Wednesday, February 25, 2015

River Hongbao 2015 (春到河畔2015) - Feel the Festive Vibe! @ Marina Bay Floating Platform [Singapore]

It has been five years since my last River Hongbao and frankly, if not for my parents' earnest request, you would not likely see me visiting as i could vividly remember how insanely packed it was in 2010! 

Anyway, i had to play my cards well this time and opted to pay it a visit before dinnertime. Despite the significantly higher parking rate, i made the decision to park my car at the less crowded Singapore Flyer!

My parents at the Singapore Grand Prix's racing track - Dad was actually a big fan of Grand Prix when it was held along Upper Thomson Road (at the area known as Devil's Bend) forty years ago.

A convenient walkway connecting Singapore Flyer to the Marina Bay Floating Platform - loving it when the crowd didn't appear as intense as i would have expected. 

Or so i thought until i stepped into the food street tentage! A frustrating scenario of people squeezed people, especially those undecided ones who stopped in front of a particular stall, considered for five second seconds before moving off! 

The pot is calling the kettle black; i am guilty of doing exactly the same thing although my intention was to check out the type of mouthwatering food for sale! For all you know, another blogger could be writing about some dim-witted guy who just could not stop taking photos! 

Oh well, you could not please everyone! Haha. Anyway, mom's main aim of attending River Hongbao was to check out the tight rope act by a Guinness World Record Holder and the first thing she did, after scrambling out of the food street, was to find a spot at the platform's grandstand where she can rest her feet.

View of the food vendor's preparation area. Not exactly an appetite enhancer but the same situation overseas could be much worse! 

In my opinion, this would be the centrepiece for the event this year; aside from long trail of peacock 'feathers', it took up a big part in the centre of the grandstand and towered over all the other lanterns. More on it later. 

As 2015 is also Singapore's 50th birthday, the theme this year was to allow visitors to recollect the moments of Singapore in the past 50 years! Honestly, i thought it was pretty well done even though i didn't quite check out the details and information of everything! 

Sun was on its way for its daily slumber!

Two performers acting out a scene from a Chinese opera to entertain the visitors. In other times, you may also find magic shows in the same performance area.

How could anyone ever miss out the 18-meter tall God of Fortune!? For most Chinese, life is often weighed by the amount of money you have and it's no surprise that many crave to be bestowed with money and precious metal. 

孔雀报喜 Let's Celebrate Together! A painful translation that didn't make any sense until you read the information panel placed in front of the elaborate lantern. You all did realise the two peacocks are male?

长廊灯饰 Entrance Walkway - nicely done up with "curtains" that could not close, adorned with festive flowers and an opera mask on top of each arch. 

Those who are tired of walking should make use of the free seating at the grandstand. Climb up to the top and be rewarded by the cool breeze and the spectacular city-scape in front of you! 

Making use of the miniature (diorama) function on my Olympus camera! As with previous years, you would find old school carnival rides that were still relatively common when i was child. 

A rough visual idea of the scale of River Hongbao 2015. Well, guess the scale doesn't seem to deviate from the past few years; in 2010, it was the same floating platform that was used to house the event.

Top of the grandstand - far from the noisy bustle at the foot, it was surprisingly quiet and rather therapeutic for the tired soul. 

桥头小拱门 Gateway Arch - entrance to the main section where most lanterns were located.

入口大牌楼 Main Entrance Arch - The gateway arch shall wait since due respect must be given to the main archway, which gave me the impression of a facade of a theatre back in the old old days.

Funfair rides for the kids - I didn't check out the prices and hence, could not comment further. 

Uncle Ringo - Master of all funfair operators in Singapore back in the 80s and early 90s. Anyone still remember the top gun and other adrenaline charged rides that was brought in to temporary fun fairs in Yishun, Jurong East etc? 

Sadly, it's no longer that exciting from Uncle Ringo nowadays; at least not for adults and teenagers. You could however reminisce some of the old times in game stalls like the above. 

Entrance Walkway again - the impressiveness can be felt as you slowly walk in; a vastly different experience if you enter from the other side, as we did. 

Okay, time to enter the main floating platform. 

舞狮贺年 Lion Dance Cheers! - Symbols of Chinese New Year (CNY); the firecrackers and the lion dances! It's a pity that firecrackers were banned in 1972 and even for me, the first encounter i had with firecrackers was when i was 10 years old, in Malaysia. 

Slide to entertain the young kids.

松柏之茂 Giant Pine Tree - not sure why this was here but it appeared to have been inspired by the movie, Avatar! Wait till the tree is lighted and you would know what i mean. What's more interesting were the butterfly information panels surrounding the tree; it offered you snippets of CNY celebrations in the past! 

欢庆建国50周年巨型壁画 SG50 Giant Mural Wall - at 50 meters long, this was another remarkable display and it illustrated the various icons of Singapore; Merlion, MBS, Gardens by the Bay, Sentosa, Changi Airport, bust of Sir Stamford Raffles etc! 

Not two dimensional by the way.

Main performance stage - unlike the smaller performance area i shared earlier, you need to queue up to be seated and charmed by the numerous cultural shows. By the time i realised, the queue was so snaking long; i think it would be best for mom to stay put at the grandstand. 

Lights up! 

The presence of the zodiac animals is a must-have in River Hongbao and aside from taking photographs of your personal zodiac sign (this year sitting on a boat); it's a norm to also read the information on / near the animal. 

Fortune for the upcoming Goat year! I usually don't like to have my fortune read as i believe it would make us more afraid of making decisions. We should embrace whatever life brings to us; things happen for a reason right?

As the star zodiac animal, there were three goats to signify their importance! Let's see how many monkeys there would be in 2016! 

Classic playgrounds that used to dot the HDB neighbourhoods in the past! At the moment, i think you can still find the dragon playground in Toa Payoh.

Picture of the peacocks from the platform - don't they appear to be gazing at one another? Hm... is there a subliminal message somewhere? 

独立桥 Merdeka (Independence) Bridge - why bother with fake painted water when there is the real thing a mere few meters away?! Anyway, i didn't know we have a merdeka bridge in Singapore! This bridge is still in existence and part of the Nicholl Highway now.

昔日狮城 Old Singapore River - i initially thought it was a normal display of ancient China township. Look closer and you can find something similar to home; the junkboat, the samsui women with their signature red headwear and the national theatre.

When it comes to Singapore, we are passionate where food is concerned although we don't really see the point of getting into petty arguments like where the dish originates from. 

好美味 So Shiok! - Regardless of the origins, what matters most is that your taste buds enjoy it. 

许愿井 Wishing Well - try hitting the bells with coins; your wish might just come try with each ring. What's funny was that a man next to me said he saw a young boy hit one of the bells with the following wish: May you have a son soon. 

Back of the lighted god of fortune. 

Re-entering the food street as mom asked to have something to munch while she waited for the start of the tightrope feat.

Those who prefer to have a place to sit and have your meals can consider checking out the area next to the food street and underneath the grandstand. The queue can be long for some stalls but it would not be as crowded and stuffy as the tentage outside.

Muah Chee for S$3 a box, a grilled squid for S$5 and a prawn skewer for S$3. 

Does look like they were smooching.... Bet this photographer would be commenting the same thing when he ran through his photos at home.  

Setting sun. The tightrope performance would only start at 9.15 pm which means i still had about an hour and forty five minutes to go! :( If you ask me, i am really not that interested in watching the performance. 

Took a picture of mum and i had to roam the street again. My sharp ass could not stand sitting in the same place for long period of time! 

Throngs of people after dinner!

Oh! Didn't notice there were two piggy banks at the feet of the god of fortune! From this angle, it also looked as if the coins were dropping down from the sleeves. 

Some more photographs for your viewing pleasure.

As usual, there would be stalls hawking traditional Oriental handicraft. I have gone past the age of being fascinated; furthermore, i dislike buying things that would eventually end up in a dusty corner of my drawer,

Frankly, the whole place does look more impressive when night falls and all the lanterns are lighted up. 

9 pm - another fifteen minutes to go and we suddenly heard people exclaiming and many were clamouring towards the god of fortune. What happened?!

It's time for the fortune shower! The shower shall take place daily at 3pm, 5pm, 7pm, 9pm and 10pm! Do note that wind would affect the direction of the shower.

To increase your "coverage", bring along an umbrella and open it up! For those seated at the grandstand, the sight was really quite hilarious! 

Many people had taken up positions at the grandstand and the atmosphere did feel a bit like the national day parade i attended back in 2012.

Most had their attention fixated at the performers for the tightrope feat. From the above photo, you should be able to see the tall platform with a 80-meter tightrope across. 

With no safety harness, it was indeed a heart in the mouth moment whenever the performers from he acrobatic troupe of Xinjiang China appeared to be at risk of falling off the height of at least 18 meters and no more than 22 meters! 

The middle section had a gigantic, inflatable mattress which could help to break the fall yet could not guarantee that the person will escape from serious injury. As you could see, everyone's gaze was with the performers then. 

One person crossing the tightrope is already a challenge; to have two persons
walking from each end who would eventually meet in the middle; what would happen? Would anyone retreat?

Easy; make one lie on the rope and then walk past him! Isn't that crazy!?!?!? 

Mum and Dad - satisfied while i was shagged out. Oh well, it is not as if River Hongbao happens every day and it is always nice to bring our parents out and spend time with them! 

That's what the Lunar New Year is all about. 

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Location
The Float @ Marina Bay

Layout Map
As above.

Open Until
Last Day would be Saturday, 28th February 2015. Do keep in mind that the tightrope performance is no longer available and the cultural performances at the main performance stage would be replaced by a singing marathon on 26th, youth night on 27th and harmony night on 28th February.

Website 

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