3 Jul 2011
When I stepped into Marina Barrage for the Singapore International Water Festival earlier today, I began to melt.
Boy, was it hot.
It was scorching – it seemed as if the sun was deliberately trained on me and no amount of diving among the shadows of the crowd seemed to help.
Also, it didn’t help that there were so many hot bods around – canoeists, raise your hands! I struggled to keep my jaw from hitting the ground and had to stop myself from doing double-takes of the eye-candy.
But seriously, there was so much to do and I ended up staying for far longer than I initially planned. There were cultural performances, boat races, kite flying, a mini solar boat competition, an art contest, in-line skating lessons, carnival games, bouncy castles and free popcorn, Coca Cola and candy floss.
When I walked around with my clunky camera and my notebook and pen, it was obvious that people were having fun, in spite of having to dodge kids who were running helter-skelter. Youths I spoke to were effusive with their praise for the event, which was graced by Grace Fu, the Senior Minister of State of the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts and the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources.
“This is such a fun initiative! And in a country like Singapore where space is limited, we need to maximise our space and this is such a healthy alternative to hitting the malls” said Gerald Tan, 16, a Year 4 student at Raffles Institution who was there with his friend to kill time.
“It’s great…such events attract families to come and spend time together” said Wan Hao Wai, 14, a Secondary 2 student at Kranji Secondary School, who performed a dance item with her Chinese Dance troupe.
Even those intent on intimidating the living daylights out of fellow competitors ended up having oodles of fun.
“We wanted to make our boat resemble a Chinese Dracula…hoping to scare away our competitors’ rafts! It’s really fun” said Khairul Anwar Bin Abdul Rahman, 19, a mechatronics engineering student at ITE College West.
It’s easy to see why everyone was all smiles. The reservoir was a hive of activity, and had a strong carnival atmosphere. I went away thinking how wonderful it was that the authorities are working hard, through what they call the “Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters Programme”, towards making waterfront living a possibility for all Singaporeans. I began to realise that it was not merely marketing spiel – this long-term initiative truly has merit and really has the potential to bring people together. It’s hard to imagine that I was a cynical little kangaroo just a few hours before.
As for the heat, well, I found that one could always walk near the water features at the Marina Barrage for some respite – the gentle breeze truly does lull you into a state of contentment.
By Sujith Kumar