Festive fireworks set heartland alight with cheer and pride

National Day fireworks display as seen from Grandeur 8 condominium in Ang Mo Kio on Aug 9, 2022. PHOTO: CLEMENT TAN
People gather to watch the fireworks display in Ang Mo Kio on Aug 9, 2022. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - Garbed in a red "I love Singapore" shirt and crowned with a headband with two flags, human resources executive Melissa Lee said she went to the fireworks viewing location in Ang Mo Kio so she could experience the jubilant mood of National Day in her neighbourhood.

Ms Lee, 45, who dressed all her three children in red this year for the heartland celebrations, said: "We are so small, yet so established and so safe… As small as a cell on the map, and yet we can carry our passports with pride."

Though the celebrations fill her with patriotism, she also worries for the world that her children, aged five, nine and 12, will grow up in.

But she trusts them to grow into these new challenges.

She said: "As parents, we will always worry. But we just have to leave it to the next generation to find their way."

Ms Lee's family was only one of the many who carpeted the field next to Ang Mo Kio library with picnic mats as early at 6pm on Tuesday (Aug 9), in anticipation of the fireworks display in the heartland at 8.15pm.

People gather on picnic mats laid out at a field in Ang Mo Kio on Aug 9, 2022. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Five firework viewing sites in the heartland were set up for the nation's birthday this year: Ang Mo Kio library, Old Tampines Junior College, Woodlands Stadium, Jurong West Stadium and Bedok Stadium.

Among the activities at the sites were impromptu quizzes with exclusive plushies of this year's National Day Parade (NDP) mascot, August the Merlion, up for grabs.

Audience members were also encouraged to switch on the live telecast of the main NDP show at The Float @ Marina Bay.

At Jurong West Stadium, the situation was similarly jubilant, with the expectant crowd comprising mostly families with children and grandparents, as well as a smaller number of couples and students in groups.

When The Straits Times reached the stadium at 5.15pm, a queue of about 100 had already formed, ahead of entry at 6pm.

Excited chatter rang out along the line as they bonded while waiting, as the children entertained themselves with games.

Among those in the queue was an educator at a student care centre, Ms Nur Hafiza, who showed up at around 5.40pm with isotonic drinks and flags to wave.

The married mother of five, 44, was there with her three younger children - girls aged six to 12.

"It's our first time watching a heartland show - my younger kids wanted to watch the fireworks, but it would be too crowded in town," said Ms Nur Hafiza, adding that her family had attended the first preview on July 23.

Engineer David Cheng, 40, who also attended the celebrations in Jurong West, was there, at the behest of friends, to take candid photographs of people who were watching the fireworks from outside the stadium.

The street photography enthusiast of 10 years said: “This is my first time at a heartland celebration and I’m glad I came.” 

He added: “I think the heartland celebrations are actually better than the main parade because you feel the community spirit better.”

SPH Brightcove Video
For National Day, we asked people across the nation what they loved about Singapore and their hopes for the future. You might even spot some familiar faces.

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