Engineer who led construction of drifting platform 15 years ago remembers the difficulties

Arina Fedorova
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SINGAPORE – Searching for space to hold the next National Day Parade (NDP) after the National Arena closed in 2007 and contending with Singapore's land deficiency, parade organisers turned to an extreme new idea – a parade on water.

This idea required the team behind it to develop a platform efficient in accommodating the scale of NDP events, as well as mass sports and spectator occasions, stated Defence Science and Technology Firm (DSTA) programme director for marine systems Tan Hian Nam, who was the project lead then.

The drifting platform has actually hosted 11 NDPs because 2007 and has become a popular place for its waterfront views and the special ability to showcase air, land and sea elements.

As such a task had actually never been done in Singapore, the team took motivation from similar structures in Japan to develop a set of 15 interlocking pontoons to form a drifting platform. With only 13 months to go before the first NDP practice session,

the team remained in a rush versus time and environmental conditions, consisting of wind, sea and waves, to complete a job that needs to have taken about 2 years, Mr Tan said. The platform has lasted 3 times longer than the five years it was implied to

. It will quickly be torn down to make way for the NS Square. Mr Tan said the platform's building and construction was one of the most requiring engineering difficulties

that he had actually undertaken, but also among the most rewarding ones

. He said:”I can tell you that absolutely nothing beats the feeling of experiencing NDP successfully taking place at the platform for the very first time.” While I am definitely unfortunate to

see the platform gone, I am heartened to understand that it is making way for something bigger and even much better for all Singaporeans and locals.

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