Chingay show sparkles despite heavy downpour

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong giving a high-five to a performer as he and his wife Ho Ching left the F1 Pit Building after the Chingay procession ended last night.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Performers at this year's Chingay, an annual street parade held to celebrate Singapore's cultural diversity, found themselves singing and dancing in the rain last night.

But the show went on despite the persistent downpour.

The crowd, slow to warm up, cheered loudly and waved their poms poms when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivered his Chinese New Year greeting at about 8.30pm on a green, white and gold float.

Mr Lee wished the crowd at the F1 Pit Building a year of abundance and lifted their spirits by noting that the words for "abundance" and "rain" sound similar in Mandarin.

Performers gamely donned ponchos over colourful costumes as they sang and danced in the rain.

Multi-coloured stage lights and festive songs transformed the usually quiet part of Marina Bay into a grand street party.

Themed "Lights of Legacy, Brighter Singapore" this year, Chingay dates back to 1973 and is a mainstay of Chinese New Year celebrations.

The procession, which took 11/2 hours, featured participants from various ethnic backgrounds and moved along the route from the F1 Pit building to the Singapore Flyer.

About 8,000 volunteers from 150 organisations, including Nanyang Technological University, Management Development Institute of Singapore and People's Association (PA) - Chingay's main organiser - performed in yesterday's event.

Foreign groups from China, Russia and Indonesia put up cultural dances as well.

The Japanese Association of Singapore, which was performing for the 13th time, adapted a dance from Japan's largest dance festival Awa Dance.

The parade last night opened with 800 performers from the PA Youth Movement, who were dressed in costumes studded with light-emitting diodes and held up blue, futuristic-looking paddles.

In a subsequent act, 350 martial art performers from Singapore's four main religious groups demonstrated graceful moves to a popular Hokkien song from local movie 881.

Unicyclists and parkour enthusiasts from local interest groups such as Superfly and The Wheelies also joined in the festivities for the first time.

Operations manager Damien Hoo, 42, who attended the parade with his wife Vanessa Lim, 38, a teacher, said that he initially wanted to go home because the rain did not let up.

"But I am glad I stayed. I really enjoyed the performances which the participants clearly spent a lot of time rehearsing for."

awcw@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Feb 20, 2016.
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