PICTURES, VIDEO

Fireworks over Boon Lay town at one of the largest heartland countdown parties

Children interact with robot dinosaurs at Boon Lay town's countdown party on Dec 31, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Children interact with robot dinosaurs at Boon Lay town's countdown party on Dec 31, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Children interact with robot dinosaurs at Boon Lay town's countdown party on Dec 31, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Children interact with robot dinosaurs at Boon Lay town's countdown party on Dec 31, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Children interact with robot dinosaurs at Boon Lay town's countdown party on Dec 31, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Children interact with robot dinosaurs at Boon Lay town's countdown party on Dec 31, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Party-goers at Boon Lay town's countdown party on Dec 31, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Party-goers at Boon Lay town's countdown party on Dec 31, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Party-goers at Boon Lay town's countdown party on Dec 31, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Party-goers at Boon Lay town's countdown party on Dec 31, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Party-goers at Boon Lay town's countdown party on Dec 31, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Party-goers at Boon Lay town's countdown party on Dec 31, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Party-goers at Boon Lay town's countdown party on Dec 31, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Party-goers at Boon Lay town's countdown party on Dec 31, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Party-goers at Boon Lay town's countdown party on Dec 31, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Party-goers at Boon Lay town's countdown party on Dec 31, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Colourful fireworks lit up the sky as some 20,000 revellers welcomed 2014 at Boon Lay town. -- ST PHOTO: AUDREY TAN
Colourful fireworks lit up the sky as some 20,000 revellers welcomed 2014 at Boon Lay town. -- ST PHOTO: AUDREY TAN
Some 20,000 revellers welcomed 2014 at a countdown party at Boon Lay town. -- ST PHOTO: AUDREY TAN
Some 20,000 revellers welcomed 2014 at a countdown party at Boon Lay town. -- ST PHOTO: AUDREY TAN
Colourful fireworks lit up the sky as some 20,000 revellers welcomed 2014 at Boon Lay town. -- ST PHOTO: AUDREY TAN
Colourful fireworks lit up the sky as some 20,000 revellers welcomed 2014 at Boon Lay town. -- ST PHOTO: AUDREY TAN

The countdown began the typical way, as residents chanted the last 10 seconds of 2013 away. But it ended with a bang, as fireworks erupted over Boon Lay town. Bright gold, red and blue streaked the sky for 90 seconds as party-goers cheered their way into 2014.

On the ground, six robot dinosaurs measuring up to 2.2m in height "roared" in the new year. This is the first time that the annual event, now in its 11th edition, has had them.

Parents, such as Madam Halijah Abu Hussain, 47, applauded the dinosaur attraction for being fresh. "The dinosaurs made the children really happy," she added.

The event was attended by some 20,000 revellers, which comprised children, adults, the elderly, the disabled and foreign workers.

Mr Yong Teck Fok, a 60-year-old wheelchair user who sells Singapore Sweep tickets, said the firework display was his favorite part of the countdown party. He said in Mandarin: "I'm very happy to be here with all my friends, the fireworks are very nice."

Other residents say the heartland event was a good way to get the neighbourhood to bond.

Year 2 Nanyang Technological University student Johnson Seow, 23, said: "Throughout the year, people seldom have the chance to meet their neighbours from other blocks.

"This is a good chance for them to come together - the strongest selling point of the event."

Mr Lawrence Wong, who is MP for West Coast GRC (Boon Lay Division), Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information said maintaining this community spirit in Boon Lay was one of his new year resolutions for the constituency.

"I hope that together with the residents of Boon Lay, we'll be able to build an even more cohesive and caring community," he added.