A digital Year of the Ox: How tech will transform your CNY

For the first time in 49 years, the annual Chingay Parade will go fully digital.
For the first time in 49 years, the annual Chingay Parade will go fully digital.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
Instead of physical red packets, Singaporeans are encouraged to give out e-hongbao this Chinese New Year.
Instead of physical red packets, Singaporeans are encouraged to give out e-hongbao this Chinese New Year.PHOTOS: UOB AND CITIBANK

This year’s Chinese New Year (CNY) celebrations will be different with infection control measures in place. Here are some of the high-tech ways to usher in the new year.


Digital red packets 

• Instead of physical red packets, Singaporeans are encouraged to give out e-hongbao this CNY to complement safe management measures.

• The Monetary Authority of Singapore said this will enable remote gifting across a variety of visitation practices, including virtual gatherings, and will also reduce crowding at banks.

• These e-hongbao come in different designs depending on the bank, and all funds are sent via the instant transfer service PayNow, which maps people’s bank accounts to either their NRIC or mobile number.

Chingay parade

• For the first time in 49 years, the annual Chingay Parade will go fully digital. The parade, usually held during CNY, will take place on Feb 20 and will be aired on television, online, and on social media channels from 8pm to 9pm.

• Technology will be used to reinvent traditional ethnic performances during the multiculturalism segment to highlight intricate details that usually cannot be seen at physical parades.

• The parade will also use choreographed computer-generated imagery to enhance dragon dance and pole act performances.

River Hongbao & Chinatown street light-up



PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

• The River Hongbao event, which usually sees crowds flocking to the Marina Bay floating platform, has been moved to Gardens by the Bay this year.

• There will be no live performances, but visitors can still look forward to pre-recorded dance and getai performances, which will be screened at the event.

• Another iconic event that sees large crowds is the Chinatown CNY light-up. Organisers have put in place virtual tours of the area so residents can opt to enjoy the festivities virtually.

• In an update, the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment said there will be no Chinatown street light-up from Feb 5 to 7, and on the eve of CNY, as part of measures to control heavier crowds in the area. The authorities may also restrict access to popular areas in Chinatown such as Pagoda Street and Trengganu Street during peak hours on weekends.

Lohei apps


PHOTO: HEI WEB CREATIONS

• While the shouting of auspicious phrases during the customary tossing of yusheng – or lohei – has been prohibited this year, a lohei app has arrived to fill the gap. Users simply tap their smartphone screens to get the app to shout on their behalf instead.

• The original app, developed by IT consultant Koh Beng Liang, is free and can be found at the website. There is also another version.

Corporate celebrations

• Corporate CNY celebrations are also moving online this year.

• Enterprising event planners have curated virtual celebrations, and these packages offer services like virtual lucky draws, cultural performances and even virtual lion dance performances.

• These event planners typically manage the logistics for such events, including providing a technical support team, the equipment and a physical venue like a studio.

• They also make arrangements for virtual performances, and offer pre-event virtual activities such as workshops or games.

• Basic packages can cost anywhere from $2,000 to about $4,000.

Virtual lion dances


ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

• Some companies are also looking at live-streaming lion dances for their virtual corporate events.

• Event planners said companies which still want to have a lion dance performance can opt to have it in a studio or at the office.

• The performances can then be live-streamed or recorded and played at the virtual corporate event.

• The Singapore Wushu Dragon & Lion Dance Federation said there has been some interest in virtual lion dance performances, and has received about five to 10 inquiries so far from troupes, schools and companies.

Festive goods


PHOTO: BUSINESS TIMES

Vendors have taken to online platforms to market their festive goods in hopes that this will drive up sales in the lead-up to CNY.

• Some 20 stallholders at Chinatown Complex selling food, decorations and clothes have joined a pilot online store organised by the Chinatown Complex Hawkers’ Association.

• Shoppers can order items on the e-store, and choose to collect them from Chinatown Complex or have them delivered from Feb 1 to 10.