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Revellers show their Love with a New Year record

SINGAPORE - Residents of Sengkang and Ang Mo Kio had a record-setting message for everyone in 2016.

Some 5,000 revellers set a new Singapore record in the last hour of 2015 by completing a 3m by 2m formation of the word "Love" at Sengkang Riverside Park with 1,600 light sticks.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong caused a minor commotion when he arrived at the party at 11pm.

After penning the words "peace and progress" on a sky lantern, he began to mingle with Singaporeans and their families, many who were eager to have their wefies taken with him.

Armed with smartphones, cameras - and babies - many were eager to grab a snap of Mr Lee. 

Among them were Mr S.T. Ong and his eight-year-old son Bryan. 

"It's not every day that we can see him in the flesh, and we want to wish him a happy new year," said the 40-year-old accountant.

Showers earlier in the night also could not dampen the mood of the heartland crowd, who were serenaded by an Elvis impersonator, as well as medleys of Malay, Indian and Mandarin classics such as Rasa Sayang. 

 
 

"We've not missed a countdown party since we moved to Sengkang five years ago, and the rain wasn't going to stop us," said Mr Jia Peng, 62.

With less than 10 minutes to go to midnight, Mr Lee and his fellow Ang Mo Kio and Sengkang grassroots advisers, Dr Lam Pin Min, Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar, Mr Ang Hin Kee, Dr Koh Poh Koon, Mr Darryl David and Mr Gan Thiam Poh, took to the stage with their wishes for Singaporeans and Singapore.

"I wish everybody a very happy 2016 - good health, prosperity, peace and happiness within your family," said Mr Lee.

As the clock struck midnight, the sky over the park was filled with snakes of spiralling gold and blue, interspersed with showers of red and green.

Some people sang along to Auld Lang Syne, while others, like the Sims, a family of 12, busted out their sparklers. 

"We usually head to Marina Bay Sands for the countdown, but this year we decided to celebrate closer to home as it was raining," said accountant Wendy Sim, 42.

Ushering the new year in the heartland might just be a new family tradition for them. 

"The fireworks were fantastic, as we were right in front of them," she said.

"I think they can fight with MBS."