SINGAPORE – First built as a temporary stage for the National Day Parade (NDP) in 2007, the Marina Bay floating platform hosted its last parade this year ahead of its transformation into the permanent NS Square.

But before this project is completed in 2026, Singaporeans may see the return of the iconic Kallang Wave to the National Stadium.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen suggested in July that future NDPs could be held there after next year’s edition at the Padang.

While the floating platform is a unique venue, said actress and former NDP creative director Beatrice Chia-Richmond, the National Stadium offers a chance for a more intimate show.

When the NDP was held at the new National Stadium in 2016 – the only time it was held there – elements such as the Red Lions parachute jumps and the flying of the state flag close to the parade could not happen for safety reasons.

But the 55,000-strong crowd was treated to giant floating props, indoor fireworks and an illuminated stage that served as a large canvas for spectacular mass displays.

The distance between the performers and audience is shorter and this makes for a better show, said Ms Chia-Richmond, who directed the show segments for NDP 2011 at the floating platform and the 2016 edition at the National Stadium.

However, the Red Lions, along with other aerial, military and naval elements, as well as fireworks – all NDP crowd favourites – may not work as well at the National Stadium, she said.

As for the floating platform, Ms Chia-Richmond said: “I can’t think of many venues around the world that offer a floating stage in a beautiful bay with such a wonderful skyline behind it.

“The Marina Bay skyline is already a unique advantage as it provides a gorgeous backdrop to the stage, with a bay for fireworks, a naval defence display and great vantage points for the aerial displays.”

But the stage there is a little too far from the audience and any performance can be seen clearly only on huge LED screens, she said.

Veteran musician and director Dick Lee, who has also directed shows at the floating platform and the National Stadium, as well as the Padang, said each of the three venues has a different character and significance.

The floating platform and Padang can each host 25,000 to 27,000 people for the annual bash.

He said: “The floating platform is a spectacular and fitting reminder of Singapore’s success, the Padang has historical significance and formal elegance, and the National Stadium has its grandeur and inclusivity.”