Mid-Autumn this year is extra special, says PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong joining residents in a lantern procession at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park last night. Mr Lee said he hoped "we will have a good year ahead and next year will be better".
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong joining residents in a lantern procession at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park last night. Mr Lee said he hoped "we will have a good year ahead and next year will be better".ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

GE over, haze clears and moon is visible, he says as he celebrates with residents

Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park was a hive of activity as some 5,000 residents celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last night.

PM Lee, who is also an MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, joined them for a lantern procession around the park's promenade and later said this year's celebration was a little more special for two reasons.

"First, we had the general election two weeks ago. Now that it's over, we can celebrate. Thank you for your support," he said, speaking in Mandarin.

Another reason was that the haze which shrouded Singapore in recent days had cleared "so we can see the moon" and the night was very beautiful.

Resident Melvin Hoon, 50, an engineer, agreed and was glad the skies had cleared in time as his 11-year-old son had been looking forward to the event.

"Kids like these events. If it was cancelled due to the haze, they won't get a chance to enjoy outdoor activities," said Mr Hoon.

PM Lee wished residents well with a Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival greeting and said he hoped "we will have a good year ahead and next year will be better".

At the event, he also put the finishing touches to a painting of Chang'e on a 3m tall SG50 lantern created by residents and grassroots leaders.

In Chinese mythology, Chang'e is the goddess of the moon and a central character in stories about the Mid-Autumn Festival.

An annual event, the Teck Ghee Lantern Night 2015 also featured booths set up by interest groups where residents learnt calligraphy, and children attempted to create models from drinking straws.

Mr Lee was surrounded by residents as he toured various booths, and obliged numerous requests to take pictures with him.

Sculpted balloon figurines of Chang'e distributed by stilt walkers in costume were a hit with the crowd, especially the children.

For resident Jhoyce Wong, 36, the event was an opportunity to get together with friends: "We've lived in Ang Mo Kio for three years, this is my third time attending this event. My daughter made her own lantern. She's very excited."

Singaporean Patricia Kundig, 40, who lives in Switzerland and is back here on holiday said the event was a good experience for her four young children.

Former MPs S. Vasoo and Yeo Toon Chia also attended last night's festivities.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 27, 2015, with the headline 'Mid-Autumn this year is extra special, says PM Lee'. Print Edition | Subscribe