SINGAPORE - With the colours of the Singapore flag streaking her hair and painted on her face, Madam Rosaline Koong burst into a lusty rendition of the national day song "Home".
Around her, were some 1,500 other residents and students from Teck Ghee who were singing, waving the national flag or holding aloft red and white balloons.
This was the scene at the annual Teck Ghee National Day Observance Ceremony on Wednesday (Aug 9) morning, when residents of all races came together to celebrate the nation's 52nd birthday.
The event was held at the parade square of Townsville Primary School in the heart of Ang Mo Kio.
To encourage her friends to come down, Madam Koong, 52, said she arranged to meet some 30 of them at 6am at a McDonalds restaurant nearby, where she bought them breakfast before heading to the school for the ceremony.
"It's the nation's birthday, I thought it would be nice to have breakfast and then come down here to celebrate," said the account executive.
The community spirit in the air was palpable as the crowd sang the national anthem and national day songs such as Home, Chan Mali Chan and Munneru Valiba.
Said resident Kalaimohan R. J., 59: "This is like a birthday for everybody, it's so nice to see friends and neighbours of all races together."
Madam Siti Hajar, 43, who came down with her husband and three children, said it was the eighth time the family was celebrating national day at the Teck Ghee ceremony.
"We've lived here 20 over years, this is like our kampong, you can feel the spirit," said Madam Siti, a medical professional.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who oversees the Teck Ghee ward in Ang Mo Kio GRC, was guest of honour at the event.
He and Mrs Lee joined the residents in watching a song and dance performance put up by preschoolers and primary and secondary school children.
The festivities culminated in PM Lee, grassroots leaders and the principals of schools in Teck Ghee cutting a massive 10kg birthday cake.
After that, PM Lee mingled with residents in the school canteen, as they enjoyed a breakfast of local treats such as roti prata, carrot cake and mee siam.