Inspired by Life’s Tiny Miracles, we gathered a number of family members to catch the awe-inspiring aerial displays and fireworks at the Jubilee Bridge last weekend.
It’s nice that the best aspects of the National Day Parades and Previews are accessible to all, so long as you’re willing to brave the crowds a bit.
We were a bit worried that the Bridge would be packed by 5:30pm when the Red Lions were supposed to descend, so we arrived by 5pm. Thankfully, the Bridge was only about 75% lined, mostly by serious photographers with tripod stands and huge lenses.
We picked a spot to lay our picnic mat on, and proceeded to enjoy our ta-pao-ed Char Siew rice. The bridge slowly filled up, but we had plenty of space throughout – hooray for picnic mats that work splendidly in territory demarcation.
The girls whiled the time away by enthusiastically waving to the tourists on the bum-boats that passed. Some were friendly (or sharp-eyed enough) to notice them and wave back. There was such a nice festive atmosphere of anticipation.
The best part of our experience was how extremely breezy it was on that bridge. I hadn’t expected it to be so windy throughout! It mussed up our hair, but kept us cool the entire evening.
It also made sure that the huge clouds of fumes from the fireworks blew past quickly later, instead of lingering around us. Whoever knew you could have the ‘smell of fireworks’ in your hair? : )
Around 5:30pm, the Merlion Park was packed. It’s also the spot closest to the Cannon Salute – so don’t stand there if you don’t have ear-plugs! I wondered how those people could take it. Definitely not for those with weak hearts too.
The Esplanade side was chock full of people too. There was a jazz festival going on with a live band. There was also a screen within the floating platform area that was telecasting the Parade ‘live’, but since the area was cordoned off, only some NS Men could view the proceedings properly.
Quite a shame since I’m sure hoards of people would have loved to catch the preview ‘live’ from the floating platform. But I suppose the powers-that-be decided that excessive resources would have to go towards crowd management. We could hear the parade proceedings faintly behind us (since we were but a street away from the Padang), and after a 1 second telecast lag, more loudly far in front of us where the screen was.
Here are the hoards of firework-chasing photographers lining the Jubilee Bridge. The chap next to me even had a Go-Pro mounted on this snazzy tripod that could flexibly grip the bridge posts. Think he was doing time-lapse photography.
Our little group had mere mobile phone cameras and my trusty compact Canon G16, which produced most of the photos in this post.
The Cannon Salute folks did a 360 degree turn near the Floating Platform for no other ostensible reason other than to flout their lawah good looks. 😛
It was LOUD!
After the Red Lions descended with plumes of red coloured smoke trailing around 545pm, the next aerial display after the Cannon Salute was the flag fly past. Majulah Singapura!!
My favourite aerial display was the fighter jets in 5-0 formation. So meaningful, so technically impressive, and just makes me so proud of what our tiny island has achieved militarily, economically and socially in 50 years.
There were so many fantastic displays by our Air Force that I didn’t bother taking photos of all of them. I put the camera down, and just basked in the moment, gaping with admiration for our men in the skies. One fighter jet that did these gravity and G-force defying acrobatics in the air, elicited spontaneous cheers from the crowd.
And in some ways, that’s what it’s all about right? Enjoying the parade and the deliberate show of military prowess, without emcees cajoling you to cheer or clap or sing.
Dusk descended, and it was not the moon but a spotlight that created this glittering reflection on the Bay. We waited, chatted, strolled about as we waited for the event of the night – the fireworks!
The CBD buildings and our skyline in the dark. Lots of pretty fireworks spiralled out from atop these skyscrapers too. And suddenly, it started – burst after burst of fireworks! Each week more protracted and gorgeous than the last, it seems!
Our firework photo of the night. Decided to take a couple of shots and spend the rest admiring the fireworks full-faced instead of through an LCD viewfinder. There were cute red and white shapes that flew into the black tapestry of our night sky. My favourite were the thick white plumes that fell, slowly, slowly down…
It sounded like a war in full force, bullets firing loudly and rapidly on all fronts. But the visual spectacle of light pouring out from tiny sparks that flew straight up into the blackness of night, bursting forth in peony blooms of colour, was magical.
As I held my daughter close, it hit home again that beautiful sights are made special when enjoyed together with loved ones. A shared memory is created, for which I am thankful.
For years later, we can recall these moments on the Jubilee Bridge, witnessing the glorious display conjured by the magic of chemistry, and be grateful to our Maker for grace to experience days such as these.