SINGAPORE - The year 2021 may have drawn to a close under grey skies, but the drizzle did not keep hundreds of people from turning up for an in-person countdown event in Tampines.
Some attendees cheered the opportunity to get out and about after the Covid-19 pandemic hampered most physical events last year, while others who turned up for the countdown at Our Tampines Hub said they were there for the performances.
Ms Ng Gek Heong, 28, an executive in the information technology industry, and her sister, pre-school teacher Ng Yu Ying, 22, decided to brave the rain to attend the performance by getai stars Hao Hao and Pei Fen.
Ms Ng Gek Heong said: "Although the pandemic hasn't changed our lifestyles too much, we really missed live getai performances." She added that she was glad that getai performances were brought back for the New Year celebrations.
More than 500 attendees also enjoyed live performances by local artistes Jack and Rai and Sheikh Haikel during the We Will Rock You concert.
Student Shreya Senthil, 16, who turned up for the celebrations with her brother and mother, said she had gone to the event to cap off a tough year of preparing for and completing her O-level examinations.
She said her family hoped that Covid-19 restrictions will ease further in the new year, and that they can go out without masks in public once again.
In other parts of the island, Singaporeans welcomed the new year by participating in virtual community celebrations hosted by the People's Association (PA) grassroot organisations.
Fifteen such virtual community celebrations took place across the different constituencies on Friday (Dec 31) evening, with activities such as musical skits, comedy shows, song and dance performances, as well as games and quizzes.
Such community countdown celebrations went virtual for the first time in 2020 due to the pandemic and returned as 2021 drew to a close.
One Singaporean ushering in the new year with a virtual community celebration was Madam Joyce Tham, 67, a personal assistant.
After her husband and her mother died in 2019, Madam Tham spent much of the time alone during the pandemic, getting to see the rest of her family only during sporadic visits.
But in 2021, her son, his wife and their two sons, moved into her home while waiting for their home renovations to be completed, and they rang in the new year together.
Madam Tham said: "As a people lover, the pandemic was a really hard time for me because I was alone most of the time, so I am really grateful that the situation is improving and that I get to spend this New Year's Eve with my family in my own home."
Madam Tham, who lives in a jumbo flat on the ninth floor in Commonwealth, had a full view of the fireworks display that was set off in Buona Vista - one of the 10 fireworks displays in different heartland locations in Singapore.
These fireworks displays were organised by PA and were set off in open spaces in locations like Buona Vista and Bedok at the stroke of midnight.
Madam Tham said: "When I told my grandchildren that we were going to have a great view of the fireworks from my place, they were so excited.
"I just feel so grateful that I get to share these beautiful moments with my family as the new year rings in and we get closer to a healthier and virus-free world."
Madam Shirley Soh, 51, a teacher, was also pleasantly surprised when the fireworks burst into view at the kitchen window of her 15th-floor apartment near Holland Village.
Madam Soh said: "I did not expect the fireworks to be so close to where I live, but having fireworks in the heartland really adds to the festive feeling in the neighbourhood.
"It makes me look forward to the brand new year," she added.
Student Gerald Poh, 18, said he enjoyed the fireworks in Tampines. He said: "I find the fireworks really breathtaking. After a year of being locked up at home, plus all the restrictions, I’m happy to be out with friends."