank, everyone’s lives are in the good hands of our drivers. Drivers are always the last ones to rest after a mission as they need to wash the vehicle. Treat your driver well and he or she will let you eat less humps.

Simulation sounds complicated, but for today’s IPAD generation, the concept of driving a 60ton Leopard is the same as driving a car. The familiar steering wheel, automatic gearbox, the accelerate and brake pedals.
Armour Simulation Sungei Gedong

Live firing was the other highlight of our tour. Nothing comes close to a Leopard tank’s 120mm blast. You can feel the impact and vibes from 50m away. We witnessed a task force (comprising Light strikes, Terrex, Bionixs and Leopards) raining havoc on their targets. Impressive and devastating.

I should know, I was a Bionix gunner during my Armour days (41 and 441). Those days, we had to set up the target boards, pile up endless oil drums under the hot sun. Was glad to know these manual strenuous tasks are no longer necessary, thank you Productivity!

When the Terrex is engaging enemy via it’s turret auto-gun, it reminds me of Sigourney Weaver driving her all-wheel APC (Armoured personal carrier image) crushing ALIENs along the way! Mean, accurate and deadly.

It feels different to revisit Area-D as a civilian, and not in green fatigue. Saribun area offers one of the most scenic landscapes in Singapore (æœ‰ć±±æœ‰æ”·). Funny, when we are in green, “sightseeing” was the last thing on our mind :p
Singapore Armour live firing

Static army assets were on display, pre-enlistees could get up close to Army toys and armaments.
A Day in the Army recruitment

You can even pretend to be a Leopard tank loader. This round weighs 19kg, imagine how the loader needs to shove the rounds into the barrel for firing. In a real mission, Leopard tank will be “firing on the move”. Just imagine the confine space for the loader.

In wartime, speed (and precision) is everything, you better engage and destroy enemy tanks within xx seconds, or hostile forces will pinpoint your position and return fire.
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Mobile field sanitation, washing, shower and even cook-house. Hope this comfort items will be for humanitarian efforts. I hope there will not come a day when our NSFs demand hot shower in camp (or worse, outfield!)
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A few interesting tidbits from my Armour days:

– the fire power of an Armour battalion is three times that of an infantry (hearsay from my reservist days).
Really dread lugging the 0.5 heavy machine gun and barrels from armskote to vehicle shed!
The countless GPMGs and jerry cans and 1206s!

– I am wondering whether troopers still pack maggie mee, bread and nutella, and cocktail for their 4D3N outfield trips

– Other services always admire Armour roaming around in Area-D, just like armoured taxis. They will not envy us when they see the amount of barang barang we need to dismantle and wash after each exercise!

– Those in M113 (converted to Bionix) always envy those in AMX13 (replaced by Leopards)
– Tankees always get more water, and aircon!
– When in comes to “body maintenance”, troopers have to squeeze into the Bionix hull, ramp, or engine top
– it gets more challenging with each reservist cycle, as soldiers grow horizontally

– Not sure whether there are anymore moon leaves in Saribun. Armoured vehicles use moon leaves for camouflage.

Sweet or sour, once you don a Black Beret, you are part of Armour family.
Once Armour, Always Armour.

Armour Logo

In case you need to find our more details:
A Day in the Army registration (email link provided)
Senang Diri blog for more SAF news
Fanpage Cyberpioneer
Leopard Main Battle Tank Youtube
Bronco Youtube

* NDP 2015 will involve Mobile columns again (every 5 years). Do not MISS it!