Heavy rain disrupts Chinese New Year celebrations

Rain dampened Chinese New Year plans for many people, with prices soaring on ride-hailing apps. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE – Housewife Daphne Lim was looking forward to celebrating the first day of Chinese New Year with her siblings, but torrential rain washed out plans for a family meal at her Bedok Reservoir home.

Two of her four siblings and their families decided to skip the lunch after prices on ride-hailing apps soared on Sunday afternoon.

Speaking to The Straits Times the following day, Ms Lim said she hoped that her siblings, who live in the western part of Singapore, would visit later in the day, but she was not optimistic given the relentless rain.

“Hopefully, they decide to make the trip here, as I have not seen them in a while and would love to spend time with them playing mahjong,” said the 32-year-old.

Like Ms Lim, there were others in Singapore who had to scrap or change their plans for Chinese New Year because of the bad weather.

A heavy rain warning was posted at about 4.30pm on Sunday by national water agency PUB, alerting people to the likelihood of flooding in several parts of the island.

And at about 11.45am on Monday, the National Environment Agency said in a post on Twitter that there would be thundery showers over many areas in the afternoon and evening.

On Sunday, the rainy weather nearly spoilt Chinese New Year celebrations – the first in two years without Covid-19 measures – for Ms Charmaine Ng and her family.

The 24-year-old manicurist, who lives in Upper Changi Road, had planned to leave home at 9am with her parents and brother to visit her grandmother in Jurong West, but had no luck getting a ride on ride-hailing apps amid heavy rain. 

In the end, they waited until her uncle could drive from Toa Payoh to ferry them – more than two hours later.

Ms Ng said: “It is unfortunate that this is the first year since the pandemic that we get to celebrate with no restrictions, but the rain dampened our plans.”

The rain affected not only transport services, but also food delivery.

Mr Ian Kunasegaran, who was throwing a dinner party for about 15 friends on Sunday, had planned to order food via Grab but was surprised to see waiting times of about 75 minutes to 90 minutes, compared with the usual 30 minutes or less.

Grab said there were fewer delivery riders owing to the rain.

The 26-year-old student ended up driving to the various outlets to collect the food himself.

Waiting times on food delivery app Grab were said to be as long as 90 minutes. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Mr Kenny Lee, who runs United Dragon and Lion Dance Association, said the rain affected lion dance performances that were scheduled over the two days.

The troupe had about 15 performances scheduled at various residences on Monday, and some of the outdoor performances had to be delayed until the rain stopped.

But neither the performers nor the audiences, who are long-time supporters of the company, were demoralised by the weather, said Mr Lee. “Everybody is happy because after two years, we can resume performing in residential areas.”

On Tuesday, there was no let-up in the heavy rain in many parts of the island.

A group of commuters on SBS Transit service 154 were stuck on the bus for nearly two hours after a tree fell in Dunearn Road on Tuesday afternoon.

In response to queries, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it received a report about the fallen tree at the junction of Dunearn Road and Eng Neo Avenue at 3.40pm.

One person was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, said an SCDF spokesman.

A commuter who wanted to be known only as Joanne said: “There were just three of us on the bus. One of the passengers, who said he was heading to Sixth Avenue MRT station, got off the bus and started walking in the rain.”

Joanne, 25, who works in the food and beverage sector, said only the left lane was open to traffic because the fallen tree took up the other two lanes.

“When we later passed by the fallen tree, I saw a car with its front windows smashed, but the driver was not there.”

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