SINGAPORE – An audience member who had tears streaming down his face while singing the National Anthem at the close of the National Day Parade (NDP) has become an Internet sensation.
Mr Azuan Tan, 41, whose reaction was caught on camera and broadcast live, told The Straits Times that he was overcome by his emotions, evoked by this year’s NDP, themed Stronger Together, Majulah.
“I felt that the entire NDP was very well put together. It told a narrative that was extremely touching and it really hit home,” said Mr Tan, a teacher at Bedok View Secondary School.
“I have a lot of respect for everyone who contributed during the Covid-19 pandemic — nurses, doctors, front-line workers and educators. All that put together was a moment of being overwhelmed.
“The outpouring of emotion was my ‘thank you’ and sincere appreciation to everybody.”
Several social media users lauded Mr Tan’s reaction, with some joking that he was actually tearing up at the fireworks, or having to go back to work the next day.
Local meme pages such as Yeolo and SGAG were also quick to pounce on the image.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said in a Facebook post that the shot has become one of the iconic images of this year’s NDP.
“It has been a challenging 2+ years — and for many of us, an emotional one,” he said.
“It’s through looking out for one another, even in our vulnerable moments, that we demonstrate our solidarity and Singapore spirit!”
On the attention he received online, Mr Tan said: “I really didn’t think I should be getting the attention for it. I’m shocked and surprised. In comparison, the people working hard to put the parade together deserve the attention more than I do.”
An MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, Mr Sharael Taha, said that Mr Tan has been volunteering in the community for five years.
“Since the pandemic, he has been very actively distributing meals to needy families. In addition, he has been distributing masks and care packs to families who contracted Covid-19,” he said.
“He’s a passionate volunteer, the epitome of community coming together.”
Mr Tan, who attended the NDP in person on Tuesday for the first time with his wife and three children, said they did not know he was crying until they saw the images on social media.
“I express my emotion and gratitude every National Day, but none were quite as public as this one,” he said.