Monday, March 1, 2010

STCC Chinese New Year Dinner

26th February 2010, 13th day of the Lunar New Year, and the first Chinese New Year that I was spending in Thailand. I was quite excited because it was the first time I was attending a major event organised by the STCC aka Singapore Thai Chamber of Commerce.

It all started very brightly as I was looking forward to the promised things like a great lucky draw, nice auctions, programmes starting from as early as 5pm etc. So I got dressed and arrived at the Millenium Hilton Hotel before 5pm. What a great hotel it was. First, it has a private jetty that brings people across the river from the nearest MRT station, and has an outdoor dining area that looks into the majestic Chao Phraya river.

Then there is this grand area, which is actually the wine and cheese room of the International Buffet restaurant in the Hotel. I like the design of the chandelier and ceiling.

However, everything positive technically ended here. I can really appreciate the hard work put in by the STCC, but I can't help but wonder what could have been:
1. Guests were expected to arrive at 5pm, but at 5pm, only 20% of the booths were ready, and the registration booth was not ready until after 6pm. Singapore banquets come to mind immediately, come on, this is Thailand, you do not need to behave like u do in Singapore right?
2. There was a free fortune teller's booth. However, guess what, the fortune teller only speaks Thai. Did the organisers realise that this was a Chinese New Year celebration designed for Singaporeans? Sigh, looks like they designed it for native Thais.....
3. The auction was the most ridiculous. A lawyer kindly donated a great replica of the Mona Lisa for bidding. The frame was so intricate that the frame itself cost easily around 10,000baht. So bidding started at 5000baht and ended at 11,000baht. Grossly undervalued, but the best thing was yet to come.
The winner of the auction re-donated the painting back for a second bidding, and the host started the bidding at 5000baht AGAIN! Hoho.... the proud new owner won the painting with a bid of 10,000baht, and that's 1000 LESS than the initial bid.
I was lucky/unlucky enough to sit beside the once-proud donor of the painting. He was suitably disgusted. I was too, I really lost my appetite after this whole saga. I think next time, I will volunteer to host the auction to avoid such embarassments.
4. Forgettable food. I can only remember i paid nearly 100SGD for this.
5. There was a face-changing act. This was a traditional Chinese art. The performer ended up changing faces for a while and started to perform magic tricks. This was easily the most awkward performance I have seen in a while. Imagine Michael Schumacher juggling in the middle of an F1 race.
6. The dinner started off with a combination of Lion Dancing and stunts. Refer to the picture below. The Lion dancers managed to attract some attention by standing on top of each other, with a little girl topping it off by nearly hitting her head on the ceiling.
Subsequently, a boy did the same feat, and fell! Luckily he was caught and did not die. Anyone who thought it was done deliberately was forced to think again when the next thing that appeared on the big screen was the boy crying like he has just seen a ghost.
Moments later, though the crowd was shouting "Stop, don't do it anymore". they repeated the same thing with the girl again. What is wrong with them? Maybe they did not understand English, like the fortune teller.
Okay okay, there were positives, like this one. It was the first time I saw a napkin folded in the shape of a bathrobe. Really felt like I was in a multi-star hotel, but in the toilet of a one, haha.

And of course, the people. As much as the organization of the event could be improved, nothing beats talking to people in Singlish again. I am not sure whether everyone of you can understand the situation I am in, but I relish speaking in Singlish or Mandarin face-to-face with people as I have no chance to do so 99% of my time here.

My neighbour for the night, charity-enthusiast Ms Pansy, who keeps herself in good shape considering her age, but her main job is to run a beauty parlour, no wonder!
I will still consider coming next year, in hope that the organization can improve, and to also indulge once more in my rare buffet of Singlish.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, send my regards to Pansy when you see her at the next STCC event. She's a wonderful lady. I have no doubt that you enjoyed her company.
    - Wendy


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