Geez… this entry was supposed to be posted in August but obviously procrastination and a sheer lack of time got the better of me. Usually when a post sits in “draft” mode for too long, I would just forsake it as it would have been outdated by the time I remembered its existence. But this is unlike the many others that had ended up in the trash because it is about the country I have spent all my life in. So I’m not going to let the year slip away without any mention of her huge milestone.
As many of you know, 2015 is a momentous year for all Singaporeans (and those who have resided in Singapore long enough to call it home) as we celebrate the nation’s golden jubilee, or SG50, as it is branded nationally. It is also a year of grief as we mourned the death of our beloved founding father Mr Lee Kuan Yew who had been with us every independence day celebration until his passing. But in the interest of keeping this post about the joyous occasion, I shall leave out the unhappy bits and spare you the agony of reading yet another tribute to our late Minister Mentor.
When Singapore separated from Malaysia in 1965, many doubted that such a small country with no natural resources would survive. But we did, and we are still going strong after 50 years! So of course having gone through so much over so many decades, the National Day Parade (NDP) this year which served as the main commemorative event had to be different. Celebrated with tremendous fanfare, the campaign began as early as January last year with numerous companies adopting the SG50 branding for their marketing activities and providing consumers more than a year-long of SG50 deals and promotions (enjoyed the 50% discounts while they lasted 😄 ).
SG50 deals may have ended but there is still a wide selection of online discount codes, deals and coupons to the best Singapore’s online shopping sites available on Picodi Singapore!
Check out picodi.sg for the best offers from your favourite stores!
(psst… I see cheap air tickets)
And to make the celebration even more memorable for me, boyfriend and I won tickets to the parade at the Padang on the actual day (there were also a few sessions of public rehearsal prior to that for those who couldn’t get tickets to the actual event) after umpteen years of unsuccessful balloting! It was our first actual-day NDP experience and on top of that, at one of Singapore’s significant historic sites on her 50th birthday! I couldn’t believe how lucky we were! 😀
I LOVE SINGAPORE ❤
Here’s what went down on that day.. in pictures!
As the skies had turned gloomy, the Singapore Armed Forces Parachute Team (Red Lions) had to cancel its NDP jump. Ahhhh, we were so disappointed! I believe they were, too, after rehearsing for so long! But obviously, safety first.
Despite my efforts to ensure accuracy of the assets’ names, they may still be incorrect so please feel free to inform me should you spot any mistakes!
At the same time, theme songs of old local television shows such as English sitcom Under One Roof and Mandarin variety sketch show 搞笑行动 (Comedy Night), as well as of iconic campaigns like the Singapore Kindness Movement played in the background. Hearing those songs was a real blast from the past as I recalled watching these shows on television when I was really young! It’s something today’s generation will not understand because… who watches the telly these days? 😆
Perhaps due to bad weather (it started to drizzle a little towards the end.. bummer!), there weren’t a lot of fireworks at the grand finale but that’s fine with me because to me, fireworks are overrated. What made the parade really enjoyable and entertaining were truly the performances. Not a single time did I feel bored throughout the 2-hour show! 🙂
Most white-collar workers here had a long and restful break in the the days leading up to 9 August (Sunday) because our President had declared 7 August (Friday) as a special one-off SG50 public holiday. So evidently, SG50 was of utmost significance to everyone in Singapore. In addition to the ongoing money-savers, our main public transport operators also provided free bus and train rides for the very first time on National Day! The news came as a big surprise because as public-listed companies, they are profit-driven and should technically be anticipating the increased earnings and returns on a public holiday (with extended service hours). Instead, they had put side their commercial interests to commemorate this special day! Knowing that it was going to be even more crowded everywhere due to this reason, boyfriend and I had booked a staycation at Aqueen Hotel Jalan Besar to get to the city faster.
Aqueen Hotel is a new establishment, having opened its doors only in late 2014. Upon arrival, what struck my eye was the hotel’s unusual facade which kinda reminded me of Iluma (what Bugis+ was known as before adopting its present name). Located within 10 minutes walking distance from Farrer Park MRT station (inclusive of the long pedestrian waiting time at the traffic lights opposite City Square Mall), it has, no doubt, taken up an excellent spot surrounded by many well-known eateries such as Scissors Cut Curry Rice (美芝律剪刀剪咖喱饭, just directly opposite the hotel) and Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant (a 5-minute walk away).
We booked a non-smoking twin room with a queen bed (the most basic room) through Expedia, which we found was a lot cheaper than booking directly with the hotel. Boyfriend paid a total of S$116.31 for a night as compared to about S$180+ for walk-in booking. And mind you, it was a last-minute decision to have a staycation and what’s more, on a public holiday. Of course, breakfast was not included for that kind of price. No biggie – there were so many other affordable dining options nearby!
The room we got was really tiny with limited space for walking. I would recommend going for a bigger room if you’re claustrophobic (or carrying a huge luggage). It was mainly in hues of grey, brown and white so there’s nothing to write home about. But I liked that it had a full-length window that allowed sunlight to spill into the otherwise sombre room.
I can’t comment much on their amenities since we only stayed there for a night. But I think this room is pretty decent for the price we (or rather, my boyfriend) paid. If you’re yearning to try some delicious and affordable Singaporean delicacies (Chinese, Malay and Indian cuisine available in the vicinity) without having to walk a distance, this is one hotel you should definitely consider!
Thanks for reading and Happy New Year everyone! 🙂
AQueen Hotel (Jalan Besar)
230 Jalan Besar
Nearest MRT station: Farrer Park
Tel: 6426 0999
Click here to visit website