Singer, dancer, stagehand—Belle Pereira has done them all, having been involved in countless National Day Parade (NDP) performances since 1998.
“I love performing for National Day,” Belle smiles. “It’s a day when Singaporeans from all walks of life gather to celebrate our home. The celebrations are always an emotional experience and the sense of togetherness and belonging is indescribable.”
Marching On as One
This year’s performance will be a unique one for Belle, as the long-time NDP performer will be participating in a role that she has never done before—as part of the marching contingent.
To prepare, Belle has been undergoing training conducted by the Singapore Armed Forces, including basic military drills. “This year’s training is definitely tough, especially since we have to train alongside the soldiers and endure all elements of the weather.” Belle laughs. “That said, I’m very honored to have been selected and I’m really looking forward to the parade!”
Celebrations in the Heartland
This year’s NDP will return to The Float@Marina Bay, and there will also be celebrations and fireworks in the HDB heartland, similar to the last few years. Belle has had the opportunity to be part of these heartland celebrations, most memorably as a performer on a festive float.
“It’s heartening to be welcomed by the residents,” she says. “They would stand by the barricades and wave the national flag whilst singing national day songs.
The festive floats would journey through the heartland and remain on display for a few days before moving onto their next destination. This offers the audience the opportunity to interact with the performers, and they often share what they like about the performance and how they look forward to the celebrations.
Belle says that the experience is especially meaningful when the floats journey through neighborhoods near home, in her case West Coast, Clementi and Bukit Timah. “It’s always fun to spot familiar faces such as my neighbours amongst the crowd,” she laughs.
New Home, Same Sense of Belonging
Beyond the performances, Belle also enjoys soaking up the celebratory National Day atmosphere by visiting the heartland carnivals with her family and neighbours. “It’s a great way for us to bond! The celebration is like a gathering and nothing quite beats the experience of having everyone come together as one.”
Belle will soon have new neighbours to befriend, as she and her family will be moving from West Coast, into their new seafront BTO flat in Punggol. “I love being outdoors and Punggol is the perfect fit because there are places like Punggol Point Jetty and Coney Island where I can hang out,” she explains. “I also love that we are only a short walk away from Northshore Plaza and the LRT station,” she shares.
“In my West Coast flat, I’m always surrounded by nature, with the sea just close by. It will be the same in Punggol as well, so perhaps that is why I already feel a sense of affinity with my new home.”