Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lantern Festival @ Chinese Garden 2011 (裕华园中秋灯会2011) - The World of Legends (神话世界)

After i posted the entry on Mid Autumn Festival By The River 2011, my facebook friend informed me that there is indeed a lantern festival at Chinese Garden (裕华园); a traditional annual event that had not been held for the past two years!

Despite the high price tag of S$12 (i paid nothing for Mid Autumn Festival By The River 2011) per person, i felt the impertinent need to relive my happy childhood memories before the event ends on 18 September.

The Gang of Four was dragged along for this excursion! As you can see from the tickets, Chinese Garden is going to organise a spring fiesta for 2012! Better keep the tickets for the S$2 discount.

Entrance from the Chinese Garden MRT station's pathway. It was around 6.30pm when lighting condition is still favourable for my trusty camera.

Before we start, a picture of the evacuation route within the garden in events of emergency. My main purpose of uploading this is not on safety but to make use of the map to illustrate the size of the Chinese Garden.

Lighted lion lanterns lined the staircase leading to the pagoda. At seven storey high, we were too lazy (and too full) to climb up. By the way, this is not going to be a post on Chinese Garden. There are too many pictures (over 300) and i am not keen to separate this into a two-post entry!

Chinese should recognise this! The Shou of Fu-Lu-Shou (福禄寿) - deities of Good Fortune (Fu-福), Prosperity (Lu-禄) and Longevity (Shou-寿).

The favourite deity for all Chinese - God of Fortune (财神)! In front of him is a donation box! Shouldn't he be distributing wealth instead of soliciting for it?

Theme for this year's lantern festival at Chinese Garden is the World of Legends. Therefore, it should not catch you by surprise to see the main cast for Journey to the West (西游记) - one of the four great classical novels in Chinese literature.

Chinese zodiac animals are another common feature. Compared to Mid Autumn Festival By The River 2011, the animals at Chinese Garden are so much more adorable!

Wishing tree! It's not just a matter of simply wishing with sincerity!

Buy one gold coin at S$6 each and your wish MIGHT be granted if you manage to get it hooked onto the tree. That's how mercenary wishes can be.

Darkness was approaching fast but it was not because of the setting sun. Bloody rain clouds!!!

We had to seek refuge at the twin pagodas as raindrops started to pelt us. With nothing much for us to do, the gang of four climbed up to the top floor. Thankfully it is only three storeys high.

Seeing bolt after bolt of lightning striking the HDB flats, we knew the chance of being stuck in the pagoda for probably hours was pretty high.

Shortly after, it was raining cats and dogs! The wind was so strong; it managed to pull off quite a few lanterns adorning the twin pagodas. I did enjoy being stuck in this weather though. If only we could play in the rain, as Kon had suggested.

The rain lasted 45 minutes, well below our expectations. By then, it was already night time.

With lanterns decorating the streets and trees, the festive atmosphere was definitely better than being surrounded by tall buildings and street lights at Clarke Quay.

Butterflies display! It should be a miracle that they were still "alive" with flapping wings and lights after the dreadful thunderstorm.

Initially, i thought this was the legend on the seven fairies (七仙女). Turns out it is on Chang-Er (嫦娥) - the goddess of moon. Interestingly, some elderly Chinese do worship her although the practice is slowly dying out. You may pinpoint the blame on the moon landing in 1969.

This design on the folk tale Cowherd and Weaver Girl (牛郎织女) is quite interesting since this legendary couple are separated and can only reunite once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month.

Another entrance (known as West Entrance) to Chinese Garden. Lined on both sides are characters of the eight immortals.

There is a parking area right outside the gates. Blooody Alex confidently told me there is no car park in Chinese Garden. I stupidly believed his words and parked my car at the housing estate a few kilometers away!

Night view of the twin pagodas on the bridge.

This looked like a good place to hold halloween! Maybe another suggestion for Chinese Garden to pump up their visitor numbers. It will be fun to see Chinese vampires hopping all over the garden.

Fans of Singapore's period dramas in the 1990s will remember scenes of emperor and his concubines standing by the koi pond and feeding their prized fishy-fishy.

There are really a lot of them in the pond! This traditional arch building also houses The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum. It was given the Guinness record for having the largest collection of turtles and tortoises in the world.

Showtime! The organiser brought in performers from China and they include Chinese dance and a contortionist act. Seriously, i guarantee my back will break before i am even halfway through the bin!

The umbrella magician was captivating in her performance and managed to materialise around 15 umbrellas from her body!

Highlight of the show is the act of changing face mask in a split second. Contrary to other similar performances, the person was interacting so closely with the audience! What's more amazing was that after she showed her true face (yes, it's a she), she was still able to put back a new mask within 1/4.455445156546465464687 second!

First 500 visitors will get a lantern free! Visiting in the middle of a working week has its benefits; not many visitors! Sure can get a free lantern. Haha.

For many of us who have been through lantern festivals for eons, do understand that foreigners do not experience the same culture as we do and some could not understand how to make the candle stand upright in the lantern. Be helpful, just like the Great Kon!

Hou Yi shooting the nine suns as they mischievously rose on the same day and created massive disaster for humankind. On a related note, Hou Yi is actually Chang Er's husband before she flew to the moon. As the legend said.

Again another legend related to the moon. This tells the story of the jade rabbit, who was sent to accompany the goddess of the moon. The information panel did not mention why it is her job to pound medicine. Maybe the goddess is on long term medication.

One permanent fixture in Chinese Garden is this stone boat-house structure. It used to have a restaurant on the first level before poor business forced it to shut down.

Third Lotus Prince Nezha (莲花三太子-哪吒) engaging in a battle with his nemesis; the dragons. This exhibit is the largest and is a sight to behold.

This front-view photograph doesn't do the exhibit justice and could be so much better! A camera stand is highly recommended but it is too troublesome in my opinion.

Pandas - China's national animal and unquestionably the most symbolic animal in the world.

I thought this is Hua Tuo (华陀) - the god of Chinese medicine. Turns out he was Shen Nong (神农); another great physician who taught the Chinese agriculture over 5,000 years ago.

Remember this from the SBCs period dramas? The empress/concubine will be lying on a long bench and enjoying the scenery while the palace maids massage her delicate legs. Her therapy continues until an eunuch barges in and brings bad news concerning her family.

The moon was finally out even though her face was only half exposed. Can you imagine how beautiful she would be on the exact day of the mooncake festival [15th day of the 8th lunar month]?

Booths selling food, drinks and lanterns are available. Maybe it was the rain as some seem to be closed. Either that or they open only during the weekends.

Children will love the mini funfair. Alex gave up his intention to try the above when he realised one game will cost him S$4 (two tokens).

Lions Chasing Spinning Balls - one of the sixteen main exhibits. To me, it seems like a mish mash of legendary creatures including dragon, phoenix and lion.

Jiang Tai Gong (姜太公) fishing! A military strategist and sage back in the little-known Shang dynasty, Jiang Ziya (子牙) is a prominent character in the popular Chinese classic novel Fengshen Yanyi (封神演義), as taken from wikipedia.

Origins of certain Chinese words. This would make really good educational materials for young children who are learning to read and write Chinese words. 

Time to leave as the parking coupons were expiring soon and the car was parked so damn far away! *throw eye daggers at Alex*

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Location
1, Chinese Garden Road
(exit from Chinese Garden MRT station)

Additional Information
The Lantern Festival @ Chinese Garden 2011 will end officially this Sunday, 18 September 2011. And especially for this event, the closing hour has been extended to 11.30pm!

Adult pricing is S$12 while children (3-12 years old) is S$8.

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