President of the Mexican Association in Singapore
Presenting the Dance of the Jarocho at Chingay50 is Nancy Rodea, President of the Mexican Association in Singapore. She shares the joy of participating in Singapore’s iconic multicultural street parade and reveals a secret symbol behind the specially flown-in costumes.
When expatriate Nancy Rodea first arrived in Singapore two years ago, topping her to-do list was to experience our multicultural society. “I have read in articles and heard in the news about the different cultures that exist in Singapore but living it and feeling it is incredible!” enthuses Nancy.
From Mexico To The Multicultural Chingay Stage
Nancy had observed that, in Singapore, there is strong emphasis on looking for ways of integrating people regardless of religion, language and cultural traditions. Nancy believes this unity in diversity strengthens the nation’s social fabric which resonates with her. She is President of MEXASING, the organisation that helps Mexican families integrate successfully into Singapore, and one of her core missions is to help promote Mexican culture here.
So when the People’s Association approached MEXASING to put up a performance for Chingay50, Nancy seized the opportunity, “We love being part of the integration and multiculturalism in Singapore.
“My role at MEXASING includes creating social engagement programmes and taking part in cultural events. Chingay is a perfect showcase to present the best of Mexican culture while taking part in Singapore’s iconic street parade.”
Presenting A Taste Of Veracruz for Chingay50
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Chingay, MEXASING presented the Jarocho Dance from Veracruz, which has a rich blend of mostly indigenous, ethnic Spanish and Afro-Cuban cultures. These unique cultural influences are seen in the typical dress of the Jarocho costume.
Adhering to the prevailing safe distancing requirements, MEXASING presented only two dancers this year who were dressed in the traditional dress from Veracruz featuring lace, embroidery and ornaments. Today, this costume is generally worn in any holiday or folk event that is celebrated in the state of Veracruz so Chingay50 is a great occasion and platform for its introduction to a Singaporean and in fact, international audience who can watch it online.
Nancy and her team chose one of the most popular songs from Veracruz in the dance choreography. The practice sessions were hosted by another member of MEXASING, making this a team effort.
Fun Facts: From Roots To Hair
Donning these deeply traditional costumes was a great source of regional pride. The Chingay50 dresses were specially imported from Veracruz and a team of volunteers gathered in Nancy’s home to hand stitch the final flourishes and accessories before the show.
Interacting With Other Communities
Chingay is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to make friends with people from many different countries and interest groups.
“We had so much fun sharing a bus ride with the performers from other nations. Each of us proudly wearing our traditional costume yet sharing the same goal which is to put up the best combined show,” recalls Nancy. “Singapore made us a part of this and we will never forget the experience!”
Hopes and Dreams For Chingay
Nancy’s dream for Chingay is to keep spreading the joy. “Respect and honour your own heritage while involving other cultures to join in too.”
Nancy is convinced that Chingay will keep transforming in step with the times. It reminds her of similar street events in Mexico. To Nancy, the key is to be aware of the traditions and cultural impact these events represent and how they enlighten our contemporary life so we can keep our traditions alive as we march into the future.