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Published: Sunday December 22, 2013 MYT 9:30:00 PM
Updated: Sunday December 22, 2013 MYT 10:39:44 PM

Farewell Myanmar, hello Singapore

Fireworks light up the night sky in Naypyitaw as the 27th Myanmar SEA Games comes to a close on Sunday after 11 days of competition. - SS KANESAN/ The Star

Fireworks light up the night sky in Naypyitaw as the 27th Myanmar SEA Games comes to a close on Sunday after 11 days of competition. - SS KANESAN/ The Star

NAYPYITAW: The athletes and officials from the 11 countries that competed in the 27th SEA Games said a big “chay zoo par” (thank you) to hosts Myanmar during a colourful and extravagant closing ceremony at the Wunna Theikdi Stadium on Sunday night.

Despite facing some teething problems like transportation woes and the slow release of official results, Myanmar pulled off their first hosting job in 44 years successfully.

The newly-built capital Naypyitaw hosted the bulk of the 33 sports in the Games, with Yangon, Mandalay and Ngwe Saung sharing the co-hosting responsibilities.

The hosts can also take pride with their overall performance in the Games. They finished second overall with an 86-62-85 total, their best-ever haul in the SEA Games series.

Thailand were the overall champions with a total haul of 107-94-81.

The closing ceremony itself was a unique celebration of Myanmar’s rich cultural traditions and the friendliness of the hosts in welcoming their neighbours in the region.

Those who came early to the 30,000 capacity stadium were entertained to a musical show by local Myanmar performers while waiting for the main event to begin.

The actual event started following the arrival of the dignitaries, including Myanmar vice-president U Nyan Tun.

Staying true to the 27th SEA Games tagline of “Green, Clean and Friendship”, the closing ceremony emphasised on closing ranks among the athletes of the participating countries.

Doing away with the previous practice of athletes marching into the main arena according to their countries, the athletes paraded into the Wunna Theikdi Stadium according to their respective sports.

The highlight of the various entertainment performances was the Royal Elephant Dance, a traditional dance reserved for kings and special auspicious occasions in Myanmar.

Instead of utilising live white elephants as in ancient times, dancers commandeered colourful “elephants” made of cloth and paper pasted on bamboo frames to perform acrobatic dances.

After a speech by the Games organising committee chairman U Thint Hsan, the vice-president declared the 27th SEA Games closed. The SEA Games flag was lowered and the fire in the cauldron was simultaneously extinguished. Volleys of colourful fireworks then lit up Naypyitaw’s clear night sky.

The flag was then handed over to Singapore Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan Jin, who represented the hosts of the next SEA Games in 2015.

It was then Singapore’s turn to put on a show for those present at the stadium. And the Singaporeans did not disappoint, putting on a medley of exuberant performances to give everyone a glimpse of what to expect in two years’ time.

The closing ceremony concluded with the rendition of the appropriately named song “Let’s meet again”, which was accompanied by several more rounds of fireworks.

Tags / Keywords: SEA Games, Naypyitaw, Myanmar

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