So fun, they keep coming back

At 5.38am yesterday, teacher Ngm Yew Fai was at his computer putting his name down for The New Paper Big Walk.

The 45-year-old was the first person to register and will be at the event on Nov 30 with his three children aged eight to 12.

"As a family, we always look out for such activities to keep healthy," he said.

Mr Ngm recalled joining the Big Walk once many years ago, adding that his family enjoyed being part of the crowd and taking part in the fringe activities that are traditions of the event.

He said: "I would be looking out for booths and activities which my kids can take part in and have fun."

Another die-hard fan of the Big Walk who has also signed up is retail assistant Lee Qiu Wei, 28.

He declares himself a fervent supporter of TNP, so it comes as little surprise that he was one of the first to sign up for the Big Walk.

His first Big Walk was in 2001 and this year's edition will be his eighth.

He said: "I want to show my loyalty to The New Paper because it provides me with juicy news to start my day."

That there is a goodie bag is a bonus.

Mr Lee said: "I am a big movie fan and a big TNP fan. I will use the (movie discount) vouchers to watch a movie at the Shaw theatre at Seletar (Mall) when it opens."

Shaw movie discount vouchers are among the more than $250 worth of gifts for each participant.

But ultimately, he signed up because he enjoys walking.

"I like to take recreational walks because it allows me to relieve stress. It is a free and easy activity."

For some, the return of Big Walk could not have come sooner.

Madam Jacqy Lim, 60, a general manager in the marine industry, has been in five Big Walks.

"I have been waiting for the Walk and I am very pleased that it is finally back again," she said.

Madam Lim, who will be walking with her 23-year-old daughter, said that one of the things that keeps her coming back is the fun she has had with other participants.

She recounted: "I remember one year when the Walk was held in Marina Barrage, which was still incomplete at that time.

"It was raining heavily and some of the paths were very muddy.

"We all got wet and muddy, but we were still having so much fun because of the friends we made along the way. It was quite a memorable experience."