Fandi and son light SEA Games flame
Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam declared the 28th South-east Asia (SEA) Games open in an elaborate two-hour opening ceremony at the Singapore Sports Hub’s National Stadium on Friday evening (June 5).
The proceedings began at about 7.30pm with a band comprising musicians from the Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore Police Force and the Singapore National Cadet Corps Command, among others, before emcees Chua Enlai, Nikki Muller and Sharon Au worked up the crowd with their lively banter and activities such as the Kallang Wave.
Spectators were each given a hexagonal medallion in their fun packs to wear throughout the ceremony. These medallions lit up to create a giant screen of light patterns.
The national flag flew through the stadium on a specially constructed aerial track, while a flag was also projected onto the stadium’s retractable roof as the national anthem Majulah Singapura was played.
The night’s performances started off with The Big Singapore Welcome, a six-minute-forty-second segment that features more than 1,000 performers and larger-than-life dioramas of Singapore’s flora and fauna, to the familiar tune of "Singapura".
This was followed by the ceremonial segment, where Singapore’s current and former athletes – such as ex-swimmer David Lim and bowler Shayna Ng – carried the flags of the 28th SEA Games and the SEA Games Federation.
More than 4,000 athletes and officials from the 11 Asean nations marched past, to a warm welcome by the sell-out crowd in the 55,000-seater stadium, before the Games was officially declared open by President Tan.
The first of the five acts that followed started with "DNA", a visual embodiment of the DNA that makes us unique, but connects everyone to one another. The stadium shimmered with thousands of points of moving light, from the floor projection, to the lights on the performers’ costumes and the spectators’ LED medallions.
Act 2: "Imagination" was inspired by the limitless imagination of children from all over south-east Asia, set in a magical fairytale world, featuring exploding volcanoes, hungry dinosaurs and a menacing blood ship.
The following segment "Youth Expression" featured four warring factions of energetic youths coming together in an epic dance-off, eventually channelling all their energies positively through sports, music and dance.
The penultimate performance "Sports and the City" honoured athletes both past and present, with the appreciative crowd roaring at the appearances of star swimmer Joseph Schooling, legends Ben Tan, Joscelin Yeo and Sheik Alau’ddin, among others.
The last performance "Singapore in the Stadium" showcased 21 iconic destinations in the city, including the Bridge of Friendship that connected athletes across south-east Asia.
The night culminated in the torch relay, where different generations of Singapore’s greatest athletes passed the torch on before the last duo, football legend Fandi Ahmad and his son Irfan Fandi, lit the SEA Games cauldron just outside the National Stadium.
Read the full report in our print edition on June 5.
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PHOTOS: REUTERS, AFP