45 years of Chingay fun and glitz in new book

Left: PA's Dr Ang (in red) and Mr Seow Choke Meng (fourth from left), business consultant of the Chinese Media Group and Times Properties of SPH, with Chingay performers at the book launch. Above: The Chingay Parade in 1974 featured a 9m-long tiger f
Above: PA's Dr Ang (in red) and Mr Seow Choke Meng (fourth from left), business consultant of the Chinese Media Group and Times Properties of SPH, with Chingay performers at the book launch. PHOTOS: CAROLINE CHIA, PA, SPH
Left: PA's Dr Ang (in red) and Mr Seow Choke Meng (fourth from left), business consultant of the Chinese Media Group and Times Properties of SPH, with Chingay performers at the book launch. Above: The Chingay Parade in 1974 featured a 9m-long tiger f
Above: The Chingay Parade in 1974 featured a 9m-long tiger float that made its way around Toa Payoh.PHOTOS: CAROLINE CHIA, PA, SPH

From black-and-white photos of a huge tiger float roaming Toa Payoh in the 1970s to the glitzy extravaganzas of the 21st century, a new book commemorates the Chingay Parade through the years.

The People's Parade: 45 Years Of Chingay was launched yesterday by the People's Association (PA) and Singapore Press Holdings subsidiary Focus Publishing.

It marks the 45th anniversary of the annual parade, which heralds the Chinese New Year.

PA chief executive director Ang Hak Seng said: "We hope this book brings back memories of each parade."

Freelance writer Sharon Sim, 42, who spent four months working on the text for the book, was moved when she realised how much the public loved the parade in the early years, when it would tour the heartland.

People would stand on deck chairs for a glimpse of the colourful floats and dancers. Some would even climb trees and clamber onto parapets of HDB blocks for a good view.

The parade started in 1973, a year after firecrackers were banned in Singapore.

Early parades were a heartland affair, with highlights such as stiltwalkers and a 9m-long roaring tiger float in 1974.

Chingay moved to Orchard Road in 1985, and two years later it featured its first international acts, including 18-year-old Japanese pop singer Eri Murata.

A thousand copies of the book have been printed, most of which will go to Chingay's corporate partners and participants.

It is not for sale, but members of the public can browse through copies at community centres.

It is the fourth commemorative Chingay book published by PA. The others marked the parade's 35th and 40th anniversaries, as well as Singapore's 50th birthday in 2015.

Part-time administrative assistant Angela Heng, 63, who has been in the last 43 parades as a performer or make-up artist, said leafing through the book reminded her of the joy she felt dancing in the parade in the 1980s and 1990s.

"Every year, I just want to take part so I can be with my friends," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2017, with the headline '45 years of Chingay fun and glitz in new book'. Print Edition | Subscribe