Residents celebrate across heartland

The heartland was alive with festivities across the island yesterday, at the start of the four-day long jubilee weekend.

Cheerful LED balloons were released at the National Day celebrations at the Taman Jurong Community Club, which also had booths featuring craft activities.

Madam Rose Peh, 59, a part-time sales promoter, was taking part in the celebration for the first time despite having lived in Taman Jurong for three decades. "I came down especially because it is SG50. It is not every year that the atmosphere is this lively," she said.

The activities spilled out onto the road, and a portion of Corporation Drive was closed.

Performances, carnival booths and exhibitions took centre stage as about 5,000 people celebrated the festive occasion together.

At the event, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who is an MP for Jurong GRC, highlighted Singapore's transformation through the decades and the qualities which embody the Singapore spirit today - multiracialism as well as constantly striving for excellence and improvement.

At Greenwood Avenue in Bukit Timah, residents and grassroots volunteers decorated a roundabout with mini versions of three iconic Singapore structures - the Merlion, the Marina Bay Sands skyline, and courtesy campaign mascot, Singa the Lion. The structures will light up at night.

Meanwhile, at Bukit Panjang, residents created facade art featuring the sights and buildings of Singapore at Block 617, Senja Road.

At the other end of the island, in Tampines, young residents sampled traditional local snacks such as muah chee and kacang puteh at the SG50 We Love Tampines Carnival. They also learnt to play old- school games such as five stones.

At the event, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, an MP for Tampines GRC, was presented with a special Golden Jubilee plate. Local tableware firms Landex and Luzerne created special plates, which have paintings depicting how life in Singapore has changed in the last 50 years, to be auctioned off at a starting bid of $2,688 each. Proceeds will go to various charities.

Tampines resident Soon Hwee Ling, 41, who was at the carnival, said her children will be busy with dance and wushu performances at nearby community clubs for most of the long weekend.

But she has already planned what to do on National Day, when the whole family is free.

Mrs Soon, a part-time administrative assistant, said they intend to make use of the free public transport. "We'll be taking a few bus rides around on Aug 9, just to look around," she said, adding: "It will be a relaxing thing."

This article was first published on August 8, 2015.
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