HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!!! It’s the first day of the lunar new year and 2017 is the year of the Rooster! MY YEAR! Woohooo… MF was grumbling about how he was only halfway through the cycle and he had to wait 6 years for his Tiger year. Well kid, you DO NOT want it to be your year so soon. Because that would mean you’ll be having your PSLE.
Without further ado, let me bring you around River Hongbao 2017!
This year, we were greeted by a giant rooster right at the entrance to River Hongbao.
We found ourselves walking under a tunnel of lights which signified love, care and concern with all those heart-shaped arches.
Walking straight through, we could see Fortune God at his usual spot waiting for us!
Fortune God used to be one of my favourite highlights at River Hongbao, as we would wait excitedly at his foot for the Fortune Showers where he would rain wealth on us.
Last year, we waited and waited, together with a huge crowd, but the Fortune Shower never happened. This year, it seemed Fortune God decided to just go on strike altogether. I didn’t see any signs regarding Fortune Showers, and nobody was loitering around his feet. Oh well… But I saw a photo of Fortune Shower happening in my friends’ photo. Guess I’m just not destined for Fortune Showers. Nevertheless, Huat Ah!!
We moved on to the floating platform which was the main venue for lantern displays.
This year’s display had a clear message of looking forward to the future of Singapore, where we strive to be a Smart Nation.
The main set piece carried an SG100 logo, resembling the SG50 logo, with futuristic infrastructures like robots and smart cars.
This futuristic theme could be seen in other displays around the floating platform, where there was a robot performing a lion dance.
And a robot playing a Chinese drum.
The centrepiece featured an interesting choice of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.
I’m guessing that the choice of Sungei Buloh was to signify a harmony with the environment. So as our country progresses towards a more technologically advanced nation, we hope to still preserve of green spaces and pockets of nature.
As we moved along, we came by a wishing well, where visitors could use coins to throw at the bells for good luck.
In case you are wondering where all the coins in the well would end up, they would be donated to Community Chest.
Near the wishing well, I was super tickled by this improvisation of the Singapore Flyer.
I wondered if it was deliberately place on the side of the floating platform which was nearer to the real Singapore Flyer.
I suspected it was because you know why? If you recall within the main set piece, you could find Marina Bay Sands. And there was the real Marina Bay Sands forming the backdrop.
Before leaving the floating platform, there was the mandatory look-for-your-zodiac-lantern-and-take-a-photo-with-it.
Moving away from the floating platform, there was the huge lantern display occupying the seating gallery. This year, it featured a mother hen with her eggs and chicks.
On the whole, I absolutely loved this year’s lantern display. Just like during River Hongbao 2015, which was SG50 year, I’ve always enjoyed the display more when it is related to Singapore. Rather than something like, well, Journey to the West – which has nothing to do with Singapore.
There were two performance venues at River Hongbao 2017. The main stage on the floating platform would be holding performances from 30 Jan to 4 February 2017. There was a different theme for each night’s performance:
30 Jan (Mon): Prosperity Night
31 Jan (Tue): Xin Yao Night
1 Feb (Wed): Getai Night
2 Feb (Thur): Getai Night
3 Feb (Fri): Youth Night
4 Feb (Sat): Harmony Night
The other performance venue was nestled among the booths leading up to the Fortune God.
Performances will be held there in the evenings of 26 Jan to 30 Jan 2017.
And I didn’t catch this since I was there on New Year’s eve. But every night except New Year’s eve, there would be a laser and fireworks show at 9pm.
There were 3 main functions under ‘River Hongbao’ when you launch the app. The first function, ‘Sky Lantern’ allows you to decorate your own sky lantern and set it off into the sky.
Without a VR headset, it pretty much works like a 360 photo. As you move your phone around, the backdrop would change to the different sections of Singapore‘s skyline as seen from the floating platform.
Over at the Nestia booth, you can borrow a VR headset and use it with the VR function on the app for a virtual reality experience. And if you share the app through Facebook or Whatsapp, show it to the staff at the booth and you can redeem a free DIY VR headset.
The second function on the app was a Loh Hei game.
And the third function was a lucky dip where you could win instant prizes.
J’Kids Amusement Funland
And finally for some fun for the kids, there was the usual carnival. This year it was ran by J’Kids Amusement, just like last year. So yeah, Uncle Ringo was not back. Not that it made a difference frankly.
Tickets cost $2.50 each. And if you buy a bundle of 10 tickets, you get 1 ticket free. i.e. $25 for 11 tickets.
Rides were about the same price as previous years, mostly at 2 tickets per pax per ride (about $5). Here’s the list of rides and prices:
But I thought it was interesting that within the train and car rides, there were more lantern displays!
Information on River Hongbao 2017:
Date: 26 Jan – 4 Feb 2017
Time: 2pm – 11pm
Venue: The Float @ Marina Bay
Getting There: Click here for information on transport
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