Wai Kheong seen in the top left
Foong Wai Kheong
Despite pandemic times, Chingay50 proceeded live and with success – thanks to the hard work and passion of the many involved. Long-time Chingay volunteer Foong Wai Kheong was at the centre of the action – at one point juggling three roles! He shares his experience.
When veteran volunteer Wai Kheong thinks about Chingay, he relates it to “going home”.
“Chingay is like a meeting of teams, friends and People’s Association (PA) staff – we all share the same passion!”
Wai Kheong’s journey with Chingay began about 10 years ago – as part of the PA40 Anniversary! Since then, he has experienced being the God of Fortune mascot along Orchard Road, soaking in the excitement at the F1 Pit Building and most recently, partaking in the showcase at the magnificent Jewel Changi Airport. Wai Kheong has great memories of his journey with Chingay.
However, the one that tops it all is probably Chingay50 in 2022.
COVID-19? No problem!
The pandemic made the parade a challenging one to prepare for. Processes changed fast, frequently and significantly, with safety being the top priority. There were manpower issues due to a shortage of volunteers. Existing volunteers had to take on additional duties to fill the manpower gaps.
As a result, Wai Kheong, being among the more experienced, had to put on multiple hats.
Initially stationed at the command post, Wai Kheong’s role was to make sure performers knew their way around and were in tune with the programme sequences. This central role was key to keeping things running in order without a glitch.
Wai Kheong also took gate duty as a secondary role where his task was to get the performers ready for their segments and to ensure smooth entry and exit from the performance area.
His most significant role by far was being a part of the “Bubble Team”.
The “Bubble Team” was responsible, quite literally, for keeping performers and staff in a “safety bubble”.
“Bubble Teams ensure no contact with anyone who had not cleared security screening,” he explains.
All these had to be done while ensuring that performers could safely pass through Jewel Changi Airport where the showcase was held, while minimising contact with members of the public.
With his can-do attitude, Wai Kheong adopted the “nothing is impossible” mantra as he believed in team-player mentality and caring spirit of everyone involved – the volunteers, PA staff and performers.
Summing up the intensity of his key roles, Wai Kheong shares, “We couldn’t afford to miss any timings – the music had to keep running, and the show must go on.”
Thanks to the passionate crew and volunteers working together, the team truly lived up to Wai Kheong’s “nothing is impossible” approach.
When asked how long Wai Kheong expects to see himself volunteering at Chingay for, he quips, “As long as I can walk!”
Hopes and Dreams For Chingay
“There’s so much I love about being part of Chingay. The theme songs, staff, volunteer teams – and especially the smiles on everyone’s faces!” says Wai Kheong.
“I hope that more members of the community and the younger generation will join in”, he adds.
“Every year is a surprise. Don’t miss the chance of standing along the road waiting for the floats and performers to pass by.”
He also shares his thoughts with those who may be thinking about volunteering for Chingay. “Join us, and you will feel it – the passion of the performers, Chingay Production team and people around you.”