9.5m-tall lantern to usher in the Year of the Pig

The lanternfeatures several pigs and a fu dai, or fortune bag in Mandarin. It and other lanterns at this year's Chinatown Chinese New Year light-up were designed by 11 students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design, and handmade by 4
The lantern features several pigs and a fu dai, or fortune bag in Mandarin. It and other lanterns at this year's Chinatown Chinese New Year light-up were designed by 11 students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design, and handmade by 42 craftsmen from the Chinese city of Zigong, in Sichuan province.ST PHOTO: JOSEPH CHUA

The official light-up and opening ceremony of Chinatown's annual Chinese New Year celebrations are not due till Jan 20, but preparations have set people talking.

A 9.5m-tall lantern featuring several pigs and a fu dai, or fortune bag in Mandarin, has been installed near the junction of Eu Tong Sen Street, New Bridge Road and Upper Cross Street to welcome the Year of the Pig.

Other decorations include flowers and lanterns shaped like coins which bear festive greetings.

Netizens were divided over the decorations, with some calling the pig lantern ugly and scary, while others thought it was cute.

According to Chinese-language newspaper Shin Min Daily News, one woman said the pig perched atop the fu dai resembled braised pork.

This year's lanterns were designed by 11 students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design, which has collaborated, since 2012, with the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens Consultative Committee, the organiser of the Chinatown celebrations.

The lanterns were handmade by 42 craftsmen from the Chinese city of Zigong, in Sichuan province, which is famous for its lantern festival, Shin Min reported.

The light-up will run from Jan 20 to March 6. The first day of Chinese New Year this year falls on Feb 5.

The opening ceremony will feature performances by troupes from Singapore and abroad, and a firecracker and fireworks display. A ticketed lion dance competition of top lion dance troupes from Singapore and the Asia-Pacific will be held in Kreta Ayer Square on Jan 26.

On Feb 4, a countdown party will be hosted by Mediacorp artists, featuring performances of festive songs, skits and interactive games, as well as more firecrackers and fireworks. Lighted floats from the annual Chingay street parade, as part of Chingay 2019 @ Heartlands, will close off the celebrations on Feb 17.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2019, with the headline '9.5m-tall lantern to usher in the Year of the Pig'. Print Edition | Subscribe