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Chinatown snake sculptures may slither into S'pore record books

The Singapore University of Technology and Design’s snake sculpture is a whopping 108m long.
January 16, 2013
By: Debbie Lee
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Chinatown snake sculptures may slither into S'pore record books The Singapore University of Technology and Design’s 108m-long snake sculpture, made from 5,000 red cube-shaped lanterns, is one of the highlights of this year’s Chinese New Year festivities in Chinatown. -- ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN

THIS year's Chinese New Year celebrations in Chinatown from this Friday to March 11 will see not just one, but two giant snake figures weaving through the roads.

Designed by students and faculty members of the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), both snake sculptures could secure a place in the Singapore Book of Records.

It is hoped that the first snake figure, which is over 108m long, will set a record for the longest snake sculpture. It is made up of about 5,000 hand-crafted red cube lanterns.

Designers hope that the second snake, 300m long and made from 850 yellow sky lanterns, will set a record for the largest sculpture made from sky lanterns.

The 108m-long figure is located near the main arch facing the revamped Chinatown Point, and stretches from Upper Cross Street to Teo Hong Road.

The other snake sculpture looms over passers-by along South Bridge Road.

SUTD freshman Grace Ng, 21, who is the team leader for the snake sculpture designs, said the theme this year was more challenging due to the "problematic connotations" the snake brings.

"Compared with the dragon which is auspicious, the snake is more ambiguous," she said.

The SUTD team also received negative reviews from residents in the area about setting up snake decorations. "Elderly people who live there don't like having snakes all over the place," she said.

The team did away with traditional representations of the snake, choosing to use red cubes and yellow sky lanterns, which were more aesthetically pleasing.

Dr Lily Neo, MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC, said this year's celebrations have a personal significance as she started organising the festivities in Chinatown 12 years ago.

"Now, it has been a full cycle of the Chinese zodiac since I became involved," she said.

Visitors can also look forward to a new ticketed lion dance competition on Jan 27, when lion dancers perform on stilts up to 2.5 m high over a water platform.


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