Singapore's multicultural Chingay Parade turns 41 years old

2013-02-23 00:57:33 GMT2013-02-23 08:57:33(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

SINGAPORE, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Singapore's annual Chingay Parade turned 41 years old on Friday, with organizers saying that they expect 150,000 spectators for the multicultural street parade this year.

The performance this year is themed Fire in Snow, as snow-like foam was put in the air above the audience and the ground in the finale of the show. Torches were lit throughout the two-hour show.

It was obviously a fun time for the some 10,000 volunteer performers and the 45,000 seated audience, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and other government ministers as well as Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.

Organizers spent about 15 months putting together the multicultural performance that has been known internationally.

Nah Juay Hng, chairman of the Chingay Parade Executive Committee, said it has always been a key feature of the annual parade to be multicultural.

"Chingay is in itself a huge multi-cultural performance, showcasing the various cultural traditions in Singapore, including the cultures of our different ethnic communities. We invite our friends from foreign countries, too, to present their rich culture, " he said. "Of course, Chingay is a celebration of the Chinese New Year, so we use the occasion to celebrate Chinese culture, too."

There are some 120 local organizations and groups participating in the show this year, and the foreign performers are from several countries and regions, such as Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, France as well as China, including Taiwan.

It started with a dancing performance by members of China's Red Star Dance Troupe on the stage and some 450 students on the ground.

"It is impressive that Singapore put together such a multi- cultural show. And it has been trying to be innovative. This is my third year of participating in the show, so I know that they had water last year and this year the theme is fire in snow," said Liu Min, dean of the Department of Dance at the People's Liberation Army Academy of Arts, China, who led the team of performers on the visit to Singapore.

The Centipede Dance Troupe from China's Guangdong province came back with the 22-meter long bamboo centipede dance that first appeared at the Chingay last year.

The local groups presented their rich cultural traditions that are unique of the ethnic groups of Singapore such as the Malays and the Indians. The local universities and grassroots organizations also took part in the show.

The exotic dancers from Indonesia, dressed in the Dayak tribe's colorful traditional costumes proved amazing. Joining them in the parade were performances featuring the culture of Japan and South Korea.

The stilt walkers with their unique ostrich-like costumes also appeared at the show. The group started its activities in 1999 on the occasion of the World Football Championships and has performed in cultural events in Spain, Italy, Germany, the United States and China.

It ended with local singers like Billy Wang and foreign singers such as Peng Qia Qia from China's Taiwan. It was the first time for Chingay to feature artists from Taiwan.

The show will be staged again on Saturday evening.

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