Singapore 50th anniversary celebrations kick off

(REUTERS) – Singapore launched an extravagant celebration of its 50th anniversary on Sunday (August 9th), an occasion of national pride the city state’s ruling party is expected to exploit to call an election next month.

According to a government website, the theme for this year’s National Day Parade (NDP) is “Majulah Singapura” which means “forward Singapore” in Bahasa Malaysia.

It will be the second time this year that Singaporeans have come together to reflect on the extraordinary success of a tiny nation, after they mourned the death of first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in late March.

An island of 5.5 million people that sits just north of the equator, what was a post-colonial backwater at independence from Malaysia in 1965 is now a global business hub whose economic and social model is the envy of nations around the world.

The government intends to showcase its success in an elaborate parade that will include a flypast by fighter jets and fireworks for an audience of 200,000 as well as millions watching on television from their living rooms.