Saturday, January 24, 2009

What to do for Singapore Chinese New Year holidays 2009?

Yes! The Singapore Chinese New Year long weekends commence from today!
Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday .... 4 days of rest for most Singaporeans! But we must not discount the fact that not all Singaporeans are so lucky to have this continual stretch of rest from work. Some services like retails sales, restaurants, transports must still continue to operate during the holidays. I read about how some business choose to open on the second or even the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year in order to capture a slice of the holidaying market, so as to improve their business which has already been hit by the economic crisis.
For Singaporeans who are guaranteed to have this 4 days off work, some have already applied for additonal days of leave to 'interface' with this long weekend, the result: A super long weekend! This group of Singaporeans may comprise of people who just want to be away from work, partying in the CNY festive mood and Singaporeans leveraging on the CNY long weekend for an overseas vacation!
And, many Chinese Singaporeans like me will be going to their relatives' home (if I am not wrong), visiting our not too-often seen relatives, dishing out and receiving (if you are still privileged :) ) ang baos, indulging in the array of CNY snacks and catching up with relatives and friends.
However, as a Chinese Singaporean, I do find that the Chinese New Year mood locally is not as vibrant as in the past, and I am not talking about this sentiment against the backdrop of the current economic gloom. Overall, in general, from my discussion with colleagues and friends, they have also admitted that CNY does no longer feel that special as compared to the yester-years. I concur with this sentiment and I feel that it is regretful. However I do still have the CNY mood, though it is not as intense as in the previous years.
I believe CNY is fun for the kids. Ya, when I was a kid, I was exhilarated whenever CNY comes. There was just so much fun popping with my family to the other relatives' home, gulping down the CNY cookies and snacks and delighting ourselves with the exploring of different houses, while at the same time, we cannot figure out what the serious talk adults engage in.
Times have now changed. The youths of today, sadly are in a world of their own, and do not place much priority on Chinese traditions. Instead they immerse themselves day and night into the cyberworld and mouthing all those sophiscated IT jargon.
However, I must feel comforted that the festive mood in Singapore has always be constantly rejuvenated by the Singapore Government with the likes of event like the Chinatown Chinese New Year Countdown, River Hong Bao and Sentosa Flowers. This led me to my next part of my post: what to do apart from visiting relatives or staying at home during this Chinese New Year long holidays?
I will recommend you 8 (Chinese number for prosperity) events and places you should go during this holidays:
Admission: Free
Venue: Marina Bay floating platform
Duration: 24 Jan 09 to 1 Feb 09, 6pm to 12 am
Admission: Free ($3 admission fees to Sentosa still apply)
Venue: Sentosa
Duration: 24 Jan 09 to 1 Feb 09, 6pm to 12 am
3) Chinatown
Must I say more on Chinatown, the buzz of Singapore Chinese New Year scene! Go tomorrow night, mingle with the throngs of crowd, catch the dazzling fireworks display at the stroke of midnight and catch some prices of Chinese New Year snacks (heavily slashed) after midnight!
4) Catch Kwan Imm Thong temple, at Waterloo street tomorrow midnight! There will be hundreds of devotees rushing to place their lighted incense sticks into the incense urn at the stroke of midnight (for it is believed to bring them good luck for the new lunar year)
5) Istana Open House on 27 Jan 09
6) Museum Open House (Open on public holidays, thus should be open FOC to public on 26 and 27 Jan 09). For more information, please visit:
Note: I have affirmed Peranakan Musuem and Singapore Arts Musuem having their Open House, free to public on 27 Jan 09 (Tues). Please check with the other museums first before you are heading down as I have not affirmed their open house days. Thanks!
The Chinese New Year celebrations will culminate on next Saturday with the Chingay Parade and following that, Singapore's largest street party, City Alive!
Hope you will consider my above 8 tips on spending the golden Chinese New Year holidays! If you have no time to spare, do not worry, I will update you on the happenings in these events right here in my blog!
For now, I need to get back to work: mass cleaning, clearing of my barang barangs to usher in the Chinese New Year!
I Wish All of You a Happy Chinese New Year!

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