The oohs and aahs of three-year-old Cherisse Loh as she took in the breathtaking view of thousands of paper wings and balloons in the air said it all.
For a country renowned for being both efficient and often boring, local organisers showed that the Republic is quite capable of throwing a damn good party for Singaporeans and her ASEAN neighbours at the SEA Games closing ceremony last night.
As friends and guests from the region let their hair down for two hours of colourful celebrations, Singaporeans from all corners of the National Stadium were full of pride to be a part of a successful SEA Games.
"I have been to World Cups and the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, but this has to be one of the most spectacular sporting events ever," said 42-year-old banker Kenneth Chua.
Liaw Chun Seng, a 33-year-old treasury assistant manager, added: "Electrifying atmosphere, awesome spectator participation. We all enjoyed ourselves amid the deafening celebrations."
Ton Ong, a 36-year-old technical executive, enjoyed the stamps segment the most, and summed it up neatly, when he said: "The creativity and unity displayed makes me feel proud to be a Singaporean."
While Malaysia will definitely try to top the experience when they host the SEA Games in 2017, even a number from across the Causeway admitted it will be a hard act to follow.
Saiful Nizam Anuar said: "What you guys have done is so impressive.
"From the volunteers, to the venues, and obviously the accommodation here are all of a high standard, so good job!"
Visitors from other countries were also similarly wowed.
Laotian Vimonh Siasouva said: "This SEA Games has been very modern, and the management is really good, too. I think it is not possible for my country to pull this off because my country is still developing."
Chayan Traivut from Thailand added: "This SEA Games shows what a united country can achieve, and it is something we all can learn from.
"Singapore should be happy and proud of how this SEA Games was hosted."
This article was first published on June 17 2015.
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