SINGAPORE - As Singapore gears up for a spectacular finale to its Golden Jubilee year, Indonesian visitor Alfian Gani is elated to be celebrating a personal milestone too.
For the 10th time in a row, the 25-year-old banker will cross over into the new year together with thousands of party-goers at the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown.
"I really love the happy atmosphere at the bay, especially when we start counting down and the crowds go crazy," said the self-confessed "biggest fan of Singapore", who flew in here from Jakarta on Tuesday.
As soon as ticket sales were open online, he bought tickets to Mediacorp's Celebrate concert at the Float @ Marina Bay this year, which he will be attending with three other friends.
Mr Alfian chanced upon his first Marina Bay countdown event back in 2006, while on a short holiday here alone. Singapore was his top choice because it was just an hour away from his hometown, Medan.
"I didn't know what to do on New Year's eve, so I joined my brother and his friends at the Esplanade for dinner. They left for Clarke Quay after that, but I stayed on to count down in the bay area," he explained. "I had so much fun and since then, I just had to come back again."
Over the next few years, he continued to make trips here just to witness the city skyline burst into an array of colours at various vantage points, including the Singapore Land Tower in 2007.
When he began his three-year degree course at Curtin Singapore in 2010, he kept up with his tradition of participating in countdown festivities at the Bay with his friends, both old and new.
"That year, I met a Singaporean guy and Indonesian girl. They were both there alone just like me and we became friends. We've kept in touch since then and now they're even married to each other," he said with a laugh.
He added that each year he has spent counting down in Singapore has a unique memory attached to it. He sees the countdown as a chance to reflect on the previous year and set goals for the next.
Another of his favourite activities include penning down his hopes and dreams on wishing spheres, which are then lit up and floated in Marina Bay.
When asked what is the one wish he has that has yet to be fulfilled, he exclaimed without hesitation: "I hope to one day be a host at the countdown. It doesn't matter where in the bay, I just want to be a part of it."