SIA's SG50 charity flight brings joy to 300 disadvantaged people
Singapore Airlines gives Community Chest beneficiaries the experience of flying
In her 82 years, she has flown only once - with her husband more than a decade ago.
Madam Esther Wee, now a widow, was on a holiday with him in Thailand, but has lost all her photographs from the trip.
Yesterday, she got to relive her memories on board Singapore Airline's (SIA) first charity flight, part of SIA's SG50 celebrations.
The three-and-a-half hour flight to nowhere was organised for over 300 beneficiaries of Community Chest, such as children with special needs and disadvantaged elderly and families. Some beneficiaries had never flown before and many children squealed with excitement during take-off, as if they were on a roller-coaster ride.
Flight attendants surprised the children with balloon sculptures and the elderly with live performances, in addition to the usual in-flight entertainment and meal service.
They sang familiar tunes such as Di Tanjong Katong and Bruno Mars' Just The Way You Are.
Madam Wee was particularly taken by the live music, as she loves singing.
Throughout the flight, the Peranakan woman sang tunes from a song book that has accompanied her for 20 years and that has handwritten lyrics of her favourite songs.
The flight also reminded her of her last holiday with her husband.
"He was a very good man and he would always follow my wishes," said a tearful Madam Wee. "When he died, I cried day and night for months."
She lives alone in a rented two-room flat in Toa Payoh and is visited twice a week by Lions Befrienders.
Mr Ang Ghee Hwee, 51, and Madam Sri Kuwati, 38, were on the flight with their two children, aged two and one.
Mr Ang works 17 hours a day as a cleaner in a hawker centre to earn about $1,000 a month.
The family rents a two-room flat at Spooner Road and have taken only budget flights within Indonesia, Madam Kuwati's home country.
They have not been able to pay for a flight to Indonesia since Madam Kuwati returned to Singapore with their older son about two years ago.
Madam Kuwati was impressed with the Airbus A380 they were on, which is the world's largest aircraft.
"I have never been on such a big plane," she said.