Chingay for all amid sea of lights and colours

SINGAPORE - Nine hundred dancers showed off skirts made of plastic "We Love SG" flowers at the opening of this year's Chingay on Friday night, transforming Marina Bay into a sea of lights and colours.

The 800,000 flowers were made by 500,000 residents and households using recycled plastic bags, an effort started nearly a year ago by Chingay's main organiser, the People's Association.

Dating back to 1973, the year's street parade featured participants from various ethnic backgrounds and went from the F1 pit building to the Singapore Flyer.

Spectators were wowed by the performances of some 11,000 people, the largest contingent yet.

It was a Chingay for everyone, with the youngest performers just five and the oldest an 84-year-old man, who was part of a community choir which sang Singapore Town. Performers from nearly 230 local organisations strutted down the road in intricate costumes: Some dressed as Singapore's national flower, the Vanda Miss Joaquim Orchid; others in transparent plastic balls.

Icons such as the Singa Lion and the Dragon Playground also made an appearance in the form of giant helium balloons.

The annual street parade also featured foreign performers from 14 countries, including those from Rwanda who did the traditional Intore dance - a dance of victory.

The guest of honour, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, kicked off the grand finale, which saw Temasek Primary School pupil Aeron Young scaling a 50m tower called the Chingay Sky Ladder of Dreams and singer-songwriter JJ Lin belting out the theme song Dreams.

Mr Teo encouraged Singaporeans to work hand in hand to realise a shared future.

Teacher Teo Xuan Xuan, 24, who was one of about 25,000 people in the spectator stands, said: "It was really amazing to see all the acts, both local and foreign, coming together."