Chinese community to lead and run River Hongbao 2020, instead of MPs
For the first time in more than a decade, the organising committee for next year's River Hongbao, Singapore's Chinese New Year gala, is not being helmed by MPs.
Instead, the MPs have taken back seat roles as advisers, "with the objective of having the Chinese community lead and run the event", which will take place from Jan 23 to Feb 1, said the event's organising committee yesterday.
Whether the change will be permanent is still uncertain, the organisers added.
The team of four MPs comprises senior parliamentary secretaries Baey Yam Keng and Sun Xueling, as well as Mr Desmond Choo and Mr Liang Eng Hwa.
To be held at The Float @ Marina Bay, the annual festival will bring back crowd favourites such as fireworks displays lasting between three and six minutes on all 10 nights, as well as performances by overseas and local dance and wushu troupes.
Delicacies unique to six major dialect groups here will be sold along a 40-stall food street, revealed the organising committee at a media briefing yesterday.
Admission to the festival is free.
River Hongbao 2020 is organised by the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations (SFCCA), Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and People's Association.
Since its inception in 1987, the event has evolved to become a major highlight of the Singapore calendar, attracting one million participants every year. About 30 per cent to 35 per cent of whom are made up of tourists keen to experience Singapore's unique Chinese New Year flavour, with most of them coming from China, Malaysia and Britain, said the STB.
Ms Lee Huay Leng, head of SPH's Chinese Media Group and a member of the organising committee, said: "We tend to take it for granted, but could you imagine if River Hongbao were not organised? That River Hongbao has been able to survive for more than 30 years is no small feat."
She floated the possibility of submitting a bid to add the festival to Unesco's Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
Mr Perng Peck Seng, SFCCA secretary-general and programme chairman of the organising committee, said it is a viable prospect but added that no concrete step has been taken yet on this front.