How 3 youths are playing their part for NDP 2022
Three National Day Parade debutants share the significance of their involvement in this year’s National Day Parade.
This year’s National Day Parade (NDP) will see the return of the Dynamic Defence Display under its new name, the Total Defence Display (TDD). The display will feature 500 participants from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the Home Team.
Among the participants are three youths making their NDP debut: 25-year-old First Sergeant (1SG) Kaelynn Hong and 20-year-old Corporal (CPL) Attili Kireeti from the SAF, and 25-year-old Sergeant Three (SGT3) Muhammad Syahkir from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
Apart from it being their first time participating in the distinguished parade, this year’s NDP also carries a different kind of significance for them.
After watching her first NDP performance back in primary school during the National Education (NE) Show, Kaelynn was committed to be part of the parade one day.
This year, she not only gets to live out her dream as she takes on the role of Vehicle Commander for the Hunter Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV), but she will also make history as the first female to achieve such a feat.
Kaelynn shares: “Being a part of NDP has been a dream of mine since I was a child. To have this opportunity to be here this year as the first female Hunter vehicle commander is something I feel very proud of.
“I am excited to showcase what the Hunter’s capabilities are and make my unit proud.”
Kaelynn attributes her proficiency in manning the Hunter AFV today to her personal outfield training experiences, as well as the weekly NDP rehearsals over the past months.
Doing so allowed her to familiarise herself with the functions and operations of the vehicle, which exponentially increased her confidence and allowed her to be part of this year’s parade.
Just like Kaeylnn, SGT3 Syahkir was also inspired to take part in this year’s TDD following an earlier experience with the parade.
For him, it was in NDP 2019, where he was involved with the behind-the-scenes work.
“I managed to catch a glimpse of the parade, and saw our tanks, our fire engines, our Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART) and the mobile column marching by.
“When I saw that, I was inspired, and I knew then that the next time I participated in NDP, I would be inside the show,” he shares.
While the two youths have accomplished their dreams of being part of the NDP, making it to the big stage did not come easy, especially for Syahkir.
With a newborn son at home, Syahkir’s responsibilities extend beyond just his full-time job as an Emergency Medical Technician for the SCDF and as a participant in this year’s NDP.
On top of the exhausting NDP rehearsals, Syahkir also has to take care of his son. However, he credits his wife for helping him lift some weight off his shoulders.
“When I come home, I take over the baby duties from my wife and let her rest… throughout the rest of the day, we’ll just take turns to take care of him.
“I think it’s good teamwork between me and my wife as we share responsibilities,” he says.
Syahkir’s family also serves as one of the main sources of motivation for him to continue despite the many sacrifices he has to make.
He shares: “This is something that I want to do not just for myself, but also for my wife and for my son.
“This NDP marks the year that my son is born, so in the next few years, we can tell him the story of how I did my part for my country, and how my wife holds down the fort at home. It’s going to be a family thing that nobody can take away from us.”
Similarly, for CPL Kireeti, sacrifices had to be made to participate in this year’s NDP. While it is a huge commitment and can sometimes be draining, he does not mind it at all.
He shares: “I wanted to do something special for my two years in National Service (NS), so they gave me an opportunity to be part of NDP, which I took without hesitation although I knew that my Saturdays would be gone.
“I wanted to meet people, learn new things and see how the parade works. I wanted to be part of the ‘comeback’ after there was no parade for two years.”
Despite the challenges and sacrifices, they remain committed to putting on a good performance at this year’s NDP.
Delivering a message
For Kaelynn, what she hopes to accomplish with her involvement in this year’s parade is to show Singaporeans that they can all contribute to the nation’s Total Defence.
She said: “Be it in or out of uniform, there’s definitely various ways to contribute to Total Defence. Personally for me, I do small things like donating blood every three months, or anything that I can do to help those in need.
“Every Singaporean can take part in it to make Singapore stronger as a nation.”
As for Syahkir, he wishes to show Singaporeans that there is strength in unity through the TDD display.
He explains: “During the TDD, there are short snippets of civilians helping each other out, which I hope will motivate citizens of Singapore to go into action and help each other out when they can.
“I also want to show Singaporeans that Singapore can go through any adversity and come together as one to (overcome) all these challenges.”
Similarly, Kireeti also wishes to display how Singapore is stronger when its citizens come together.
After learning the value of camaraderie during his Nation Service, he hopes to one day see it being practised in Singapore among its citizens.
He says: “In the showcase of TDD, we have so many components working together, which is important for citizens to understand how we respond to situations like that so they can have trust in Singapore’s defence system.
“It is important for them (Singaporeans) to understand why we do this every year. It’s about bringing people together, and making them understand that when we are together, the nation works. We are stronger together.”