Learning experience of a lifetime: NDP 2017

Contributed by: Mok Cherro, Zone 1, CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School Corps
Images courtesy of Mr Chua Sock Kiang and NDP P&C Photographers.

Through NDP, I have also learnt many soft skills and things outside of simply marching in parade such as: songs used in the parade, how to help ourselves not faint in parade, how to work together as a contingent, and resilience as we have to brave the hot sun and carry on with the parade, as well as being more independent.

On the first NE show, it felt like just another ordinary Saturday training in the morning. However the moment we stepped on the platform during the actual NE show in front of thousands of primary school students, I could really feel a sense of pride and at that moment, I was glad to be able to be part of this NDP parade and was very thankful towards all those who have supported me through the past few trainings. The view of so many people in red and white at the specs stand waving their flags was very touching and unforgettable to me. Though it was relatively stressful, I still enjoyed every moment of it.

When I first joined the contingent on the third training, I was really worried and nervous as I did not know what to expect and how to do the umbrella drills. I was afraid that I was unable to catch up with the others, and was also afraid to make mistakes. However after the first training for me, I was more relaxed as the trainers and officers were really kind and patient towards us and it was really fun interacting with the others there. Although I made mistakes and felt bad about it, I eventually realised that it was alright to make mistakes as long as we learn from it.

Throughout the trainings at Nee Soon Camp (and eventually at the floating platform), I have learnt a lot and felt that we improved a lot as a whole. Although at times we would perform badly which made me feel quite bad as I felt like we have let the trainers down. Despite so, the trainers were still very encouraging and patiently helped us figure out what the problem was and how to resolve it. Eventually we were able to do better in the end.

After NE shows, came the previews and I felt a bit more stressed out. Watching us were no longer just little kids, but also adults who most likely knew more about parades and can easily tell if we were to make any mistakes. Though my CCA mates were as nervous, they still constantly cheered me on. The officers and trainers kept encouraging us and tried to lighten up the mood which made me feel much better. And again, I really enjoyed every moment of the Preview especially when we were walking up the stairs where some people said “Good job” to us, making me feel really happy and relieved.

There was once during the rehearsal the Parade Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) said through the microphone: “St John good job” and at that moment, the happiness I felt was so overwhelming especially seeing how happy the trainers and officers were and it really motivated me to do better the next time.

On 9th of August, a Wednesday, once again it felt like just another ordinary Saturday training. However we all clearly knew that it would be the last time we will be marching on the parade. Standing on the platform on the actual parade, it all felt so surreal – seeing the Prime Minister and President – knowing that we are live on TV. Once again the sense of pride was strong. After the parade we walked to the Marina Bay Sands for the pledge moment and watched the fireworks. It was really enjoyable being able to watch the beautiful fireworks with my friends who supported me through the past few months of trainings.

Overall, this whole journey was indeed a tiring one, having to balance between studies and NDP. However, I never fail to find myself looking forward to all the trainings and meeting all my friends there, knowing that they enjoyed it as much as I do. I feel that all the hard work was paid off and I never regretted joining NDP. I forged many new friendships and learnt a lot – I will definitely miss the trainers, the officers, fellow cadets and everything that has happened there, no matter how small it may be.

I am really glad to be involved in NDP 2017 and I know it will never be the same again. I am glad that at least we all had this experience which we will never forget.

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