ST to hold 167th birthday bash at Gardens by the Bay

SINGAPORE - The Straits Times (ST) will celebrate its 167th birthday on Sunday July 15 with a carnival and concert at the newly-opened Gardens by the Bay, as part of its stepped-up efforts to deepen engagement with its readers and the community.

The first company to hold a big-scale outdoor event just two weeks after the Gardens' opening, ST hopes to draw 30,000 people to the birthday bash. The event will feature day-long carnival activities around the sprawling Meadows, leading up to the concert at 7 pm.

The carnival and concert will kick off the Straits Times Appreciates Readers (STAR) outreach programme to demonstrate the newspaper's commitment to proactively engage its readers.

The two-hour concert will feature Jason Derulo, an American singer-songwriter-dancer; 4Minute, a sexy five-member K-pop dance girl group; and Boys Like Girls, an American rock band from Massachusetts.

Also performing will be popular Singaporean jazz flautist, Rit Xu; Singapore Idols Taufik Batisah and Hady Mirza, and ChildAid performers Amni Musfirah, 18 years; and Sophia Joe, 13 years.

Concert-goers are free to picnic by the Meadows before the concert, and enjoy the scenic garden view and spectacular skyline over the Marina Bay waterfront.

Tickets for the concert will go on sale in June, priced at $67 for ST readers and $75 for others.

The tickets also entitle holders to a private sundown party in August at the Universal Studios Singapore, in Resorts World Sentosa, where they can enjoy all the rides, and a goodie bag.

The concert comes on the heels of exciting changes that are taking place at The Straits Times. Its new Editor, Mr Warren Fernandez, 46, is taking the paper forward with a fresh approach to growing readership and interacting with the community through new and innovative ways.

Being planned is a day-long STAR Open House at The Straits Times' home in SPH News Centre, Toa Payoh North, to further connect with readers by showcasing its journalists and the work they do.

Mr Fernandez announced the upcoming STAR concert at a trade engagement with about 200 advertising and media executives at the SPH News Centre on May 17, where he also gave a sneak preview of the changes in the newspaper from today.

Said Mr Fernandez: "We want to be the source that Singaporeans turn to for their news and views. To do that, we must be in touch with our readers, and be very much a part of the community we serve. This concert will be a great way for us to reach out and connect with our readers. That is what the STAR programme is all about."

Welcoming the STAR party, Mr Michael Gilligan, RWS's Senior Vice President of resort marketing, said: "When Resorts World Sentosa heard that The Straits Times wanted to celebrate its birthday with the STAR blow-out party, we knew that Resorts World Sentosa was the perfect place."

"We are absolutely delighted to be hosting the post-event party at Universal Studios Singapore. Readers can be sure it will be a great celebration, with all rides, entertainment and restaurants open exclusively for their enjoyment. This promises to be a birthday party that readers will never forget."

Also to be held in conjunction with the STAR concert is the 4th Little Red Dot-Beautex's "Life's Beautiful - The People's Garden " art competition, which is open to primary school pupils.

The drawing contest, which will also take place at the Gardens by the Bay on July 15 from 1 pm to 5 pm, is organised by Tipex Pte Ltd and Little Red Dot, the Straits Times' weekly publication for primary schools. The winning artworks will be printed on special editions of Beautex tissues boxes, with part of the proceeds from the sale of the tissue boxes going to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.

As part of its community outreach programme, The Straits Times will also hold a charity auction of a Volkswagen car, to be donated by Volkswagen Singapore. The winning bidder will be presented the car at the STAR concert. Part of the proceeds from the auction will be used to buy subscriptions of The Straits Times for 1,000 low-income households.

More details on the STAR outreach programme's concert and carnival will be announced soon.

Launched on July 15, 1845, The Straits Times, the English flagship daily published by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), today serves over 1.3 million readers daily, and is Singapore's best-read newspaper.

It also has an online presence (at www.straitstimes.com), which features breaking news and premium news, as well as blogs and online forums, and also hosts citizen journalism site Stomp and online television service The Straits Times RazorTV.

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