Singapore celebrates golden jubilee – Singapore marked 50 years since independence with grand celebrations held nationwide.
The biggest party was held in the city-state to celebrate its independence day in style and this year’s celebration was more than special as Singapore witnessed the biggest ever celebration since it became an independent state.
Tens of thousands of people attended the annual ceremony in Padang in central Singapore, which has been the main venue for Independence Day celebrations since the first National Day Parade took place in 1966. More than 26,000 spectators gathered at the Padang itself while many more thronged its surroundings such as Marina Bay and the Marina Barrage.
Singapore became a republic on August 9, 1965 when it was ejected from the Malaysian federation following a two-year union. In 50 years, the former British colony has transformed itself into one of the world’s wealthiest countries. Despite of rapid development, many local residents often criticize the government for its strict control on free speech and politics.
Singapore declared a four-day weekend for the anniversary. Hundreds of Singaporeans were spotted in long queues at the crossing points into Malaysia on Thursday and Friday evenings, as they chose to go away for the weekend.
The jubilee year party kicked off on Sunday morning when sirens blared at 9am before national TV and radio stations ran a 2012 recording of Lee Kuan Yew rereading the original declaration of independence. Later the parade was held in Padang and the crowd was amazed by the Singapore Air Force’s Black Knights. The audience also enjoyed the entertaining performances by the celebrities such as Stefanie Sun, Corrine May, JJ Lin and Kit Chan.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Lee Kuan Yew’s son, said: “At 50 years, as we stand at a high base camp, we look back and marvel how far we have come. We are grateful to those who made it happen.”
Foreign leaders were invited to the celebrations, including Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah, for the first time since 1969. IMAGE/straitstimes