It was Singapore's day in the sun literally at Victoria Park yesterday.
London shrugged off its grey blanket of the past week and unfurled rare blue skies as the temperature rose to around 19 deg Celsius. It almost felt like air-conditioned weather back home, but better, as Singaporeans descended onto the sun-drenched park to sample hawker food and enjoy entertainment by home-grown stars such as the Dim Sum Dollies, Gurmit Singh and Hossan Leong and singers Jack and Rai.
Crowds began forming early and by noon, there were more than 10,000 guests soaking up a slice of Singaporeana and colonising a swathe of the sprawling park, named after the queen of the empire that once ruled Singapore.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrived to cheers and claps and mushrooming smartphones as people snapped pictures of him, but he did one better. He went on stage and took a picture of the waving audience, then turned around to do a selfie with them in the background.
"I am very happy to be here for such a beautiful Singapore Day. Some of you have private messaged me, e-mailed me, commented on my Facebook, liked me... I look forward to enjoying the laksa with you," he told the crowds.
As he left the stage, Mr Lee was mobbed by a surging crowd wanting to take pictures of him or their own selfie with the PM in the background.
The team overseeing the event from the National Population and Talent Division, led by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Grace Fu, also mingled with guests, many of whom work, live and study here.
But more than 16 per cent of those present had travelled from all over Europe to be at the park, some as far away as Munich in Germany and Nice in France, for a chance to rekindle their links with Singapore and "relieve some of their homesickness", said Ms Fu.