Saturday, 28 February 2015

Last Day for River Hongbao and Chingay 2015

I thought I would catch up with the RHB (River Hongbao) carnival on the last day on its 12-day festivity.

Unlike last time when I walked here after visiting the Singapore Philatelic Museum, this time I took the train to Promenade MRT station, and walked from there.

Sculptue by :phunk and is titled "Dreams in a Social Cosmic Odyssey", Promenade MRT station, Singapore
Sculpture by :phunk at the Promendae MRT station
 entitles "Dreams in a Social Cosmic Odyssey"

I only spent briefly here on CNY Day in my last visit on 19 Feb. It was about 1.5 hours, which were hardly enough. It was after 6pm when I arrived, and so I know I missed many events / activities / programmes like tightrope walking, gold coin shower from God of Fortune, etc. Well, that's the price for trying to avoid the heat.

I came about 6:30pm in this visit. Yeah, even later. Since I had already been here once, I came really mainly to see the live performance on the stage, which I had never done.

Before I entered the RHB, I thought I walked around the area a little bit, and I found myself strolling the promenade between the Float and The Durian, and had seen some nice CNY light touches of decorations.

Theatres by the Bay, Singapore
(one half of ) The Durian

After a little stroll, I returned to the Float. Took a few last opportunity snaps, and headed for the stage show.

River Hongbao 2015, Singapore

Old Singapore River lantern, River Hongbao 2015, Singapore
Lantern of the theme of Old Singapore River
with Singapore Flyer and Helix Bridge in the background

As expected, the crowd turn-out was much lower than CNY Day. This wasn't just because most that heard about RHB had already visited it, but it was also because Chingay was also on the same night. While RHB was a 12-day event, Chingay was only on for 2 nights, so one could expect at least some - if not most - of the crowd had gone to Chingay.

When I left Promenade MRT, after walking a block the crowd was split into 2 at the intersection of Raffles Blvd and Bayfront Ave. The people traffic going left was going to the Chingay while people going straight ahead like me headed for the Float. I'm writing this because this was all new to me. I hope this helps those who had never visited these events.

Anyway, as I approached the entrance to the stage, the staff was trying to get passer-by to see the show by telling us it's all free, no tickets were needed because it was the final night. Only then that I realised the show wasn't free (except this final night). I guess it would make sense not to charge visitors on this night of low crowd turn-out.

The show was quite interesting with a variety of different performances and themes that ranging from multiculturalism to the mix of new and tradition, professional to amateurs, etc. The performance program theme was Harmony Night (和谐之夜).

The show started with the drums band from Westspring Secondary School. I was quite impressed by their performance. And having learnt a bit more about this public school, I was even more impressed with Singapore public education system. It deserves a round of applause from me.

The Indian folk dance was nice, colourful, and full of symbolism. Just wished there were more of this.

Indian Folk Dance, River Hongbao, Singapore
Indian Folk dance

Stage dance performnce, River Hongbao, Singapore

The show started at 8pm (instead of the 7:30 they advertised because they needed to lasso potential audience). I didn't sit through the show, which finished at 10pm. By 9:15pm, my stomach rumbled louder than the stage performance. Ada often said that I want to become an immortal (做神仙) because of my extended fasting (usually not due to my conscious efforts. My body likes fasting). Taoists believe that one condition of becoming immortal is eating less and less until you stop eating (kid, don't do this at home or outside!). Anyway, I decided to give immortality a break.

I went to the RHB Food Street for some street food.

Food Street, River Hongbao, Singapore

I picked some deep-fried soft shell crabs and skewers. You eat the crabs whole with the shell. As for the skewers, you can spare the sticks (unless you want to perform some sticks swallowing. Kids! Don't do this at all! It should only be done by a satay-stick-swallowing professional)).

Food stall, River Hongbao, Singapore

Feeling human again, I left RHB and made my way toward Bayfront Ave to go home, I saw some dazzling floats coming out of the Marina Bay Street Circuit area. This was where the Chingay was held. I was under the wrong impression that you wouldn't see anything of Chingay if you don't buy tickets. Now I realise that the ticket holders simply get a better vantage points, and enjoy the live performance. Like Hong Kong's CNY's floats, the Chingay floats will come out of the area and make their rounds in the public. So I decided to stick around for a little while to view this Chingay Parade for the 1st time in Singapore. It was an eye opener for me (my eyelids were getting a little heavy).

Chingay Float, Singapore

Chingay Float, Singapore
This blue peacock float celebrates 50 years of Singapore-Indian relationships

Chingay Float, Singapore

This is without the doubt, the busiest night of the year. At least around this nick of the wood. And I hadn't seen so many oldies out on the streets this late. I'm guessing because I'm rarely out this late (it's past 10pm). If you want to soak up the "heat and noise" (熱鬧), meaning happy and gay in Chinese, you would want to be here tonight. If noise gives you a headache, stay away from this corner of Singapore.

I had some more familiarity with the RHB and Chingay Parade this year. I'll probably participate more next year (hopefully it's cooler. February tends to be the hottest month of the year as it's has the least clouds with ghastly blue sky. The horror!!! I'll pray for London sky: plenty of clouds with a good chance of drizzle).

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