Singapore Teochew Festival 2014

20141002_113226_smThe Singapore Teochew Festival is held at Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza till Oct 6, 2014 daily from 11 am to 10pm. Admission is $5. Stored-value tickets of $25 and $50.

The Teochew Festival is organised in conjunction with the Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan’s grand 85th anniversary celebrations in Singapore.

The tagline for this festival broadly translates as ‘We are One Teochew Family’ and the logo is an artistic rendition of a distinctive Teochew snack – the ‘png kueh’ or rice cake. Eight ‘png kueh’ are strategically interlinked in a circle to symbolise harmony, community, union and family ties.

Visitors will be captivated by Culture & Heritage, Food & Beverage and Arts & Crafts. Children are not left out as there was special activities such as craft-making and colouring competitions to introduce Teochew culture in fun and engaging ways. There was masterchef classes for adults eager to learn more about Teochew cuisine.

The Teochew Festival would be the first time that the Huay Kuan has organised a festival showcasing Teochew culture on such a large scale. The Huay Kuan hopes to give the public a vivid representation of Teochews through enlightening glimpses into their daily lives, and to a larger extent also highlight an important aspect of Singaporean Chinese culture.

The 12-day event, which will feature the arts, culture, history and food of the second biggest dialect group here, also brought in an opera troupe, actors, dancers, singers and chefs from Shantou.

Mr Quek says that the team went to Shantou to pick the vendors who can best represent Teochew culture for the activities.

One Teochew whose interest was piqued by the videos is project manager Koh Wee Liang, 37, who downloaded the jingle as a ringtone for his mobile phone.

To produce the videos, Mr Quek and his committee roped in 10am Communications led by advertising veteran Lim Sau Hoong, who had previously headed the Speak Mandarin campaign. Five of the 10 videos were shot in Shantou, the home city of Teochews in China.

One challenge was to capture the richness of Teochew culture yet bring to it a “rejuvenated perspective”, says Ms Lim. “The campaign needed to be fresh and memorable to resonate with an increasingly Westernised audience.”

Mr Quek and his team took the same approach in putting together the festival. Expected to draw up to 120,000 visitors, the festival is the association’s concerted push to draw younger members, he adds.

“When people think of us, the image is of older folk. This event is a chance to welcome more youth to join and to find good talent to carry on our work,” he says.

His team took about a year to plan the festival, which cost more than $1 million. They intend to make it a biennial affair.

Polytechnic student Lim Chun Eng, 17, a Teochew, says there is much to learn. He is volunteering at the festival at the behest of his parents, who both run a family jewellery business.

He says: “I honestly don’t know the customs that well. I speak Teochew because my grandmother can only converse in it.”

Source: The Straits Times

The young Festival Ambassador showing my ticket to her.

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The Teochew skit performance on the stage at the festival.

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The Food Street was jam-packed and the elder visitors would have to wait patiently for the food.  Its  worthwhile to wait  while the youngster join the queue and bring the favorite Teochew cuisine to the tables for the family to enjoy.

The related “Ancestors Gave Way To Space for the Living” blog here

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