The annual National Day Parade (NDP) is the biggest event in Singapore’s calendar. Encompassing more than just a half-day event on August 9, the NDP experience for Singaporeans spans multiple weekends, with preview and National Education shows commencing as early as a month before August.
On average, some 10,000 personnel from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and Home Team are involved in each NDP, with thousands more volunteers from the private sector, schools and other organisations. Together with the hundreds of thousands of spectators attending all of the NDP show sessions and watching on TV (and more recently, online), the NDP is truly a unique, shared Singaporean experience.
Holding an event of such a scale surely isn’t cheap. But exactly how expensive the National Day Parade is each year isn’t something that the government seems keen to disclose.
Thanks to questions raised in parliament, Singaporeans have a glimpse of how much NDP costs you, the taxpayer. Based on a written reply by Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen and another reply, this is what we know:
|NDP 2016||National Stadium @ Sports Hub||$39.4 million|
|NDP 2015||Padang||$40.5 million|
|NDP 2011||Marina Bay Floating Platform||$17.17 million|
|NDP 2010||Padang||$20.6 million|
|NDP 2009||Marina Bay Floating Platform||$15.4 million|
|NDP 2008||Marina Bay Floating Platform||$14.2 million|
|NDP 2007||Marina Bay Floating Platform||$13.75 million|
|NDP 2006||National Stadium||$7 million|
|NDP 2005||Padang||$10.3 million|
|NDP 2004||National Stadium||$5.43 million|
|NDP 2003||National Stadium||$6.25 million|
|NDP 2002||National Stadium||$5.56 million|
There are many ways to interpret this information.
For one, you could say that the cost of NDP has gone up more than 700% since 2002.
Or you could say that it cost more to hold NDP 2016 and 2015 alone, than it did to hold NDP from 2008 to 2011 or NDP from 2002 to 2009.
But before you instinctively begin to write angry comments, remember this: the cost to hold NDP over 12 years (including the “expensive” SG50 NDP of 2015) added up is still cheaper than what Singapore spent to hold one Youth Olympics Games ($387 million).
With that in mind, it is hard to dispute that NDP gives tremendous value to Singapore.
In addition to providing a shared Singapore experience as mentioned above, it is also a great opportunity for the SAF, Home Team and dozens of other government agencies to plan and execute a complex operation together. There is the closure of roads, coordination of land, sea and air units, provision of food and water to thousands of working personnel and young students. In a sense, each NDP is also a validation of Singapore’s ability to get things done well and more importantly, on time.
So, regardless of how you catch the NDP festivities on August 9 – on site at the floating platform or other sites around the Marina Bay Area, or on television, or through photos published on various media platforms, may you take comfort in knowing that it is money well spent!
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