Speech by President Halimah Yacob at the Chingay Appreciation Lunch 2018
Mr Desmond Tan, Chief Executive Director of the People’s Association
Partners of Chingay Parade
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me begin by wishing everyone Xin Nian Kuai Le (meaning: Happy Chinese New Year)!
I am happy to host today’s reception to thank everyone present for your contributions in making this year’s Chingay Parade a success.
My husband and I attended last Saturday’s parade and were amazed by the joyous festivities. Throughout that night, we could feel a palpable sense of passion, creativity and energy in the performers, parade volunteers and even the audience. I was told that the food party experience – with Cendol served in buckets, Chilli Crab sauce buns and soda floats that glow in the dark – was an especially great hit with everyone.
The traditions of the Chingay Parade date back 46 years ago, when the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew mooted the idea of a neighbourhood street parade to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The Chingay in 1973 was simple. Although it was in celebration of Chinese New Year, it brought different communities together, regardless of race or religion.
We saw the same spirit at the Chingay Parade last week. It has expanded in many different ways – it is celebrated by different communities in Singapore and also friends from all over the world such as Russia, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam. I saw so many different perfomances and this is a wonderful way to celebrate. It transcends many barriers. It is heartwarming that the Malays, Chinese, Indians and Eurasians in Singapore came togethr to celebrate. We need to find more platforms such as Chingay Parade to celebrate together regardless of occasion. It is not just different communities, but I also saw different ages coming together as well. I thought I saw two babies being carried by their mums who were performing at the parade! It is really wonderful to see that the parade involvement transcends all ages. Both the young and our seniors enjoyed themselves and provided joy to others.
There were about 6,500 performers altogether, from diverse background. I also noticed that in the audience, there were families from all communities – Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasian. This is good because it reflects our multi-racial community.
The route of this year’s Parade was also extended to 1.5 km from the F1 Pit Building to the Floating Stage – to allow even more people to enjoy the parade experience and soak in the festivities. We want to bring Chingay closer to the heart of our people and have more friends from all over the world to join us in experiencing the charm of Singapore.
Chingay Parade 2018 would not have been possible without the strong support by each and every one of you present. I thank the People’s Association and major partners including the Tote Board Group, the Singapore Tourism Board and all contributors for making this year’s parade a wonderful success. With your support, Chingay 2018 was extended, and celebrated on an even larger scale than before. I am certain Chingay 2019 will rise to greater heights as it is an anchor platform for us to commemorate the Singapore Bi-centennial. I hope that all of you will continue to give your strong support to Chingay 2019.
Thank you once again and please enjoy the reception.