Gardens by the Bay lantern display lacks 'wow' factor

This year's lantern display for the Mid-Autumn Festival at Gardens by the Bay is a huge letdown (Phoenix arrives at Gardens by the Bay; Sept 23).

It seemed that the organisers were keeping the purse strings tight.

However, in the process, beauty was lost and the event looked like a lacklustre effort, with the same sets mass-produced and repeated everywhere.

A lantern set depicting fruit and vegetables was duplicated monotonously a dozen times.

Identical lantern sculptures depicting ants lined the pathways.

The two displays on the water looked crowded, with too many identical sets crammed together in a busy and cluttered manner.

Save for some lantern carps, there was no Chinese-ness depicted, even though this is supposed to be a Chinese festival.

It seemed that the organisers were keeping the purse strings tight. However, in the process, beauty was lost and the event looked like a lacklustre effort.

While budget considerations are important, they should not overshadow the considerations of variety, beauty and artistry.

In the 2014 event, there were lantern sets depicting Chinese folklore characters like the eight immortals and Chang Er on the moon, as well as the signs of the zodiac.

I hope the organisers can bring back the "wow" factor in future editions.

Peh Chwee Hoe

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2017, with the headline 'Gardens by the Bay lantern display lacks 'wow' factor'. Print Edition | Subscribe