Anxious to be on time for her grandson's school event that would start at 7.30am last Thursday, Madam Ngan Sai Mui, 74, travelled from her Marine Parade home to stay the night at his Woodlands home. It was her first time attending a school event with her grandson, Leong Jun Ming, 11, a Primary 5 pupil at Evergreen Primary School in Woodlands.
Madam Ngan has three children and four grandchildren.
Jun Ming's school had asked 50 of its Primary 5 and 6 pupils to invite their grandparents to join its National Day celebrations "as a way of affirming the work our pioneer generation has done", said its vice-principal, Mrs Chua Lay Na.
"We usually talk more to the pupils' parents. This time round, we decided to do something for the grandparents as well," she added.
The school also invited several of its pioneer teachers to the event.
Teachers standing atop tables led about 1,500 pupils and the guests in doing the Great Singapore Workout, a national aerobic routine that was launched in 1993 and popular in schools in the 1990s.
The pupils also sang National Day songs. The grandparents were then ushered to an art exhibition put together by the pupils, and treated to brunch in the school.
Madam Ngan said: "It was fun. I joined in the workout, too, mainly just moving my hands around. I enjoyed myself very much. The celebration was grand. It was good to get together with my grandson and see what a school function is like."
Jun Ming, whom Madam Ngan had looked after when he was in pre-school, said: "I see my grandma about once a month because we live so far away. I sometimes wish I could spend more time with her."
Primary 6 pupil Titus Tan, 12, whose artwork was featured in the art exhibition, said he had learnt more about Singapore's history in the process of creating it.
Titus, with five friends from the school's art club, had made sand-art animation that told the story of Singapore.
He said: "We made drawings to show the different races talking about Singapore's future, and we also showed that there were various pathways to success. You could be working in art or medicine and it will still lead to a successful life."
The pupils' artwork will be displayed at the Woodlands Regional Library from Sept 5 to 13.
The school will also be donating its $20,000 under the SG50 Giving initiative, launched by the Ministry of Education to encourage students to work with charities, to Food From The Heart, which gives food to the needy.