An island rocks all day

Over at Mountbatten Community Club, (above) residents and grassroots leaders had a singalong at the National Day Observance ceremony.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

The Marina Barrage was a sea of red yesterday, as Singaporeans donned red outfits and came out in force to catch the action up close.

They were in the barrage area in the morning for the daredevil aerobatics of the Black Knights, and they were there in the evening for the fireworks extravaganza.

"It was a last-minute decision, but we quickly did our research and thought we should take our children here," said teacher Noor Aidil, 39, who was at the barrage with his wife and two sons, aged six and three.

"It's been a wonderful 50 years of rapid development. Let's hope for 50 more," he said.

About 67,000 people visited the Marina Barrage yesterday, according to estimates by the Public Utilities Board. And in the afternoon, it was standing-room-only on the facility's Green Roof.

Many families got there early to lay out picnic mats, fly kites and spend the Golden Jubilee afternoon lounging away.

It was a major family outing for some. The Lins, for instance, were out on the Green Roof - all 26 of them from across four generations.

They were all dressed in a white "family T-shirt" specially designed for the occasion.

"Every year, we wear a different shirt. We feel this really unites our family," said hairstylist Jason Lin, 43, adding that this year is the family's third on the Green Roof.

Later in the evening, the crowd whooped, cheered and went wild as RSAF aircraft thundered above them once more.

"Every time I see the flypast - I can't describe it, but this sense of pride just wells up inside me," said project manager Michael Tong, 51, who was there with his teenage daughter and wife.

Over at the Botanic Gardens, Singaporeans started streaming in from 7am to join in the festivities.

Many spent the day visiting carnival booths, where they could get their faces painted, munch on traditional snacks and try out childhood games such as five stones.

Trade executive Vijaya Barathi, 30, took her two children, aged nine and six, for a picnic on the lawn near the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage.

"In the future, when there is an SG100, they can share memories of this special day with their own children," she said.

Housewife Sandra Wong, 42, was at the Gardens as well, with her two daughters.

"I feel happy to call Singapore my home, and I want to teach my two girls to be grateful for how far we have come," she said.

"I want my girls to carry these values into the future, and contribute meaningfully to our country."

Meanwhile, spirits were high in the heartland too, as many gathered to watch a live screening of the National Day Parade.

At Serangoon Community Park, more than 200 residents sang along to National Day songs, waving Singapore flags enthusiastically.

Programme manager Phua Soo Ngern, 48, was there with her husband Liew Kok Seng, 50.

She said: "I came here for the atmosphere. I thought the parade was excellent."

This article was first published on Aug 10, 2015. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.