I don’t think we quite got Chinese New Year, this time around. Without a local guide, we seemed to have trouble understanding how things work. I can tell you that if the locals were just phoning it in for X-Mas, it’s because they were saving it up for CNY.
Where stores used to play soft X-Mas music, now they blared stereotypical traditional Chinese music. I mean, the kind of hokey, sappy, warbbly stuff we think of as being Chinese music. All those stereotypes, were in full speaker mode in the stores.
Shopping was big, as always, and there were decorations everywhere. In a way, CNY is a Singaporean dream come true since every year is a new animal (we have left year of the Rabbit and started year of the Dragon) that means each year you need to buy new decorations. No thrifty keeping the same ones each year for these guys, boy howdy. But it was great. Dragons were everywhere, some fierce-looking, others cute and cuddly, always in red and gold.
We ventured down to Chinatown on CNY Eve to see the sights. We did not catch the show, it was a weird set up, but we did catch a few musical numbers at the local HDB and that was more than enough. Videos to follow. Brief thoughts: It sounds like someone swinging a cat around at one point. We saw the Asian version of Wayne Newton, with silver sequin jacket and black hair pomodor. The crowd just sat thru all performances with little interaction or interest which we thought was quite odd.
The market was PACKED. Not jammed, not crowded, PACKED. And all in all not much fun because of it. But we saw it, people selling treats and sweets along long stalls, free samples from guys with headseats and amplifiers yelling in Chinese hawking their wares.
We were warned that everything shuts down for CNY, and people were not kidding. Many stores and (gasp!) Malls were shut down, and some vendors and hawkers stay closed for several days after CNY. Officially CNY lasts 15 days with different obligations for each day. The public holiday period is just for two days though.
The one thing I wanted to see this year was a lion dance, alas fate has denied me. There is talk that there are a few to be caught around town, fingers crossed I can catch one before it’s all over.