SINGAPORE - National sprinter Calvin Kang was not around to experience the "kampung" feel from the idyllic 1960s, but the 25-year-old is starting to get a sense of what his grandparents kept reminiscing about.
Standing in front of the HDB block in his Pasir Ris home town that was adorned with Team Singapore colours yesterday, it felt just like community spirit to the 2011 SEA Games silver medallist in the 4x100m relay.
"It's a very special feeling to see my own estate coming together to support athletes like myself," said Kang, pointing to the motivational banners in all four major languages. "Trust me, home support makes a world of difference when we're out there competing."
Pasir Ris is the first constituency to be dressed up as part of the "Paint the Town Red" movement to garner support for the hosts ahead of June's SEA Games.
In the coming weeks, more estates across the island, including Ang Mo Kio, Jurong and Marine Parade, will also get the red treatment - from blocks of flats to lamp posts to even the public transport that traverses the area.
It will also include banners and posters of athletes who are living in the respective neighbourhoods, with Kang among 30 local sportsmen and women who will have their faces plastered across Pasir Ris-Punggol.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean launched the movement at Pasir Ris Street 51 yesterday, joining more than 600 residents and volunteers to issue a rallying call to back the hosts at the June 5-16 Games.
Mr Teo, the grassroots adviser and an MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, said the Games was a wonderful opportunity to unite the nation in its 50th year of independence.
The former Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) president, who stepped down last July after 16 years at the helm, added: "Besides being a celebration of sports and the human spirit, I enjoy seeing how athletes go beyond themselves to achieve more."
Mr Teo, who was succeeded at SNOC by Minister for Manpower, and Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin, had a simple message for Singaporeans as SEA Games fever starts to build.
He said: "Win or lose, it doesn't matter. Let's show the Singapore spirit."
This article was first published on April 26, 2015.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.