August 9th is Singapore’s National Day. This year, 2006, Singapore celebrated its 41st year of independence. And I celebrated one year of having survived in a foreign land, away from my parents and my home. Singapore welcomed me with open arms last year, and I have thoroughly enjoyed every bit of my life here. Of course, it doesn’t compare to staying in my home country, in my home, with my parents and friends, but I won’t complain. I have no regrets whatsoever about coming here.
Having missed the National Day celebrations last year, my friends and I were quite keen on going to the Esplanade this year to catch the festivities. So Macho Girl, Bubble Burster, Confused Soul (CS) and I decided that we weren’t going to sit at home and bum this time; we were going to have a great night out. Sudden inspiration struck CS and she ordered all of us to comb through our closets and find something red and white so as to show our support for our beloved home away from home.
We got to Boat Quay by cab, and walked our way to the Esplanade. I swear, I’ve never seen so many people all at one place anywhere else in Singapore. Everyone was milling around, enjoying the festive atmosphere. And the splendid river-side view.
The Fullerton Hotel resides in this area. Man, one day, when my friends and I have won the joint Nobel Prize for whatever, we’re gonna come over here and spend a day in the penthouse. And make full use of room service, taxes be damned. Ahem. One can dream, right?
Day-dreaming all the time, we made our way through the thick crowd and slowly approached the Esplanade. Modeled on Singapore’s national fruit, the durian, it is a marvelous sight and a must-see for all visitors to the country. It is probably the prettiest thing I’ve seen so far in Singapore, and for good reason. I mean, just look at it!
The Merlion is another must-see. Half mermaid, half lion. Odd combination, but it’s still a very pretty sight. And very close to the Esplanade!
We settled ourselves on the walkway near the river, and waited for the fireworks to start. While we were waiting, an incredible thing happened. The moon rose. Ok, ok, that’s not the biggest surprise in the world, but I’ve never, ever seen such a beautiful moon-rise in my life as the one I saw that day. The sky wasn’t very clear that day, but I couldn’t have asked for a prettier sight. Throughout the whole thing, while the moon passed in and out of clouds, I stood spell-bound.
CS then took this absolutely wonderful picture of the Merlion with the moon in the background. A picture I consider an absolute gem, one of the best of the night. I now want a poster like this to adorn the walls of my house, as a souvenir! Too good.
Then the fireworks started. To our dismay, the Oriental building blocked most of our view, with the result that we only got to see part of the fireworks. All the photos we took made it look like the building was on fire! Even worse, the fireworks lasted for barely five minutes.
We were a bit disappointed that we couldn’t watch the fireworks in their entirety (‘cuz from what we could see, they were beautiful), and that the whole thing didn’t last longer. It didn’t matter much, though. The fact that we’d made it and that we were having a good time prevented us from getting too bitter.
We took a nice, long walk after that and got ourselves some dinner. After that, we came back to the Esplanade and sat by the river-side, enjoying ice-cream, popcorn and cotton candy and of course, the brilliant view. Skyscrapers just cannot get prettier than this.
It’s a beautiful feeling, just sitting near the Esplanade, feeling the cool breeze blowing through your hair, and with some good company, you can forget your problems and fears for a while, and just enjoy that feeling of peace that comes with complete content. It cannot be described in words; it has to be experienced. I’m glad I got a chance to experience it, and I’m even happier that I got to do it with my closest friends here.
Thank you, Singapore, for giving me everything I could’ve hoped for. I wasn’t sure I was doing the right thing when I first came here, but you’ve convinced me otherwise. For that, and for everything else, thank you.
And oh, one more thing. Happy Birthday. 🙂
P.S: Thanks to MG and CS for all the wonderful pictures. You guys are brilliant photographers in the making!