Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mid Autumn Festival By The River 2011 (月圆河畔庆中秋) @ Clarke Quay, Singapore

I was wondering where exactly is the mid autumn festival by the river event aside from knowing it is along the Singapore River; which by the way is more than three kilometers long!

Thankfully, the Gang of Four spotted this lighted up structure somewhere near Liang Court. It was decided that we should park at UE Square (S$2 per entry after 5 or 6pm) to beat the ERP and exorbitant car park charges at Liang Court.

The above was the structure we saw while in the car - ancient Chinese gateway. The crowd was surprisingly thin even though it was the weekend and the mooncake festival was a mere three days away.

Likewise for any Chinese festivals, there is a heavy reference to China's historical heritage and monuments. In this case, the famous nine-dragons wall (九龙壁) that has unfortunately evolved into one with LED eyes and moving heads.

Lanterns are part and parcel of mid autumn festival, just like mooncakes. However, i noticed that there were not many people holding on to lanterns while i was there. Guess the location is too centralised and touristy. Personally, the Chinese Garden at Jurong feels more 'right'.

This covered tent holds the completed works of the creative lantern making competition!

They were creative enough but not exactly eye-candy materials. I was thinking along the line of traditional paper lantern making competition and did not expect the massive use of electricity and materials other than paper.

What's more interesting was this group of Radio Controlled (RC) kites enthusiasts. Lined up in a row, it was like a mini display of a freaking air show with captivating lighting!

Please excuse my elementary photo taking skill - the picture can be much better although it did manage to portray the radar-like light emitted from those RC kites in the sky.

After googling on the web, i realised this 'show" is not part of the mid autumn festival attractions and is actually a regular feature in the Clarke Quay area.

Time to get back to the event we came for! Cute lanterns adorned one side of the river and the crowd seemed to get thicker as we walked along the promenade.

As expected, there will always be a food zone filled with people! Nowadays, the organisers are smart enough to bring in unique food stalls that deviate from the usual ones we get from pasar malams.

Illegal vendors selling brightly-coloured playthings at 3 for S$10! The fine can be hefty at S$200 or S$300 but with a roaring demand, it might be worth the risk.

Located at the read bridge is this massive junk-shaped structure made of bright red lanterns. Many clubbers were loitering around here since it is so near to the main clubbing street of Clarke Quay. This is yet another reason why the location is wrong. Children are the key for such traditional cultural events but parents are less likely to bring their children to such a sinful district.

The following pictures are the disappointingly few lantern floats on the river.

一马当先 - to take the lead.

闻鸡起舞 - an ambitious, motivated person

勤奋好学 - willing to learn

掩耳盗铃 - trying to hide some matter but in fact, makes them worse.

麒麟献瑞 - this is not even an idiom, more than a congratulatory message or something.

Befitting the festival is a lantern riddle (猜灯谜) stage. I am hopeless at such stuff although the riddles can be very interesting and thought provoking.

Chinese zodiac animals are dished out in full force for the event. The monkey is cute, as it has always been, although i question the rationale to have a plate behind the effigy. Are we supposed to promote wild game cuisine?

Traditional Chinese paper cutting (剪纸) with very intricate designs! Only people with loads of patience can work on this. Though this is a lantern event, i don't remember seeing any stall selling handheld lanterns and sparklers.

There's one that sells decorative blessing lanterns (天燈) from Taiwan.

Van told us that in Taiwan, these adorable keepsakes were sold at approximately S$5 a piece! That's more than a 100% jack up! Well, considering they must import them directly from Taiwan.....

Main entrance of the event - we had started from the opposite direction!


All in all, i thought this Mid Autumn Festival By The River) 2011 event can be better. The amount of lanterns was pathetic and not even comparable on the same scale as the ones i attended in my childhood at Chinese Garden.

For those who are interested, this event will end officially on the 12th of September 2011!

Exit from Clarke Quay MRT Station. The walk begins right beside The Central shopping center.

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