The atmosphere was one of excitement and anticipation.
Sembawang residents, all dressed in red, were gathered at Block 786B, Woodlands Drive 60, yesterday. Children were holding red and white balloons, and some were waving small Singapore flags.
At 9.50am, on the master of ceremonies' cue, residents unfurled more than a hundred national flags simultaneously from the block's corridors, as those gathered below cheered. Banners carrying messages celebrating the nation's jubilee year were also displayed.
Organised by the Sembawang grassroots organisations, the mass unfurling of flags by 132 households kick-started the "Fly our flag" campaign.
The islandwide initiative by the People's Association aims to encourage citizens to show their love for Singapore by displaying the national flag at their homes as National Day draws near.
The time - 9.50am - was chosen to symbolically represent the nation's birthday on Aug 9, and 50 years of independence since 1965.
Madam Rohana Mohamad Rajab, 44, who lives in Block 786B, said she was proud to display the flag at her home, where she has lived for the past 15 years.
"Unfurling the flag was meaningful and, at the same time, I am very happy to have a chance to chat and celebrate with all my neighbours".
Mr Ang Cheng Ho, the vice-chairman of the Sembawang Citizens Consultative Committee, said the event is part of efforts to spread the Singapore spirit. "We hope it will bring together residents to celebrate Singapore's jubilee year, and remind them of the importance of the flag, and the nation," he said.
In the coming days, 72,000 homes in Sembawang GRC will receive a Singapore flag, distributed through house visits by grassroots leaders. It will come with a note explaining its history and the symbolic meaning of its key features.
About 800 people attended the event, including National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan. Mr Khaw, who is also a Sembawang GRC MP, said the community spirit at the event was "very strong".
"I think the wish for Singaporeans must be that, hopefully, the next 50 years will be even more outstanding," he said.