Singapore National Day is just round the corner and we really getting excited. The 9th August has always been a special public holiday for us. And it also partly contributed to our small obsession for fireworks displays. Here’s why.
We started dating during our school days, JC time to be exact (that’s about 11 yrs ago), around June. At that time, things were very ‘raw’. We were each others’ first dates and we weren’t really sure about the whats and hows of a relationship. We were young, we were shy and we were in love.
I tried to think of romantic things to do together with Dear2, but young as I was, I didn’t have many ideas nor money, so that ruled out candlelight dinners and such. Large bouquets of flowers was also pretty much out of the question. It was several weeks into our relationship and national day was drawing near. “It is going to be our first public holiday together, gotta do something special.” That was the thought.
And all of a sudden, a light bulb went off in my head. Romantic national day fireworks! Yes, yes, that’s a great idea. Gee…
It was too late to try to get NDP tickets, so that meant we needed to find a good place to watch fireworks from outside the national stadium. But there were some hurdles. First, internet wasn’t that widespread at that time (we were still using 56k dial up plans), so there was no information about fireworks viewing sites. And also, at that time, we still weren’t very public about our relationship yet, still worried that parents might scold us for getting into relationship while schooling. Options were limited. We just have to make a guess about the best place to view the fireworks. Eventually, we decided on the broad outdoor open-air stairways from Marina Square leading to Esplanade (note that Esplanade was nonexistent back then).
So on national day, we went on our date, our romantic date. Gee… We arrived early at Marina Square just to hold hands and window shop. I liked holding Dear2’s hands, the simple joy of courtship. And I still do. We went for an early dinner so that we could catch the fireworks later.
I remember bringing Dear2 to Macdonalds for dinner. It was considered quite a luxury spending for us because we had very little pocket money then. But still, we wanted a mini celebration for our first holiday together. I remember Dear2 ordered a McNuggets meal that day, and it made me a little unhappy, almost angry. It was because I felt that McNuggets was the most not-value-for-money item in Macdonalds, so little meat and no bread nor vegetables. It was not until several years later that I found out the reason why. Dear2 had wanted to leave a good impression with her new boyfriend (me!) and she felt that biting into a burger would look unglam and not girly enough. Eating bit-size chicken nuggets would be much more manageable and feminine. Dear2 is so vain. Gee…
After dinner, we started to look for a place where we could sit down and wait for the fireworks display. To do that, we would first need to know the direction of the national stadium. So we went to Pan Pacific Hotel, took the outdoor capsule elevator up as high as we can and looked out of its glass walls in search of the national stadium. There! Now we knew which direction the fireworks would come from.
We went back to the open-air stairways we decided on earlier and sat down. Lots of people had already gathered to view the fireworks. This reinforced our decision that this must be a good place to catch the fireworks display. We even spotted some people with pocket televisions and they were monitoring the situation at the national stadium via the live broadcast of the event.
Boom-pok-pok-pok… The fireworks had started. We were very excited. We could hear the explosions but couldn’t see the fireworks itself. Clouds lit up in shadows of red and green. “Wahhh…” we went. So far, we had only caught glimpses of coloured reflections off the clouds, but not the real fireworks yet. “No worries, the first few shots are usually small and low. The finale will be the big ones high up in the sky, surely we’ll see those. Surely…” I quietly hoped.
BOOM-POK-Pok-pok… The explosions were getting louder. The reflections off the clouds were getting brighter. Yes, yes! So exciting. BOOM-Pok-BOOM-BOOM-Pok-BOOOOOOOMMMMMMM…… Silence. It’s over??! But we haven’t seen anything yet. Wasn’t the finale supposed to be high up in the sky where everyone could see? It couldn’t be over. All we had seen was coloured clouds. Maybe there’ll be a second round of fireworks, let’s wait. Minutes passed. Nothing happened. Had we missed it all? The crowd had started to disperse. Clearly, everyone was disappointed. We were too.
We went back into Marina Square shopping mall. Our romantic date was ruined. I still couldn’t believe it. I decided to seek confirmation. There was no handphones at that time, so I went to a nearby public phone and called a classmate who I knew was at home. “Hello? Are you watching the national day parade on tv? Is the fireworks over?” I eagerly asked. “Huh? Finished quite long ago already leh.” The painful truth replied over the phone. :'(
It was getting late, so we decided to set off for home. I was dejected. I guess I didn’t speak much along the way. I didn’t want our romantic date to end like this. We were merely a few weeks into our relationship and I didn’t want to disappoint Dear2. I liked Dear2 alot and I wanted for us to continue building wonderful memories together. I decided to make a promise.
“Dear2, I’m sorry we couldn’t see the fireworks today. I promise I will find a better place next year… Will you be my girlfriend for one more year? I want to bring you out again on national day next year.”
I knew Dear2 was the one for me and I wanted to give her the best I could. I wanted to bring her out again year after year, to watch fireworks together, to spend every national day together. I glanced over at Dear2, she looked slightly hesitant. After all, I am asking her for a long commitment. Shyly, she nodded.
“Yeah…” My heart cheered. I broke into a wide smile and gently held Dear2’s hand. We happily chatted on the long journey home and talked about better viewing spots for our date next year. I walked Dear2 home and kissed her goodnight. That was our first romantic national day date. Love you my dear. Muck!