Singapore Experience Awards

Festive exuberance

December Holidays Mystica event. -- PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
December Holidays Mystica event. -- PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
Soak in the atmosphere at Chingay Parade Singapore.-- PHOTO: PEOPLE'S ASSOCIATION
Soak in the atmosphere at Chingay Parade Singapore.-- PHOTO: PEOPLE'S ASSOCIATION
Soak in the atmosphere at Chingay Parade Singapore.-- PHOTO: PEOPLE'S ASSOCIATION
Soak in the atmosphere at Chingay Parade Singapore.-- PHOTO: PEOPLE'S ASSOCIATION

Exceptional Achievement: Chingay Parade Singapore and Night Safari are top of mind when it comes to having fun

Night Safari - Best Visitor Attraction Experience (2012–2014)

Night Safari, unique to Singapore, has been conferred the inaugural Exceptional Achievement Award 2015 to 2016 for Best Visitor Attraction Experience (2012 to 2014).

Opened on May 26, 1994, Night Safari is the world’s first safari park for nocturnal animals.

Instead of bars or cages to divide the animals and visitors, state-of-the-art animal enclosures were employed through the use of natural barriers that include vegetation, streams,moats, and rocks.

Twenty years on, its concept of a “night zoo” remains revolutionary.

“At the time, there was already an overwhelming response for night tours conducted at Singapore Zoo. As a result, the concept of Night Safari was birthed; the first in the world dedicated to showcasing nocturnal animals,” says its spokesman.

“It also makes more sense to view zoo animals at night since 90 per cent of tropical mammals, excluding primates, are nocturnal.”

New trails are a way the park relentlessly reinvents itself to bring the “best wildlife encounters” to its guests.

Last year, a new pathway was built to link the Wallaby trail, which showcases Australasian wildlife such as the brush tail possum, wallabies and free-flying bats.

A private tour option called the Safaria Adventurer Tour,was also added in 2003, complete with private buggy, a friendly guide and reserved seats to the Creatures of the Night Show.

The park also puts together special“safari-themed”showcases for guests to look forward to each festive season.

For example, the December Holidays’ signature Mystica event is paired with specially created menus at its food and beverage outlets for a wholesome treat.

A barrier-free experience permeates the park, which was the first to extend free admission for persons with special needs and registered seniors with dementia. The seamless ticketing experience now includes e-ticketing, plus close to 60 per cent discounts for local senior citizens above 60 years old.

To help spread the conservation message to the youths, the park launched an “Art Seen and Herd” campaign last year involving local graffiti and street artists.

Captive breeding of threatened species is one of Night Safari’s mission andover theyears,it has bred Malayan tigers, Asian elephants, fishing cats, reddholes, anoas, markhors, bantengs, Malayan tapirs and Asian lions, among other endangered species.

The other finalists of Singapore Experience Awards - Leisure Event of the Year 2014 include Art Stage Singapore 2013, Halloween Horror Nights 3 at Universal Studios Singapore, Resorts World Sentosa and Singapore Night Festival at the National Museum of Singapore.

Chingay Parade Singapore - Leisure Event of the Year (2012–2014)

Fans of Chingay Parade Singapore - the inaugural recipient of the Exceptional Achievement Award 2015 to 2016 for Leisure Event of the Year 2012 to 2014 - should already be thinking about buying their tickets for the next parade.

As the Leisure Event of the Year for threeconsecutive years since 2012, the street procession, which began in 1973 in the heartlands during the Chinese New Year period, is an annual event that has been ongoing for 42 years.

A grand parade unique to Singapore

Unlike other leisure events, Chingay Parade Singapore “has a long tradition of delivery, but continues to re-invent itself”, attesting to its four-decade longevity.

As “the grandest street and floats parade in Asia”, it continues to be an annual gathering of the Singapore community and international cultural groups - an inspiring experience that goes deeper than impressive splendour.

In fact, the Chingay Parade audience is both local and international, with 80 per cent being Singaporean, permanent residents or foreigners residing here - and the remaining 20 per cent are tourists.

Last year’s “Fire in Snow” for example, saw 4,000 performers carrying more than just fire torches amid a man-made snowfall - they also carried with them a meaningful message of “resilience,a vital part of the Singapore Spirit”.

Like a world-class Mardi Gras with a Singaporean twist that is befitting of the exuberant Chinese New Year mood, the giant floats exemplify the rich multi-ethnic and cosmopolitan cultures of Singapore.

Besides foreign troupes from all over the world, from Indonesian dancers to French “Galactic Stiltwalkers”, last year’s parade included three dramatic floats that opened up as opera stages for performers in the three major Chinese dialects here - Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese.

Accessible fun for all

The parade puts visitors into a “hyper festive mood” while making the fun accessible. There is a “Chingay Arts Street” that is open and free for all to enjoy, including non-ticketed onlookers.

It bustles with cheerleading, drumming, roving Star Wars characters, street buskers and food and drinks to tickle the senses. Pre-parade performances such as the 500-member choir and 1,500-member ukulele contingent also amp up the outdoor theatrical feel.

Some 1,800 Singaporeans from all walks of life - including the physically challenged, the ill and their care-givers and low- income families - are invited by its organiser People’s Association (PA) to attend the parade as special guests.

Touch of local hospitality

“Behind the glittering 720m parade-on-the move, tens of thousands of performers and parade ambassadors volunteer their time to ensure that that the event runs magically like clockwork and guests have a superior audience experience.

“This exemplifies the people’s participation spirit of the parade,” says Mr Nah Juay Hng, group director (Engagement Cluster-Arts & Culture), PA.

The thoughtfully planned out logistics cover everything fromassembly areas, mobile facilities,movement of pedestrians to viewing vantage points and seating/standing areas for more than 185,000 attendees each Chinese NewYear.

What remains etched in the visitor’s experience, however, is the host’s farewell greeting, “See you again at Chingay!” It is a touch of local hospitality that warms the heart and makes Chingay Parade Singapore an event to look forward to every year.