Delivering Singapore’s 58th Roar!

14 Sep 2023

In just two months, the Padang was transformed from a vast green field to a performance arena to hold the nation’s 58th birthday bash. However, what most of us do not see is the year-long planning and preparation leading up to the main event.


Chief Executive Mervyn Tan, along with other senior management, visited the Padang to tour the grounds with the various NDP sub-committee representatives.

As with past parades, DSTA has always been an integral part of the NDP executive committee, helming key appointments and providing tech analysis support across various specialisation such as infrastructure, stage decorations, procurement, power support, PA and Sound, fireworks safety and integrated security operations. This year was no exception. Teams across various domains pooled their expertise to deliver this grand spectacle, all while balancing their day jobs.


Senior Technical Officer (Building and Infrastructure) Margaret Wai Ling Ling, Principal Technical Officer (Building and Infrastructure) Lee Wai Yick and Senior Engineer (Building and Infrastructure) Wong Zhi Hao of the Infrastructure and Décor sub-committee conducted safety assessments during the setting up of the seating gallery

Assembling the seating gallery and hoisting tower trusses was no easy feat for the Infrastructure and Décor sub-committee. Before and during every NDP rehearsal, the team had the crucial task of conducting safety assessments to all structures. To support a seating capacity of about 27,000, the team relied on tools such as AI drones to identify defects, as well as a structural health monitoring system, to ensure the structural integrity of the seating gallery and tower trusses. The team also adopted environmentally sustainable materials such as recycled plastic asphalt for the construction of the performance area, which helped to recycle about 40 tons of plastic waste.



Deputy Head (Building and Infrastructure) Hoe Qi Xiang and Senior Engineer (Building and Infrastructure) Koh Seng Yang of the Power Support sub-committee helped in the deployment of 35 generator sets.

Given the heavy reliance on power to run the show, the Power Support team deployed 35 outdoor generator sets which produced a total output of 13.6 MVA of power, this is equivalent to powering up 3,400 four-room HDB flats. Senior Engineer (Building and Infrastructure) Koh Seng Yang shares that “the biggest challenge involved supplying power to a large geographical area, particularly to the National Gallery Singapore (NGS). This required extensive cabling works that ran above street level in order to provide support for the show equipment and operations.”


Deputy Head (Building and Infrastructure) Carmen Chia Wan Yi doing checks at the portable solar panels.


Engineer (Advanced Systems) Lee Yuan Long (on left) and Engineer (Cybersecurity) Lim Joo Bin (on right) of the PA and Sound sub-committee engaged in technical discussions with the sound engineer during rehearsals.

Achieving an immersive show experience for audiences required the PA and Sound sub-committee to look into optimising the acoustics of the outdoor space. It took many technical discussions with audio engineers and the fine-tuning of sound levels during every rehearsal to find the sweet spot where it was neither too loud for spectators seated near to the speakers, nor too soft for those furthest away.


Procurement professionals from DSTA acquired a range of items including NDP fun packs, venues, talents, meals, cleaning and waste management.

To bring the parade to life, DSTA’s Procurement professionals were critical to ensure key items were acquired timely. Such items include stage props, show lighting, projection systems, fun packs, services and talents. Cluster Head (Procurement) Choo Liling shares that “it was important to ensure the cost effectiveness without compromising on the quality of the products acquired.”


The sub-committee involved in Integrated Security Operations made use of AI to identify persons-of-interests as part of ensuring the security of the operations.

Behind the ongoing buzz is a team that kept a watchful eye on homeland security operations. The team demonstrated the ability to remotely control unmanned assets (such as robotic dog and drones) from the command post, by using the Command and Control Information System. In addition, video analytics tools were deployed on video sources including CCTVs and camera-mounted unmanned assets, to respond quickly to potential security threats, hence enhancing operational safety.


Senior Engineer (Systems Management) Ryan Toh Wei Hao and Engineer (Systems Management) Loo Zhen Xi of the Fireworks Safety sub-committee assessed the safety hazards during the loading of fireworks before every rehearsal.

For the icing on the cake, no parade is complete without a spectacular display of pyrotechnics. Our team supporting the Fireworks sub-committee saw the deployment of the longest fireworks barge, spanning 480 meters. Senior Engineer (Systems Management) Ryan Toh Wei Hao shares: “We leveraged our armament engineering knowledge to support the deployment of the fireworks in terms of storage, setup, display and disposal.” He added: “It is fulfilling to see your hard work come to fruition, and have the spectators gather together to enjoy the display.”