When Ms Chang Hsiao Min moved to Singapore from Taiwan and witnessed her first Chingay performance, she was awestruck as there was no equivalent outdoor parade on such a grand scale back in Taiwan. Her admiration towards the will and determination of the People’s Association (PA) in putting together such visually stunning and compelling shows year after year, led her to become a member of the Chingay family.
“Its scale, viewership and standard gets better each year. This makes each successive Chingay a greater challenge for us. We derive our personal sense of achievement from each successful performance,” said the 46-year-old Ms Chang.
Madam Yan Choong Lian, Creative Director of Dance Ensemble Singapore
Madam Yan Choong Lian joined Chingay at a young and tender age. As far as the 58-year-old Madam Yan can remember, Chingay has always been part of her life. She recalled various performances when she was performing while still a student. The stirring memories of the various Chingay Parades are firmly and vividly etched in her mind.
For Madam Yan, Chingay is more than an event. It stamped her career path. She remembers that she became so enamoured with the performance arts after she took part in Chingay that she decided to form her own dance school, the Dance Ensemble, Singapore. Madam Yan now guides and leads her own students to perform in the Parade. Although her role is reversed, she still finds participating in Chingay a moving experience.
Madam Yan firmly believes that “Chingay is a platform which allows one to grow. For those who love performing arts, this is a rare and unusual stage which encourages them to discover and express their talents.”
Ms Low Mei Yoke, Raffles Junior College Dance Troupe Choreographer and Artistic Director
Ms Low Mei Yoke became involved in the Parade 30 years ago when she was just 26 years old. She was there when it was still a street performance in housing estates. Now, it is a grand show piece held in the heart of the Lion City. The Parade holds its own, whether the venue is in the glamorous Orchard Road, the bustling City Hall, or its current F1 pit building. She has witnessed the Parade grow from a simple Lunar New Year celebration to the grand outdoor cultural extravaganza it is today.
Despite her many years with Chingay, Ms Low is still awed by the pomp and grandeur of the Parade each year. Taking pride in being a part of the evolution of Chingay, she marvels at the scale in which it has grown to in terms of both size and artistic talent.
Ms Fung Kway Wah, Sembawang Community Club Ballet Dance Troupe Choreographer and Artistic Director
No two Chingay parades are alike. Ms Fung Kway Wah should know. The 58-year-old veteran has been through a lot of them. Each year, the Parade takes on a different theme, uses different design schemes, and stages different performances, presenting new challenges to the performers. Chingay is the sum of many parts – every choreographed part is woven together into an exhilarating performance that inspires awe and excitement in the audience.
Ms Fung believes that Chingay is an eye-opening experience for everyone. Be it the performers, or the viewers, everyone’s spirit is caught up in the excitement.
Ms Leong Siew Yeng, Leng Kee Community Centre Chinese Dance Troupe Choreographer and Artistic Director
For Ms Leong Siew Yeng, Chingay is the epitome of a multicultural celebration of the Lunar New Year. Local and foreign participants alike bring with them captivating performances that give much joy and inspiration.
Though the performances were never easy to perfect, the joy of having to put together a successful show far exceeds the pressure of hard work. No words can fully describe Ms Leong’s delight and satisfaction. How often does a major road transform into an outdoor stage, where performers can get up close to the audience? To Ms Leong, Chingay is truly a great and wonderful platform for the performers.
Adapted from: Tales of Chingay – Celebrating 40 Years of Chingay
Written by: Zhou Hai Li
Translated by: Lin Xiaoling