Chinatown's monkey lanterns up for grabs

Take home these cute monkey lanterns (right and below) and, if you have space in your compound, you can even request one of the seven 6m-tall peach tree lanterns (above). Organisers of the Chinese New Year festival in Chinatown hope to promote recycl
Take home these cute monkey lanterns (above) and, if you have space in your compound, you can even request one of the seven 6m-tall peach tree lanterns. Organisers of the Chinese New Year festival in Chinatown hope to promote recycling by giving away these lanterns made by China master craftsmen after the celebrations end.ST PHOTOS: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Take home these cute monkey lanterns (right and below) and, if you have space in your compound, you can even request one of the seven 6m-tall peach tree lanterns (above). Organisers of the Chinese New Year festival in Chinatown hope to promote recycl
Take home these cute monkey lanterns (above) and, if you have space in your compound, you can even request one of the seven 6m-tall peach tree lanterns. Organisers of the Chinese New Year festival in Chinatown hope to promote recycling by giving away these lanterns made by China master craftsmen after the celebrations end.ST PHOTOS: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Take home these cute monkey lanterns (right and below) and, if you have space in your compound, you can even request one of the seven 6m-tall peach tree lanterns (above). Organisers of the Chinese New Year festival in Chinatown hope to promote recycl
Take home these cute monkey lanterns and, if you have space in your compound, you can even request one of the seven 6m-tall peach tree lanterns (above). Organisers of the Chinese New Year festival in Chinatown hope to promote recycling by giving away these lanterns made by China master craftsmen after the celebrations end.ST PHOTOS: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Total of 2,668 lanterns available, with priority for community use

Think that the monkey-themed Chinese New Year lanterns in Chinatown are cute?

You may actually be able to take them home, as organisers of the Chinese New Year festival in Chinatown plan to give them away after the celebrations end.

A record 2,668 lanterns can be collected this year, including those in the shape of peaches and zodiac coins. There are also 406 lanterns in the shape of monkeys, as well as seven 6m-tall peach tree lanterns.

The lanterns are now hanging above New Bridge Road, Eu Tong Sen Street and South Bridge Road, and will be taken down from March 8, organisers Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens' Consultative Committee (CCC) told The Sunday Times.

The organisers added that they will be making an announcement on their Facebook page tomorrow with details on how to apply to collect the lanterns.

"My family thinks the lanterns are very cute. When we found out that we can take the lanterns home, we thought it would be perfect in the garden," said Madam Song Lye Meng, 60, owner of a fashion store.

"Having the monkey there will mean the people in our house will be active and jovial."

She has already written to the CCC to request four monkeys and two peach lanterns.

This is the second year the CCC is giving away the lanterns. Almost 300 lanterns were taken home by the public last year, half of which were those in the shape of goats, the year's zodiac animal.

Requests for the monkey lanterns came as early as end-December last year, when organisers first began to hang them up, a spokesman said.

"They refresh the designs every year and the lanterns are really high quality, so people want them," said Mr Lim Gek Meng, chairman of the Chinatown Complex Hawker Association, which took about 70 lanterns last year to decorate Chinatown Complex.

"They are made of weatherproof silk that can stand sun and rain. They don't change shape or colour like paper ones do. We can hang them outside our building for up to six months," he added.

A total of 48 master craftsmen from China flew in specially last December to make the lanterns.

The CCC said the total cost of the lanterns, including the fees for the craftsmen, is a six-figure sum funded mainly by a grant from the Singapore Tourism Board.

But it added that priority will be given to those applying to use the lanterns for community purposes. These include schools, volunteer organisations and Group Representation Constituencies.

Applicants last year included Commonwealth Secondary School, Toa Payoh South Community Centre and the Yio Chu Kang Community Club.

Mr Philemon Loh, a representative of the Chinatown Street Light-Up, said the CCC hopes that giving away the lanterns will promote recycling.

Remaining lanterns which are not claimed at the end of the giveaway will be recycled in an environmentally friendly way, he said.

The Fengshan Merchant Association is one of the groups that received the Chinatown lanterns last year. It has put these up on trees near a hawker centre in Fengshan to beautify the area.

"The lanterns are still in good condition as they are only up for a month or so. As long as we have storage space, we will keep using them," said association chairman Eric Chua.

"Many organisations couldn't afford to have them otherwise. It is a waste to throw these perfectly usable lanterns away."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 14, 2016, with the headline 'Chinatown's monkey lanterns up for grabs'. Print Edition | Subscribe