The pig-themed lanterns in Chinatown will be lit on Jan 20 as planned and will ring in the Year of the Pig, despite criticism from some quarters.
The lanterns are in the shape of a family of eight pigs - the tallest of which is 12m high.
The centrepiece of this year's Chinese New Year lantern display, the pigs are perched atop a lantern depicting a purse overflowing with gold coins.
They are part of a total of 2,688 lanterns that will line the streets of Chinatown until March 6. Among them is a sea of overhanging red and yellow lanterns that forms chun, the Chinese word for spring, and are flanked by three golden koi. There will also be 180 handcrafted pig lanterns dotting the main streets of Chinatown.
The full display will span 600m along New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street and 255m along South Bridge Road. This is the biggest lantern display in the history of Chinatown's Chinese New Year light-ups.
Some have said the massive pig lanterns look more "dirty" than festive. Since the lanterns were seen in their entirety last week, some netizens also called the family of pigs "slightly bleary-eyed" and "scary".
MP Lily Neo said while the organisers of the Chinese New Year festival in Chinatown have welcomed the feedback, the pigs' appearance is unavoidable as the large-scale lanterns are made from wires, which can be seen in daylight.
Speaking yesterday at a preview of this year's light-up, Dr Neo, who is adviser to Jalan Besar GRC Grassroots Organisation (Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng), said the structures will look better lit at night.
"The lanterns have to last for a month so we use wires, so they will stand up, and a hardy silk covering so the pigs will look natural and lifelike," she explained.
Dr Neo said the students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) who designed the lanterns did their best to make the display attractive.
This is the eighth year that SUTD and its students have been involved in the light-up.
"We volunteered ourselves for this extra-curricular project so we could have our designs come to life. But we will learn from this and make the next lanterns more welcoming..." said Mr Ho Zhi Yuan, 23, a third-year student at SUTD and supervisor of the lantern-designing team, which included 11 students who worked alongside 42 professional craftsmen.
There will also be other festive events taking place during the Chinese New Year period, including a festive street bazaar (along Pagoda Street, Smith Street, Temple Street and Trengganu Street) from Jan 18 to Feb 4 and a Chinese New Year countdown party (Feb 4, from 9.30pm to 12.30am).
This article was first published in The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.