Chinese New Year Celebrations Start

I dub thee cutest boyfriend in the world (to me anyway)

Chinese New Year began early today with the commencement of celebrations at Central’s Belmore Park. While famously nicknamed ‘Hobo Park’ by many of us, this occasion has chased out all of said ‘hobos’ from the park to be replaced by pretty red lanterns lighting up the trees, possibly disturbing the bats’ rest. Following this is a vast array of vendors selling food, drink, charms for personal use as well as around the home and other services.

It was a wet and dreary afternoon, but that didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of anyone who braved the weather anyway and turned out by the droves to the festivities. Up in Miranda, the sky was still shining with sunlight before I left. But as I stepped out of Central station almost an hour later the drizzle leaked down on me, still weak but perfectly capable of drenching someone without an umbrella open.

I met up with Ruben and we wandered around the park gleefully under the scant protection of a solitary umbrella in the cramped spaces. We matched in colouring (red and gold), but I stood out a little in my red and gold ‘China dress’ top — if only it were an entire dress, but that’s expensive.

Belmore Park full of people and tents

With calligraphy, dim sim (dumplings and buns), Malaysian foods, glittering signs, a small fireworks display, lion dances on stage and contemporary Asian dancers, it was a pretty eventful evening, again not hampered even by the stops and starts of rain. A lot of the old favourites from previous years were the same, but we still took pleasure in photographing them.

It’s at these times of the year that I really feel like getting in touch with my culture. In previous years and for young children it usually is only the red packets (lai see (利市/利是), hong bao (紅包) or angbao depending on your dialect) they care about, just like at Christmas times children would only really care about what presents they have received this year. However as time goes on, you begin to appreciate more the culture behind it and just the feeling of togetherness that comes with such occasions where families may pull together again for the first time in a year.

The highlight of my evening was seeing Alvin Quah cooking Singapore Noodles in the Ayam tent though. Ruben and I drooled as the decadent smells of the cooking ingredients wafted over. While I was shy, Ruben pulled me over to take a picture with him and I’m grateful that he did, but still shy about it!

Chinese New Year is officially on January 31, 2014. I’ll be at work that day, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t find ways to enjoy it! Sounds this will be a memorable Chinese New Year, one way or another. :)

Me with Alvin Quah, from Series 2 Masterchef