Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year !

The time is now 3.08 a.m Singapore time. I am not asleep as I have just returned home an hour ago.
Where was I earlier? Yes, if you have guessed correctly, I was in the thick of the Singapore Chinese New Year action, right in the heart of Chinatown.
Chinatown was a sea of people and it was a chore to walk amidst the thousands of people who have congregated there.
It was still orderly in Chinatown as the police has set up demarcation zones to confine and streamline the crowd. As some public areas were used for such demarcation purposes, the walking areas became even smaller.

I was in Chinatown about 9 p.m, after a hearty reunion dinner with my family. Chinatown is the place to be in, if you want to savour Singapore Chinese New Year in its fullness.

I entered Chinatown from Outram Park MRT station. To my surprise, the Pasar Malam (a public bazar) which is an annual fixture was not there.... a casualty of the economic downturn?

Entering Chinatown from Outram MRT station really belied what was to come. Just a stone's throw from the MRT station, I saw the policemen setting up the barriers cordoning the roads and many members of the public just wandering leisurely on the road and pavement, taking in photos after photos.

The road soon led to the heart of Chinatown where all the action would be taking place at 10.00 pm (on the eve, yesterday) with a live variety show featuring popular local artistes and VIPs include Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng, several MPs and key community leaders of the Kreta Ayer- Kim Seng Constituency.
The crowds soon coalesced into a significant number at the heart of Chinatown near the platform where it would be bursting with performances an hour later.

Many member of the public have come some hours earlier, say 6pm to obtain a vantage point to view the variety show, the firing of the fire crackers and the procession of lion and dragon dances.

The variety show commenced at 10 pm sharp with a lound bang literally and figuratively. Spectators wow as balloons were set off to the sky, a symbolic gesture for good luck.

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