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Moments & Memories of Scouts at the National Day Parade

Interview with " Mr NDP" on 8 August 2019

There is always a moment of recognition when Scouts watch the traditional parade segment of the National Day Parade, wherever they are as members of the audience at the Padang or Floating Platform, or within the comfort of home in front of their televisions. This happens when they sight a familiar light-green outfit and the flutter of crimson scarves in a sea of uniformed marchers – the Scout marching contingent. Stemming from this recognition comes great pride at being part of a purposeful movement doing its part to celebrate Singapore’s birthday by putting their discipline and energy on show.

To find out more about Scout involvement in the National Day Parade, the National Communications Team managed to correspond with Mr. Nordin Salleh, a dedicated adult leader who is entrusted with the duty of overseeing preparations for the big event.

Mr. Nordin Salleh, Leader Trainer

Mr. Nordin, who also goes by his Woodcraft name, Firefly, shared that he joined Scouts in 1970, and had served in a variety of appointments including Assistant Scout Leader and Assistant Group Scout Leader at 1308 Maju Secondary School, and that he had first become involved in the National Training Team in 1986, and had risen through the ranks to become a Leader Trainer.

Firefly recounted how he started serving in his current capacity 10 years ago when he was called upon to oversee the Scouts’ National Day Parade contingent 10 years ago in 2009. Briefly, Firefly’s role includes supervising the selection of contingent members based on their turnout and foot drills, and chaperoning their attendance of weekly Saturday rehearsals for the parade in the run up to the National Day Parade. This is as time consuming as it is tiring as each session lasts from morning to evening. But even so, Mr. Nordin draws strength from the knowledge that he is contributing to the growth of youth members and teamwork with the other adults assisting him. He is happy when he sees the satisfaction of youth members at the end of an evening and their growth from having completed yet another arduous rehearsal. After all, the Scouts themselves know that they are doing their part for nation building by representing our association and serving their country as they have promised to.

A collection of National Day event badges issued to contingent members

Mr. Nordin exhorted Scouts, Ventures, and Rovers to sign up for to join the National Day Parade contingent in the coming years, as it is quite an opportunity to meet people from all walks of life, as parade participants range from celebrities to uniformed personnel who come together to contribute their special part to celebrating Singapore’s birthday. Even the Parade Commander and Parade Sergeant Major who are high ranking commissioned Officers and Warrant Officers respectively sometimes make it a point to engage personally with youths participating in the parade.  

Photographs from the 1990 NDP showing Mr. Nordin leading the Scout Contingent that year

Mr. Nordin is well qualified for his role as National Day Coordinator owing to his own personal experience as participant and commander of the Scout National Day contingent of yesteryear, which has granted him deep expertise pertaining to parade and ceremony matters. With some nostalgia, Firefly furnished us with photographs of himself from his participation in the National Day Parade as the Scout contingent commander in 1990. He expressed pride in having been selected to lead a Scout contingent of 200 members that year, which was the Silver Jubilee of our nation’s independence. He described memories of how things were then, contrasting the simplicity of refreshments (noodles and a packet drink) and a non air-conditioned holding area with the small comforts the parade participants enjoy nowadays.

Mr. Nordin’s uniform from 1990 with his uniform in 2015 (SG50), along with certificates and plaques of recognition he had received over the years.

 We were also pleased to see Mr. Nordin’s antique uniform from 1990, which he had kept in mint condition despite the passage of 29 years! That was one of the last years the khaki uniform was used before the uniform review which resulted in the current appearance of our Scout uniform. Firefly has also been much feted for the good work he has done, as is evidenced by the numerous trophies, plaques, and certificates he has received for his contribution to the National Day Parade.

Before we concluded, Firefly reiterated that he would like more Scout Groups to get involved in the parade contingent, and promised that participation would form a good memory to share with one’s juniors in old age. A hearty congratulations to Mr. Nordin on his recent 40 years Long Service Award, and a big thank you for overseeing the association’s contribution to the National Day Celebrations!


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