The Pandemic National Day

This year’s National Day Celebration was decidedly different from every other year since Singapore gained independence. There’s always a huge parade with military hardware on display, performances by artistes and a really huge fireworks show in the evening. This is also a time to show your patriotism to the country, and many of us showed that patriotism by packing our bags and leaving Singapore for a short holiday usually to the nearby South East Asian countries.

With the COVID19 pandemic shutting down all leisure travel, there was no exodus of Singaporeans rushing to the airport trying to squeeze a vacation into 3-4 days during the National Day long weekend. And with social distancing measures still in place, there was no big parade and performances, but instead several mobile columns of military vehicles went round the island and fireworks displays were held in several housing estates.

Trying to get some better pictures of the mobile column which was supposed to be going by near where I stayed, I decided to find an overhead pedestrian bridge which overlooks the road. But by the time I got there, it was already filled with spectators, and of course social distancing doesn’t mean a thing when everyone is trying to find a good spot to watch the show.

I didn’t think so many people would actually spend their morning looking at military vehicles but I was wrong.
It’s not everyday that you see main battle tanks rolling down your neighbourhood. In some other countries this would look like a scene from a military coup. These are refurbished Leopard tanks from Germany which Singapore acquired just last year.
Also a chance for Singapore to show off it’s locally produced hardware, the Bionix multi-purpose tank which is fitted with a main gun here.

When I was a kid, I used to build model tanks from Tamiya kits, and looking at these tanks now does bring back memories of those days spent gluing plastic parts together.

It’s a good thing that the fireworks show in the evening was also going to be happening near my house. So I told myself to get there earlier to find a good spot to capture the fireworks. But other people must have been reading my mind. Again, I couldn’t get the spot I wanted, but still managed to find a another good spot.

Going early to find a good spot to catch the fireworks also meant that I got a chance to see the afterglow of the setting Sun. My first choice was to get to the 40th floor of the building but others had already beaten me to it, and I had to settle for the 33rd floor.
It was a short 5 minute fireworks display and unfortunately, I used a wide angle lens thinking the fireworks was going to be shot higher due to the high rise buildings around it. But the display was smaller and at lower altitude resulting in this rather puny looking photo.

The fireworks display ended a day of unusual celebration. In all, I felt that the celebrations were subdued due to the distributed activities and there didn’t seem to have a central focus. But the idea was to prevent crowds from gathering at one location, so I guess that this was the only way to have a celebration.

5 thoughts on “The Pandemic National Day

  1. Nice post, a reminder of how the “normal” we have become use to is really not available in 2020 🙂 Wishing you and your family a healthy finish to the summer. I think all over, people instead of travel over holidays are staying close to home – gives us a chance to see something “new” in the familiar.

    1. Thank you. Everyone is hoping to go back to the old normal, but that’s unlikely to happen in the near future. Here’s wishing that changes in the new normal will actually be better for us and the world.

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