The Year of the Snake starts off with a bang, at least for my mum who was born in the Snake year. Maybe she had an intuition that she was going to be lucky. That could explain her sudden interest in some lucky draw events, like the newspaper Chinese New Year promotion which allowed readers to exchange the required number of coupons for a Chinese New Year figurine and also stand a chance to win some cash prizes every week. She didn’t win anything from that but accumulated five small figurines, 4 of which are shown in the picture below. Guess who had to go exchange these figurines for her? Yep, moi. If I didn’t get it done soon enough I could be sure to get her calls ‘Have you changed yet? The lucky draw number is out already…’ LOL
So she didn’t win prior to the CNY celebration. Guess her lucky star hadn’t arrived then. But one Sunday morning during the CNY period, I was woken up at 8.15 am…not too early but considering I slept late the night before, you can imagine the words that came to my mine 😛 Anyway, when I saw it was mum who called I prayed that it wasn’t some emergencies. Well, it was…to her anyway. She said “Can you send me to the shopping area nearby for a lucky draw? It starts at 9…” It took me awhile to comprehend what she was talking about and precious 5 minutes was lost during that time. And before I could get up to get ready, she had already called 3 times. Waking up hubby and explaining cost another 3 minutes of my time and by the time I came out of the bathroom, mum had called 2 more times hurrying us up. Maybe her lucky star was calling out to her from afar…
We got to the neighbourhood centre where the CNY event was held. Mum had a stack of lucky draw coupons from her purchases at the shops in the area and these coupons were in running sequence, all 16 pieces of them. I took a look at the number of people already at the tentage set up with a stage in front and thought ‘It would take a miracle for us to win something!’ There were no more vacant seats and barely enough space to manoeuver my mum’s wheelchair through the crowd that spilled onto the pavement on both sides of the tent causing a lot of inconvenience to early morning market-goers. The people waiting for the event to start were mainly elderly people or homemakers taking a break from their usual routine to enjoy the CNY concert (or getai) that went along with the lucky draw. This event was hosted by the Mayor of the North West Community Development Council.
The local concert scene called getai is usually held in the neighbourhood with makeshift stage and tentage to celebrate some important local events like the CNY, mid-autumn festival, Hungry Ghost festival etc. There would be live singing by getai stars, witty banter and often risqué jokes on stage between performers and hosts. Then there would be colourful, elaborate and even outrageous costumes and the female host, Liu Ling Ling (or 600 as she is affectionately known since her Chinese name sounded like Six Zero Zero in Mandarin) had about 5 costume changes throughout the 4-hour event. The male host, Wang Lei even rivalled that I think.
The 4 hours was rather eventful. In the midst of the show an ‘uncle’ fell down right behind me as I was recording a performance with my phone halfway. Me and my mum’s domestic helper had to help the uncle up with the help of a few other people, but he fell again as I tried to move him to a spot were he could hold himself up properly. He wasn’t very mobile, needing an umbrella to support his movement, and when he fell the second time (I managed to grab hold of him), he looked to be in a daze and I worried that he had suffered a mild stroke. I asked a lady to get the attention of the organizer but she came back without one. Someone offered a bottle of eucalyptus oil (much like a smelling salt) which I applied on his nose and both sides of his temple. Finally someone had the good sense to bring over a chair and we put him in it before I went to get help. In the end the uncle was moved out of the crowded area where he regained full consciousness and was able to talk. Phew!
But the highlight of the show came at the end when the top 12 prizes were drawn. I was checking the coupons for the winning number and at the same time tried to arrange for my sis to pick us up after the show by texting her. My mum had seen the numbers before so she paid full attention to the hosts on stage while I communicated with my sis on the phone. The phone rang when the 4th prize was announced and I looked at the screen wondering how to answer the call when it was so noisy. My mum tugged at my hand and said, ‘Did we win?” I said no absent-mindedly while staring at the phone screen. Then it struck me that hey, those numbers sounded familiar. And they were familiar because we won!
Moment of Glory:
Mum couldn’t get on stage so I had to go on her behalf and I was grinning like an idiot as I shook hands with the Mayor while holding on to the cards that announced the prize for photo-taking, then the huge hamper came and I wondered how I was going to make it down the stage without tumbling down with it LOL I remembered walking down the stage rather gingerly with the tall hamper almost blocking my view and heaved a sigh of relief when I got to my mum and plopped the hamper down on her lap 😛 The uncle who helped push mum to the front to watch the show even came by to congratulate her. He was such a kind man 🙂
Pictures and Videos:
I had taken some pictures and videos of the concert but they are mostly blurry since we were standing far away from the stage. However, towards the end the pictures got better because a kind gentleman managed to push my mum through some people standing in front of her despite the unhappiness of these people. ‘Uncle’ was very determined and no-nonsense, ignoring some scowls and retorts as he firmly planted my mum and her wheelchair where she could properly see the performances. Mum even managed to shake hands with Miss 600 and gave her a token red packet (red envelope with some money inside, a CNY tradition).
Here are the pics:
Dear mommy with the maid holding on to the lucky draw coupons
The tentage where it all happened
Lion Dance to start the show
The first singer of the event (don’t know his name)
Chen Jianbing, local singer, actor and host
Chen Jianbing singing Yi Duo Xiao Hua 一朵小花 (Literally translated A little stalk of flower)
Wang Weiliang and hosts (Weiliang is one of the current young stars of a locally produced movies Ah Boys to Men Part 1 and 2 which depicts life in the army in Singapore. He plays one of the recruits, Lobang, and what we saw in Lobang we saw in Weiliang’s personality on stage too)
‘Lobang’ Wang Weiliang – new star of local movie scene (He is witty and has good, strong vocal. The movies, Ah Boys To Men Part 1 & 2 are funny, have a local theme, local dialects mixed with English and Mandarin, fun facts of army life, touching moments and strikes a chord with those who had endured 2-2.5 years in the army here.)
Weiliang singing a CNY song, Cai Shen Dao 财神到 (Arrival of the Fortune God)
Weiliang singing Ai Ni Yi Wan Nian 爱你一万年 (literal translation: Love you ten thousand years) This vid was taken when an uncle suddenly fell beside me, hence it was only partial.
Wang Lei (one of the hosts) singing
The female host, Liu Ling Ling (600), singing
Wang Lei & Liu Ling Ling mingling with the audience
Liu Ling Ling challenging Wang Lei to crawl between her legs for good luck, saying a kid once mistook her for being the Goddess of Mercy
Wang Lei & Liu Ling Ling performing a duet
One half of Mingzhu Sisters, stars of the 80s
Young Getai Star, only 21
Liu Ling Ling teasing the Mayor
Hosts Liu Ling Ling and Wang Lei bantering on stage
Sisters on stage – Liu Ling Ling and her younger sister
That’s all for this Chinese New Year event. Needless to say, after 4 hours of standing and sweating it out in the sweltering heat of a cramped tentage, I was glad to be back at mum’s place. The prizes mum won consisted of $500 shopping vouchers, $488 cash and the huge hamper. Needless to say the vouchers and cash are long gone by now but I’m sure the memory still remains with mum 🙂