Issue 125 | Apr-Jun 2021

Chinese New Year Appreciation Dinner

A creative approach to ushering the Year of the Ox, in light of social distancing measures.

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Undaunted by the restrictions on social gatherings brought about due to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 100 alumni leaders, volunteers, partners, colleagues and students tuned in virtually on 17 February to usher in the Year of the Ox. The successful event, hosted by NUS President and NUS Alumni Relations, was meant to thank the University’s valued partners for their unwavering support and contributions towards engaging the alumni community. The theme this year was “New Beginnings” — represented by the Chinese character “chun” (), or “Spring”; the evening of celebrations symbolised moving on to renewed hope for the future. Before the programme began, guests received a treasure trove of goodies which included the night’s dinner, lohei and some small gifts that were delivered to their doorsteps. 
   
In spite of the virtual format, guests were still treated to a jam-packed evening of pre-recorded performances while savouring a sumptuous meal in the comfort of their homes. As they dived into their delicious bento boxes, which included Chinese dishes traditionally enjoyed during the festive season, guests were showered with blessings and good fortune with a pre-recorded lion dance performance. Guests also enjoyed a video presentation by NUS Alumni Relations titled “A Year in Reflection — 2020” and a pre-recorded performance by the Lorong Boys, formed by talented alumni from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. With Mr Jonathan Shin (’15) on keyboards, Mr Rit Xu (’15) on flute and Mr Joachim Lim (’14) on cajon and percussion, guests tuned into the band’s melodic rendition of Gong Xi Fa Cai (恭喜发财), Gong Xi Gong Xi (恭喜恭喜) and He Xin Nian (贺新年).

Every Chinese New Year is marked by the tossing of lohei, and this year was no different. To replicate the festive cheer, the host for the evening, Mr Roystonn Loh (Arts and Social Sciences ’13), guided guests through a virtual lohei where everyone enthusiastically proclaimed auspicious phrases and tossed the prepacked yusheng to usher in good wealth and health. To round off the celebration, everyone joined hands for three rounds of toasting led by Director of NUS Alumni Relations, Mr Bernard Toh (Architecture ’84) — to scale new heights, stay committed to their alma mater, and to good spirits in the year of the Metal Ox. 2020 might have “Zoom-ed” past, but as NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye (Science ’85) reassured in his Opening Address — “we will ride through the current pandemic together and emerge stronger than before”. Happy Niu Year!

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