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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

River Hongbao goes Guangxi

Food stalls, songs and dances from the Chinese province brighten up Chinese New Year festivities
The Straits Times - January 23, 2012
By: Jane Ng
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River Hongbao goes Guangxi -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Visit River Hongbao 2012 and you will feel like you are entering a temple carnival in China.

This year's Guangxi-themed festival features the Martial God of Fortune, the largest food street in River Hongbao's history, street festivities with handicraft stalls and an amusement park. Other highlights are cultural performances and handicraft demonstrations by artisans from Guangxi province in China.

Mr Liang Eng Hwa, chairman of the carnival's organising committee, said the organisers pick a different province from China to collaborate with each year.

The annual event to celebrate Chinese New Year was launched on Saturday at the Float @ Marina Bay. It is now in its 26th year,

Also on display are more than 60 huge lanterns, handcrafted by Chengdu craftsmen using materials such as plates and small glass bottles.

To add to the festivities, performers from the region also perform song and dance items native to their tribes as well as excerpts adapted from the popular 1960s movie Liu San Jie (The Third Sister Of The Liu Family).

Mr Liang, a Member of Parliament for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, hopes to attract one million visitors over the nine-day period.

Last year's River Hongbao, which was also held at Marina Bay, drew more than one million visitors over a 15-day period. The carnival was longer as River Hongbao was celebrating its 25th anniversary .

As expected, crowds of locals and foreigners turned up for the first day of this year's festival.

Permanent resident Kamala Devraj, a project manager in her 30s, said she has been visiting River Hongbao every year since she moved to Singapore four years ago.

'We like to be part of the celebration and learn more about the cultural side of things in Singapore, said Mrs Devraj , who was there with her husband, Mr Sankar Devraj, in his 40s, who is the head of technology at a bank, and seven-year-old daughter Ananya.

'My daughter learnt that she's born in the Year of the Monkey and always looks out for the monkey figurine at the festival.'

Mrs Genevieve Won, an operations manager in her 40s who visited the festival with her husband, an IT director in his 40s, and two daughters aged 11 and nine, said the event was much grander than one she had visited a few years ago.

'There are more stalls and the decorations are more brightly lit. I wanted my daughters to learn more about Chinese culture by experiencing it instead of just staying home to watch television,' she said.

The organisers of River Hongbao are Singapore Press Holdings, the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations, the People's Association, the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Singapore Tourism Board. 



Where: Float @ Marina Bay

When: Until Sunday, noon to 11.30pm daily

Admission: Free



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