This evening, while walking through a complex of apartment blocks in Singapore, I heard a lot of noise and saw some flashing lights. Curious to know what all the commotion was about, I walked in the direction of the noise until I reached a crowd of people at some kind of ceremony.
They were all following a man dressed in a long white robe and tall white hat who I suspect was some kind of priest. At his sides were two men who, it would seem to me, were doing their best to look solemn.
I know it wasn’t a funeral because not far away there was a woman on a stage singing and dancing amid flashing lights. She was dressed up like some kind of strange Chinese combination of Lady Gaga and 70’s heroin ‘Wonder Woman’, and was wearing a hat that Princess Beatrice of York might wear at a Royal Wedding.
The ceremony included two Chinese dragons (you can just about see one in the right of the picture), people banging drums and chanting, and lots of burning incense.
The moment I was spotted standing at a respectful distance attendees invited me to the front to get a better view. I tried asking people what the ceremony was about, but it seemed nobody around me spoke English. People kept looking over at me, some smiling, others with a look of ‘who the heck is that guy?’ Clearly my presence there was as curious to those in attendance as the ceremony was to me.
I’ve asked a few local people here what the ceremony might have been, but nobody seems to be able to offer any definitive answer. I believe that the Chinese writing on the mans hat says something about prosperity, but in truth I can’t even confirm that.