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In The News

Date:Thursday, January 4, 2001

City folks party on the streets
By Chin Mui Yoon

THOUSANDS of city folks welcomed the New Year with private celebrations and all-night parties in homes and clubs while many joined the masses at popular spots in the city

Fulfilling the Prime Minister's dream of "having concerts on the streets'', revellers welcomed 2001 with an opera concert at Bintang Walk.

The crowd joined the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his Deputy Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi during the YTL Concert of Celebration 2000

The Prime Minister left during intermission for the celebrations at the Petronas Twin Towers. He left Badawi, Transport Minister Datuk Dr Ling Liong Sik and Information Minister Datuk Khalil Yaakob to lead the crowd in the countdown.

The old Bukit Bintang Girls School made a stunning backdrop against the Twin Towers, an icon of the 21st century.

The stage in front of the school was alive with colours and sounds of the three young tenors, Gegam Grigorian, Warren Mok and Albert Cupido. They were accompanied by the Italian Symphony Orchestra and conducted by renowned flutist Andrea Griminelli

The concert was a tribute to the original Three Tenors, Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras and Placido Dominago's concert at the eve of the 1990 World Cup Finals held in Rome

The tenors' powerful voice resounded through the crowd, overwhelming the more boisterous merry-makers crowded at the sidewalk cafes and along the entire stretch of road from the J.W. Marriott Hotel to Lot 10

Many spectators crammed against the gate separating the seating area, watching the giant screens that were set up.

A brief drizzle at around 10.45pm failed to disperse the crowd as the diehard revellers were determined to party till midnight.

Six couples from Adelaide, Australia, were busy shooting the scene with their videocam and enjoying the festive mood.

The atmosphere here is fabulous!'' said Trevor Stott. "It's much noisier, hotter and there are more people than what we would've experienced in our hometown.''

Bintang Walk had the atmosphere of a football game and rock concert rolled into one.

Enterprising Malaysians sold overpriced bottled water and beers, hot dogs, kebab, hamburgers, party hats, party strings and fluorescent bangles.

The St John Ambulance of Malaysia kept a vigilant watch throughout the evening with two ambulances stationed beside the J.W. Marriott Hotel and 25 first-aiders spread throughout the street in four-man teams.

Regional superintendant Lee Wing Kwong said there were only about six cases of fainting, the most serious being a pregnant woman who was sent to the hospital after being pushed to the ground in front of the Coffee Bean outlet at KL Plaza.

The noise level went up nearing midnight as the crowd jammed onto the road. A shower of fireworks then lit up the sky to the cheers and whistles of the people.

Occupants of the nearby Regent Hotel and surrounding buildings joined in the thunderous countdown from their balconies and behind windows.

After the event, many were stuck for hours in a traffic jam as the roads became choked with vehicles heading to other party spots and out of the city.

It was not until past 2am that the roads became clearer but motorists were still caught by police conducting alcohol checks along Jalan Tun Razak.



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