At around 8:20pm during this year’s National Day Parade, when Majulah Singapura reverberated around The Float – for the last time at this venue before it redevelops into NS Square – national pride swelled, fireworks lit up the Marina night sky.
And tears streamed down freely.
This moment, captured for posterity, also seized the attention of viewers as we watched with rapt attention the outpouring of emotion and love for country.
It’s understandable: After more than two years fighting the pandemic, having the opportunity to sing the national anthem out loud with some 25,000 Singaporeans while celebrating the nation’s birthday must have been cathartic.
Who is he?
According to The Straits Times, this man is Mr Azuan Tan, 41, and he’s a teacher at Bedok View Secondary School.
He told ST: “I felt that the entire NDP was very well put together. It told a narrative that was extremely touching and it really hit home.”
The show had five chapters, each chronicling the battle with the virus for the past two years and interweaving stories of common Singaporeans doing their best to help each other.
“I have a lot of respect for everyone who contributed during the Covid-19 pandemic – nurses, doctors, front-line workers and educators. All that put together was a moment of being overwhelmed. The outpouring of emotion was my ‘thank you’ and sincere appreciation to everybody,” he told ST.
MP Mr Sharael Taha said that Mr Tan is a passionate volunteer who assists the families at rental blocks and also the m3 Chairman for Pasir Ris-Punggol.
Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong also took to social media to describe the image as iconic.
“This is turning out to be one of the iconic images of NDP 2022. It has been a challenging 2+ years – and for many of us, an emotional one. Kudos to everyone for your hard work and efforts – and also every Singaporean taking part in the parade or watching it today. It’s through looking out for one another, even in our vulnerable moments, that we demonstrate our solidarity and Singapore spirit!” he wrote.
The road ahead
The road to recovery is not easy. As mentioned by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Message, Singapore will be buffeted by intense rivalry and tensions in the region around us.
But if we could stay united, as history has proven, Singapore will definitely survive and thrive.
To this end, PM Lee ended his Message on an assuring tone, saying:
“We must never stop imagining and building the Singapore we want, even as we strengthen our guard against what can go wrong. Covid-19 will not be Singapore’s last crisis. More storms and turbulence lie ahead. But do not fear. As long as we stay united and resolute, we can keep our nation peaceful and secure, build a more prosperous economy, and forge an inclusive society that all of us can belong to and can be proud of, for many years to come.”
Indeed, as this year’s National Day song suggests, we are stronger together.
And come what may, we know that a united Singapore can and will survive.
After all, we did it before and we will do it again.