At the open field next to Jurong East MRT station, the National Day celebrations continued with a heartland spirit on 10 August, as 40,000 residents began streaming in at 5pm to enjoy bonding as a community over old-school games, carnival rides, exhibits, and food delights such as chicken masala biryani, laksa and potong ice cream.
The crowd also enjoyed delightful entertainment on stage, including multicultural performances such as Nonya, Chinese and Indian dances, as well as Malay drum performances. Local multilingual band Too Much Drama belted out a series of National Day songs and local classic tunes.
For 40-year-old sales engineer Mr Yu Sian Fu, joining fellow Singaporeans to celebrate the nation’s birthday was especially memorable, as he and his family would usually travel overseas during the National Day period. “But this year is the bicentennial, so we decided to stay. It’s remarkable that we’ve managed to achieve so much and become a developed country in a short span of 54 years,” he said. “My daughter is looking forward to the fireworks display at the end of the event.”
Mr Putera Zulfika, 26, who came with his family of eight, is delighted at being able to soak in the festive mood close to his home. “This event allowed those of us who did not get to see the National Day Parade live at The Padang to have the same experience near our housing estate. There are also a lot of carnival activities for my kids to explore,” he said.
Hundreds of Singaporeans also lined the road as they waited eagerly for the arrival of the mobile column. There was a loud cheer as enormous battle tanks and the familiar red-and- white Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) emergency vehicles started rolling in at 6.45pm. Representing our defence strength through the Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore Police Force and SCDF, the mobile column first rolled down the Padang in 1969. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the mobile column, which last made an appearance at the NDP in 2015.
Ms Low Yen Ling, the Mayor for South West District, together with fellow Grassroots Advisers, unveiled a digital birthday card with 5,400 appreciation messages for our seniors, especially the Pioneer and Merdeka generations. The celebration ended with a dazzling fireworks display. “As we celebrate its successes, it is also important to remember the contributions of those who made Singapore what it is today,” said Ms Low in a Facebook post.
Dr Tan Wu Meng, MP for Jurong GRC, said: “I was very happy to catch up with our Clementi friends in our town centre and in Jurong – some had hopped on the train to Jurong East [to see it again] once the mobile column had passed Clementi MRT. I also met new friends from across our Jurong community.”