Chinese New Year festivities focus on giving back

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and several Cabinet ministers hosted the annual Chinese New Year Garden Party at The Istana Lawn on Feb 25, 2018.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and several Cabinet ministers hosted the annual Chinese New Year Garden Party at The Istana Lawn on Feb 25, 2018.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
President Halimah Yacob tries her hand at making glutinous rice balls, or tang yuan, at the Chinese New Year Garden Party at The Istana Lawn.
President Halimah Yacob tries her hand at making glutinous rice balls, or tang yuan, at the Chinese New Year Garden Party at The Istana Lawn.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
President Halimah Yacob and her Mr Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee pose for a photo with guests at the Chinese New Year Garden Party at The Istana Lawn.
President Halimah Yacob and her Mr Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee pose for a photo with guests at the Chinese New Year Garden Party at The Istana Lawn.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - Festive events continued into the 10th day of Chinese New Year on Sunday (Feb 25), with a focus on giving back.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and several Cabinet ministers hosted the annual Chinese New Year Garden Party at The Istana Lawn. The event, held to thank grassroots and community leaders for their contributions to the community, saw some 4,000 guests enjoy dance and musical performances, among other activities.

Eu Tong Sen Street and New Bridge Road meanwhile transformed into a carnival at dusk with the Chingay Night Fiesta ending this year's Chinatown celebrations. Those who missed out on the ticketed street parade at the F1 Pit Building on Friday and Saturday got to get up close with the floats and performers.

At a family carnival and charity gala luncheon in Jurong East organised by Blossom Seeds and Blossom World Society earlier in the day, low-income families as well as needy elderly, children and young people were treated to a performance by Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung. He sang two Chinese songs - The Moon Represents My Heart by Teresa Teng and Emil Chau's Friends.

Migrant workers also got involved in the festivities, with some 400 foreign domestic workers enjoying a lion dance performance, buffet and lucky draw at the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast) clubhouse in Jalan Bukit Merah.

In Yishun, more than 350 migrant workers took part in games, karaoke and other festivities organised by the Huang Clan Association for the second year running.

This year, they decided to reach out to non-Chinese workers as well, said youth committee secretary-general Stanley Ng.

"We recognise the fact that for all migrant workers, festive periods are the hardest as they are away from their families. We spoke to worker dorms and non-profit organisations... the support has been overwhelming," said Mr Ng, 32.

The initiative is also an attempt to "refresh the clan image", he said.

"Clan associations are a thing of the past, and we want people to see the spirit of clansmanship - our forefathers came from China bound together by locality or kinship," he said.

Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng, who attended the event, said that it was a meaningful cause.

While the workers may come from countries like China, Bangladesh or Myanmar, " this is their second home now", he said.

Mr Mohd Hanif, a Bangladeshi who has been working as a Nee Soon Town Council cleaner for 11 years, said that he enjoyed the food and lo hei at the celebrations.

"I am very happy... people in this area are like my family," said Mr Hanif, 35.