New Year festivities

Spectacular fireworks, music and dance at Marina Bay

The Marina Bay area lit up with fireworks, as seen from Marina Bay Sands SkyPark, to welcome 2019. More than 500,000 revellers thronged the bay area and Civic District to catch the festivities, which included carnival rides, games and live performanc
The Marina Bay area lit up with fireworks, as seen from Marina Bay Sands SkyPark, to welcome 2019. More than 500,000 revellers thronged the bay area and Civic District to catch the festivities, which included carnival rides, games and live performances. Other countdown celebrations also took place around the island.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Singapore ushered in the new year with a spectacular seven-minute fireworks display at Marina Bay as the clock struck midnight on Dec 31.

More than 500,000 revellers thronged the bay area and Civic District despite the light rain to catch the festivities, such as rides and games at the Prudential carnival, and live performances at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre.

The show at The Float @ Marina Bay culminated in an hour-long fireworks musical display involving pyrotechnics, lights, and acts by taiko drummers, dancers and fire performers. The show was the international debut of the Star Island production by Japan's top entertainment group Avex.

At The Promontory, visitors were treated to live performances by local artists such as Taufik Batisah, Gentle Bones and Joanna Dong.

By 7pm, many had lined the area outside the Esplanade and on the Esplanade Bridge to secure a spot to catch the fireworks.

Singapore Polytechnic student Lee Kian Tat, 18, took along an umbrella and a towel after he was caught in the rain at the Gardens by the Bay area in 2017.

"I'm not deterred by the rain and will stay throughout for the shot I want," said Mr Lee, who studies visual effects and motion graphics.

Ms Nur Isha Tomeng, 30, was at the Marina Bay countdown for the first time. She was there with her future sister-in-law Khairiyah Rahman, 24.

Ms Nur Isha, a service crew member in the food and beverage industry, said her wish for 2019 was to have her first child with her husband of seven years, as well as happiness for Ms Khairiyah, who will be getting married in November.

WORTH THE WAIT

I'm not deterred by the rain and will stay throughout for the shot I want.

MR LEE KIAN TAT, a Singapore Polytechnic student, who came prepared to capture good images of the fireworks.

CHOICE PLACE FOR COUNTDOWN

I chose Singapore to spend the New Year countdown as it's a beautiful place and a modern city.

MR SANJAY RAJORE, a retired nuclear scientist from India who was attending his first countdown in Singapore, on holidaying here.

Tourist Sanjay Rajore, 61, a retired nuclear scientist from India, was attending his first countdown in Singapore. He was there with his wife, 61, a housewife, and two engineer daughters aged 24 and 33.

Mr Rajore said: "I chose Singapore to spend the New Year countdown as it's a beautiful place and a modern city. In the new year, I'm hoping to see more of Asia."

After the countdown, more than 200 volunteers went around the Marina Bay and Civic District areas to remind the public to pick up their own trash. They were from the Lions Club of Singapore Mandarin and the National Environment Agency's litter-free ambassadors programme.

A Public Hygiene Council spokesman said: "The focus this year is more on engaging the public, and less on doing clean-up.

"The goal is to create a culture where everyone takes ownership of keeping public spaces clean. In so doing, we create a better living environment for all."

Since 2017, the council, which coordinates the anti-littering effort, has stopped giving out figures for the amount of trash collected after countdowns.

The countdown celebrations at Marina Bay were organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, in collaboration with various agencies and event partners.

The area came alive even before New Year's Eve, with colourful light projections on landmarks such as the Merlion and the ArtScience Museum, as part of this year's focus on the community.

For instance, the facade of The Fullerton Hotel was illuminated nightly since Dec 26 with artworks by beneficiaries of the Association for Persons with Special Needs and the Metta Welfare Association.

 
 
 

A police drone hovering over the area was part of the beefed-up police presence for the event.

Some 700 police officers were deployed, including officers from the Special Operations Command and Emergency Response Teams.

The unmanned aerial vehicle featured blinkers, searchlights and an audio warning system. It provided a higher-plane view of the events for better crowd control.

The Marina Bay celebrations were among a number of countdown parties islandwide.

At Our Tampines Hub, some 100,000 people who attended the festivities were treated to a movie marathon, an 80m-long inflatable playground, and flame waves, laser and fireworks displays.

Another countdown event, at Heartbeat@Bedok, set a new Singapore record for the "largest silent disco", with some 1,000 residents dancing while wearing wireless headphones.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2019, with the headline 'Spectacular fireworks, music and dance at Marina Bay'. Print Edition | Subscribe