For the past four months, corporal Putra Muzhafar Razali, 20, had been leading a double life.
On weekdays, he was a trooper with the 3rd Battalion Singapore Guards - doing everything from foot drill to combat training and firing rifles. But on Saturdays, he was a trishaw rider for a few hours.
He was not moonlighting, but getting ready instead for his debut at the National Day Parade (NDP).
Yesterday, Mr Putra and 19 of his comrades formed a neat contingent in a vintage display that is part of this year's parade.
"We were specially selected to be the cyclists for the trishaws for the vintage parade, which is one of the highlights of this year's NDP... I'm very honoured," said Mr Putra, who is an NSF. They ferried 20 Singapore Airlines stewardesses in a scene reminiscent of famous SIA advertisements of the past.
The vintage parade was a throwback to NDPs of the 1960s, and featured policemen, nurses, firemen and soldiers in the uniforms they wore back then.
About 450 participants took part, forming nine contingents that represented sectors such as the Singapore Armed Forces, the Housing Board and POSB. Madam Nora Kang, 60, a branch service manager at DBS Bank which operates POSB, was among 50 bank employees marching yesterday.
The mother of two donned POSB office wear which she wore in the 1979 parade, the first time the bank took part in NDP. Madam Kang, who volunteered for this year's NDP, said: "It's very nostalgic and it's a rare opportunity. This is easier than before because it's a shorter distance and it's less formal."
For Ms Christine Ng, 31, an SIA cabin crew member of nine years, the parade offered a glimpse of another side of Singapore's pioneers.
Said the first-time NDP participant: "There was an air of exuberance among all the participants. This was expected in the youth, but I didn't expect to see that in the pioneers - they went around giving us high-fives!"
See also: More stories on NDP 2015
This article was first published on August 10, 2015.
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