Saturday, September 26, 2015

Mid Autumn (Lantern / Mooncake) Festival Light Up 2015 @ Chinatown [Singapore]

It is rare to find me out of the house so early on a Saturday but since i was already at the city's downtown (for a medical checkup), i figured i might as well take a look at the decorations for the mid-autumn festival at the nearby Chinatown, especially given the favourable PSI condition. 

The centrepiece this time round is Singapore's beloved merlion; a half fish, half lion creature that was thought out as a marketing tool for tourism when the country was still at the "child's" age.

Against the backdrop of the imposing people's park complex (which should seriously be accorded national heritage status), the twelve-meter tall Merlion lantern stood on the star location usually reserved for the Chinese zodiac animal in the annual lunar new year celebration.

Its usual white attire was forsaken for a visually appealing look and this included having red eyeliner and yellow eye shadow. Frankly, i believe this is a gay member in the small Merlion family. 

There were other lanterns designed in the shape of Singapore's landmarks and the traditional one, aside from the merlion, was of course the control tower of Changi's Airport! 

Recent landmarks like the supertrees of Gardens by the Bay and the lotus shaped ArtScience Museum of Marina Bay Sands were also featured. On the latter, it felt more like the claw from the claw machine

How many of you Singaporeans can recognise the two mascots popular in the 80s!?! Singa the Courtesy Lion and Sharity Elephant! 

Besides the icons that were etched in many of our memories, part of the 2,300 lanterns comprised of lantern designs common in the past; that of chickens, rabbits, butterflies and fishes! 

It's a pity that most of the bigger lanterns were placed on the stretch of green space in between two major roads (New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street) and both roads would only be closed for a short period of time on the actual day of the festival, which is tomorrow on 27 September 2015. 

Anyway, i assumed there would be some kind of a bazaar going on but temple street didn't have any temporary structures! Disappointed, i decided to walk through the pedestrian-only Pagoda Street.

Nothing that deviated from the normal operations too! Maybe i should make my way to the Gardens by the Bay instead; where there was an elaborate lantern display.

To be fair, there were some elements of the mid autumn festival; the sale of lanterns! In addition to eating mooncakes and showing off the lanterns, it's also a must to play sparklers! 

The equally 'boring' Trengganu Street - in the lunar new year bazaar, it's a definite to see stalls selling a variety of melon seeds and i was hoping i can find one as our family loves the phoenix eye guazi! 

Rest of the Pagoda Street didn't turn up much surprises although i was keen to have a serving of Singapore's traditional ice cream from the ice cream cart at the end of the street. To read more, click here

Lantern display at South Bridge Road - guess this was where the bulk of the 2,300 lanterns were. 

Smith Street had more "action" with a superbly short bazaar that offered items related to the mid autumn festival celebrated by the Chinese.

More often than not, it would be lanterns. Sale of mooncakes is now concentrated in air-conditioned facilities and i could easily find at least twenty different sellers at a suburban shopping mall like Yishun! 

Oh, another item synonymous with the festival; the pomelos!  

A familiar sight along the narrow Sago Street - since i don't visit Chinatown on a regular basis, i can only compare the sights during Chinese new year and this stall is always here, selling fruits and mainly pomelos.

Another common sighting was the old grandma at this stall with her fresh vegetables! I don't even know how she managed to profit as the street was patronised by mainly tourists and right behind her was the Chinatown Complex with a basement market section for fresh vegetables! 

I am unsure how good the mooncakes were although their pricing was really low; easily 50% over the so-called reputable ones sold at air-conditioned premise.

The piglet shaped mooncakes - anyone is aware of the history behind this style? From what i know, pigs in baskets were the norm for transportation even though there was a more sinister terminology; individuals who committed adultery were also put into the basket and then drowned. 

Whatever the case, this kind of mooncakes has never been my cup of tea. 

My favourite kind of lantern - lighted by only candles! One of the main highlights for the festival, at least for me when i was very much younger, was when the lantern started burning! 

Tai Chong Kok Confectionery - a household name in Singapore since 1935 and was renowned for its traditional mooncakes. The shop may look empty in the above photograph but it maintained a presence in many of the mooncake bazaars currently taking place all over Singapore. 

Wall mural at Chinatown Complex - think it was official artwork. 

After the long awaited meal (chicken teriyaki set) at Kazan Japanese Cuisine at Chinatown Complex Food Centre, i crossed the overhead bridge cutting across New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street. Anyone can recognise the three mascots in the above photo? Captain Green, Teamy the Bee and Water Wally! 


Chinatown of Singapore

Until When?
Street light up is until 12 October 2015! 

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