HDB resident's creations add festive cheer to estate

The festive decor at Block 179 prompts Mr Alan Tan (far right) to have a photo taken with his friend, Mr Yeow Thiam Teck, and the rooster statue. Mr Tan with his handiwork near Block 179, Woodlands Street 13. The carpenter has lived in the estate for
Mr Tan with his handiwork near Block 179, Woodlands Street 13. The carpenter has lived in the estate for more than 20 years, and has been decorating that corner of his estate five times a year for more than a decade.ST PHOTOS: LIM YAOHUI
The festive decor at Block 179 prompts Mr Alan Tan (far right) to have a photo taken with his friend, Mr Yeow Thiam Teck, and the rooster statue.
The festive decor at Block 179 prompts Mr Alan Tan (far right) to have a photo taken with his friend, Mr Yeow Thiam Teck, and the rooster statue. ST PHOTOS: LIM YAOHUI

In a corner of a Woodlands Street 13 carpark stands a 2m-tall God of Fortune next to a gold ingot, roosters and other decorations.

They were created by resident Tan Koon Tat, a 56-year-old carpenter who has been building decorations to brighten up his neighbourhood for 10 years now.

The installation, near Block 179 where Mr Tan lives, even includes Chinese New Year music.

Speaking in Mandarin, he told The Straits Times: "Every festival, there's not much atmosphere in the heartland and a lot of people go overseas. So I wanted to attract people to stay in Singapore and enjoy the festivities."

Mr Tan said he turned a happy snowman used at Christmas last year into the jolly God of Fortune. "I just changed his clothes, used cloth to create the facial features and added a hat." His snowman creation was featured on television.

Mr Tan said his wife helped him create the clothes for the God of Fortune. He bought the cloth from Chinatown and ordered the five roosters from China more than a month ago.

Relatives and neighbours helped put up the decorations over a week.

Mr Tan, who has lived in the estate for more than 20 years, decorates that corner of his estate five times a year.

"National Day, Deepavali, Hari Raya, Christmas and Chinese New Year," he said, adding that the neighbours had offered to pitch in.

"Some offer money. I said it's okay, just help me put it up. If you want to give money, just donate to charity."

MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC Halimah Yacob said of Mr Tan: "He's a model resident and I'm grateful to him for his help in bonding the community and in removing the cultural barriers between the different races," she said.

Dr Jana Leong-Skornickova, 41, a researcher who lives there, said: "It's fantastic. I've been here for over 10 years and Mr Tan decorates every holiday, multiple times a year, and each year, it gets better. It gives a very nice feel to our neighbourhood."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2017, with the headline 'HDB resident's creations add festive cheer to estate'. Print Edition | Subscribe