The 28th Southeast Asian Games are officially open! Last night’s 2-hour opening ceremony was attended by President Tony Tan and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and featured performances split across five acts.
Hosted by Nikki Muller, Chua Enlai, and Sharon Au, a stellar lineup of local musicians fleshed out the bulk of the show. Dick Lee, Benjamin Kheng, ShiGGa Shay, Hubbabubbas, Vocaluptuous, and Daphne Khoo were among the artists who performed tracks from the “Songs Of The Games” compilation album.
More than 8,500 performers, soldiers and volunteers were involved in the opening ceremony. Though tickets to the 55,000-seater stadium were reportedly sold out in March, rows of empty seats could be seen around the highest circle where I was seated. Still, the overall turnout was rather impressive, and the crowd’s energy was revealed when we attempted the Kallang Wave… or waves.
Henry Chan, 63, said “I’m very proud of Singapore for hosting the SEA Games. I still remember the time we hosted (the 7th Southeast Asian Peninsular Games) at the Toa Payoh Stadium (in 1973)!”
The celebrations at the newly-constructed Singapore National Stadium certainly revealed a Singapore that has grown by leaps and bounds since then. Throughout the night, our nation’s remarkable progress was rightfully credited to the dedication of the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, who passed away in March.
“Today we also pay tribute to Singapore’s founding Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew,” Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong told the audience in his opening address. Excerpts of Mr. Lee’s speeches regarding sports were also featured in a video shown before the Games were officially declared open. Note to self: prepare tissues for the National Day Parade.
Here are some memorable moments from the night, as told through Instagram videos:
These plastic medallions were included in the “funpack” (Singaporean for “free things“) distributed at the door, and they lit up by themselves to create choreographed patterns out of the audience.
I think #singaporeans all miss the #kallangwave #kallangroar ! The kallang wave was never ending and went around for like 4 times? Even though we were only asked to do 1 round! And the wave kept continuing until the audience was told to stand to welcome VIPS 😂 #seagames2015 #openingceremony A video posted by tyb (@voilabluesky) on
The audience was so enthusiastic about the iconic Kallang Wave that it continued for three more rounds, even without the hosts’ guidance.
“Act 1: DNA” saw the performers’ costumes bathe the entire stadium in a heavenly glow.
好 high 啊！#singapore #SG50 #singaporesporthub #seagames2015 A video posted by @kingston_poh on
A deafening roar from the crowd as Team Singapore athletes crossed the stadium. “OH MY GOD JOSEPH SCHOOLING!!! AHHH!!!” etc.
Possibly the most heartwarming moment of the night: Singapore football legend Fandi Ahmad passed the torch relay to his eldest son, Irfan Fandi, who is currently on the SEA Games U-23 team. They both ran the final leg of the torch relay together.
Father and son lighting up the SEA Games cauldron.
Sam Yong Kang, 13, “I felt that the show was very thrilling. I loved the confetti shower at the end because I’ve never seen it at National Day (Parade) shows.”
Singapore, we certainly do have much to be proud of… even with that boo-boo from host Sharon Au. In any case, what a rehearsal this was for this year’s NDP!
The 28th Southeast Asian Games will officially be open from 5th June to 16th June. A closing ceremony will also take place at the Singapore National Stadium on the last day of the games.
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