In all her 80 years, she had never attended a National Day Parade.
So it was sheer exhilaration for Madam Chong Von Lin as she watched the fireworks light up the night sky over Marina Bay yesterday.
Not on television, but from a bird's eye view at the sky garden on the 13th storey of the Straits Trading Building.
"I've always tried but I never knew how to go about getting tickets. Now I am able to watch this show in person. I'm so happy tonight," she said in Mandarin.
Madam Chong, a retiree, celebrated National Day with 120 other senior citizens yesterday.
For many, this was the closest they have been to watching the parade.
It was the second year that Lions Club of Singapore Central had organised the viewing along with sponsors Arcc Holdings, Straits Management and Lions Befrienders Senior Activities Centres.
But this was a particularly significant year as most of the 120 seniors are of the Pioneer Generation.
Buses brought the seniors - who live in one - and two-room rental flats in Clementi and Ang Mo Kio - in at around 5pm.
The sky garden afforded a view overlooking the floating platform at Marina Bay and the Singapore Flyer.
Against a backdrop of skyscrapers, they watched the parade on a large projection screen.
For most of the live broadcast, their eyes were fixed on the screen.
It was not just about watching the parade. There was also a buffet with favourites like bee hoon, seafood fried rice, roast chicken and fried fish, served by undergraduates from Singapore Management University.
The senior citizens may not have been at the parade but they celebrated as if they were actually there, happily waving clappers and light sticks.
As soon as they heard the boom of the 21-gun salute, many rushed to the parapet for a better view.
Madam Pon Aman, 65, a housewife, said: "My favourite segment is the military parade when the army boys come marching out," she said.
Chairman of Arcc Holdings Robert Chen, 63, who was at the event, found the occasion very meaningful.
He said: "If we don't do something, most of them will be watching it at home. Some may even be alone. That is no way for the people who built Singapore to celebrate National Day."
President of the Lions Club of Singapore Central, Cheryl Mah, said yesterday was the last time senior citizens would be brought to watch the parade at the Straits Trading Building.
The parade will be moving to the Padang next year.
But Ms Mah says there is no doubt they will organise a similar event.
She said: "We will always celebrate National Day."
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