Friday, January 24, 2014

Celebrations Begin….

One of the biggest celebrations for the year is about to begin here in Singapore with Chinese New Year.  The city is looking really colourful and yesterday at the office I was excited to take part in a 'Lo Hei' - the tossing of a prosperity salad - the higher you toss the salad, the more prosperous you become.

Given we had more than 600 employees tossing salad you can imagine the fun that was had and surprisingly the tossed salad was really tasty. We were also given gifts as we left the lunch - 2 mandarin oranges which is another symbol to help usher in prosperity - this was followed with traditional music being played by an orchestra in the afternoon which was enjoyed by all - a fun day.

I wanted to try and capture some of the excitement in the city so on my walk home from the gym this morning (3kms) I stopped to take photos - the colours of the mandarin trees and the decorations are really gorgeous.  The temples are full and the traditional restaurants have queues around the block.

As most of the celebrations centre on family and food its not surprising to see the price of food has sky rocketed (hard to believe given the already astronomical cost of food) and you don't want to to see a hairdresser or a manicurist as they all hike up their prices with the long weekend starting on Friday and everyone wanting to look their best.   Taxis are really hard to come by (as most of the taxi drivers are enjoying their celebrations) and advice to those needing a taxi is to 'jump the queue' when using the taxi app's to book a taxi, which adds an extra $5.00 to the $3.20 booking fee.  So the cost is $8.20 before you have left your destination.  Given the majority of people living here don't have cars - taxis are the next best mode of transport - no wonder you need all the symbols and wishes for increased prosperity - just to make it through the New Year!

Anyway, I am particularly looking forward to the long weekend as my gorgeous girl Soph is coming to stay.  That in itself is reason to celebrate - we will both enjoy the firework displays that will be on show as the Chinese begin to celebrate the most important event of the year on the Chinese calendar.

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