Monday, September 29, 2008

Navarathri Celebrations in Sri Mariamman Temple

It is the 9 days of the 9 Emperor Gods (Jiu Huang Ye) and it is also the 9 days of Navarathri. Right in Chinatown where the oldest Hindu Temple, Sri Mariamman Temple, is, there will be nights of programmes to celebrate Navarathri.

On 1 Oct 08, at 9pm, there will be a Classical Indian Dance by Arul Ramiah and two lovely Dutch girls.

Come and enjoy Indian Classical Dances in the oldest Hindu Temple right in the heart of Chinatown!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Chinatown Mid Autumn Light Up: Here comes Brazilian Samba

To the oldies, the strain of Yam Kim Fai might bring nostalgic memories of Chinatown.

But to the youngsters of today, the world is their town. And so, in this Mid-Autumn night, the students of the Singapore Management University brought in the Brazilian Samba! It will bring smiles to the grannies' faces as they watch how their children have gone to know the world better.

It certainly reminded some of the days when they or their ancestors arrived on this shore where everything was new to them. Some got to learn about the local Malay culture and took to joget!

But Brazil was too far an imagination for them. Well, until now ..

Chinatown Mid Autumn Light Up: Giant Puppets

Once upon a time, puppet shows were popular. They not only entertained, but they also impart the Chinese values as well as the Chinese history.

Arts and skills were required to be able perform the puppet shows, where one uses one's hands to move the multiple strings of the puppets, making the necessary gesture while singing or making dialogues.

The puppets grew bigger, and bigger, and bigger. And at the Mid Autumn lightup, the biggest moving puppets took part. They too are telling stories of Chinese culture. But how many knew?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Mid-Autumn Celebrations kick off

On 31 Aug 08, songs, dances, and noises of the fireworks brought Chinatown back to its old days when every night was a bustling nite. In those days, it was of necessity that one stays out late to make some money, have late supper or stay cool, away from the congested rooms in the old pre-war houses.

But on this night, that was almost history, and the young brought joys and news aspirations while looking back at the days when, maybe, their grannies or even great-grannies had irked out a living here.

Ah, the nostalgic days ....

Chinatown redefined

Mid-Autumn 2008 kicked off with a rousing night of fireworks, dragons and lions, and dances galore, put up by some 700 performers, from as young as 5 years olds. It was another unforgettable night, not so much about moon cakes but of remembering Chinatown of the old by the young.

What must be stirring to many older residents of Chinatown must be the performance by the young remembering what it was like in Chinatown. It certainly conjured the days gone by, when children did not have the luxury of life as it is today. While the children still had the chance to carry lanterns, they would not have heard of the Brazilian Sambal performed by the Singapore Management University. While Cantonese might be the language of the day in this part of the Chinatown (where the People's Park Complex stands), tonight it was English and Mandarin. The song remembering Chinatown had some Cantonese in it, if my ears still tell me the truth.

Watching the performance, I could not help thinking that we have come a long way. Many of these young performers must have had one of their grannies or relatives who once upon a time had lived in Chinatown. It is indeed a good occasion to gather in Chinatown again, the source or water head of the Chinese diaspora from Chinatown in Singapore? In such celebrations, it is great to remember the people who have helped what we have arrived to today.

Ah, as I looked back at Chinatown of my childhood days and watching these kids performed, I thought to myself, it is and will be a Chinatown Redefined. Many would not have known about Chinatown that we know. But so long there are roots, the trees will grow, bigger.