Shoppers split on whether Orchard Christmas light-up is merry or muted

A debate has lit up over the festive lights in Orchard Road, with some shoppers and merrymakers saying they seem to be less bright than before, while others are quite happy with them.

The number of lights is the same as last year's - but they have been stretched over a larger area as new roads have been added to the Christmas light-up. On Nov 16, this year's lights were switched on, and they will remain till Jan 1.

Some shoppers also miss the lights that usually arch over Singapore's main shopping belt.

Mr Wilmer Tay, a 27-year-old digital designer, was among those disappointed this year.

"I expected a lot more lights. Over the past few years, they extended the lights across the street and that was quite nice for people driving through," he told The Straits Times.

"Last year's (light-up) was more special and memorable with the Disney theme; this year's feels quite generic."

After last year's theme was criticised by some for drawing the focus away from the holiday's meaning, the Orchard Road Business Association (Orba) said this year's decorations would include staples such as Christmas trees and presents.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, Orba executive director Steven Goh said: "The Christmas street-light design is refreshed in a new showcase format, with the objective to create a more immersive pedestrian experience designed for visitors who walk along Orchard Road..."

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Responding to the fact that some people found the lights more subdued this year, he said the length of LED lights has remained the same as last year's at 60.6km, and that the over-street lights have been removed to enhance the lights along the pedestrian walkway.

Others welcomed the focus on the pedestrian experience.

Singapore Polytechnic student Melody Mok, 17, was taking pictures of the Christmas lights near Takashimaya for a school assignment last week.

She said: "The dangling Santas from the trees are very creative. I like small details like that. They are nice and show that they put effort into the decorations."

This article was first published in The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.