It was a foreigner who helped paint him a new picture of his home.
Three years ago, then budding photographer Leslie Heng went out on a day shoot with Mr Nuno Assis, a Portuguese photographer based in Macau, who was visiting Singapore. Mr Heng had intended to show his friend the best that the country had to offer, but he was in for a surprise.
"It was the other way round. He showed me a lot of different angles (and places) we could take pictures, and that changed my perspective entirely," said Mr Heng, 42, who works in plastic manufacturing.
He was speaking to The Straits Times at the #WhatMakesSG media launch and photo exhibition yesterday at Suntec City, where he was named the People's Choice Award winner of the photography competition for his shot of Gardens by the Bay. "When I went to different places, even if it was the same old HDB block that I'd always been going to, I started to look up. I started to look left. And then I started to see interesting angles," he said.
The competition held in April is part of the #WhatMakesSG collaboration between National Geographic and the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) in celebration of National Day. Over 7,000 entries were submitted.
Ms Kang Yen Thiing won the grand prize for her photo of an otter family at Gardens by the Bay East.
A special edition of National Geographic magazine, titled Singapore - City Of Tomorrow, will be out next Wednesday. Some 250,000 complimentary copies will be available at community centres and libraries. A documentary - City Of The Future: Singapore - will be aired from Aug 18 on the National Geographic channel, available on StarHub and Singtel. As a joint collaboration, National Geographic supported in the media and publicity efforts, while MCI provided resourcing and content support on the magazine and documentary.
Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, as well as Culture, Community and Youth, said: "As we celebrate each National Day, we think of different ways to celebrate Singapore's history, and of telling the Singapore story."