Photographs by Julian Lim
Story by Alex Liam
SEVEN lucky couples literally took the road to marital bliss yesterday.
They were the stars on a float named the Chingay Love Boat, which joined 16 other floats in the annual Chingay Parade yesterday.
The couples had their marriages solemnised earlier in the day at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in an event organised by the Social Development Service of the People's Association.
Said Mr Benjamin Tong, 30, a senior technician who married Ms Joanne Hoe, 20, a trainee nurse: "I am so excited by the prospect of sharing my wedding with Chingay. It makes it very special for family, friends and us."
Similarly, Mr Jude Tan, 36, a manager who wed Ms Chiam Jia Jing, 29, a secretary, said: "It is so lively, the way the people wave back at us when we wave at them, and how they shout out blessings to us even though we are strangers to them."
The procession covered Connaught Drive and Raffles Avenue and passed by City Hall, where a crowd of more than 100,000 people had gathered at the Padang.
Dignitaries included President SR Nathan, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, ministers and MPs.
Revving up the excitement factor was a Red Bull F1 car that executed several speedy manoeuvres.
Among other highlights were Outward Bound School staff abseiling down the pillars of City Hall, noisy firecrackers and well-known artist Tan Swie Hian, who did a 2.4m by 1.2m painting while positioned on a platform 12m up in the air.
The two-hour event, which was followed by a street party, went down well with the crowd.
Ms Jamaliah Mahmood, 45, a corporate service officer, said: "This is something you have to come and see for yourself and not simply watch on TV."
Tourists were equally appreciative.
Mr Harald Steinberg, 51, an engineer from Switzerland, said: "I saw a very short excerpt in the Swiss papers about the Chingay, and I told myself I had to come and see it. I wasn't disappointed."