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Monday, March 2, 2009

The national day parade

The national day parade

I could hear the fast beating of my heart as I put on the knee-high boots which distinguished me from the other members of my group. As the drum majorette of my school’s brass-band, I felt responsible for the success of our performance in the National Day Parade which is going to begin in ten minutes’ time.

As the huge clock at the Town Hall struck three o’clock in the afternoon of the ninth day of August, we were commanded to take our positions at the Padang. Our Prime Minister arrived followed by the President in his stately Rolls Royce. They took their positions at the grandstand and the National Anthem was sung.

A pompous display of colors pervaded the Padang. Then the march-past in the earnest began. One by one the contingents represented groups of government servants from various departments. Then came the others such as the groups representing the Post Office Savings Banks, the nurses, the flight stewardess from Singapore Airlines, student teachers from Institute of Education and many more.

After these, I eyed a few groups of cadets in green. They marched smartly and in perfect co-ordination. They were the few selected groups of National Cadet Corps members who had won the interschool competitions. Following them were three groups of National Police Cadet Corps members, the Girl Guides in their pleasant blue and the Red Cross and St. Johns in white.

My heart beat even faster as I clenched my mace. The Buona Vista combined band group was already half way through their performance. They were loudly applauded; and then a moment of suspense, as I gave the command for my group to move forward to the performing ground. We made three formations and we were applauded by our schoolmates who were sitting together visibly in their dark green uniform. Then came my final performance. I threw my mace high into the air, positioned myself to a half kneel and caught my staff majestically. The round of applause I received was tremendous. After that, we formed our marching rows again and moved on in the procession.

We had to march for another two kilometers to the dispersal area. As we marched, we could sense thousands of pairs of eyes looking at us, observing and admiring. I was elated and pleased with the performance that did us credit. I felt rightly proud for having availed myself of the opportunity to represent my school in our country’s most auspicious occasion. I knew that my parents watching the procession over the television must have felt the same way too.

We reached the dispersal ground at exactly five thirty in the afternoon. We waited for the other contingents to arrive. The beautifully colored floats came in last. We were told that this year’s procession had been a real success as hardly anybody could sense any flaw. After our refreshments, we went home, feeling proud and happy, not to mention, extremely exhausted.

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