Veteran Chingay performers love dancing and mingling with crowd

Orchard Road turned into a mini Chingay event on Saturday when it was closed to traffic for the monthly Pedestrian Night.

Performers in elaborate costumes roamed the street, entertaining Singaporeans and tourists alike in a sneak preview of what is to come in the annual Chingay Parade next month.

Entertainers wore elaborate headgear and flowing jewel-studded dresses, dancing and mingled with the crowd.

Some even stopped to take photos with pedestrians.

Among the performers were Madam Jessica Tay, 40, and her daughter Alix Chong, 14.

Both are participating in the Chingay Parade under the People's Association Talents, a multi-ethnic performing group.

Madam Tay has been a part of Chingay Parades "on and off" ever since her Chinese dance teacher first roped her in when she was 14.

"It's the passion. All of us have the passion for dancing. And the atmosphere at Chingay is awesome. You can't experience it on TV," said Madam Tay, who recalled her first Chingay performance as one filled with anticipation.

Hoping that Alix could go through the Chingay experience as well, Madam Tay had been encouraging her to join, only to be refused.

But the teenager finally took up the challenge this year after witnessing the spectacle for herself in the stands last year.

The colours and dance items overwhelmed Alix, Madam Tay said.


Coincidentally, her husband is also involved in this year's parade as the dance instructor for a separate segment.

Another Chingay Parade veteran at the Pedestrian Night was pre-school teacher May Lee.

Like Madam Tay, the 41-year-old first performed at the event when she was 14, after she responded to a People's Association advertisement for a new dance group.

Ms Lee, who is still actively involved in the Chinese cultural dance group, has participated in at least 10 Chingay Parades since.

It is not just her passion for dance that draws her back year after year, she said. It is also an excuse for her to bond with old friends.

"It is the spirit we have together and the enjoyment," she explained.

This article was first published on January 5, 2015.
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