'Catch' your zodiac animal at River Hongbao

An artist's impressions of #HuntYourZodiac, an augmented reality game that visitors can play at River Hongbao 2020 on their mobile devices (above) and a lantern structure (left) made of POSB and DBS red packets.
An artist's impressions of #HuntYourZodiac, an augmented reality game that visitors can play at River Hongbao 2020 on their mobile devices and a lantern structure (above) made of POSB and DBS red packets.PHOTOS: SQKII
An artist's impressions of #HuntYourZodiac, an augmented reality game that visitors can play at River Hongbao 2020 on their mobile devices (above) and a lantern structure (left) made of POSB and DBS red packets.
An artist's impressions of #HuntYourZodiac, an augmented reality game that visitors can play at River Hongbao 2020 on their mobile devices (above) and a lantern structure made of POSB and DBS red packets.PHOTOS: SQKII

This year's version of annual event celebrates tradition with technology

Visitors to this year's River Hongbao can expect an interactive festival that celebrates tradition with technology.

For the first time since the annual event started in 1987, it will be transformed into a virtual playground from Jan 23 to 27 - the first five days of the 10-day River Hongbao (RHB) 2020.

Visitors can use their mobile devices to go on a hunt to "catch" virtual Chinese zodiac animals at The Float @ Marina Bay in an augmented reality game called #HuntYourZodiac.

The game was developed by home-grown bank POSB - River Hongbao 2020's key sponsor - with Sqkii, creator of the popular cash hunt called Hunt The Mouse.

"The first of its kind to be introduced at RHB, the game combines Chinese New Year traditions with technology to deliver a new immersive experience that families and friends of all ages can come together to enjoy," said Mr Jeremy Soo, managing director and head of Consumer Banking Group (Singapore) at DBS Bank.

To play the game, visitors must log on to the game's Web application via Facebook. They can then roam the event grounds to hunt for the 12 virtual zodiac animals.

Players who find a zodiac animal that matches their own birth year can view predictions on their fortune for the year on their mobile devices. Those who "catch" zodiac animals holding a hongbao (red packet) can redeem cash prizes or gift vouchers on the spot via the DBS Paylah! app. Prizes are limited to one for each player per day of gameplay.

As in previous years, RHB 2020 will feature the God of Fortune - this time in the form of Smiley the Squirrel, POSB's mascot.

During the first five days of the event, Smiley will give hongbao daily to visitors with the DBS PayLah! app installed on their mobile phones.

Besides the tech-based games, there will also be an exhibition on a very important Chinese New Year tradition - giving out hongbao. Co-curated by Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, Singapore Chinese Girls' School students and Lianhe Zaobao Student Correspondents' Club, it will feature more than 400 red packets - with the oldest dating back to the 1940s.

RHB 2020 is on from Jan 23 to Feb 1. It is organised by the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations, Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Singapore Press Holdings, Singapore Tourism Board and People's Association.

 
 

The festival will include firework displays on all 10 nights, and performances by foreign and local dance and wushu troupes.

Delicacies of the six dialect groups in Singapore will be sold at a food street with 40 stalls.

"Through River Hongbao, we aim to provide a compelling destination for Singaporeans to enjoy the Lunar New Year festivities and, in turn, deepen family ties and strengthen community bonding," said Mr Tan Aik Hock, chairman of the RHB 2020 organising committee.

The festival opens daily at 2pm and closes at 11pm. Hours are extended till 1am on Chinese New Year's Eve on Jan 24. Admission is free. For more information, go to http://riverhongbao.sg/

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 08, 2020, with the headline ''Catch' your zodiac animal at River Hongbao'. Print Edition | Subscribe