Veteran celebrates 20 years in Chingay

Veteran celebrates 20 years in Chingay

by Wan Annissa Binte Saifullizan

Republic Polytechnic Diploma in Mass Communication


For many Singaporeans, Chingay is an event to watch out for during every Lunar New Year since it was first organised Chingay in 1973.

Mr Quek Zhong Yi takes it a step further. Chingay is an event he takes part in every year.

“I started in the year 2000. Back then, I was a student performer. I stopped performing in the year 2003 onward and I've been the contingent leader since then,” said the 36-year-old.

As a veteran, he has seen the festive event changed over the years. He reminisced the days when the Chingay parade would travel through downtown Singapore.

“That was the history of Chingay, it started on the roads but after that our Singapore government created this space (F1 Pit) so they moved everything here,” said Mr Quek.

Despite seeing changes over its 47 years, Chingay has stayed true to its purpose of celebrating diversity.

Every year, performers of different races and generations spend months practising in order to put up a colourful show.

For this year’s parade, 6,000 volunteer performers spent long and hard hours preparing for the parade.

When he is not commanding his contingent for the Chingay Parade, Mr Quek is a dance instructor. As an avid participant in Singapore’s art scene, he recognises what Chingay has contributed to the scene.

He said: “It provides a really good platform to bring the community-arts to the community.” This parallels the PA’s vision of community building.

Mr Quek cites Chingay @ Heartlands as an accessible and affordable way for the average Singaporean to consume arts. This year, Chingay @ Heartlands will be visiting areas like Woodlands, Bishan and Jurong West to allow residents to experience the vibrant performances without having to chip in a single cent.

“Every mere commoner does not have to pay high-end arts price just to go to Esplanade or the other major theaters in Singapore to experience the arts. Not everyone has the means to experience the arts. Hence, that’s how I feel Chingay contributes to the art scene,” said Mr Quek.

Although rehearsals could be quite draining at times, Mr Quek likes “the adrenaline rush at the end of the day. [He] enjoys that fun feeling”.

When asked why he chose to be involved in Chingay for so long, he said: “It’s really the fun factor and the people factor. I get a kick out of it.”


Mr Quek Zhong Yi posing with his student performers during dinnertime, before the full dress rehearsal. PHOTO: SHEENA RAGNHILD WOON YANG PENG


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