Ms Woon Li Li wanted very much to take her 83-year-old father to see the National Day Parade (NDP) this year.
When she learnt that The Straits Times had launched an online game involving a lucky draw for preview tickets to the NDP, she leapt at the chance.
She was accompanying her father, Mr Woon Cheng Hua, to the hospital for a check-up yesterday when she learnt that even though she did not win the tickets, she had won an official NDP fun pack.
Ms Woon, 52, who is currently not working, was pleasantly surprised. The fun pack will add some welcome celebratory cheer when the family sits down to watch the NDP on television next week, she said.
"My father has not been well. If he cannot be at the event himself, at least now he will have a souvenir from it," the mother of four added.
Ms Woon, who collected her prize yesterday, will be giving it to her father, who has a heart condition.
She was one of 20 lucky winners selected from more than 8,200 who managed to find all 53 items in ST's NDP online challenge by Tuesday.
Ms Woon spent more than an hour on the game. She said the last few items of each category were the most difficult to locate.
The items, including the Merlion, national flower Vanda Miss Joaquim and the number 53, were hidden in an illustration of a packed crowd watching the NDP.
Nearly 38,000 people have played the game as of yesterday, since it was launched on Sunday.
How the game was created
Finding the 53 items in the National Day Parade online challenge can be, well, challenging, with some saying it took them more than an hour to do so.
Creating the game is no cinch either. It took a team of five developers and designers a week's worth of work to put it together.
First, ST digital infographic journalist Billy Ker, 29, took more than 50 hours to draw by hand the illustration. It was a tricky balance between making the items difficult to find and populating the scene with interesting details.
But Mr Ker had fun with the project, stashing more than 40 "Easter eggs" in the illustration to be spotted.
These include distinctly local figures like Sharity Elephant and Phua Chu Kang, but also international icons such as Harry Potter.
At the same time, Web designer Lim Ling Li, 45, filled in the colours for the backdrop. She then had to cut out the 53 items individually using Adobe Photoshop, adding halo effects that made the items light up when clicked on.
Each of the 53 items then had to be manually positioned on top of their corresponding locations on the background image.
Senior Web developer Thong Yong Jun, 31, and Web developer Jocelyn Tan, 29, used Mapbox GL, a software that renders interactive maps, as a base for the game. This allowed them to provide the pan and zoom effects crucial for gameplay.
Finally, user interface designer Alyssa Karla Mungcal, 26, helped create the game's desktop interface.
While the lucky draw contest has ended, the game can still be played on The Straits Times' website.
Teacher Vivien Chong had balloted unsuccessfully every year for the last six years for NDP tickets. She finally got lucky with ST's game, winning one of four pairs of preview tickets for tomorrow.
Ms Chong, 35, said she found the online game to be a good bonding activity with her five-year-old son.
She said: "I really liked how the illustration reflects detail and diversity in the crowd. One of the items was the guy with the tattoo of the Merlion on his torso. So patriotic!"
Ms Woon was delighted to find characters like a cartoon figure from Chew On It!, the series drawn by ST's comic artist Lee Chee Chew for The Sunday Times.
The game was far from easy, with the average player taking about 38 minutes to finish it.
One way to "play" is to click randomly on the illustration and hope that one lands on an item by chance.
One such player clicked on average about 108 times per item, which adds up to about 5,700 clicks for all 53 items.
Another way is through strategy and hard work.
Mr Muhammad Taufiq Al-Hafiz, 32, was the top-ranked player with a timing of 41 seconds. He played the game 15 times.
"I tried to memorise where the items appeared each time I played, and planned the most efficient sequence of clicks to complete each stage in the fastest time possible," the civil servant said.
ST digital editor Ong Hwee Hwee said: "We were pleasantly surprised by the response for the lucky draw because it's quite a challenge finding all 53 items.
"We wanted our readers to be a big part of what we do to celebrate Singapore's 53rd birthday. I hope they enjoyed the interactive game as much as we did creating it."