Sunday, January 4, 2009

Christmas Singapore style

Boxing Day sales? Not in Singapore. In Singapore the mark downs start on Christmas Day. That’s right Christmas Day.

M and I woke late on Christmas morning and decided we would honour our unusual Christmas by going to the movies, something we can’t do in Cambodia.

We headed down to the MRT and squashed ourselves into the train with the rest of Singapore, very grateful we only needed to go two stops.

The movie theatre was busy but not extraordinarily so. It wasn’t until after the movie had finished and we found ourselves back outside on Orchard road, did we discover what Singaporeans do on Christmas day.

They shop.

Hardly a surprise really –I read somewhere - it is the number one leisure activity on the little red dot and since the majority of the population isn’t even Christian-they are Buddhist- the meaning of Christmas for many Singaporeans, it appears, is ‘on sale’.

We allowed ourselves to be pushed along the pavement from Cineleisure towards Takashimaya stopping every so often as the swell would allow to people watch.

'Christmas in the Tropics' is a carefully planned and orchestrated event designed specifically to attract tourists to Singapore. Last year there were 5 million people on Orchard road, one million of them were tourists. There is plenty on offer, for those with a commercial consumer oriented Christmas in mind, with free entertainment, celebratory events, special promotions and of course shopping.

I read in the Straits Times, while we were there, that a tourism board survey showed that one in five visitors last year planned their trips to coincide with Singapore’s Christmas celebration. No doubt the Tourism Board is hoping that this year would not be any different despite the 'global economic crisis'. I have got to say that if the queues were anything to go by on Christmas day people in Singapore have not stopped spending...yet. I did read, though-in the same paper- that many did say their spending over the Christmas period was going to be the last spending for a while.

The theme for the 25th annual 'Christmas light up' was 'A sweet Christmas on Orchard road' but there was also a Christian flavour I hadn't noticed last year with huge molded wise men, camels, shepherds and of course a Mary , Joseph and their donkey to go with the dangling sweets, candy canes, giant cupcakes and playmobile like candy coloured lolly family.

I am not quite sure how the gladiators were supposed to fit in...

These shepherds seemed a bit more Christmas story appropriate.

There were groups from different churches performing too.

These ladies are from Korea and have just finished a dance using tamborines.

Quite a large block of Orchard road was closed off to traffic for a free concert -which we didnt stay for- a float parade...

...and some line dancing

The place was riddled with these guys...

....but I'd be surprised if there was any trouble at all.

We went and had a fortifying cappuchino and a caramel frappuchino from Coffee Bean

when we re emerged it was dark.

Time to go home and eat our Christmas spoils.

Merry Christmas Singapore style!


Connie said...

Wow! What an eyeful... I can imagine it was a million times more exciting in real life. I think the crowds would have been difficult for me, but worth it. I love the photo with the blue - blue roof, balls. That's breathtaking!

Tanya said...

I agree it is the coolest! The blue balls are in Wheelock Place where Boarders the bookshop is in Orchard road. It is a huge glass Christmas tree shaped space housing the atrium and escalators and just screams fairy lights.

Sarah said...

Oh wow, wow, wow! I've spent a few week's in Singapore, when Charlotte was 18 month's and Dan was working. It's a fabulous place and I can imagine from your fabulous photographs and descriptions that it must have been quite an overwhelming Christmas. So many sensory delights in one place!