Heartland celebration

SINGAPORE - Mr Christopher Wong was exploring the neighbourhood around Kallang Heights public housing estate when he stumbled upon another world.

Underneath a block of flats along Upper Boon Keng Road was a garden decorated by residents for the National Day and Hari Raya celebrations two weekends ago.

"I felt like I was out of this world because the garden had so many plants and was very well decorated. The void decks near my place in Toa Payoh do not have such mini gardens," said the 23-year-old, who is waiting to enter university.

"One of the residents even invited me to take photos and I felt very welcomed."

Mr Wong sent it for the Big Picture contest when he saw this week's theme "Happy Birthday SG!", which called for photos of how people in Singapore celebrated our 48th National Day.

His photo won the weekly $500 prize for this year-long contest organised by The New Paper and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth to encourage Singaporeans to document everyday life in the city.

Judge Jean Loo, who picked the photo to win, said she enjoyed the subtle portrayal of celebration.

"The image looks like poetry in motion and shows how residents have made the National Celebrations, literally, a part of their own backyard. There's an air of festivity," she said.

The other two judges, Mr Desmond Lim and Mr Zakaria Zainal, were captivated by the details of the photo which made their short-list.

Said Mr Lim, "It goes beyond the usual interpretation of National Day in the form of fireworks or parade pictures. It really shows a slice of the quintessentially Singaporean heartland life."

Mr Lim's winner was a photo of National Day celebrations in the heartland, taken by Miss Jasline Tan.

Judge Zakaria's winning photo was a portrait of a Pakistani worker by Mr Paul Tang, who represented the unsung heroes hired to hang decorations for this year's National Day celebrations.

Get The New Paper for more stories.