Straits Times: Revellers ring in the new year across Singapore

Countdown events in heartlands and Marina Bay draw 400,000 partygoers

 Published on Jan 02, 2014

 By Lee Jian Xuan And Gwendolyn Ng

 ALMOST 400,000 revellers ushered in the new year at countdown parties across Singapore, with residents joining in more than 40 parties in the heartlands and in the city.

 Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, accompanied by his wife Ho Ching, rang in 2014 with some 1,000 Ang Mo Kio residents at Cheng San Community Club and the Ang Mo Kio 3G Centre next door. "May we have a good year ahead and may you have good health," Mr Lee wished the crowd in English and Mandarin.

 In Boon Lay, robot dinosaurs and a fireworks display brought about 30,000 party-goers together - 10,000 more than expected.

 Guest of honour Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Lawrence Wong, said: "The countdown is an event the community looks forward to. It is the highlight of the year in Boon Lay."

 Children and foreign workers joined the crowds, who enjoyed performances by local singers Rui En and Taufik Batisah.

 "It's better to come here than to go to Marina Bay because the crowds are more spread out," said auditor Richard Chua, 34.

 And the crowds were indeed more packed at the Marina Bay countdown party at The Float, where British-Irish boyband The Wanted lived up to their name, drawing shrieks at the five-hour televised event attended by nearly 18,000 people.

 By 7pm, fans had lined the red carpet. Two hours later, their patience was rewarded with hugs and handshakes from their idols, who then performed hits including Glad You Came, Chasing The Sun and Walks Like Rihanna.

 They finished just before midnight and were joined onstage by more than 200 artistes including show host Joanne Peh, actor Gurmit Singh and Taiwanese-American singer Wang Lee Hom.

 Older revellers enjoyed a walk down memory lane, watching MediaCorp's Celebrate TV50 show, whichfeatured characters from beloved local sitcoms, including Singapore's favourite contractor Phua Chu Kang (Gurmit Singh) and Under One Roof's long-winded storyteller Tan Ah Teck (Moses Lim).

 Chinese TV drama fans lapped up a segment featuring veteran stars such as Zoe Tay, Chen Liping and Zheng Geping.

 Wang Lee Hom fan Jenny Low, 40, got a new year treat from him.

 As she stood near the stage holding a placard which read "Lee Hom, Still in Love with You" in Chinese, the 37-year-old singer took it and blew her a kiss. The administrative manager gushed: "Even though he's married, I still like him for his songs."

 jianxuan@sph.com.sg

 nggwen@sph.com.sg

 Additional reporting by Yip Wai Yee, Audrey Tan and Charissa Yong