SINGAPORE - First-time National Day Parade (NDP) host Hossan Leong is a natural when it comes to keeping crowds' energy levels up.
Bouncing about the stage, dancing and cracking jokes during the last few rehearsals, the effervescent 45-year-old entertainer clearly relishes the gig although it has come late in life.
"I'm very privileged and honoured to be asked to host. Growing up, I never pictured seeing myself on such a stage.
"Even if you want to host NDP, how do you say you want to do it, you know?" said Leong, who will be hosting this year's parade alongside actress Siti Khalijah, actor Ebi Shankara, and radio DJs Jean Danker and Joakim Gomez.
It is also appropriate, given that the host of popular game show We Are Singaporeans is known by some as Singapore Boy after his debut solo stand-up comedy of the same name in 1997.
Leong, who has 20 years of experience in showbusiness, said Dick Lee, creative director of NDP 2014, had put his name forward after seeing him regale the crowd as host of Singapore Day in Sydney last year. "He was impressed that I could entertain the crowd from 10am to 5pm," said Leong.
Rehearsals have kept him busy. One challenge for Leong - who declares that his Mandarin is not very fluent - is memorising lyrics to some of the National Day ditties that will be sung in Mandarin.
The pressure is also on to make sure everything goes as planned as millions of eyes will be on him.
Leong said: "The last thing you want is for a mistake that is dangerous to happen... Timing is a key challenge. The performances involve live firing, parachuting and tanks rolling out. We have been busy rehearsing so that we can get everything down to a tee."
Performing at the parade requires a different skill set as well. He said hosting a show on television and performing on stage are things that happen in a more controlled environment.
"It is technically heavy performing in the open. I've got earphones, a mike for me to communicate with my fellow hosts and with the production team, and the live mike. I need to make sure I speak into the right one," he said.
But after months of preparation, the livewire said everyone who is part of the massive operation is ready to give Singapore its best show of the year.
He said: "Viewers can look forward to a very exciting show and an energetic Hossan running up and down the floating platform.
"I will even try to outrun the Kallang Wave."
This article was first published on August 08, 2014.
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