SINGAPORE - The atmosphere was one of excitement and anticipation.
Sembawang residents, all dressed in red, were gathered at Block 786B Woodlands Drive 60 this morning. Children held on to red and white balloons, and some waved mini Singapore flags.
On the emcees' cue, at 9.50am sharp, more than a hundred national flags were unfurled simultaneously over the corridors of the block's flats.
Banners carrying messages celebrating the nation's Jubilee Year were also unfurled, to the cheers of those gathered below.
Held by the Sembawang Grassroots Organisations, the mass unfurling of flags by 132 households kickstarted the islandwide "Fly Our Flag" campaign.
The initiative aims to encourage citizens to show their love for Singapore by displaying the national flag at their homes, as National Day draws near.
The special time of 9.50am was chosen to represent Singapore's birthday on Aug 9, 1965 and the 50 years of independence since then.
Madam Rohana Mohamad Rajab, 44, was proud to display the flag from her home. She has been a resident of the block for 15 years.
"I think that unfurling the flags was meaningful, and at the same time, I am very happy to have a chance to chat and celebrate with all my neighbours gathered together," she added.
Mr Ang Cheng Ho, vice-chairman of the Sembawang Citizens' Consultative Committee, said the event was part of efforts to spread the Singapore spirit.
"We hope the event will bring together residents to celebrate Singapore's Jubilee year, and remind them of the importance of the flag, and the nation," he said.
In the coming days, 72,000 households in Sembawang GRC will receive Singapore flags, distributed through house visits by grassroots leaders. The flags will be accompanied by a note explaining its history and the symbolic meaning of its key features.
This morning's event was attended by about 800 people, including National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan.
Mr Khaw, who is also a Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC, said that the spirit at the event was "very strong".
"I think the wish for Singaporeans must be that, hopefully, the next 50 years will be even more outstanding," he said.