By her thirtieth birthday, Lynn had participated in 18 Chingay parades. Find out what sustained the administrator’s passion to sashay down distinctive venues, parade in water and stage a “mane” event on a float.
The spark that launched a thousand dance steps
Lynn had her first taste of Chingay at 10 years of age when the dance troupe she had joined since she was a toddler was invited to participate. The venue that year was along Orchard Road where she found the connections with the live audiences electrifying. “As a live street parade, whenever we had the chance to approach members of the public to give them a handshake or high five, it left them elated.” The experience was so magical it marked the beginning of Lynn’s enduring relationship with Chingay.
A Unifying Force
Chingay represents unity and teamwork, the two core values that buoy the show year after year. Participating in Chingay from child- to adulthood gave Lynn multiple bonding sessions with her fellow dancers. “I got to know my peers and juniors very well through Chingay because we were all in the same dance, whereas for other performances, we would be assigned to different dances with far fewer opportunities to interact”, explained Lynn. They were driven to put on the best show through challenging circumstances: To usher in the Year of the Water Dragon in 2012, the Formula 1 (F1) pit premiered Singapore’s first water parade. “We donned special plastic shoes to perform a water sleeves dance comprising enchanting hand movements with our ultra-long sleeves. Throughout the 360-metre-long waterway, we had to brave accidental splashes of water on our faces and keep smiling!
These shared experiences forged priceless friendships and unforgettable memories.
A Unique Stage
Having been a dancer since the age of three, Lynn is no stranger to the stage. What she finds appealing about joining Chingay are the different performance elements designed to suit its large-scale, outdoor and dynamic format. For instance, Lynn and her dance troupe buddies wore out their dance shoes at an alarming rate because they were chafing against the coarse road surfaces during the Orchard Road shows. Learning from this experience, the dancers were subsequently allocated shoes with proper, sturdier soles to withstand the harsh road conditions.
The F1 pit was another unique performance venue. Lynn recalls vividly how her arms used to ache after every practice session due to the venue’s wide expanse. Yet during the actual Chingay parade, she could complete the entire circuit smoothly thanks to adrenalin rush and a sense of responsibility to put her best foot forward. In fact, she got such a kick out of it she performed at the F1 pit five consecutive years.
Growing Up With Chingay
Over the years, Lynn’s roles in Chingay evolved but her commitment never waned. Once Lynn entered the workforce and assumed greater adult responsibilities, she found it harder to attend practice and rehearsals. At times, she had to bring all her costumes and head gears to work so she could turn up punctually for the event without taking any annual leave because there were always two Chingay performances—and the first parade was always on a Friday evening.
The time pressures she faced drove her to switch roles from dance to makeup. Her intimate knowledge of dance and the requirements of street performances allowed her to create stunning looks that accentuated the choreography and completed the outdoor theatrical elements of Chingay.
Currently, Lynn has risen to become the chairperson of her troupe where she contributes in an advisory capacity. She has certainly grown up with her dance troupe since joining as a toddler!
Hopes and Dreams For Chingay
To Lynn, performing at Chingay is a blessing no amount of money can buy. As an artiste, she regards Chingay as more than a performance. To her, the event lifts Singapore to greater artistic heights by exemplifying the spirit of racial harmony expressed in a single street performance. It is her ardent wish that Chingay will become a heritage Singapore is proud of as it represents our unique unifying racial harmony spirit.