Larger-than-life props at National Day Parade

This year's National Day Parade (NDP) will feature around 70 large props, from 10m-tall Chinese and British ships, to Singaporean food favourites like the durian and ice kacang dessert.

They will appear throughout the parade, which is divided into six chapters chronicling the country's progress from a fishing village into a modern metropolis.

They were displayed at yesterday's parade rehearsal, the second National Education show, which played to an audience of about 25,000. The parade's reviewing officer was Minister for Education Heng Swee Keat.

Soldiers from the Headquarters Singapore Guards, this year's parade organisers, have been tasked with moving the props and ensuring that they are not damaged in the process.

Among them is 21-year-old Mohammed Husaini Abdullah, who has to help steer the 3.5m-tall icekacang float through the performance area and back to storage. The second sergeant, with two other helpers, also has to join a nearby dancing routine.

"Moving the prop isn't too difficult, as we just need to regulate its speed and make sure it isn't damaged," he said. "The dance steps are quite easy to catch too. It's fun."

But there are also challenges. His fellow Guardsman, Sergeant Darrick Ong, 20, has to lead about 20 men in coordinating the movement of much bigger props, such as ships, rickshaws and the small boats. The largest ship takes an hour to move between the Padang and its storage area near Benjamin Sheares Bridge.

Sgt Ong said: "We have to be on the ground, guiding the driver when he moves the prop, as he can see only what is ahead, but not sideways. But I don't mind. It's meaningful to be involved in the NDP."

This article was first published on July 19, 2015.
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