“Singapore, are you ready!” shouted Emcees Sharon Au and Chua Enlai as the big screens in the Sports Hub showed a short count down clip.
There was a blare from a horn as a voiceover emcee said in a more professional tone. “Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to 28th SEA Games Singapore 2015… Broadcasting to you live from the Singapore Sports Hub.”
My husband and I were among the boisterous crowd of 40,000 at the National Stadium last night. The atmosphere at the Stadium was amazing.
Before the show, the emcees warmed up the crowd by getting us to “rehearse” the evergreen “Kallang Wave”. This is our affectionate Singapore term for the wave-like motion of successive groups of spectators who briefly stand, yell and raise our arms. This simple interactive act was so much fun!
When the show started, the emcees got us to perform the “actual act”. The spectators were so much into the wave that we refused to stop. The wave went one round around the stadium, then a second, and then a third… Luckily, the wave came to a natural end when the lighting changed, and a bright spotlight was shone on the centre stage.
The rest of the show was equally great. The audience was treated to a non-stop 2 hour visual spectacle. There were always little surprises that kept the audience captivated. Who can forget the moment Nila the Mascot descended into the stadium via a small little parachute? And the fantasy-like performance complete with giant fishes, turtles, dragons and other animals?
There were poignant moments as well. I thought the short video tribute to Mr Lee Kuan Yew was very well done. It showed Mr Lee doing all types of sports, thereby giving us the sense that our leader was “walking the talk” when he said that we needed to become a sporting nation.
At the end of it, it was the traditional transfer of flame to the cauldron that was the best part of the show.
The torchbearers made a dramatic “entrance” via the sea, as the first torchbearer held the torch high on a dragon boat lit by neon lights. The torch was passed on to 13 torchbearers, including 4 inter-generational pairs. When the 2 final torchbearers - Singapore’s most famous footballer Fandi Ahmad and his son Irfan – received the torch, there was a great roar of cheer from the crowd.
How symbolic! It showed that sports has a way of making our bonds stronger. From families to friends to nations – we can build great friendships with sports. It also showed that Singapore was continuing our journey of building a sporting nation, as the torch passed from one generation to another.