By : Deborah Chua & Daniel Lim
18 February 2013
The Year of the Snake has slithered in, and we sure hope that you’ve treated yourself to more than a sliver of bak kwa or a serving of pineapple tarts, because Chinese New Year would really be incomplete otherwise.
In between shuffling from place to place and stuffing ourselves with food, one of us came across this video and was highly intrigued by its content. Have a look for yourself:
An HDB corridor all decked out for Chinese New Year, with bright red prosperity garlands snaking along the ceiling and parapet. We had never seen anything like this! Captivated, we decided to make a trip down to the HDB block in Serangoon North Avenue 4 to find out more.
Looking at the block of flats from a distance, one would notice the sea of red, meandering through the 8th floor corridors.
When the lift doors opened, we were greeted by a poster with the Mandarin “fu”, and a “wang” made from ang baos, translating into fortune and prosperity.
We took a stroll to the extreme ends of the block, with our eyes fixated on the ceiling above us.
This was when we met Sonny (left) and Ray (right), two residents of the 8th floor who were personally involved in the decorative efforts.
The both of them are veterans in this area, as they told us that this was the fourth consecutive year the 8th floor residents came together for this festive project. Some of the residents were even featured in the Mandarin papers in 2010, when they first started this effort.
It all began when a bunch of them came up with the idea a few days before Chinese New Year and started knocking on their neighbouring comrades’ doors to rally the troops. They then strategised and discussed the creative direction, and set out to buy the required items. As Ray emphasised, they wouldn’t have to fork out more than a couple of dollars, with a simple design and neighbours who were willing to split the cost evenly.
The whole level is almost involved in one way or another. The able-bodied men would help with the manual labour of executing the creative concept, while others would stand by their ladders, supporting them physically. In all but 20 minutes, their mission for this year was complete. You know what they say; many hands make light work!
The festive mood for the residents on the 8th floor residents of block 542 is not limited to sprucing up their corridor. In fact, they also have a pot luck dinner together! The families would each bring a dish or two, and enjoy the evening in each other’s company, after which they would join arms in cleaning up the common area.
We told Ray and Sonny that we would be back next year to see what they would come up with. They joked and told us to come prepared with oranges! That evening, we left them knowing that even after the decorations were taken down, and the snake makes way for the horse, the camaraderie between these neighbours will remain.