Multi-cultural Chingay gets thumbs up
This year's edition of the Chingay Parade Singapore promised to be the biggest one yet.
And it delivered, boasting a total of 11,000 performers, who wove a kaleidoscope of colour along the F1 track in front of the F1 Pit Building last night.
This year, the parade had a record number of international performers - 1,000 in all - who flew in from around the region and beyond. Even countries as far away as Russia, Turkey and Rwanda made first-time appearances, making this year's Chingay truly multi-cultural.
"Over the past few days of practice, it felt like (Chingay is) the whole world coming together to celebrate. We are glad to be given this opportunity to spread the culture of our country and what we have," said Mr Yves Nshuti, 31, from Rwanda.
"Tonight is about joy and happiness and sharing culture," he added.
His compatriot, Mr Mewali Ismail, 22, agreed.
"It's many countries presenting their own culture. It's culture exchange and mixing together," he said.
For Mr Esat Karacan, 30, who is from Turkey, it was an event like no other.
"What is different about this parade is that each individual country has to work together (with others)," he said. "It's not individuals performing so everybody has to be united. That's what's so special about this parade."
Some teams went through a lot to arrive in Singapore in time to perform for Chingay.
Despite the many foreign performances, the focus was still very much on Singapore's grand jubilee.
With the parade choreographed for SG50 and themed "We Love Singapore", the audience of 200,000 marked the start by chanting "We love Singapore!" in unison.
And they were rewarded with performances ranging from lion and fire dances to a vintage car display.
Student Ashleigh Kueh, 23, was excited to be at the Chingay parade for the first time.
She said: "It's very special because of the focus on SG50. It is a great event and I'm quite impressed by the number of people who've turned up."
Compared with last year, when there were 17 floats in the parade, the 2015 edition had 20 floats.
One float was in the shape of a giant elderly man blowing out his birthday candles. It stood at 15m tall, with the words "We Salute You! Singapore's Pioneers!" written on its side.
The night ended on a high with a fireworks display and a finale performance by Chingay Artiste of the Year, JJ Lin, who performed the song Dreams.
It was specially composed for the event by Lin, Chingay music director Goh Kheng Long and US-based Singaporean singer-songwriter Corrinne May.
Tickets for tonight's show have been sold out.
However, there will be free admission for the Chingay SG50 Night Fiesta tomorrow night from 7pm to 10pm at Orchard Road. The fiesta will feature floats and several street performances along a closed stretch of Orchard Road.
For more information on all the Chingay 2015 activities, visit www.chingay.org.sg.
Part of Orchard Road to close
The stretch of Orchard Road between Scotts Road and Bideford Road, situated in front of Ion Orchard to Ngee Ann City, will be closed tomorrow evening to make way for the Chingay SG50 Night Fiesta.
It will not be accessible from 5pm tomorrow to 2am on Monday, the People's Association (PA) and the Singapore Police Force said in a joint statement yesterday.
In addition, the one-way carriageway along Paterson Road, in the direction of Grange Road, will also be closed from 5pm to midnight tomorrow to act as a holding area for performers and floats. The other carriageway along that road will be converted to allow bi-directional traffic flow.
Auxiliary police officers will be deployed at the affected roads to assist motorists and regulate traffic.
Parking restrictions along the peripheral roads will be strictly enforced and vehicles found parking indiscriminately or causing obstruction will be towed away.
Those taking public transport should take note that services calling at the bus stop in front of Tang Plaza and the bus stop in front of Lucky Plaza will be affected by the road closures.
The main organisers of Chingay, the People's Association, said dispersal of the crowd after the event is expected to be slow and has urged the public to be patient and to follow the instructions of police officers and Auxiliary police officers.
Crowd control barricades and directional signs will be put up to facilitate safe and orderly crowd dispersal.
The association added that bags and personal items may be subjected to checks for security reasons.