Dining in white

Dining in white

After their engagement last year, they attended the first Asian edition of Diner en Blanc to celebrate.

And they were at the picnic's second iteration, this time as husband and wife.

Teacher Fyn Ang and her auditor husband, Mr Kenneth Boey, both 29, were among the nearly 2,000 diners at the annual outdoor dining event, which sees participants dressed entirely in white.

Originally conceived in France, it has since spread to other parts of the world with Singapore being the first Asian city to host its own version of the event.

Though only in its second edition, the event, which was held at the Marina Barrage this year, has a loyal following.

"It's like a reunion of sorts where you get to see familiar faces," Madam Ang said.

She told The New Paper that during the last event, she got to know a couple at the next table.

"When we saw them again this time, it was a very pleasant surprise because it was like meeting long-lost friends," she said.

The annual dinner has become something of a tradition for the couple and they hope to take their children there one day.

Last year's event here was marred by a public relations row when blogger Daniel Ang posted about how he was told that no local food could be taken to the picnic.

He was uninvited, and the organisers later clarified that they discouraged fast food, not local fare.

Madam Ang added with a laugh that in spite of the controversy surrounding last year's event, she and her then-fiancee also took tau huay (soya bean curd) to the picnic.

For photographer Andrew Mok and his friends, who were at Diner en Blanc for the first time, it provided an opportunity to show their creative side.

Besides the all-white dress code, diners must bring their own furniture, cutlery and even table decorations to the event.

And Mr Mok and his friends took decorating one step further - their decorations were alive.

Creative Setup

The group, who are from the wedding industry, built a centrepiece using a "fish bowl" with tubes sticking out so they could "drink" from it.

As having fish in the bowl would be impractical, they had two tiny white lobsters called Naked and Perrier.

Mr Mok was quick to add that the lobsters were in a separate tank with oxygen beads, away from the drink, and are still alive in in his house.

He reckons that hundreds of people went up to their table to take pictures of their setup, which also featured a bird cage, courtesy of a friend who happens to be a professional decorator.

"We loved the outcome as we met and spoke to a lot of people from different parts of the world," Mr Mok said.

Organised by private investor Clemen Chiang, 39, this year's version of Diner en Blanc also featured acrobatic performances by Australian outdoor performance company Strange Fruit and a fireworks display.

About the dinner

1. Diner en Blanc was started 25 years ago by Frenchman Francois Pasquier and held at Bois de Boulogne, a large public park in Paris.

2. Mr Pasquier had just returned to Paris from abroad and wanted a dinner party to reconnect with friends.

As many people wanted to attend the dinner, he had to hold it in a park. Guests wore white so that they could recognise each other, hence the dress code for Diner en Blanc.

3. In 1991, the event's founders wanted to hold the dinner at Pont des Arts, a famous pedestrian bridge in Paris.

Knowing the authorities would never approve, the organisers kept the location a secret until the last minute.

4. Since then, the dinner has been held at other prominent locations in Paris such as the area around the Eiffel Tower and the pavements of the Champs-Elysees.

5. Singapore became the first city in Asia to host the event last year . It has also been held in the US, Canada, Australia, Spain and Mexico.


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