Teochew Festival moves into virtual village with beauty pageant and over 100 hours of opera

SINGAPORE – This year’s Teochew Festival will occupy an entire village, albeit an online one.

The village has 12 virtual zones showcasing and teaching elements of Teochew culture like opera, arts and crafts, language learning and tradition.

Organised by the Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan and music and drama association Nam Hwa Opera, the virtual village opened on Friday (Nov 5) with Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat as the guest-of-honour.

Mr Heng said the Teochews – who form the second largest sub-group of Chinese Singaporeans – have contributed greatly to the country’s multicultural landscape.

He added that Singapore’s social harmony cannot be taken for granted, saying: “The Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan, along with other local clan associations, has contributed much to multiculturalism in Singapore.”

“While ensuring that Chinese culture is passed on to the younger generation, they have also strengthened cohesion among Singaporeans and promoted inter-ethnic understanding.”

The festival previously occupied large and grand spaces like Ngee Ann City and Marina Bay Sands. But safety precautions due to the Covid-19 pandemic prompted organisers to hold the event online.

Visitors enter the village through this link and will then be guided to click through the various sections.

The website features over 100 hours of Teochew opera, nursery rhymes, and excerpts from operas, performed by both local and foreign troupes.

It also has 15 Teochew hawkers on board, which visitors can place online orders from.

The village also hosts the 2021 Miss Teochew Beauty Pageant, with 18 contestants vying for the title.

Registered visitors can vote twice a day for their favoured contestant.

This year’s festival carries the theme Passing On The Heritage.

To this end, the Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan collaborated with Temasek Polytechnic to provide a mentor to a group of three students doing research on Teochew culture in Singapore.

They will be sharing their findings during the festival.

The village will run online until Nov 14, and is open to all Singaporeans regardless of age and ethnicity, said the organisers.

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