Cleaning up while Singapore partied
Over 300 volunteers picked up litter and reminded picnic-goers to keep clean during NDP
While most of their friends spent the National Day holiday capturing Pokemon or watching the National Day Parade from the comfort of their homes, some youngsters were out picking up rubbish and encouraging people to bin their trash yesterday.
One of them was Ethan Sim, 17, a student at Raffles Institution, who wanted to spend his National Day in a more meaningful way.
He said: "Singapore is a cleaned city, instead of a clean city. I notice that the litter situation can get very disgusting in the mornings before the cleaners start their shift."
The leader of the O2 Raffles Scout Group is part of the Public Hygiene Council's Keep Singapore Clean movement.
The council was also part of the NDP clean-up operations last year.
A spokesman for the council said volunteers noticed there was significantly less litter this year.
More than 300 volunteers - young and old - were stationed at Marina Promenade, Tanjong Rhu Promenade and Stadium Riverside Walk where large crowds gather to watch fireworks.
Armed with plastic gloves, trash bags and wet wipes, they also reminded picnic-goers to keep the place clean by handing out bright yellow foldable fans emblazoned with the words Be Kind, Keep Clean.
(Above) Joining in the litter-picking were Bishan Park students (from left) Julieana Opitz, 10, Saarah Amiruddin, 10, and Yusuf Amiruddin, seven.
Volunteer Samuel Yong, 13, a student at Bishan Park Secondary School, was enthusiastic about this experience.
"It is irritating when people litter. But I think some of them just need a reminder.
"I am glad I got to kill two birds with one stone today - keeping the place clean and watching the fireworks at the same time."
The teenager was not the only one who was excited about the fireworks.
Despite the sweltering afternoon heat, people came out in force to the malls, waterways and parks near the National Stadium. Many laid out their picnic mats to reserve prime spots to watch the fireworks.
Street buskers added to the carnival-like atmosphere.
Mr Brendon Huang, 25, his friend Huang Jun Kai, 20, and Mr Huang's cousin Gerald Huang, 20, were belting out National Day tunes outside Kallang Wave Mall, which is next to the stadium.
(Above) Student volunteers from Bishan Park Secondary School giving out bright yellow foldable fans with the words Be Kind, Keep Clean.
Mr Huang said with a laugh: "We didn't get to perform at NDP, so this is kind of a rare opportunity."
Many families also gathered at the entrance of the stadium - which overlooks the Singapore skyline - to soak in the celebratory atmosphere.
One of them was Ms Fion Tan, 31, an oral health therapist, who watched the National Day Preview two weeks ago but did not manage to catch the outdoor fireworks.
Ms Tan, who was there with her husband and brothers, also brought along her six-month-old baby and two-year-old son.
She said: "My two-year-old likes the fireworks and the National Day tattoos.
"The kids don't mind the crowd either. It's much better to come down to the stadium to experience the National Day spirit."
My family has always wanted to watch the NDP live, we managed to get tickets only once - that was more than 10 years ago. Yet, we will still go to watch the fireworks and spend time together as a family. - Madam Rashida Karim, 49, who was in a wheelchair. She watched the fireworks at the entrance of the National Stadium with her husband Mazlan Maston, 51, and two of her five children, Siti Mazidayn, 24, and Siti Ainur Mardiyah, two.
Readers inspired by TNP's Spirit of 16
RIVETING: A reader poring through yesterday's copy of The New Paper at the National Stadium.
A lesson on resilience. A huge source of inspiration. A rare glimpse into the lives of those with challenging circumstances.
Those were the takeaways for readers who pored through yesterday's edition of The New Paper, Spirit of 16.
Produced in collaboration with the Singapore Totalisator Board group (also known as the Tote Board Group), the paper features 16 stories of ordinary Singaporeans who overcame adversity and now give back to society.
The interviewees picked 16 different organisations or causes to be the beneficiary of a small token.
Making the $1,000 donations possible is the Tote Board, which distributes surpluses from the gaming operations of its two subsidiaries - Singapore Pools and the Singapore Turf Club.
Mr Gilbert Leong, a lawyer in his 50s, was especially inspired by the story of Mr Bruce Tong, a prison warden who once worked several jobs to pay his school fees.
He told TNP: "These stories show me that everyone has a story, some more captivating than others, but there are things we can always learn from one another...
"Things like never give up and the importance of friends and family."
Ms Rachel Tan, 58, was moved by the grit of these individuals.
The part-time worker in the transportation industry said: "Singaporeans today complain a lot. These stories will help them realise that there are people in worse circumstances. They can learn something about resilience from these stories."
Another reader in her 60s who wanted to be known as Madam Chow agreed.
She said she could identify with some of the stories as she, like many of the interviewees, was not born into a well-to-do family.
Many, like Madam Rosidah Pagi, 52, drew strength from the stories.
The housewife, who watched the National Day Parade with her family, said: "These stories make me feel like I can overcome whatever comes my way."
Bus driver Leong Her Ek, 67, found the story of single mother Yohanna Abdullah's battle with bipolar disorder a huge source of encouragement.
He said: "I really feel sad for what she had to go through and admire her for sacrificing so much...
"These stories help me to understand that we have our own struggles, but we can do it, just like her."