April 28, 2017

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HALF-MAST: The state flag on top of the Parliament House, flying at half-mast. State flags on all government buildings were required to be flown at half-mast from Tuesday, Aug 23, till Friday, as a symbol of respect to the late Mr S. R. Nathan.

by Najeer Yusof

FORMER President Mr S. R. Nathan died on Monday, Aug 22, at the age of 92. His body was brought to his home along Ceylon Road on Tuesday and he lay in state at the Parliament House on Thursday. The state funeral procession took place on Friday, at 2pm. The ceremonial 25-pounder gun bearing his casket drove by landmarks of significance to him, such as the old City Hall and Fullerton Hotel before heading to National University of Singapore’s University Cultural Centre for the state funeral service. Here is a series of photos documenting the funeral from Tuesday:

 

HALF-MAST: The state flag on top of the Parliament House, flying at half-mast. State flags on all government buildings were required to be flown at half-mast from Tuesday, Aug 23, till Friday, as a symbol of respect to the late Mr S. R. Nathan.
HALF-MAST: The state flag on top of the Parliament House flying at half-mast. State flags on all government buildings were required to be flown at half-mast on Tuesday, Aug 23, till Friday, as a symbol of respect to the late Mr S. R. Nathan.

 

SLOW AND SOLEMN: The casket bearing the body of Mr S. R. Nathan arrived at his home along Ceylon Road from the Singapore General Hospital, on Tuesday morning, Aug 23, at around 10.45am. Eight pallbearers carrying the casket on their shoulders marched slowly into his house.
SLOW AND SOLEMN: The casket bearing the body of Mr S. R. Nathan arrived at his home along Ceylon Road from the Singapore General Hospital, on Tuesday morning, Aug 23, at around 10.45am. Eight pallbearers carrying the casket on their shoulders marched slowly into his house.

 

FINAL NOTES: A lady reading the messages of condolence left by others on the condolence boards at the Istana. 9 condolence boards were set up outside the Istana on Tuesday, Aug 23. Small white cards and pens were provided for the public to pen their messages for the late Mr S. R. Nathan. These cards were then slotted into the pockets of the condolence boards. The crowd was not as huge as compared to when the boards were set up previously for the passing on of Singapore's first Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
FINAL NOTES: A lady reading the messages of condolence left by others on the condolence boards at the Istana. 9 condolence boards were set up outside the Istana on Tuesday, Aug 23. Small white cards and pens were provided for the public to pen their messages for the late Mr S. R. Nathan. These cards were then slotted into the pockets of the condolence boards. The crowd was not as huge as compared to when the boards were set up previously for the passing on of Singapore’s first Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

 

E-TRIBUTE: Electronic display screen along Raffles Place MRT station featuring a tribute to Mr S. R. Nathan. Between intervals of advertisements, the screens of these electronic boards featured a picture of Mr Nathan and a message of tribute.
E-TRIBUTE: Electronic display screen along Raffles Place MRT station featuring a tribute to Mr S. R. Nathan. Between advertisements, the screens of these electronic boards featured a picture of Mr Nathan and a message.

 

PERSONAL TOUCH: Some members of the public brought flower bouquets and personalised boards with messages of gratitude for the late Mr S. R. Nathan. They were directed to place them on any one of the four tables beside the condolence boards along Saint Andrew's Road.
PERSONAL TOUCH: Some members of the public brought flower bouquets and personalised boards with messages of gratitude for the late Mr S. R. Nathan. They were directed to place them on any one of the four tables beside the condolence boards along Saint Andrew’s Road.

 

PAYING THEIR RESPECTS: The public heading to the Parliament House to pay their respects to the late Mr S. R. Nathan. Mr Nathan's body was brought to the Parliament House on Thursday, to lie in state. The public were allowed to pay their respects from 10am till 10pm. Throughout the day, people came to pay their respects and at 10pm, over 20,000 people has visited Mr Nathan.
PAYING THEIR RESPECTS: The public heading to the Parliament House to pay their respects to the late Mr S. R. Nathan. Mr Nathan’s body was brought to the Parliament House on Thursday, to lie in state. The public was allowed to pay their respects from 10am till 10pm. It was reported by the Straits Times that over 20,000 people had visited Mr Nathan on Thursday.

 

TENTAGES AND SIGNAGES: Temporary tentages and barricades were set up on the Padang, by the state funeral committee, to shade the public that were queuing up to pay their respects to Mr S. R. Nathan. The queues was only present during the day, as the crowd subsided by the evening. There were sign boards set up to signal the waiting time and they were placed along the queues during the day. However, these board were later removed, when the crowd subsided.
TENTAGES AND SIGNAGES: Temporary tentages and barricades were set up on the Padang, by the state funeral committee, to shade the public that was queuing up to pay their respects to Mr S. R. Nathan. The queues were only present during the day, as the crowd subsided by the evening. There were sign boards set up to signal the waiting time and they were placed within the queues during the day. However, these boards were later removed when the crowd subsided.

 

FREE WAFFLES: Ms Keish Lim, 23, stood alongside her mother Mdm Alice Lim, 54 (left), to gave out free waffles to the public leaving the Parliament House. Ms Keish Lim, who owns and runs, House of Waffros, a waffles stall at the coffeshop along Everton Park, brought along 55 pieces of waffles to the Parliament House yesterday. "My mother wanted to pay respects to Mr S. R. Nathan and told me make some waffles to give them out as a form of gratitude to the late Mr Nathan," said Ms Lim. She took about 5 hours in total to make the waffles and they came in five flavours: ham and cheese, azuki red bean, peanut, nutella and salted egg. After paying her respects with her mother, she started giving out the waffles around 8pm and by 8.30pm she was down to the last tray. She closed her stall two hours earlier, before heading to the Parliament House.
FREE WAFFLES: Ms Keish Lim, 23, stood alongside her mother Madam Alice Lim, 54, (left), and gave out free waffles to the public leaving the Parliament House on Thursday. Ms Lim, who owns and runs House of Waffros, a waffles stall at the coffee shop along Everton Park, brought along 55 pieces of waffle to the Parliament House yesterday. “My mother wanted to pay her respects to Mr S. R. Nathan and told me to make something to give out as a form of gratitude to the late Mr Nathan. So I decided to make waffles,” said Ms Lim. She took about five hours to make the waffles and they came in five different flavours: ham and cheese, azuki red bean, peanut, Nutella and salted egg. After paying her respects to Mr Nathan with her mother, she started giving out the waffles at around 8pm and by 8.30pm she was down to the last tray. She had closed her stall two hours earlier before heading to the Parliament House.

 

The ceremonial 25-pounder gun carriage carrying Mr S R Nathan's casket passed by the former City Hall today afternoon. After Lying-in-State at the Parliament House yesterday, Mr S R Nathan's casket was carried for a state funeral procession at 2pm. Beginning at the Parliament House, where he opened the Parliament on five occasions, as the President, his casket passed by other landmarks of significance to him such as the former City Hall. This was where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) was located. Mr Nathan was a pioneer of the MFA in 1966 and spent a large portion of his career as part of the Foreign Service for Singapore. The funeral procession also passed by Fullerton Hotel and NTUC Centre. The procession ended at NUS's University Cultural Centre, for a State Funeral Service. Subsequently, his body was taken to the Mandai Crematorium for a private cremation.
FUNERAL PROCESSION: The ceremonial 25-pounder gun carriage carrying Mr S. R. Nathan’s casket, passing by Saint Andrew’s Road. After Lying-in-State at the Parliament House, Mr Nathan’s casket was carried for a state funeral procession at 2pm on Friday. Beginning at the Parliament House, where he opened Parliament on five occasions as President, his casket passed by other landmarks of significance to him such as the former City Hall, Fullerton Hotel and National Trades Union Congress Centre. The public gathered along the procession route, on sidewalks, to bid their final farewell. The procession ended at National University of Singapore’s University Cultural Centre, for a state funeral service.

 

All images by Najeer Yusof.

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Queen Elizabeth shares a toast with Singapore's President S.R. Nathan (R) during a state banquet at the Istana, the presidential palace in Singapore March 17, 2006. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake/Pool - RTR17B0V
Former career civil servant S.R. Nathan (C) is sworn in as president of Singapore by Chief Justice Yong Pung How (R) September 1 as Prime Minister Goh Chock Tong looks on. Nathan, former head of the military intelligence service and ambassador to Washington, was uncontested in winning the largely ceremonial post August 18 after no other candidates were deemed suitably qualified. TAN - RTRQX52
FIRST TERM: Former career civil servant S. R. Nathan (C) is sworn in as president of Singapore by Chief Justice Yong Pung How (R) September 1 1999 as Prime Minister Goh Chock Tong looks on. Mr Nathan, former head of the military intelligence service and ambassador to Washington, was uncontested in winning the largely ceremonial post on August 18 after no other candidates were deemed suitably qualified.

 

President of Singapore S.R. Nathan, (C, rear) makes his speech before the Official Opening of the new Parliament House in Singapore October 4. The opening coincides with the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament of the Republic of Singapore. WS - RTRRB19
IN SESSION: President of Singapore S. R. Nathan (centre, rear) makes his speech before the Official Opening of the new Parliament House in Singapore October 4 1999. The opening coincides with the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament of the Republic of Singapore.

 

Singapore President S.R. Nathan (R), accompanied by his Chinese counterpart Jiang Zemin (L), reviews an honour guard during a welcoming ceremony in front of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing September 13, 2001. Nathan visited China for the first time since he took presidency. REUTERS/Guang Niu GN/RCS - RTRMOC3
FOREIGN TIES: Singapore President S. R. Nathan (right), accompanied by his Chinese counterpart Jiang Zemin (left), reviews an honour guard during a welcoming ceremony in front of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing September 13, 2001. Mr Nathan had visited China for the first time since he took presidency. (Photo by: REUTERS/Guang Niu)

 

Japan's Emperor Akihito (L) speaks with Singapore's President S.R. Nathan (R) through an interpreter during a state banquet at the Istana in Singapore June 9, 2006. The Japanese Royals are on a state visit to Singapore. REUTERS/Tim Chong (SINGAPORE) - RTR1E8O7
MEETING WITH ROYALS: Japan’s Emperor Akihito (left) speaks with Singapore’s President S. R. Nathan (right) through an interpreter during a state banquet at the Istana in Singapore June 9, 2006. The Japanese Royals were on a state visit to Singapore. (Photo by: REUTERS/Tim Chong)

 

Singapore's President S.R. Nathan (C) is greeted by supporters, after his re-election for a second term at the nomination centre in Singapore August 17, 2005. Singapore's President S.R. Nathan was formally re-elected on Wednesday after poll officials disqualified all other potential candidates. REUTERS/Luis Enrique Ascui LA/PN - RTRKR81
SECOND TERM: Singapore’s President S. R. Nathan (centre) is greeted by supporters, after his re-election for a second term at the nomination centre in Singapore August 17, 2005. Singapore’s President S.R. Nathan was formally re-elected on Wednesday after poll officials disqualified all other potential candidates. (Photo by: REUTERS/Luis Enrique Ascui)

 

Singapore President S.R. Nathan (C) inspects the guard of honour during Singapore's National Day parade at the Padang August 9, 2005. Singapore celebrated its 40th year of independence on Tuesday. REUTERS/Tim Chong TC/SA - RTRK0K6
NDP: Singapore President S. R. Nathan (centre) inspects the guard of honour during Singapore’s National Day parade at the Padang August 9, 2005. Singapore celebrated its 40th year of independence on Tuesday. (Photo by: REUTERS/Tim Chong)

 

Queen Elizabeth shares a toast with Singapore's President S.R. Nathan (R) during a state banquet at the Istana, the presidential palace in Singapore March 17, 2006. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake/Pool - RTR17B0V
CHEERS: Queen Elizabeth shares a toast with Singapore’s President S. R. Nathan (right) during a state banquet at the Istana, the presidential palace in Singapore March 17, 2006. (Photo by: REUTERS/Jonathan Drake)

 

Singapore President S.R. Nathan and Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej leave after inspecting the guard of honour during a welcome ceremony at the Royal Military Airport in Bangkok. Singapore President S.R. Nathan (L) and Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej leave after inspecting the guard of honour during the president's welcome ceremony at the Royal Military Airport in Bangkok January 17, 2004. REUTERS/Stringer - RTRKRD3
MEET THE KING: Singapore President S. R. Nathan and Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej leave after inspecting the guard of honour during a welcome ceremony at the Royal Military Airport in Bangkok on January 17, 2004. (Photo by: REUTERS/Stringer)

 

Singapore's President S.R. Nathan holds the Youth Olympic torch during an event to celebrate the arrival of the Youth Olympic flame at the National University of Singapore August 6, 2010. The flame arrived in Singapore on Thursday, ahead of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games, which will be hosted in the city-state from August 14-26. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash (SINGAPORE - Tags: SPORT OLYMPICS) - RTR2H39N
LIGHTING THE WAY: Singapore’s President S. R. Nathan holds the Youth Olympic torch during an event to celebrate the arrival of the Youth Olympic flame at the National University of Singapore August 6, 2010. The flame arrived in Singapore on Thursday, ahead of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games, which will be hosted in the city-state from August 14-26. (Photo by: REUTERS/Vivek Prakash)

 

 

Featured image by REUTERS.

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by Najeer Yusof

THE victory parade for Joseph Schooling took place this morning, from about 9.50am and lasted up till 12.50pm. The three-hour long parade began at the Sports Hub, along Old Airport Road, and ended at Raffles City Shopping Mall. Schooling made a total of three pit stops. His first pit stop was at 50A Marine Terrace, followed by Singtel Comcentre Plaza and finally Raffles City, where he signed autographs with fans. He also stopped for a toilet break, along Republic Boulevard. TMG followed him throughout the parade and here is what the parade was like.

 

CROWD-SIZE: The first pit-stop Schooling made, was at his estate, Marine Parade. He was met with an overwhelming number of residents. They cheered as the parade bus drove to a stop and began crowding at the entrance of the bus, awaiting Schooling's appearance.
CROWD-SIZE: The first pit-stop Schooling made, was at his estate, Marine Parade. He was met with an overwhelming number of residents. They cheered as the parade bus drove to a stop and began crowding at the entrance of the bus, awaiting Schooling.

 

WEFIE TIME: After thanking the residents of his residential estate, Marine Parade, for turning up to show their support, Schooling then took a wefie with the crowd. The security officials had a tough time escorting him onto and off the stage as the crowd was mobbing him, as they tried to get pictures of Schooling.
WEFIE TIME: After thanking the residents of his residential estate, Marine Parade, for turning up to show their support, Schooling then took a ‘wefie’ with the crowd. The security officials had a tough time escorting him onto and off the stage as the crowd was mobbing him, as they tried to get pictures of Schooling.

 

SUPPORTERS HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE: Students and teachers from the Canadian International School, lined up along the overhead bridge to wave at Schooling as the parade bus drove by. Supporters of Schooling were everywhere along the parade route. Some waved from buildings, overhead bridges and vehicles, while the majority stood along roadsides and cheered. The parade bus drove by four schools: Broadrick Secondary School, Tanjong Katong Girls' School, Tanjong Katong Primary School and Canadian International School. Students and teachers gathered along the roadside with handmade banners and Singapore flags and cheered for Schooling.
SUPPORTERS HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE: Students and teachers from the Canadian International School, lined up along the overhead bridge to wave at Schooling as the parade bus drove by. Supporters of Schooling were everywhere along the parade route. Some waved from buildings, overhead bridges, and vehicles, while the majority stood along roadsides and cheered. The parade bus drove by four schools: Broadrick Secondary School, Tanjong Katong Girls’ School, Tanjong Katong Primary School and Canadian International School. Students and teachers gathered along the roadside with handmade banners and Singapore flags, as they cheered for Schooling.

 

WEARING RED: A family dressed in red, and carrying the Singapore flag, while waving at Schooling. Although the public were told to wear red, not many did so. The route map of the parade bus was shared online by the various news media, so that Singaporeans would know where to await catch the parade bus driving by. Along the parade route they many groups of people, waiting along the roadside, for Schooling to pass by.
WEARING RED: A family dressed in red, and carrying the Singapore flag, while waving at Schooling. Although the public were told to wear red, not many did so. The route map of the parade bus was shared online by the various news media so that Singaporeans would know where to catch the parade bus driving by. Along the parade route they many groups of people, waiting along the roadside, for Schooling to pass by.

 

DIE HARD FAN: When the Parade bus was moving along Bras Basah Road, this uncle rode by in his bicycle and waved the Singapore and Team Singapore flags at Schooling. He followed the parade bus for about 100 meters.
DIE HARD FAN: When the Parade bus was moving along Bras Basah Road, this uncle rode by on his bicycle and waved the Singapore and Team Singapore flags at Schooling. He followed the parade bus for about 100 metres.

 

SLOW DOWN, IT'S SCHOOLING: Even on the road, several Singaporeans waved and cheered at Schooling, as the parade bus drove by.This family of 6 wound open the car windows and sunroof to wave at Schooling. Other motorists honked at the parade bus to show their support for Schooling. Seeing the arrival of the parade bus, some even parked their vehicles by the side of the road to grab a quick picture of Schooling.
SLOW DOWN, IT’S SCHOOLING: Even on the road, several Singaporeans waved and cheered at Schooling, as the parade bus drove by. This family of six winded down the car windows and sunroof to wave at Schooling. Other motorists honked at the parade bus to show their support for Schooling. Seeing the arrival of the parade bus, some even parked their vehicles by the side of the road to grab a quick picture of Schooling.

 

LONE SUPPORTER: While most people got to the streets to try and get as close as possible to the parade bus, this aunty decided to wave at Schooling from her corridor.
LONE SUPPORTER: While most people got to the streets to try and get as close as possible to the parade bus, this aunty decided to wave at Schooling from the corridor of her flat.

 

HAPPY AUNTIES: (From left to right), Mdm Irin Au Yong, 55, Mdm Mary Qua, 55, and Mdm Jessie Yeo, 55, were celebrating after they successfully shot a video of Schooling amidst the overwhelming crowd at the Marine Terrace Market. They stood on the hawker centre tables, to get a vantage point as the crowd engulfed Schooling. Schooling was there to try the carrot cake from Bee Bee Carrot Cake stall.
HAPPY AUNTIES: (From left to right), Madam Irin Au Yong, 55, Madam Mary Qua, 55, and Madam Jessie Yeo, 55, were celebrating after they successfully shot a video of Schooling amidst the overwhelming crowd at the Marine Terrace Market. They stood on the hawker centre tables, to get a vantage point as the crowd engulfed Schooling. Schooling was there to try the carrot cake from Bee Bee Carrot Cake stall.

 

GOLDEN BOY: Joseph Schooling was spent most of the time on the top deck of the Duck & Hippo bus, waving at his supporters along the parade route. He did take occasional breaks by moving to the lower deck, when the parade bus was moving along the expressway. There were two Duck & Hippo busses that were a part of the parade entourage. Some of the media were on the same bus as him, while the rest were on the bus in front.
GOLDEN BOY: Joseph Schooling was spent most of the time on the top deck of the Duck & Hippo bus, waving at his supporters along the parade route. He did take occasional breaks by moving to the lower deck when the parade bus was moving along the expressway. There were two Duck & Hippo busses that were a part of the parade entourage. Some of the media were on the same bus as him, while the rest were on the bus in front.

 

 

Featured image and photos by Najeer Yusof.

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by Najeer Yusof

SINGAPORE’S Olympic gold medallist swimmer, Joseph Schooling, was received with a huge turnout when he landed at Changi Airport early on Monday morning. The 21-year-old’s Olympic gold medal performance in the 100m butterfly event saw him beat the 23-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Phelps and win the hearts of Singaporeans.

Although his plane was only scheduled to land at Changi Airport at around 5.35am, many supporters started showing up at Terminal 3 as early as 4am and gathered behind temporary metal barricades that stretched from Belt 42 to the arrival hall’s exit. Waving Singapore flags and Singapore scarves, the crowd became frantic as he stepped out of the arrival hall to greet them. The meet and greet session took place for at least an hour, as many supporters were trying their best to grab his autograph and take pictures with him. TMG staked out the gate from 3am and this is what we saw amid the frenzy:

 

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EARLY BIRD: Mr Sulaiman bin Ahmad Kemal, 42, a massage therapist, turned up at the airport with his daughter at 11.30pm the night before after taking the last train. He prepared his cheer props while his daughter was still sleeping. Mr Sulaiman has represented Singapore for the five-a-side soccer for the visually handicapped in the 2015 ASEAN Para Games.

 

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HOME SUPPORT: By 4.30am, the crowd of Singaporeans were already swelling. The flight information screens at the airport featured a picture of Schooling and added on a message of gratitude and appreciation, some Singaporeans decided to personally design their own banners, with handwritten messages.

 

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Mr Colin Schooling was the earliest to arrive and speak to the media. The 68-year-old was not able to join his son at Rio de Janeiro due to health reasons but watched his son compete on the television. Moved by his son’s achievement, he said: “Joseph’s motto is: dare to dream and I think he’s done a good job… Now we have to aim for the world record.” Not having seen his dad for the past few months, the younger Schooling embraced him the moment he saw him.

 

TURN OUT: Initially reporters filming the crowd had to rouse them by getting them to cheer and wave their Singapore flags. However, the moment Schooling stepped into the arrival hall the crowd turn into a frenzy without any prompting. Most of them brought the Singapore flags and wore the Singapore scarves.
TURN OUT: Initially reporters filming the crowd had to rouse them by getting them to cheer and wave their Singapore flags. However, the moment Schooling stepped into the arrival hall the crowd turn into a frenzy without any prompting. Most of them brought the Singapore flags and wore the Singapore scarves.

 

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CELEBRITY: Many were either trying to hug Schooling, get a selfie with him, or get his autograph as he interacted with his fans along the way to the arrival hall’s exit. Students from his former school, ACS, welcomed him by singing their school song and Schooling signed his autographs on their t-shirts.

 

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FAMILY SUPPORT: Schooling’s aunt and uncles turned up to welcome him too. He hugged his aunt, Mdm Cora Schooling, 61, and she proceeded to pose for photos with him after claiming to be a very proud aunt.

 

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MOVED A MOTION: Schooling was garlanded and he posed for a photo with the ministers: Mr Tan Chuan Jin, who flew back to Singapore with him and Mr Teo Chee Hean. Also present were Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Sim Ann and Parliamentary Secretary for Community Culture and Youth Baey Yam Keng. Schooling was invited by the Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, to join the parliamentary session later in the afternoon, and was given a 30-second standing ovation by the House, as it moved a motion to congratulate him on his achievement.

 

Featured image by Najeer Yusof.

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by Najeer Yusof

IF YOU aren’t playing Pokemon Go, count yourself in the minority. At least, that’s what it looks like going by the hordes of people venturing out into the open to catch these cutesy pocket monsters. Day or night, and all around Singapore, it’s not uncommon to suddenly come across a group of people with their eyes glued to their smartphones, and occasionally swiping their fingers across their screens.

 

Pokemon catchers at the playground between Blocks 838 and 841, at Khatib.
Pokemon catchers at the playground between Blocks 838 and 841, at Khatib on Wednesday night, at around 9.30pm. (Photo: Najeer Yusof/TMG)

 

Pokemon catchers along Orchard Road.
Pokemon catchers along Orchard Road on Saturday, August 6, at around 7.30pm. (Photo: Sean Chong/TMG)

 

Pokemon hunters at Serangoon's Nex mall
Pokemon catchers outside Nex Shopping Mall at Serangoon, on Wednesday at around 7.30pm. (Photo: Sean Chong/TMG)

 

Pokemon catchers along Clarke Quay.
Pokemon catchers along Clarke Quay, on Tuesday at 9.30pm. (Photo: Frank Koh/Facebook User)

 

Pokemon catchers at Block 401 along Hougang Avenue 10.
Pokemon catchers at Block 401 along Hougang Avenue 10, on Tuesday at 8pm. (Photo: Nicholas Kong/Facebook User)

 

Pokemon hunters at Yishun Park.
Pokemon catchers at Yishun Park, on Wednesday night at around 10.30pm. (Photo: Najeer Yusof/TMG)

Featured image by Najeer Yusof.

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by Najeer Yusof

ALTHOUGH this year’s National Day Parade’s fireworks display was not as breathtaking as the previous year’s jubilee celebrations, they still left the crowd of onlookers surrounding me in awe.

Carrying my camera, a tripod and my favourite red plastic stool, I made my way to level 6 of Golden Mile Tower at about 5.30pm to find a good vantage point to shoot from. From where I stood, I was granted with a great view of the brand new Indoor National Stadium. This year’s National Day Parade was held at the Indoor National Stadium for the first time.

As I began laying out my gear, families started strolling in with picnic mats and chairs. There were other photographers setting up their gears. The fireworks began at around 8.18pm and only lasted for about 10 minutes. This year, the fireworks display took place both outdoors and indoors, within the stadium. The display did gather a few “oohs” and “ahhs”, but some were disappointed with the short duration of the display.

In case you missed last night’s firework’s display, here’s a peek:

Featured image by Najeer Yusof.

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President Barack Obama takes the stage at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

REUTERS

Democratic Nominee for Vice President Tim Kaine addresses the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Scott Audette
CROWDS: Democratic Nominee for Vice President Tim Kaine addresses the Democratic National Convention. (Photo by: REUTERS/Scott Audette)

 

President Barack Obama takes the stage at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
INCUMBENT: President Barack Obama takes the stage at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 27, 2016. (Photo by: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

 

First Lady Michelle Obama smiles as she takes the podium at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 25, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron - RTSJMDQ
ELECTRIFYING: First Lady Michelle Obama smiles as she takes the podium at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 25, 2016. (Photo By: REUTERS/Gary Cameron)

 

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton reacts to the speech by first lady Michelle Obama as former Attorney General Eric Holder (R, rear) and Representative John Lewis (D-GA), (rear) applaud at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 25, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson - RTSJMFV
OLD GUARD: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton reacts to the speech by first lady Michelle Obama as former Attorney General Eric Holder (R, rear) and Representative John Lewis (D-GA), (rear) applaud at the Democratic National Convention. (Photo by: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

 

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton addresses the Democratic National Convention via a live video feed from New York during the second night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 26, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich - RTSJTGY
LIVE STREAM: Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton addresses the Democratic National Convention via a live video feed from New York during the second night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. (Photo by: REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich)

 

A staff member holds the delegate vote count for Alabama at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 26, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking. - RTSJSHP
THE COUNT: A staff member holds the delegate vote count for Alabama at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 26, 2016. (Photo by: REUTERS/Rick Wilking.)

 

Actress Meryl Streep speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 26, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar - RTSJTF6
STAR POWER: Actress Meryl Streep speaks at the Democratic National Convention. (Photo by: REUTERS/Mike Segar)

 

A gender-inclusive restroom sign is seen at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 25, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller - RTSJLY1
ALL-GENDER: A gender-inclusive restroom sign is seen at the Democratic National Convention. (Photo by: REUTERS/Charles Mostoller)

 

A delegate wears a Barack Obama dress and a "President Hillary" necklace during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. U.S. July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
PRESIDENTIAL DRESS: A delegate wears a Barack Obama dress and a “President Hillary” necklace during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.. (Photo by: REUTERS/Charles Mostoller)

 

Democratic footwear is seen on a delegate at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 25, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson - RTSJL4R
BEST FOOT FORWARD: Democratic footwear is seen on a delegate at the Democratic National Convention. (Photo by: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

 

Featured image and video by REUTERS.

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A worker from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) cleans a Rio 2016 Olympic medal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes - RTX2IRUM

REUTERS

Ask athletes what goes into Olympic gold medals, and they will likely say sweat and years of training. For Brazil’s National Mint the answer is simpler: recycled silver.

A sculptress from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) works on the Rio 2016 Olympic medal at her computer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes - RTX2IRUA
DIGITAL RENDERING: A sculptress from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) works on the Rio 2016 Olympic medal at her computer. (Photob by: REUTERS/Sergio Moraes)

The 500-gram (17.6-ounce) Olympic gold medals that Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps and other athletes will be competing for in Rio de Janeiro are nearly 99 percent silver. They contain just 1.2 percent gold, mostly used as plating.

 

Nelson Carneiro, craftsman from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) works on the Rio 2016 Olympic medal mold in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes - RTX2IRUC
HANDCRAFTED: Nelson Carneiro, craftsman from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) works on the Rio 2016 Olympic medal mold. (Photo by: REUTERS/Sergio Moraes)

“It’s a great honour and a great responsibility,” said Victor Hugo Berbert, head of medal-making.

 

A worker from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) takes out gold-plated Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic medals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes - RTX2IRUZ
A COAT OF NEW PAINT: Gold-plated Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic medals. (Photo by: REUTERS/Sergio Moraes)

Each of the 5,130 Olympic and Paralympic medals takes about 48 hours to make, said Berbert, who has an 80-strong team working shifts around the clock.

 

A worker from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) varnishes a Rio 2016 Olympic medal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes - RTX2IRUW
ADDED PROTECTION: A worker from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) varnishes a Rio 2016 Olympic medal. (Photo by: REUTERS/Sergio Moraes)

The medals are the most sustainable in Olympic history. Much of the silver is recycled from old mirrors and X-ray plates. The gold is free of mercury, which is often used to separate gold from ore and can poison local ecosystems if not carefully disposed of.

 

A worker from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) shows a Rio 2016 Olympic medal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes - RTX2IRUI
ALL IN THE DETAILS: The completed Rio 2016 Men’s volleyball Olympic gold medal. (Photo by: REUTERS/Sergio Moraes)

Nike, the winged goddess of victory in Ancient Greece, is minted on one side below the five Olympic rings, while the discipline for which the medal has been won is engraved along its edge. The other side bears the Rio 2016 logo.

 

Workers from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) prepare the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic medals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes - RTX2IRTZ
PACKAGING: Workers from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) prepare the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic medals. (Photo by: REUTERS/Sergio Moraes)

“It’s a sense of great satisfaction that our work will be worn on the chests of athletes who have given everything to win,” said Nelson Neto Carneiro, who has worked at the mint for over 40 years.

 

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Friends and relatives of Habibullah Sefer, who was killed in Tuesday's attack at Istanbul airport, carry his flag-draped coffin during his funeral ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal - RTX2J0XE

by Najeer Yusof

THE suicide bombing in Karrada shopping district in Baghdad, Iraq is the latest incident in a recent string of violent terror attacks to occur in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The attack that took place this past weekend has claimed the lives of at least 125 people.

Other terror attacks have taken place recently in Bangladesh, Turkey, the USA, Afghanistan and others.

In Dhaka, Bangladesh, some 20 hostages were taken when six terrorists attacked a cafe in an exclusive neighbourhood on 2 July. The attack left 20 people dead, including two police officers and six terrorists. While the Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attack, these claims have been refuted by Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan. He attributes the attacks to local militant group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB); JMB has claimed to represent IS, but no links have been found between the two thus far.

The gun and bomb spree on June 28 at the Atatürk airport in Istanbul, Turkey left 41 people dead.

Here are the scenes from the aftermaths of these terror attacks:

Mourners react during a funeral of a victim who was killed in a suicide bombing in the Karrada shopping area in Baghdad, Iraq July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily - RTX2JINK
Mourners react during a funeral of a victim who was killed in a suicide bombing in the Karrada shopping area in Baghdad, Iraq July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily

 

A man lights a candle at the site after a suicide bombing in the Karrada shopping area, in Baghdad, Iraq July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily - RTX2JIN0
A man lights a candle at the site after a suicide bombing in the Karrada shopping area, in Baghdad, Iraq July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily

 

Students hold placard and candles as they pray to show solidarity with the victims of the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery and the O'Kitchen Restaurant at Dhaka, Bangladesh, during a vigil in Agartala, India July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Jayanta Dey - RTX2JGM4
Students hold placard and candles as they pray to show solidarity with the victims of the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery and the O’Kitchen Restaurant at Dhaka, Bangladesh, during a vigil in Agartala, India July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Jayanta Dey

 

A man places a sign as others light candles during a vigil in Kolkata, India, to show solidarity with the victims of the attack at Holey Artisan restaurant after Islamist militants attacked the upscale cafe in Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 2, 2016. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri - RTX2JDEJ
A man places a sign as others light candles during a vigil in Kolkata, India, to show solidarity with the victims of the attack at Holey Artisan after Islamist militants attacked the upscale cafe in Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 2, 2016. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

 

A relative of Gulsen Bahadir, a victim of Tuesday's attack on Ataturk airport, mourns at her flag-draped coffin during her funeral ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey, June 29, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal - RTX2IVPI
A relative of Gulsen Bahadir, a victim of Tuesday’s attack on Ataturk airport, mourns at her flag-draped coffin during her funeral ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey, June 29, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

 

Airport employees mourn for their friends, who were killed in Tuesday's attack at the airport, during a ceremony at the international departure terminal of Ataturk airport in Istanbul, Turkey, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer - RTX2J1I0
Airport employees mourn for their friends, who were killed in Tuesday’s attack at the airport, during a ceremony at the international departure terminal of Ataturk airport in Istanbul, Turkey, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

 

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by Najeer Yusof

HOW do you plan a feast for thousands of people every Sunday? Well, ask the Indian Muslim Social Service Association (IMSSA). The non-profit organisation, which was formed in July 2004, has been doing it for the past 10 Ramadans. Iftar is the evening meal that Muslims consume when it is time to break their fast. It had a crowd of between 500 and 1,000 people at the Masjid Darul Makmur in Yishun in 2006. The turnout has since swelled to as many as 5,000 attendees this year.

The first two iftars for this year were held at the Masjid An-Nahdhah mosque in Bishan and Marsiling community centre. The third one was held yesterday (June 26) at the sheltered hard court beside Block 165, in Yishun. The final iftar, will be held this Sunday, three days before Hari Raya Puasa, at MacPherson Community Centre.

Each iftar costs about $35,000 to $40,000 and is covered by donations from the families of the students from As-Soabereen madrasah that IMSSA runs, as well as from residents who live near the iftar venue. Many also turn volunteers, split into teams to handle logistics, washing and packing, for example.  Each location has an organising team, responsible for the overall planning and execution.

The mass iftars are usually held in huge spaces such as sheltered hard courts in neighbourhoods, mosques and community centres. The planning and reservation of the areas begin nearly a year before the actual iftar. The organising teams of the various locations have to approach Members of Parliament in the relevant districts to ask for the venue. Other teams will then move in.

Curious about how the execution of iftar on such a scale occurs, we headed down to Yishun yesterday, to observe IMSSA’s third mass iftar for this year. Here is what we saw:

 

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PREPARATION PLANS: A day before the actual iftar, the logistics team will unload all the necessary equipment and groceries for the various teams to organise them. They are responsible for accounting for the equipment and transporting them to and fro, from a volunteer’s warehouse storage to the iftar venues. The logistics team has three lorries to transport the large volume of equipment. These lorries are borrowed from fellow volunteers.

 

 

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SLICE AND DICE: The cooking team will sort out the cooking pots and utensils and prepare the ingredients for cooking the next day. The female volunteers then proceed with washing and slicing vegetables such as onions and ginger. It is crucial that these ingredients are prepared a day ahead so that cooking the next day can be done smoothly.

 

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WHAT’S COOKING: The porridge is an iconic dish served during iftar. Cooking of the porridge starts at around 6am after the pre-dawn meal. The volunteers’ tasks are assigned by gender: The women prepare the ingredients, the man cook the porridge. Huge pots are used to prepare the porridge. An average of 10 to 15 such pots of porridge are made for each iftar. About a third however, are packed separately and sent to other mosques, as donation. Besides cooking the porridge, this team also cooks meals for iftar and the pre-dawn meal, for those who attend the event.

 

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STIR, STIR, STIR: Stirring the porridge can be an arduous task due to its sheer volume. Hence a pair of volunteers are assigned per pot and they take turns to stir with wooden oars while the ingredients are added. When cooking porridge in large pots like this, it is crucial that the porridge is being stirred continuously so that the bottom portion does not get burnt and the porridge is cooked evenly. Interestingly, the colour of porridge differs across cultures. Due to the use of traditional Indian spices such as cardamom and clove, the porridge made by Indian Muslims tends to be light brown in colour, while those made by Malay Muslims are white.

 

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SCRUB DOWN: The washing team then takes over. The cooking utensils and pots are rentals. They are in limited supply and so have to be reused throughout the day. Armed with water hoses, dish soap and scrubs, the washing team of about 20 to 25 student volunteers attack the task with gusto, only pausing for an hour for rest and prayers at 1pm and 4pm.

 

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LAYING THEM OUT: The food prepared is packed into bento boxes by the volunteers of the packing team. Subsequently, the canvas is laid on the ground. Rows of plastic sheets are attached for ease in clearing up post event. Then, the younger student volunteers of the team in-charge of laying out the food, proceed to arrange the food and drinks for iftar, under the guidance of the older youth volunteers.

 

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MEAL SET: This is a typical food spread that one person receives. The bento box contains food for iftar, including dates. The food in the red plastic bag is for the next day’s pre-dawn meal that the people attending the iftar can bring home.

 

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TURNOUT: IMSSA organises an iftar at different locations every Sunday throughout the month of Ramadan. This initiative first started in 2006. The usual turnout for each iftar ranges from 3000 to 4000 people. The needy families and residents around the area are also invited to join the event – regardless of religion. The iftars are usually held in huge spaces such as neighbourhood hard courts and community centres.  Yesterday’s iftar was held at the hard court beside block 165, along Yishun Ring Road and the turnout was about 3000 people. This week’s iftar will be held at MacPherson Community Centre.

 

Images by Najeer Yusof.

Featured image by Najeer Yusof.

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