Teck Ghee residents usher in the new year with PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrived at the Teck Ghee countdown party at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio park, hours after returning from a holiday in Japan.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrived at the Teck Ghee countdown party at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio park, hours after returning from a holiday in Japan.ST PHOTO: PEARL LEE

SINGAPORE - Teck Ghee residents partied and cheered the start of the new year at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio park on Saturday (Dec 31) night, as they counted down to 2017 with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

At midnight, fireworks lit the sky in splashes of red, green, and gold, ushering in the new year.

Just moments earlier, the 5,000-strong crowd had sung popular National Day ballad Home with Mr and Mrs Lee.

Mr Lee, who had returned from a holiday in Japan just hours earlier on Saturday, joined his constituents at a countdown party under the stars.

His wish for the new year: peace and progress for Singaporeans and Singapore.

"A very happy new year to all of you. I wish you peace, progress and prosperity, and happiness and good health," he told the crowd.

Earlier, he toured various booths and greeted residents young and old.

Children tried their hand at games and art activities, such as kite-making, shooting mini basketballs, and making photo frames.

They also got to touch sea creatures, such as a starfish, a horseshoe crab, and a sea cucumber, in a "touch-pool" set up by Resort World Sentosa's (RWS) S.E.A Aquarium.

For many merrymakers, the highlight of the party was the five-minute long firework display.

Said Ang Mo Kio resident Masreny Ramli, 43, who was there with his two children and wife: "It's a great way to celebrate - to see people of different races having fun together. It's what Singapore is about."

Also at the party was housewife Katherine Goh, 37, with her husband and two sons.

Her older son Jarrett, 7, got to touch sea creatures at the RWS booth.

"He really enjoyed it," said Madam Goh.

Earlier on Saturday evening, 920 Marsiling residents celebrated the new year at a year-end constituency dinner with their MP and Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob.