Touted as the more extravagant show ever staged in Singapore, the close to two-hour event featured the 3,600 athletes hailing from more than 200 International Olympic Committee (IOC) member countries in 26 events over the next 12 days.
Joining more than 27,000 others at The Float of Marina Bay, we enjoyed a spectacular showcase befitting of this world-class event, filled to the brim with the optimism, energy, and vibrancy of youth.
Close to 7,000 performers - majority of whom are youths under 18 themselves - showed us their mettle in front of an impressive stage with a reflective pool. We were also thrilled and awed by the dazzling displays of fireworks and pyrotechnics which brightly lit the beautiful night scene of the Marina Bay area.
My favourite segments of the show include "Selamat Datang" whereby 750 youths formed the five white Olympic rings, the soulful rendering of the Majulah Singapura to thunderous applause, the "Champion" segment with cuddly monsters (see photos for details), and the "Don't Play with Fire" section which featured a giant dragon made of youths and flamboyant flaming displays.
The remaining sections of "S.O.S. Urgent. For your immediate attention" and "Bud" were also painstakingly rendered, with the gigantic video screens helping to augment the visual experience.
Perhaps the most heartwarming parts of the show occurred when Singapore's only Olympic silver medalist Tan Howe Liang, together with fellow Olympians, handed over the Olympic flag to 8 young Singaporean athletes to be hoisted on the flag pole. I liked the way in which the ceremony paid homage to the sacrifices and contributions made by the former heroes of their countries' flags.
Bringing the event to a climactic finish was the lighting of the 32-metre high Olympic Cauldron. The flame was conveyed on a 27-metre long Phoenix which was intricately lit and conveyed on a floating platform with some 200 dragon boaters assisting in shepherding it on water. 6 youth athletes had the rare privilege of passing the flaming baton and the honour of lighting the cauldron went to 16 year old sailor Darren Choy. This was crowned by a formidable fireworks display while the flame shimmered and glowed in the night sky.
As Singaporeans, we are proud of this historic milestone moment. Let us put aside all our misgivings about this event and join our young in celebrating the greatest sporting event ever held in Singapore!
Here are the rest of my photos for your enjoyment.