Taylor Swift tunes and popcorn for Yew Tee residents watching Lawrence Wong as he is sworn in as PM

SINGAPORE - The strains of Taylor Swift’s hit song Love Story filled a tent in Yew Tee jam-packed with residents on May 15, as they waited in anticipation to see their district’s anchor minister Lawrence Wong sworn in as the Republic’s fourth prime minister.

The May Day singalong-cum-watch party for Mr Wong’s swearing-in ceremony at the Istana was organised by the People’s Association at a hard court next to Yew Tee MRT station.

The swearing-in was streamed live from 8pm after a series of performances by local artists. Mr Wong has been an MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC since 2015.

According to organisers, around 1,000 residents were expected at the event, where inflatable clappers, fans and light sticks were laid across hundreds of seats, adding to the atmosphere.

By 7.40pm, a sizeable crowd of onlookers had gathered at the temporary tent to witness Mr Wong take on the mantle as PM.

taylor swift tunes and popcorn for yew tee residents watching lawrence wong as he is sworn in as pm

Residents singing the National Anthem at the May Day Sing-along event held next to Yew Tee MRT station on May 15. ST PHOTO: SHINTARO TAY

Among the first to arrive was Jurong East resident Toh Hoo Kee, 73, who secured a front-row seat.

The part-time private bus cleaner had found out about the watch party only on May 13 when he passed by Yew Tee and decided to drop by to show his support for the Government.

Armed with his guitar, he said: “I’m not sure if Mr Wong will show up tonight but if he does, I will sing for him.”

Others at the party included Ms Jennifer Muneswary, 44, and her seven-year-old daughter, Heavenly Joy. They were there to witness the historic occasion and soak in the atmosphere.

The healthcare attendant said she believes Mr Wong is the best man for the job, citing how hard the 51-year-old had worked to manage the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I use him as motivation for my daughter,” said Ms Muneswary, adding that she told her daughter to make Singapore proud, like Mr Wong has.

taylor swift tunes and popcorn for yew tee residents watching lawrence wong as he is sworn in as pm

Mr Koh Soon Yong, 76, who is retired, brought along a gift – a model of Marina Bay – that Prime Minister Lawrence Wong presented to him in appreciation of his service about 10 years ago. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Ms Muneswary also recounted how Mr Wong had assisted in finding an infantcare service for her daughter some years back.

“If I go to him for anything, he won’t say no,” she added.

Once the live stream began at 8pm, Mr Wong received noticeably louder cheers than anyone else whenever he appeared on the screen.

At the start of the ceremony, residents young and old alike got on their feet to sing the National Anthem. But they quietened respectfully when Mr Wong took his oaths, whipping out their phones to take pictures and record videos of the big screen, hoping to chronicle history.

The party atmosphere returned soon after, with onlookers cheering at every chance, including when Mr Wong received the instrument of appointment. Some residents brought congratulatory banners, and one group even had gold balloons that spelt out “PM Wong”.

But the loudest cheers were saved for when the master of ceremonies announced that the new Prime Minister, his wife and the district’s MPs would be making an appearance at the watch party.

Remote video URL

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