Sunday, August 18, 2013

The First National Day Parade

Mun Chor Seng remembers and writes about the first National Day Parade….  

“The other day while trying to tidy my photo albums, I found some local stamps issued in 1962.  Printed on the stamps were the words "National Day, June 3 1962, State of Singapore."  They were issued as commemorative stamps to celebrate our National Day on 3 June 1962 ( Photo 1).  It confirmed for the first time in print that 3 June 1962 was to be celebrated as Singapore's National Day but there was no National Day Parade (NDP) then.

The next year another set of commorative stamps bearing the words "National Day, 3rd June 1963 State of Singapore (Photo 2) was issued. A NDP was organised with the theme "Through Unity to Nationhood".  It was held at the Padang (Photo 3).  By coincidence, the same year, TV Singapura was established and "Live" TV was possible through the single 4-hour channel monochrome service then.

The NDP started in the evening with the first "LIVE" TV Transmission beginning at 5.30pm and ending at 7.20pm (Photo 4).  The Yang di-Pertuan, Yusof Ishak, and the Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, together with Assemblymen and Assemblywomen with Senior Government Officials were seated at the grandstand on the steps of City Hall to witness the parade (Photo 5).  The music for the parade was provided by the Singapore Police Band directly opposite the City Hall Padang.   After taking their eye salute march pass the City Hall, the contingents marched their way into the city streets.  The Singapore Infantry Regimen, The Uniform Groups, The Police Force (men & women), The Fire Brigade, schoolboys and schoolgirls, Workers' Brigade, Boys' Brigade and the Malay Contingent paraded with "Through Unity to Nationhood" Banner (Photo 6).  The floats that night were by the participation of Television Singapura, Chin Woo Athletics Association, Hokkien Huay Kuan etc.

Rounding up the evening parade was a long dragon dance support by live fire performers and the lion dancers from the Singapore White Crane Association ((S.P.H.D.A.A.) who later merged with the crowds into the night.

Photo 1:  1962 National Day Commemorative Stamps 4 cents & 10 cents.
Photo 2:  1963 National Day Commemorative Stamps 4 cents (HDB Flats)
Photo 3:  TV Camera Crews covering the NDP at the Padang.
Photo 4:  VIPs viewing the parade at the City Hall Grandstand.
Photo 5:  PM spoke at the First National Day Parade on 3 Jun 1963.
Photo 6: The Malay Contingent who took part in the march past.

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