Night of fun at Sentosa for ST readers

Thousands throng Universal Studios theme park for exclusive party

Some 6,000 Straits Times readers were treated to an exclusive party last night at the Universal Studios Singapore in Sentosa.

The theme park, which is usually closed in the evening, kept its doors open as part of a promotion for readers who had attended the Straits Times Appreciates Readers (Star) concert last month.

Concert-goers were invited to visit the Universal Studios for free this weekend - either Saturday or Sunday. All rides, shows and other attractions in the park are free. Readers also each received a ticket to the Singapore Flyer.

Last night, although the party began only at 7.30pm, lines began to form as early as 6.15pm. The park closed at 11.30pm.

Mr Rick Hunter Wang, 36, was one of the early birds. He arrived at 6.15pm with his fiancee.

"I heard a lot of good reviews about the Transformers ride, and we wanted to be one of the first to enter the park so that we won't have to queue up for it," he said.

Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez, who was on hand to welcome the guests, said: "It's great to see so many people, of different

ages and races, enjoying themselves together on this holiday weekend. We are glad to have organised this party for our loyal readers." Mr Fernandez thanked Resorts World Sentosa for partnering The Straits Times to make this possible.

Once inside the park, the crowd quickly spread. But many soon zeroed in on the Transformers ride - the hot favourite of the night.

Entrepreneur Hew Joon Yeng, 25, said the ride was "fantastic and surprising". "The 3D effects were very real and detailed," said Mr Hew, who was at the park with friends and family.

For 20-year-old Tay Tze Wei who will be enlisting for national service on Thursday, the Star party was a good way to spend a long weekend - probably his last for at least the next few months. "It is my last weekend to enjoy myself before enlistment, so I'm glad for this event," he said.

Among the crowd were 26 teenagers who had received free tickets from Tenet Insurance, one of the event's sponsors. The teens, aged 13 to 19, are beneficiaries of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, which provides pocket money to children from low-income families to help with their school expenses.

One of them, 13-year-old Heng Mei Hui, said it was her first visit to the Universal Studios theme park.

"If I had not been given this chance today, I probably wouldn't come on my own because the tickets are too expensive and my family won't be able to afford it," said the Secondary 1 student from Bukit Merah Secondary.

She added: "I"m really glad to be here today and I plan to go on all the rides!"