Singapore Spring Festival 2017: Security tightened in view of terror threat

The celebration will run for seven weeks starting from 7 January and President Tan will be inaugurating the event

Picture for representation
Visitors take pictures in front of a dragon-shaped lantern which has been set up for the upcoming Lunar New Year in Beijing, January 7, 2012. Reuters

As Singapore prepares to celebrate the Spring Festival, which is also known as the Chinese new year according to the lunar calendar, authorities said that security will be stepped up to ensure hassle free holidays.

The celebration will run for seven weeks starting from 7 January. President Tony Tan will inaugurate the celebration with the official light-up on Saturday. During the preview of the event on 4 January, it was decided that 40 concrete barriers, each weighing a tonne, will be put along the roads to control the traffic efficiently, reported Channel News Asia.

"At the small roads entering Eu Tong Sen Street and New Bridge Road, (there will be barriers) so that cars cannot drive in ... MHA has already told us that they will put extra vigilance (with) more security vehicles and security officers on the ground for our festivals," said Lily Neo, an adviser to the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng grassroots organisation planning the event, as reported.

Authorities are extremely concerned this year because of the series of threats and attacks that maligned the Christmas and New Year's celebration in 2016. On 20 December, 12 people were killed and more than 50 were injured after an Isis truck crashed through a crowded Christmas market in central Berlin.

In Australia, Melbourne police thwarted several terror attack plans by IS on Flinders Street train station, Federation Square and St Paul's Cathedral.

The grand planning

In 2017, Singapore will witness the biggest street light-up, featuring about 5,500 handcrafted lanterns, during the event. The decorations are likely to line the streets of New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street.

The lanterns have been decorated by students of Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and will portray the different phases of a Rooster's life- from a chirping chick to a robust rooster.

It was also reported that the students have designed a tech wall for the Garden Bridge area, which will broadcast festive greetings sent by the public.

What is new this year

Organisers, in a bid to make this year's celebration special, have come up with a 440-stall street bazaar, which will offer dishes like braised duck shabu burger and meatballs with melted cheese.

Event space Lepark and online retailer Young Hungry Free has also come up with a flea market and car boot market, from 14 to 15 January, that will offer handmade crafts and apparel by more than 100 local brands and independent designers.

"Each year, we also look forward to continuing partnerships, such as with SUTD for the annual street light-up, as well as welcoming on board new partners such as Lepark," said Neo, reported the news website.

"This helps us to continually evolve our programmes and keep our engagement efforts exciting and refreshing for our local and overseas visitors," she added.