SINGAPORE - The hot weather on Sunday afternoon (Aug 7) did not deter 80-year-old Hasiah Molan and her friend from visiting a National Day carnival where veteran singer Rahimah Rahim was performing.
"We also came for the other things at the carnival, but especially for (the singer)," said her friend, who wished to be known as Madam Ramlah and is in her 70s.
Madam Ramlah also said they were glad to be at the carnival, held at Wisma Geylang Serai, after spending most of the past two years being cooped up at home due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The two women were among about 20,000 people who attended the event, which was jointly organised by the National Day Parade (NDP) 2022 Executive Committee and the People's Association, on Sunday.
The carnival, which started at 4pm, featured a food bazaar and various stage performances, including one by local hand-bells ensemble Ministry of Bellz.
Visitors took part in activities such as carnival rides and art workshops, and snapped photos of themselves posing beside vehicles from the Singapore Armed Forces and Home Team.
They were also dazzled by a fireworks display at about 8pm, before the event ended an hour later.
Various MPs from constituencies in the South East District also attended the carnival, including Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, Manpower Minister Tan See Leng and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong.
Sunday's event followed four similar ones held on Saturday at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, Punggol, Sembawang and Buona Vista to commemorate Singapore's 57th birthday.
The carnivals marked the first time since the pandemic that large-scale National Day celebrations have returned to the heartland. Last year saw some events moved online, and community fireworks displays were cancelled.
Colonel Kwek Kian Leong, the chairman of the NDP 2022 Heartlands Committee, said the NDP 2022 Executive Committee - which he is part of - is heartened by the public's enthusiastic response to the heartland celebrations.
Carnival visitor Anoop Paul, 37, said the event was an opportunity for his family to bond. He was at the carnival with his wife, three children, aged three, four and 10, their domestic helper and his nephew.
"I am happy to see that… people are going out and enjoying themselves," said Mr Paul, who works for tech firm Cisco as a systems architect.