A drizzle at the start of the SG50 Jubilee Big Walk early yesterday failed to dampen the spirits of the 25,000 participants who took a leisurely stroll through the heart of Singapore.
The 5km mass walk, organised by The New Paper and the People's Association, is one of the last major events of the nation's Golden Jubilee celebrations.
It took in part of a permanent 8km commemorative trail, known as the Jubilee Walk, connecting more than 20 historic and iconic locations within the Civic District and Marina Bay precinct.
Eager walkers had begun arriving as early as 5.30am for the 7am flag-off. Many took the chance to soak in the sights.
"It was a walk down memory lane for me," said retiree Johnny Toh, 64, who was at the event with six family members.
"Singapore is so different now, compared with the past. There are many skyscrapers and new buildings. It was nice to be able to enjoy what Singapore has built over the years together with my loved ones."
Like Mr Toh, many walkers were with their families and friends.
Among them was 49-year-old John Lee, who took part with his wife and two sons, aged seven and 12. "It is good to expose our children to Singapore's historical landmarks, so they can better appreciate how far we have come as a nation," he said.
Landmarks along the route held special and personal memories.
Student Karthik Thayumanavan, 22, said walking past the floating platform reminded him of his national service days. The venue was where he had his passing-out parade at the end of basic military training.
"That was a proud moment for me," said Mr Karthik, who completed the walk with his girlfriend.
Yesterday's route passed key landmarks and sites marking significant events in Singapore's development, including the Padang, before ending at The Meadow at Gardens by the Bay.
The event was flagged off by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the start point at the National Museum.
Mr Lee, who also launched the permanent Jubilee Walk yesterday, completed the walk, along with families, babies in strollers and individuals decked out in superhero outfits.
Mr Lee took selfies, shook hands and exchanged high fives with the crowd and also launched the 220m Jubilee Bridge connecting the Merlion Park and waterfront promenade by the Esplanade.
He then visited the SG Heart Map Festival at the Marina Bay floating platform, where he joined young children on a merry-go-round at the festival's literary playground.
Performers, from ukelele groups to percussion bands, lined various parts of the route. Stilt walkers and buskers were also at the end point to entertain the crowd.
Sales executive Julia Tan, 49, who completed the walk with a few of her colleagues, said: "It didn't feel like a walk. It was more of a history lesson, a parade and a sightseeing tour, all condensed into one."
This article was first published on Nov 30, 2015.
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