Singapore is celebrating her 48th birthday on 9 August come Friday. It’s the first time baby YT is celebrating National Day. When I came to know NTUC U Family is organizing a Baby Day Out @ The Lawn to celebrate the nation’s birthday, I signed up for it without hesitation.
On 3 August, we planned the day to be a national education for our little ones. We started with going on the Singapore River Taxi Cruise which is in fact a boat ride, to bring us on the Singapore River tour around the must-see landmarks in Singapore. XX exclaimed it’s the first time she’s on a boat. I smiled and reminded her first boat ride was in Sydney when she was barely 3. Hmm… Maybe it’s not such a good idea to bring kids overseas when they’re too young. They cannot remember much except for the memories on an album.
The boat ride started at Clarke Quay “jetty”. Clarke Quay is a beautiful and happening day and night entertainment hotspot with many restaurants and pubs lining along the Singapore River. In the early days where the Singapore River was the centre of trade, it was a place where the commercial took place at the Boat Quay and goods transferred upstream to Clarke Quay. Thanks to the Singapore government revamp of Clarke Quay from 1977 to 1987, you can now get a beautiful river view with Singapore’s night lights in the background as you wine and dine with your friends and family along the river bank.
The cruise ride went on to Boat Quay which is right at the heart of our CBD (Central Business District). Boat Quay was a place of early Chinese settlement designated by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1822. It then flourished into an important trading area on the north bank where the Europeans had their offices, houses and government buildings. I love the sky scrapers that spruced up along the side of the river bank, the old parliament house and the historical suspension bridge, the Cavenagh Bridge. Over here, restaurants and pubs line the river bank too.
Next, we cruised on to the Marina Bay area. There, you can have a magnificent view of Marina Bay Sands, Singapore’s famous iconic hotel and casino. As that day was the final full-dress rehearsal of the National Day parade, we had an eye feast of the air show of helicopters and fighter planes as they zoomed past us overhead as our boat passed by the parade area. We could see a sea of red and white donning spectators (the Singapore flag is in red and white) as they cheered on the parade, waving the little national flags excitedly.
The taxi ride would have continued on to the Merlion Park, but we alighted at Fullerton as we were going to our Baby Day Out event. For more information on the Singapore River Taxi Cruise, visit here.
When we arrived at The Lawn, many people were already relaxing on the orange picnic mats sponsored by NTUC U Family. There were many games booths for the little ones as well as stage activities. I contemplated enrolling a baby race for Baby YT, but decided against it as kel reminded me that while YT can perform a perfect commando crawl on the stomach, it’s no speed compared to the real baby crawl on all fours with bottoms up. Alright, we’ll not subject him to stress competition. Instead, kel and I splitted to join the snake queues for the kids’ games.
We were just in time when the emcee on stage asked everyone to rise up for the National Anthem “Majulah Singapura”. Everyone stood up and we all sang the National Anthem loudly. YH could not sing very well as he is still in pre-school which does not require them to sing daily. XX, however, sings the National Anthem everyday in her Primary School. Of course, kel and I were proud to sing the National Anthem too. After that, we recited the Singapore Pledge. I do not think any true born and bred Singaporeans will ever forget The Pledge. We are so familiar with The Pledge, I think we can recite it in our sleep.
Throughout the event, we could hear the actual preview of the National Day Parade opposite us on the Floating Platform. We sang along to the national day favourite songs, “Stand up for Singapore“, “Count on me Singapore“, “We are Singapore“, and “One People, One Nation, One Singapore“. I told XX that the first time these songs were sung, I was about her age, 8 years old. Till now, Kel and I could sing these songs without missing a beat. Those were the days where the composers wrote spectacular national day songs that lasted for generations.
At exactly 815pm, we were treated with a spectacular fireworks show right in front of our eyes as we relaxed on our picnic mats. Baby YT was woken up by the loud fireworks and despite my hand over his chest, whispering to pre-warn him, he still cried. Well, it’s expected and worth remembrance for his first fireworks show. Everything is always a first for Baby YT. Meanwhile, XX and YH were ecstatic and jumped up and down and clapped happily when they could make out the crescent, the stars, the heart-shapes, even mushrooms in the fireworks display. The fireworks lasted about 10+ minutes with a medley of national day songs including Stephanie Sun’s “We will get there” and then the finale came with a non-stop burst of fireworks lasting almost a minute to the song of favourite Kit Chan’s “Home“.
We enjoyed ourselves very much at the Baby Day Out, in particular, the fireworks. As we walked to the train station, we sang along to the song of “Count on me Singapore” once more, together with all the spectators leaving the event. It always touches me to hear Singaporeans sing the national day songs in unison. Next year, I promised XX and YH that we shall try our luck to get the National Day Parade tickets. Watching live parade is unforgettable. It’s bound to set off the patriotic spirit in all of us and reach a high on our love for Singapore!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SINGAPORE!! WE LOVE YOU!!
- Majestic – Boat Quay by Manita Goh (500px.com)