Getting used to Singapore has been relatively easy I would say. By that I ignore the standard setup issues of phones, utilities, housing, etc that you would encounter in any move. I mean that Singapore is a very easy city to live in. The people are wonderful, the food is superb, and at times it even feels like any other US or Western city. You could forget you were in Asia, if of course you ignored all 5 million Asians wandering around. This is always why some people do not like Singapore, they feel it is not Asian enough, it is too clean, too sterile, with not enough culture. What I say to those people is, well I like to drink the tap water and still experience culture.
So with that being said, Carrie and I experienced some real culture on Saturday night. We were lucky enough to see the Chinatown Lightup, similar to an opening ceremony, for Chinese New Years which is officially at midnight on February 13, 2010. It is however around 4077 in the lunar calendar and this is the date the Chinese are celebrating and let me tell you they know how to celebrate….and this was only teh opening ceremony. Can’t wait for the main event.
We ate dinner on the street enjoying the warm weather. We had Kway Teow, which consists of flat noodles, chicken or pork or beef, dark soy sauce, seasonings, goodness and sometimes clams. We opted for the Chicken and Mushroom mixture and waited in one of the longest lines on the street. (we’ve learned this trick….when in doubt, pick the stall with the longest line which usually works out quite well)
See below for just how worth it the meal really was….delicious and right from a cart in Chinatown. .
So after that bit of culinary mastery and not at all sterile boring Singapore, we headed towards the main part of Chinatown with cut off streets and people huddled together to watch what Carrie and I thought would be a small lighting ceremony.
Well, once again Singapore proved us wrong. We watched as Chinese music poured out over the speakers, well over 1 million people crammed themselves into a few square blocks to watch, and 99 lion dancers entertained the crowd. It was highly entertaining despite our utter lack of comprehension when they were signing in Chinese. However, we could visually see as despite my lack of stature I felt above average here.
We thought about trying to make a break for it during the ceremonies but realized that we couldn’t move and the police yelling for people to make way did no good either, so we stayed until the end. Boy are we glad we stayed. The fireworks went off in rapid succession after some rapid drum beats and the fireworks were intense. There were so many fireworks and so close that the soot got into our eyes and the city seemed light up from above. It was a wonderful display of joy to kick off our second New Years in two months.
We’re still not exactly sure what we witnessed or what it all meant, but one thing is for sure, we cant wait for February 13th!
http://www.youtube.com/get_player those are all Lions dancers on poles. more of them were on the ground. 99 in all.
http://www.youtube.com/get_player The lions were holding scrolls in their mouths, which you can see in the video. As the scrolls were unfurled the crowed oohed and ahhhed and clapped (we don’t know why as we cant read Chinese!) and then the firecrackers went off followed by fireworks. apparently this was the finale