SINGAPORE - The Milo van at Plaza Singapura has proved to be a hit among Singaporeans, with scores of people lining up for free servings of the chocolate malt beverage on Friday (Oct 7).
In spite of the morning rain, close to a hundred early birds were waiting in the queue before the van began handing out free cups at 11am.
Milo manufacturer Nestle Singapore is giving away the chocolate malt beverage to support homegrown singer Nathan Hartono in the Sing! China competition finals.
The van is scheduled to give away the drinks until 8pm, with Nestle ready to produce 15,000 cups for the crowds.
Mr Chow Phee Chat, Nestle's director of communications and corporate affairs, said that to maintain freshness, the drinks would be delivered in batches every three hours from the Nestle factory in Jurong.
Earlier this week, Hartono promised to treat Singaporeans to Milo peng (iced Milo) should he win the Sing! China contest. Nestle subsequently one-upped his gesture by offering free Milo regardless of the result.
A group of girls, who did not want to be named, told The Straits Times that they "kind of" supported Hartono but were also drawn by the Milo give-away.
Similar sentiments were at work for Mr Lovell Lam, a student who had read about the event on Facebook. "I came down for the free Milo and to support Nathan," he said.
Not that everyone helping themselves to free drinks was even aware of the reason for the van's presence.
"I have no idea why there is a Milo van here at Plaza Singapura," said Mr Xavier Lim, 22. "I just queued up because I saw them giving away free Milo."
On Friday night, Hartono will be competing against five other contestants in the final of Sing! China at the Beijing National Stadium. He will be singing two Mandarin songs, one of them a duet with Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou, his mentor.
The final will take place at 8pm, and will be screened on the competition's official YouTube channel.
Hartono wrote on Facebook that he was floored by how his offhand remark "took on a life of its own".
"But hey, if it means people all over town today get free Milo van Milo, then I'm happy," he added, saying that he was "glad we could recreate some of that nostalgia".