For the first time in two years since the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation celebrated its 57th year of independence with a full-scale National Day Parade (NDP22). In preparation for NDP22, the marching contingents started sharpening their foot drills since 7 May at the Seletar Camp. Combined rehearsals for the ceremonial parade were subsequently held at the Marina Bay floating platform from June 2022 onwards.
The SCDF and NCDCC Contingent at the National Day Parade
Rescue 995 interviewed two chief trainers for the SCDF and National Civil Defence Cadet Corp (NCDCC) marching contingents, as well as a student cadet from the NCDCC marching contingent, who shared their memorable experience in being part of this year’s National Day celebration.
SWO2 Hasanuddin Bin Johar
Senior Warrant Officers, SWO2 Hasanuddin Bin Johar and SWO1 Hayatu’llah Bin Noordin, are currently holding the appointment of Senior Discipline and Security Specialist in the 4th and 3rd SCDF Divisions. In addition to their primary appointments, both officers have also performed the role of chief trainers for the SCDF marching contingents for the past 15 and 7 years respectively.
SWO2 Hasanuddin’s collection of NDP badges for the past 15 years
This year’s NDP22 was exceptionally sentimental for both SWO2 Hasanuddin and SWO1 Hayatu’llah. Both officers will be retiring next year, and this was their NDP swansong as the chief trainers for the SCDF marching contingents.
Rescue 995: Tell us about your role in NDP22 and your experience training the SCDF and NCDCC marching contingents?
SWO2 Hasanuddin: For Hayat and I, our roles involved training the SCDF and NCDCC marching contingents for this year’s NDP to ensure that our marchers’ foot drills are of the highest standards and to keep them motivated throughout the numerous rehearsals till the parade on 9 August. With our age and experiences, we are like a fatherly figure to our young marchers, especially our Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs). Hence, apart from enforcing regimentation and discipline during the rigorous drill practices, it is also our duty to care for their physical and mental wellbeing.
SWO1 Hayatu’llah Bin Noordin
SWO1 Hayatu’llah: I was one of the trainers for the SCDF marching contingent prior to my current appointment as chief trainer in charge of both the SCDF and NCDCC marching contingents. For me, it was a whole new set of challenges altogether. I am very used to working with NSFs and regulars but had zero experience in dealing with young students. Therefore, when Hasan first assigned me to train the NCDCC contingent, I had to seek advice and tips from the NCDCC teachers and instructors on how to better engage and communicate with the students. As I got to know the students over time, the drill training sessions became enjoyable as they are such an endearing lot. While enforcing strict discipline and proper drill conditioning for the students, it was also crucial for me to constantly watch out for their safety and wellbeing. The students have certainly shown grit and determination over the months of training, and I am extremely proud of their performance and what they have achieved.
Rescue 995: How was the training experience different this year as compared to previous years?
SWO2 Hasanuddin: Before the pandemic, we used to conduct training for the marching contingents for both NDP, as well as the SCDF Parade which was held in conjunction with the Singapore-Global Firefighters & Paramedics Challenge (SGFPC). As such, drill practices were held three times a week and that required a lot of physical strength, passion and commitment, not just from the marchers but trainers too.
NDP was vastly different in the last two years as Singapore adopted stricter safe management measures in our fight against the pandemic. It was definitely not the usual NDP celebration that we were accustomed to as safe distancing was the order of the day and we had to strictly enforced it for the safety of the contingent members.
With the easing of community safe management measures this year, NDP22 was an extremely joyous event as we were finally able to relive the excitement and grandeur of a full-scale parade and celebration.
SWO2 Hasanuddin training the SCDF marching contingent during the NDP rehearsal
SWO1 Hayatu’llah inspecting the SCDF Contingent before the parade
Rescue 995: SWO1 Hayatu’llah, we are aware that student cadet Corporal (CPL) A’zizy is the right marker for the NCDCC marching contingent. How was it like working with him?
SWO1 Hayatu’llah: Since the first day of drill practice, CPL A’zizy had shown that he is a very disciplined cadet who is able to follow our instructions closely. Being the Right Marker for the marching contingent, he had a crucial role to play as his marching rhythm had to be on-point and all members in the contingent had to synchronise with his marching rhythm. Therefore, if he gets the rhythm wrong, the whole contingent will be out of sync and affect the overall visual and performance of the contingent. We are glad that not only was CPL A’zizy hardworking, but he maintained his consistency in marching and this was crucial in being the point of reference for a contingent.
SWO1 Hayatu’llah (second from the right) with the NCDCC Contingent during one of the NDP rehearsals
SWO1 Hayatu’llah leading the SCDF Contingent to the parade square at the floating platform
Rescue 995: What are your thoughts regarding your retirement from the force next year? What will you be missing the most being the chief trainers for the SCDF and NCDCC marching contingent?
SWO2 Hasanuddin: Looking back, I am really proud to see how SCDF has gradually transformed over the years and I am also curious what the future would look like when SCDF leverages on more advanced technologies to save lives. I will miss the strong bonds and camaraderie that I have forged with my trainees, colleagues and all the NDP marchers after I retire, but I will carry all this fond memories and experiences with me as I move on to my retirement life.
SWO1 Hayatu’llah: It is certainly a proud and emotional moment for us as chief trainers knowing that the contingent performed their best during the parade. It was not easy for everyone involved during the past four months of training and I always feel a great sense of achievement knowing that we had put up a great show at the NDP. My hope for future trainers of the SCDF/NCDCC contingents is that they keep up the high standards that we have attained over the years and remain professional and committed to the role.
Corporal (NCDCC) A’zizy Mui’zzuddin Bin Munawar
CPL (NCDCC) A’zizy Mui’zzuddin Bin Munawar has been an active member of NCDCC at Evergreen Secondary School for the past three years. Standing at about 1.8 metres tall, the senior cadet plays a pivotal role in imparting lifesaving skills and knowledge to his juniors to help them prepare and respond to any emergencies. For this year’s NDP, CPL (NCDCC) A’zizy was selected to be part of the NCDCC marching contingent.
Rescue 995: How does it feel when you were selected to participate in NDP22?
CPL (NCDCC) A’zizy: It is a rare opportunity to be able to represent my school to participate in the NDP marching contingent. I feel honoured and it has been an enriching experience for me.
CPL (NCDCC) A’zizy (fourth cadet in the extreme right) marching with pride during a rehearsal; SWO1 Hayatu’llah (extreme right) was the trainer for the NCDCC Contingent
Rescue 995: Has anyone ever teased you about your height that it is not hard to notice you among the marching contingent even though you are the contingent’s Right Marker?
CPL (NCDCC) A’zizy: [laughs] Yes, definitely! Many jested about how tall I was and how I stood out as compared to the rest of the cadets in my squad.
Rescue 995: As a member of your school’s NCDCC marching contingent for NDP22, share with us your experiences and challenges faced in preparation for the actual parade.
CPL (NCDCC) A’zizy: Before I committed to the NDP participation, I had some doubts about whether I will be able to manage my time. However, as the rehearsals went by, my worries were unfounded as I was able to manage my schoolwork and priorities while I continued to hone my foot drills and coordination with the rest of my squad. The warm and humid weather was a challenge for many of us during the rehearsals and the parade but all of us persevered and remained focused in achieving a common goal. Looking back, I will definitely treasure the pleasant and unforgettable memories that I have made with my cadets and instructors in the NCDCC marching contingent.
CPL (NCDCC) A’zizy guiding his junior NCDCC teammates on using a stretcher
Rescue 995: How did your friends and loved ones support you during these times when you were busy rehearsing for the parade?
CPL (NCDCC) A’zizy: My family was more than encouraging when they heard that I was selected to take part in the Marching Contingent. My parents kept reminding me that early preparation before every rehearsal is essential so that I would be organised and not be in a rush. They would always tell me to iron my uniform and polish my boots well to show my pride of being part of the NCDCC Contingent. Some of my close friends also participated in the NDP along with me and we never ceased to support one another throughout the journey. This was truly an enjoyable experience!
Rescue 995: For this year’s National Day, what is your hope for Singapore?
CPL (NCDCC) A’zizy: My hope for Singapore is that we, as Singaporeans, remain united as one, because we can all be ‘Stronger, Together’. Majulah Singapura!