Friday, September 18, 2009

see the changing lights of the "lunar 7th month getai"

it comes by every once a year... especially in older Singaporean neighbourhoods like ours, the lunar 7th month "hungry ghost festival" (中元节) activities are usually quite eventful around here. the name and nature of the festival scare some people, and there are many taboos, "do's and don'ts" related to this traditional Chinese festival too.

there are many websites that talk about the hungry ghost festival and its rituals, community activities, charity dinners etc. surrounding it. so i'm not going to elaborate on that. just wanted to share some pictures from a different point of view.

the "getai" (open area live stage) music are often loud and the on-stage dialect conversations sometimes borderline crude. the accompanying live auction-cum-dinner activities are equally noisy, especially when echoed through the neighbourhood and even all the way up high-rise flats like ours. the area is smokey, packed with audiences (mostly older folks and men waiting to see skimpily/elaborately dressed songstress perform) around the stage, old-fashioned chinese/hokkien music, colourful disco balls and neon lights...

these can all be somewhat annoying when one tries to get a quiet night of rest after a day's work... but despite that all, i actually appreciate traditional festivals like that. even though i'm not an active participant, i feel that these traditional community activities (which will eventually "face extinction" with time) add spice and cultural identity to our mundane lives. maybe it's a sign that i'm getting older, maybe it's just something familiar, something very common Singaporean, or maybe from a different perspective, the "getai" can look pretty beautiful and delightful as well.

taken 2 nights ago, see how the colour-changing neon lights from the stage got reflected off the neighbouring HDB flat and condo? it's almost like having a museum night festival right here at home :)

it was very noisy, yet people - government HDB flat dwellers and private property residents alike - tolerate the inconveniences and appreciate one another's cultures. i personally feel this is something that we all Singaporeans should be proud of - the tolerance and mutual respect we share. afterall, we're uniquely Singapore, aren't we? :)

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