What is there to do during Chinese New Year beyond the usual reunion dinners and house gatherings? The Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC) may have an answer. By catering to a plethora of activities to children and adults alike – many of which are creative renditions or novel additions to CNY traditions – the SCCC hopes to engage families during this festive season. From painting the ocarina (a portable Chinese musical instrument) to a crash course on lion dance, here are what you can expect from CNY Family Fun happening on the weekend from 12 to 13 January.
One of the major highlights is the assortment of handicraft workshops that allow you to learn a new skill and take home something you made. These free workshops are held from 10am to 6pm.
The Shrink Art Workshop is held on Saturday 12 January, and it teaches participants to transform plastic sheet into hardened plastic art. After the workshop, you can attach a keychain to your artwork and bring home your own handmade accessory.
The Paint ‘N’ Play Ocarina Parent-Child Workshop, held on Sunday 13 January, guides both child and adult to play the ocarina, an ancient wind musical instrument. As the ocarina given is small, it is very easy to play even for the young ones. Participants are also given a paint set to customise their own ocarina with original designs.
The Upcycled Craft Making Workshop, held on both days of the weekend, is run by TERRA SG, a social enterprise focusing on environmental sustainability. This is where you can both learn a new skill and contribute to environmental efforts. Make your own upcycled pallet board yam art, fabric tissue pouch, or red container night lamp, with patient guidance every step of the way.
Lion Dance Crash Course
Friends and family members can pair up to learn the basics of lion dance from Feng Yi Dragon & Lion Dance Entertainment troupe. Suitable for ages 7 and above, this is an activity that emphasizes teamwork and family bonding. The free crash course takes place from 11.30am to 1.30pm for parent-child sessions, and 3.30 to 5.30pm for the public session.
Ah Guo Exhibition and Sharing Sessions
From 12 Jan all the way to 7 February, local illustrator Ah Guo’s exhibition So Much Fun is up with no admission fee and no pre-registration needed. Fun fact: Ah Guo is also the artist behind the design of the limited edition red packets featuring adorable cartoon characters with Lo Hei.
You can get them either by collecting stamps when you participate in activities at the event, or take part in SCCC’s online contests on their Facebook and Instagram pages. On both days of the weekend from 2 to 3pm, you will be given the valuable opportunity to meet Ah Guo in person, as he shares about his works on Saturday and holds an interactive storytelling session the day after.
The exhibition features a collection of cartoon characters against local backdrops such as HDB flat, kindergarten, olden day streets and shop fronts, and imaginary landscapes from song lyrics and fantasy tales. The main animal characters Xiao P (a penguin) and Mo Mo (a bunny) are frequently featured in his artworks, giving them a sense of childlike innocence and sweetness.
Among them, be sure to look out for So Lucky, a piece that showcases a local old provision shop with all its small charms in a playful way. The Little Moon-boat is another creative one, depicting Ah Guo’s visualisation of the nursery rhyme of the same name and inspired by old Dakota flats. There are numerous others waiting to be discovered at the exhibition. Both the young and old are likely to find resonance in his artworks as they are adorable and also enliven Singapore’s past with colours.
Finally, you can look forward to hearing and singing along to The Lo Hei Song, an original song by composer-pianist Peng Chi Sheng. A performance of the song will be delivered on the opening day. Scanning the QR code on the limited edition red packet will also lead you to the song link. Setting itself apart from usual CNY songs, The Lo Hei Song focuses less on material wealth and more on prosperity as a whole, with sophisticated lyrics.
For more information on CNY Family Fun, visit https://www.singaporeccc.org.sg/series/cny-family-fun-2019/.
Photos by Soloman Soh of the DANAMIC team.