Anushka Ray embraces the National Day pre-celebration @ Marina Barrage and reflects on the Barrage’s importance – both its beauty and science – as a location to celebrate Singapore’s achievements.

On August 3rd the Families for Life Council (FFLC) put together a family-friendly National Day Picnic at the Marina Barrage, inviting families from all across Singapore to attend. They did a great job in stirring pre-emptive excitement for the 9th of August.

From mid-afternoon, parades of Singaporean residents in the national colours red and white arrived for a day of activities to celebrate Singapore. The programme included, among other things, a kite-making workshop and a Zumba session, and culminated with the anticipated arrival of President Halimah Yacob, ending with a preview of the National Day fireworks – a special sneak peek at the famous display.

I last visited Marina Barrage four years ago at the end of a 10km walk from the East Coast Park in an effort to learn more about Singapore’s sustainability.

For this reason, the Barrage is particularly close to my heart, and I can easily understand why the FFL Council decided this would be the perfect place to promote Singapore.

The Marina Barrage is a magnificent representation of Singapore’s present utopian metropolis as well as its history as a tropical rainforest. Being the first reservoir in the CBD area, many of Singapore’s famous sights including Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer can all be seen from its roof. Walking around the place itself is an awe-inspiring experience; in front of your eyes, nature and urban come together as one.

The Marina Barrage prides itself in its ability to educate all visitors with facts and information – artfully painted on glass. During the picnic, I found myself reading more about the construction and the mechanism of the dam. The three primary benefits the Barrage brings to Singapore are :

  • a constant water supply
  • a flood control system
  • lifestyle attractions – kayaking and dragon boat racing

After living for a few years in Hong Kong where I was constantly faced with typhoons and flooding, I had often wondered how Singapore maintained its idyllic weather conditions. The Marina Barrage plays a large part in contributing to stable weather, and is part of a flood scheme focused on alleviating flooding, particularly in the low-lying areas of the city.

I began to appreciate the behind-the-scenes strategy and work that ensures we are safe from nature’s vagaries, while protecting Singapore’s water resources.

The highlight of the day was the kite-flying activity, which I was lucky to catch with the sky still bright.

Kite-flying has long been a tradition in Singapore. I can clearly remember running to different parks as a child, and watching kites soar through the air, as I stood frozen in amazement. It felt no different when I saw them in action again, years later.

Singaporeans of all ages gathered on the roof of the Barrage enjoying the cool breeze and flying their kites, as Singapore’s flags fluttered in the wind. As vivid colours painted the sky, I found myself rooted to the spot, staring up, marvelling at the sight.

The period around National Day always evokes feelings of pride and nostalgia and this long weekend is an opportunity to remember all the reasons we love Singapore, and learn something new about the place we call home.

And of course, remember to wear red and white!