This year's National Day Parade will cost twice that of previous parades prior to SG50, and almost on a par with the $40.5 million Golden Jubilee NDP last year ("NDP 2016 at Sports Hub to cost $39.4m"; yesterday).
To be fair, twice as many people can join in the celebrations because of the larger capacity of the National Stadium as compared with previous venues at the Marina Bay floating platform and the Padang.
In addition, there will be two, not one, preview shows this year.
So, double the cost comes with twice the number of people having fun.
While I agree that we should be transparent and exercise prudence in government spending, we must look at the value of the NDP beyond dollars and cents.
The NDP is more than merely a show. It is a successful platform to strengthen our national identity as one people of this young nation.
Many Singaporeans share stories about the NDP.
We remember the nostalgic early NDP songs, the sweat and pride in playing a part at NDP performances as students, the jubilant atmosphere when watching the parade in person and on TV, and the memories of yearning to catch a glimpse of our beloved leaders, such as the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
Surely, the value of NDP goes beyond dollars and cents.
As our society becomes increasingly segregated by forces such as income disparity and differences in beliefs, the NDP is a sound investment in bringing our people closer as Singaporeans, for Singaporeans and by Singaporeans.
William Tan Whee Kiem
This article was first published on March 2, 2016.
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