SINGAPORE - Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao has lined up a slate of initiatives and programmes to lift readers' spirits amid the Covid-19 restrictions for this Chinese New Year (CNY).
Highlights include a CNY microsite, a lohei butler to guide readers through silent yusheng tossing, and a docu-series on sending love across borders.
In addition, the public will be given free access to all content on zaobao.sg over the CNY long weekend from Thursday to Sunday (Feb 11 to 14).
Premium content will be available to all readers, including non-subscribers, on Zaobao's website and mobile application, and will include the e-papers of Lianhe Zaobao, Lianhe Wanbao and Shin Min Daily News.
Zaobao and Wanbao editor Goh Sin Teck said on Tuesday that he foresaw many readers staying home during the long weekend due to the pandemic, and in the light of Covid-19 visiting rules.
Hence, he said Lianhe Zaobao decided to make an exception and go against the tradition of not publishing on the first day of CNY.
It will release a special publication this year which will be the paper's first print publication on the first day of the lunar calendar in 98 years.
"Aside from news, readers can look forward to a variety of content curated for the long weekend to keep them entertained," he said.
For instance, an online tool named lohei butler will play videos and recordings of auspicious cheers to accompany users as they toss yusheng.
The Ministry of Health has said that diners should avoid shouting auspicious phrases when engaging in the tossing of yusheng or during lohei. This will minimise virus transmission risks through droplets.
Lohei butler can be found on zaobao.sg's CNY microsite.
The microsite also features Chinese zodiac predictions, CNY recipes and healthy eating tips.
As border restrictions have made reunions difficult for families with members on both sides of the causeway, Zaobao has collaborated with Lianhe Wanbao, Shin Min Daily News, radio stations UFM100.3 and 96.3 Hao FM, and Malaysia's Sin Chew Daily to put together a docu-series titled Wish I Could Come Home For CNY.
The series features the stories of three readers and how they have connected with family members across the border, and will air on zaobao.sg from Wednesday.
To round off its CNY offerings, the paper will stream three shows on its platforms.
The first, a CNY countdown show, will be live-streamed from Sembawang God of Wealth Temple and Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery on Thursday at 11.30pm.
On Friday, a CNY music programme featuring artistes like Joanna Dong, MICappella, and ensembles from Red Dot Baroque and Ding Yi Music Company, as well as Singapore Chinese Orchestra, will be shown at 3pm.
Finally, a show presented by the Singapore Press Holdings' Chinese Media Group and River Hongbao will premiere in two parts on Feb 16 at 7.15pm and 9pm.