Celebrating Singapore Television 50 Years of Success through a series of exhibitions
When it comes to celebrating the birth and progress of Singapore television, dramas, films, celebrities aside, I do feel that the National Day Parade is a good benchmark of the measure of the success of Singapore television. The iconic event that has been broadcasting every year since 9th of August 1966. The National Day Parade has become a hallmark in the television scene, as it provides a good documentation of the transition of Singapore’s economy, leadership changes and the environment, on how the tiny red dot has transformed into such a first world country within a short span of close to 50 years. Therefore, 50 years of Singapore television puts a good check to note our progress , what more to ask for from the National Day Parade which has relentlessly accompanied many generations of Singaporeans?
The segment of exhibition for NDP will be broken down into a series of different mini exhibitions and projections, to bring the audience a walk down the memory lane into NDP over the years, combined with various elements to intrigue the different senses of the human body, visuals, sounds, touch elements will all be made available in this exhibition to give a more in depth feel to the entire NDP journey.
In this segment, a short write-up on the National Day Parade will be presented along with a few iconic photographs, showing the venues used for NDP, the Guard of Honor contingents, the seating area of the ministers, members of the public enjoying the moment of NDP over the different decades.
The short write up will talk about how Singapore has progressed from a small country to a metropolitan city of now, the advancement of the industry and economies, the building up of the Nation’s armed forces and defence system, and how Singapore has become a regional hub around the South East Asia region etc. The focus of the introduction will be on the different venues and different styles of the parades held over the years, and how the documentation has varied over the years, from traditional news media the likes of radio and television to the integrated multimedia platform which includes dynamic television and internet streaming and the use of social media to engage more audiences across the region, not just Singapore.
The introduction panel will set the mood for the audience to be immersed in the parade, marching music played by the SAF Bands might be played at this segment as well, which will prepare them well for the other segments in this NDP exhibition.
In this segment, audiences will be welcomed to 3 different dioramas, mini construction of the venues of NDP used, namely the Padang area, Kallang National Stadium, and the Marina Bay Floating Platform. The dioramas will give the audience an actual feel of the venue, the 3D structure will definitely allow more interactions and thought processes to flow through as we analyse the different venues in depth in terms of size, capacity and complexity.
The 3 dioramas will also show the progress of the nation, as each venue also shows the technological achievements the nation has come thus far, from a grass field opposite the parliament house, to a national stadium that hosted countless sporting events that rallied the country together, to the latest floating platform which offered a most breath taking view of the Singapore bay area and its central business district, all hallmarks of the progress of Singapore.
Each diorama will have a descriptive text on how the venue was decided to be used for the parade, each venue significance in NDP, their seating capacity, and some trivia. A narrative format should be adopted, the diorama should also have some form of lighting effect to highlight the different elements when the narration goes along, blacking out some areas and emphasizing others, as to improve the dynamism of the exhibition and to improve audience engagement.
In this segment of the exhibition, a closer analysis of the different segments of the National Day Parade will be exhibited. They include namely the “Parade and Ceremony” and “Performances” . Recent NDPs have successfully broken down the entire show into like a series of 5-8 themes, all linked together by the emcees. However in the past it was much simpler and consisted of a many “Chingay” styled mobile floats that is decorated with models standing on it and waving to the crowd.
Parade and Ceremony
The exhibition will bring along a series of uniforms from different armed forces, Army, Navy, Airforce and Navy, explanation of the Guard of Honour Contingent and the colours party. Footages of the 21 gun salute, aerial bomb burst, state flag fly past, mobile column and many more will be shown. The all important presidential inspection will also be shown as well, and it gives us a good walk down the memory lane of the different presidents that had served Singapore over the past 48 years.
In the performance segment, the exhibition will show case the mobile float display, which was very popular in the late 80s and 90s. Archival footages of mass display will also be shown, which will be contrasted with the later mass displays after the turn of the century. Themes of the performances will also be brought into the discussion, we are hoping that we can interview some of the previous creative directors like Dick Lee, allowing him to share his perspective of the NDP changes and how the TV coverage has influenced his decision making on the ground
In this segment, the exhibition space will be divided into 4 different projector screens, each showing the National Day Parade over the course from the 70s, 80s, 90s to post 2000. The objective of this segment is not to just allow the audience to appreciate the different parades, but to draw the very different contrasting elements of NDP over the years, the dressing of people, the technological advancements (from Super Puma to Chinook, 21 Guns on ground to floating on the waters with the M3G platform, etc), the different faces of leaderships, ministers, presidents.
And more importantly, the TV documentation of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, from his days of Prime Minister till today. Arguably, upon the arrival of Mr Lee, the founding father of Singapore, the venue never fails to have a rousing applause. All such elements are what we aim to focus on in this multi-projection based room. It will allow for a complete immersion into the appreciation of the parades.
Proposed Projection Videos:
NDP in the 1970s
NDP in the 1980s
NDP in the 1990s
NDP in 2007 ( The first Parade held on the Floating Platform)
The arist’s impression of the proposed room for the video appreciation:
Who will ever forget the lyrics from Kit Chan’s Home? Sung in 1998, the song has seen countless remixes, and reappearances in almost all following NDPs, such classics do draw the society together, and it is important for us to document down the different songs and showcase it to the audience. This exhibition segment will feature multiple screens and headphones which will allow the audience to look into the various NDP theme songs.
2012 – Love at First Light
2011 – In a Heart Beat
2010 – Song for Singapore, Corrinne May
2009 – What do You See, Electrico
2008 – Shine for Singapore
2007 – Will You
2006 – My Island Home, Kaira Gong
2005 – Reach out for the Skies, Rui En & Taufik
2003 – One United People, Stefanie Sun
2002 – We Will get There, Stefanie Sun
2001 – Where I Belong, Tanya Chua
2000 – Shine on Me, Jaiwab, Mavis Hee
1999 – Moments of Magic, Tanya Chua, Fann Wong
1998 – Home, Kit Chan
1987 – We Are Singapore
Channel 8 Frontline has produced a documentary dedicated to the history of NDP, following the voices of the first few TV audiences who watched NDP at their home TVs, surrounded by their neighbours, to the television crew and cameramen who have since documented the first few NDPs till now, and even also the commentators of the NDP parade, whom have a very important job of delivering the best description to the television audience. The documentary will be played on a LCD screen, with seats at the front for viewing purpose. The objective of the screening of this documentary is to allow the audience to take back a slice of a NDP story that was told to them by someone else who had been there, done that.
National Day memorabilia will be exhibited at the venue, showcasing the different “fun packs” over the years, and the designs of the flags and other items inside the fun pack.
The curators will take an extra effort to source for funpacks dated all the way back to 1990s, where it was more simplistic but still iconic in its own ways.
Over at the photo gallery, curated photos of NDP from 1960s till the 2000s will be selected and placed on the panel at the side, audiences will get to appreciate the moments of NDP over the different years.
Traditional Malay foot drill commands should be played as a light background music effect, combined with marching band music from the SAF, and songs from the combined schools choir to add into the mood of appreciation of NDP.
With nearly 50 years of the documentation of National Day Parade, the television industry in Singapore has come a long way. It had witnessed the birth of a rising nation, the ever changing landscape of Singapore, change in the people and society and the pace of life, the emphasis of total defence and economy growth. It has been better and better, and it shouldn’t stop there.
News gathering and TV production should continue to increase their standards. One should aim for better coverages in the future and engaging content creation for the masses to draw the audiences back into local TV production.
NDP – Our Stories
NDP – Gallery
Cyber Pioneer – What’s your NDP Story?
Serang Diri – A Blast from the Past
iRememberSG – The Day it Rained on our Parade
iRememberSG – National Day Parade 1968
Photos credited to their respective owners