Rain dampens Chinese New Year celebrations, with prices soaring on ride-hailing apps and long waiting times on food delivery apps

Rain dampened Chinese New Year plans for many people, with prices soaring on ride-hailing apps.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - She was looking forward to celebrating the first day of the Chinese New Year with her siblings, but the torrential rain washed out a family meal that was supposed to be at her home in Bedok Reservoir.

Two of Ms Daphne Lim’s four siblings and their families decided to skip lunch at her place after prices on ride-hailing apps soared in the afternoon on Sunday.

Speaking to The Straits Times at around 5pm on Monday, the 32-year-old housewife said she was hopeful that her siblings, who live in the western part of Singapore, would show up to her place on the second day, but was not optimistic given the prolonged rain.

She said: “Hopefully, they decide to make the trip here, as I have not seen them in a while and would love to spend time with them playing mahjong.”

Ms Lim was not the only one who had to scrap or change her plans for Chinese New Year because of the heavy downpour. A warning of heavy rain was posted at about 4.30pm on Sunday, with the Public Utilities Board notifying of the potential of flooding over the two days.

And at about 11.45am on Monday, the National Environment Agency tweeted there would be thundery showers over many areas in the afternoon and evening.

The weather also nearly spoilt the celebrations – the first in two years without Covid-19 measures – for Ms Charmaine Ng and her family.

The 24-year-old manicurist who lives in Upper Changi Road had planned to leave home at 9am with her parents and brother to visit her grandmother in Jurong West, but had no luck on the Grab and Gojek apps amid heavy rain. 

In the end, they waited until her uncle could drive from Toa Payoh to ferry them, more than two hours later.

Said Ms Ng: “It’s unfortunate that this is the first year that we get to celebrate with no restrictions, but the rain had to dampen our plans.”

The rain not only affected transport services, but food delivery as well.

Mr Ian Kunasegaran, who was throwing a dinner party for about 15 friends on Sunday, had planned to order food on Grab but was shocked to see waiting times of about 75 to 90 mins, compared to the usual 30 minutes or less. Grab said there were fewer delivery riders owing to the rain.

The 26-year-old student had to quickly salvage the situation by driving to the various outlets to collect the food himself.

Waiting times on food delivery app Grab were said to be as long as 90 minutes. PHOTO: The Straits Times

Mr Kenny Lee, who runs United Dragon and Lion Dance Association, said the weather also affected lion dance performances that were scheduled over the two days.

The troupe had about 15 performances scheduled at various residences on Monday, and some of the outdoor performances had to be delayed until the rain stopped.

But neither the performers nor the audience members, who are long time supporters of the company, were demoralised by the weather, said Mr Lee.

He said: “Everybody’s happy because after two years, we can resume performing at residential areas.”

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.