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Jewel sparkles in Chingay colours

Jewel Changi Airport was awash in sound and colour on Saturday (Feb 12) night for the 50th Chingay Parade celebrations.

Some 500 performers from Singapore and around the world sang and danced against the backdrop of the HSBC Rain Vortex - the world's tallest indoor waterfall - and the Shiseido Forest Valley.

Themed Ignite Our Dreams, the Chingay showcase was streamed live on Saturday on the Chingay website, Facebook and TikTok.

President Halimah Yacob and her husband Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee, as well as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching, were among the small number of invited guests who attended the showcase at Jewel.

Addressing the audience at the end of the 1½-hour event, PM Lee said: "Chingay has been brightening up our Chinese New Year celebrations, celebrating our Singapore spirit and igniting our dreams. May it continue to... celebrate the Singapore dream for many more years to come."

Performances included a solo by 15-year-old violinist Chloe Chua, a dragon and lion dance, and ballet and contemporary dance sets.

In a nod to the earliest Chingay parades, traditional Chinese big-headed dolls opened the show by waacking - a street dance form - to the tune of a rearranged Chinese folk song Feng Yang Hua Gu (flower drums in Fengyang). Fengyang Flower Drum is a folk song-and-dance piece popular in Anhui province.

The parade of floats made a comeback in this year's Chingay celebrations, after the showcase went digital for the first time last year.

Among the highlights were seventeen colourful mini floats depicting Singapore's attractions, among others.

Made from balloons and three-dimensional art, the floats were the work of 1,400 residents from different constituencies.

The floats were paraded as a marching band from Soka Gakkai Singapore - performing for the 38th time in Chingay - delivered classics like Singapura, Rasa Sayang and Semoga Bahagia.

In other performances, cheerleaders were tossed into the air, and ballroom dancers dipped to 14-year-old Joshua Low's rendition of folk song Chan Mali Chan on the saxophone.

Low was named Chingay community star of 2022 after winning the People's Association's We've Got Talent contest, which was organised as part of Chingay50.

He said: "I didn't expect to win as I joined the contest for experience, I was really surprised and honoured when I found out."

While he had performed in an ensemble before, this was his first solo gig in Chingay. The Secondary 2 student from Anglo-Chinese School said the grand setting of the show made performing exciting and slightly overwhelming.

A hundred young people also grooved to an original composition for Chingay50 titled Ignite Your Dreams by local composer Ting Si Hao, which was sung by singer-songwriter Amni Musfirah.

Wedding traditions of Singapore's four main races were played out in a dance act. This featured red-clad Chinese stilt performers, a white-dress Eurasian wedding, an Indian wedding in a purple mystical forest with peacocks, and an ethereal under-the-sea Malay wedding among glowing blue jellyfish and orange coral.

Lion dance performer Ramkishan, 18, said he was excited to perform as a northern lion for the first time. The northern lion is more energetic, and plays and jumps around more than the southern lion that is usually performed during Chinese New Year.

The second-year higher Nitec student, who has been performing in Chingay with the Stamford Dragon Lion Arts and Cultural Troupe since 2013, said he enjoyed meeting his friends for rehearsals. "We got to talk a lot and bond, it was like a mini reunion."

The Chingay showcase will also air on Channel 5 and Channel 8 on Feb 27 at 7pm and March 6 at 1pm.

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