12 FEB 2014 // KENNETH KOH
The UIUC Singaporean Students’ Association held its first event of the semester on 1 Feb 2014: Chinese New Year celebrations! Held at the Asian-American Cultural Center, the event was even more successful than anticipated, drawing not just Singaporeans, but Malaysians, Koreans, and even non-Asian students together for a festive night to welcome the Year of the Horse.
Singapore has its own Chinese New Year traditions unique from its other Southeast Asian neighbours, and the huge turnout for the celebration provided an invaluable opportunity for the SSA members to explain and demonstrate our Singaporean customs. Despite Illinois being halfway across the world from Singapore, the highlight of the night was still a Singaporean dish: yusheng! Meticulously prepared by SSA volunteers, the dish had all the key ingredients – especially raw salmon – and had a taste faithful to the original. The various cheers of “xin nian kuai le!” that rang as everyone tossed the yusheng set an upbeat tone that lasted throughout the night.
The celebrations were concluded with a SSA tradition: a performance by the freshmen. Emceed by the immaculate George Zhang, the freshmen performed a comedy show/skit that segued smoothly into a song-and-dance. With the traditional Chinese New Year tune “Gong Xi Gong Xi”, the freshmen left their mark on the audience and drew an entertaining night to a close.