Singapore’s 50th year of independence has been commemorated by a series of records, particularly on the sporting front. Determined not to buck the trend, the 8th ASEAN Para Games (APG) – itself a finale of sorts to the SG50 celebrations – has a historic opening ceremony planned just for the occasion.
Held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, the 90-minute show will boast a cohesive mix of able-bodied participants and those with disabilities, from its creative team to its performers. “Live” sign language interpretation and captioning, a first in Singapore’s broadcasting history, will also be a main feature in the presentation.
With inclusion and integration as the key values guiding its conceptualisation, the APG opening ceremony, which has been in the works for two years now, seeks to break boundaries and inspire.
“Within an hour and a half, we want to change the perspectives of people and how they look at persons with disabilities,” explained the show’s creative and music director Philip Tan.
“Philip has imagined possibilities of involving all members of our society, people of different abilities, to come together to tell the stories of the athletes. I believe that you will be enthralled by this creativity,” added Singapore ASEAN Para Games Organising Committee’s chairperson and Sport Singapore CEO Lim Teck Yin.
The show will consist of five movements in total: Stretching the Boundaries, A World of Creative Possibilities, Shooting for the Best, Fire your Imagination, A Victorious Celebration of the Extraordinary.
Ceremonial aspects, such as the oath-taking and torch relay, will be incorporated into the performance narrative, while national sporting heroes both past and present will also make appearances.
Other highlights of the show include meticulously crafted video projections, with several designed by students from special schools. Significantly, each item scheduled for the evening has been inspired by an athlete, performer, or creative team member with disabilities.
Tan, who has had years of experience working with persons with disabilities for various major televised charity shows, shared: “It is an authentic effort because it’s not just from our point of view. We have listened to what our participants wanted to say, in terms of how we could transform their art and sports into a masterpiece on the stage and into something that we can enjoy.”
Ensuring a memorable opening ceremony this year would mean a legacy that will set the tone for subsequent Games. Revealing that the London Paralympics served as an inspiration to the creative team, Tan expressed: “Perhaps, it is time for the ASEAN voice to resonate. We are that voice that will transmit the energy to the next generation in the coming years.”
As 78-year-old opening ceremony dancer Alice Ma, who is visually impaired, concurred: “I hope that the audience will be inspired by our performance, and realise that one need not be young, nor able-bodied, to possess such amounts of vitality.”
Tickets to the 8th ASEAN Para Games opening ceremony will go on sale from 23 October. For just $20 ($10 for youths, seniors, and NSFs), you will be privy to a spectacular show that will mark a momentous point in our local sporting history.