Woodlands resident creates fairy-tale Christmas with rainbow dwarf village and giant snowman

The elaborate set-up this year was significantly harder to make compared to last year's "snow-capped" Christmas log cabin, as there were more pieces to put together.
The elaborate set-up this year was significantly harder to make compared to last year's "snow-capped" Christmas log cabin, as there were more pieces to put together.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
Mr Tan Koon Tat, 59, assembles the dwarfs for this year's Christmas decorations in his workshop on Dec 22, 2019.
Mr Tan Koon Tat, 59, assembles the dwarfs for this year's Christmas decorations in his workshop on Dec 22, 2019.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
   A giant snowman, which lights up in the evening, along with six life-sized reindeer greets passer-bys in front of Block 178 Woodlands Street 13.
A giant snowman, which lights up in the evening, along with six life-sized reindeer greets passer-bys in front of Block 178 Woodlands Street 13.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - Seven colourful dwarfs alongside seven cabins with snow-capped roofs in a Woodlands neighbourhood are seeking their princess this Christmas. 

And their creator, Mr Tan Koon Tat, hopes that children can come dressed as princesses to complete the fairy tale.

A giant snowman, which lights up in the evening, along with six life-sized reindeer round off the elaborate festive scene in front of Block 178 Woodlands Street 13.

It is the latest creation by the long-time Woodlands resident who has been putting up festive decorations in the neighbourhood for over 10 years during festive periods such as Deepavali, Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Chinese New Year. He pays for them out of his own pocket.

Mr Tan, a carpenter by trade, was putting the finishing touches to the dwarfs in his workshop in Sembawang when The Straits Times visited on Sunday (Dec 22). He hopes to unveil the set-up on Monday evening.

Mr Tan's initial plan was to recreate the popular fairy tale Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, along with a life-sized princess statue.

But after getting feedback from his neighbours, he decided to put his own spin on it and went with a rainbow-themed dwarfs' village instead.

"I don't want to get sued by Disney," he joked in Mandarin. "But maybe children can wear their own princess outfits and pose with the dwarfs to take photos."

Mr Tan said the elaborate set-up this year was significantly harder to make compared to last year's "snow-capped" Christmas log cabin, as there are more pieces to put together. He started working on the project two months ago - longer than the two weeks he spent last year.

The rain over the last few weeks also hindered his progress.


Mr Tan Koon Tat, 59, assembles the dwarfs for this year's Christmas decorations in his workshop on Dec 22, 2019. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

For instance, he managed to set up the 2m-tall snowman, which has a mechanical head that turns, only on Saturday. He had completed it a week ago but did not want the heavy rain to ruin his creation.

"The dwarfs will be the last pieces to be put up because they are a bit more fragile and I want them to look good on Christmas Day," he said.

Mr Tan created the dwarfs from pieces from scrap wood, padded them with foam sheets and dressed them in colourful tops, boots and gloves.

As in previous years, he plans to switch on his snow machine on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. He typically puts up a sign with the exact date and time for neighbours to bring their children down to play in the "snow", which is made of foam.

He has also bought around 200 Christmas headbands to give out to children under 12 years old in the neighbourhood.

 
 
 
 

"Neighbours like the decorations and requested that I make it bigger and bigger each year, so I do," he said with a smile.

The Marsiling-Yew Tee Town Council grants him permission to do the set-ups.

Childcare teacher Lynn Ang, 30, who lives in the same block, said she looks forward to seeing Mr Tan's set-up each festive season.

"It's fun to see what the uncle is up to and it also signifies a change of season. Christmas is usually the most elaborate and he has definitely 'levelled up' this year," she said.

Mr Tan is not the only one spreading Christmas cheer to his neighbours.

A sled made out of a cardboard box and piping, along with a snowman and other ornaments greets residents at the eighth-storey lift landing of Block 722 Tampines Street 72.

Long-time resident Andy Lim Beng Huat, 70, who runs an electrical works business, started planning for the Christmas set-up in early February, around Chinese New Year, reported The New Paper.

Mr Lim has already planned to re-purpose some of his Christmas decorations for the upcoming Chinese New Year next month.