Singapore

Next year's Chinese New Year Bazaar in Chinatown scrapped over Covid

There will be no Chinese New Year Bazaar in Chinatown next year because of the ongoing pandemic.

The decision to do without the bazaar for the first time in its history came as a result of concerns over crowd control, said the organisers.

The Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens' Consultative Committee told Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao that the organisers had considered other solutions but faced uncertainties over when phase three of Singapore's re-opening will begin.

Shop owners in Chinatown, some of whom have been selling their wares for more than 15 years, were disappointed.

Ms Jane Yee, who owns a decoration shop near Chinatown MRT station, told The Straits Times yesterday she was "quite upset" when she heard the news.

She has no plans to sell her lanterns on the Internet because of stiff competition from wholesalers.

"We're old already... we don't know how to sell things online," said Ms Yee, 60.

Others said the cancellation of the bazaar comes on the back of a difficult year for their businesses.

Another seller of Chinese New Year decorations, a 49-year-old who gave her name only as Ms Huang, said she had experienced a significant loss of customers this year.

This led her to order only half the stock she had brought in during the Chinese New Year period last year.

Since 1989, shoppers have thronged the bazaar to buy Chinese New Year goodies, spring couplets and traditional Chinese attire.

The bazaar, which usually runs for three weeks, has been held around Pagoda, Smith, Temple and Trengganu streets.

In January this year, 329 stalls took part in the bazaar, which has seen some 900,000 visitors on a good year.

Customer Tan Hoon, 65, will miss the market which she says is the "main point of Chinatown during Chinese New Year".

"The atmosphere will definitely be different... You really need to soak in the festive spirit at the market to feel like it's Chinese New Year," said Ms Tan, who works at a travel agency.

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