She had always wanted to perform at the National Day Parade (NDP) and her school was looking for performers.
So when her five-year-old-son told her he wanted to perform as well, Madam Fattimah Shekh Adip Ally applied for both of them.
The senior lecturer at Republic Polytechnic will be performing at this year's parade with her son, Aydan Ally, who is also this year's youngest performer.
Attending last year's NDP motivated her to apply to perform, said Madam Fattimah. Turning 50 this year also makes the parade even more significant for her.
"I was in the audience at last year's parade. The atmosphere was truly inspirational and I really wanted to be a part of it," she added.
Madam Fattimah will play a Javanese vegetable seller in the opening segment together with her son, who acts as a village child.
Another performer who got to fulfil her dream of performing at the NDP is Devni Kaluarachchi, 10.
The Gongshang Primary School pupil said: "My older brother performed at the parade for the last three years, and it has always been my dream to follow him."
Devni will be one of over 600 primary school pupils who will perform in the final chapter of the celebrations.
This year's parade is slated to be the grandest one yet. In a nod to the first NDP that was held 49 years ago, the parade will return to the historic Padang field but on a larger scale.
Organisers have constructed the largest stage ever built at the Padang for the NDP.
Spanning about one-and-a-half football fields, it can hold up to 4,000 performers at a time.
Show Committee chairman Colonel Tan Cheng Kwee said the confined space at the Padang was a challenge.
"We had challenges with the size of the props that we could bring in. I'm very happy to say that we have managed to resolve some of the issues, and the parade will be set to amaze and wow the audience this year."
Creative director Dick Lee said that everyone on the creative team feels the stress from the expectations for SG50.
"The stress was almost enough to kill us. But I want to make this the most meaningful NDP, a celebration of who we are," he said.
"If I can get the message across emotionally, then I would have done my job."
This article was first published on July 10, 2015.
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