A Rattling Good Time

SAFRA ushered in the Year of the Rat with family-friendly celebrations at five clubs.

By Edmund Wee      9 March 2020

Thousands of NSmen and their families got a head start to the Lunar New Year celebrations when they participated in exciting programmes and activities at various SAFRA clubs across the island.

Headlining the festivities at SAFRA Tampines was an inaugural and unique LED War Drum performance. Held at the Atrium and Theatrette on 4 Jan, the event was attended by over 1,000 people, who soaked up the festivities, took pictures with a God of Fortune mascot, and savoured traditional sweets such as kueh tutu and dragon’s beard candy.

Guests were spotted queuing to get their hands on fortune couplets by 70-year-old Uncle Jimmy at SAFRA Toa Payoh.

Another highlight was the cherry blossom craft workshop, with the Lunar New Year theme of welcoming new beginnings.

The celebrations were replete with auspiciousness – over 25 people who were anxious to know of their fortunes in the upcoming rat zodiac cycle sat eager-eyed at the comprehensive zodiac talk at SAFRA Jurong.

One of the biggest turnouts for this year’s celebrations was at SAFRA Toa Payoh on 11 Jan. Life-sized balloon mascots ushered in over 4,200 people – Members and their guests – who attended the celebrations in the afternoon.

Commemorating the occasion was a mass lo hei, followed by a lively lion and dragon dance performance. Of the myriad family-oriented programmes, particularly popular was the fortune couplet demonstration written by a calligraphy hobbyist-cum-volunteer, fondly known as Uncle Jimmy, at SAFRA Running Club.

In keeping with the festive mood, the Nanyang Philharmonic Chinese Orchestra serenaded guests with cultural music. The celebrations, which were also synonymous with festive feasting, also saw crowds making a beeline for complimentary Golden Huat popcorn, candy floss, muah chee and kachang puteh at food booths.

There were also other fringe activities for NSMen and their families, including a hastag printing photo booth, and a storytelling and crafts workshop by Erudite Stories.

Festivities were in high swing at SAFRA Punggol, mesmerising over 4,300 attendees with its striking displays and a celebratory “lion leaping on high poles” dance performance.

Notably this year, the club partnered the National Arts Council in three Arts@SAFRA programmes for guests: guests got to let loose their creativity with the Paper Cup Mouse by Lulo Studio, creating their own pocket-size paper pet rat; with Hand Drum and Firecracker Wishes by Didier Ng, producing their own hand drum with everyday trash; and with Festive Installation, a communal art piece made from recyclable materials featuring the rat symbol.

There were plenty of hands-on activities at the Lunar New Year celebrations at SAFRA Tampines, including try-outs with the festive drums.

The programmes organised in collaboration with the Singapore Art Week and Brave New Worlds focused on kids-friendly art and culture activities. The free parent-child art workshops that featured local architecture and public artwork, and the drop-in art activities that showcased Chinatown in the old days through the artworks of local artists had both bonding and nostalgic effects on the participants.

No Lunar New Year celebration is complete without festive foods. Ten parent-child pairs had a hands-on baking experience creating their own pineapple tarts at the Culinary Experience Studio. A reunion buffet was also held for 10 Members and their families in a special collaboration between SAFRA Punggol and Huo Guo Kung Fu restaurant. In addition, 250 Members were able to redeem a $10 Pizza Hut voucher each as part of a Member exclusive redemption initiative.

A celebratory performance of a lion leaping on high poles and Arts@SAFRA at SAFRA Punggol.

At SAFRA Mount Faber’s “Springtime Celebrations” held on 11 Jan, Members and their guests were treated to an exciting line-up of family-friendly activities. There was a lion and dragon dance performance, and a two-hour zodiac “prediction” talk by Master Lynn Yap, which saw a booked-out attendance, complemented by a free high-tea buffet offering.

Participants also got to try their luck at the Fortune Lucky Draw. Those who spent a minimum of $20.20 in a single receipt at any of the club’s participating vendors stood a chance to win the top prize of a SAFRA Reward Voucher worth $300 and 20 reward vouchers worth $60.