Happy Chinese New Year from Singapore!

As an foreigner celebrating my first CNY in Asia I must admit I spent most of my holiday weekend avoiding very crowded public spaces such as Chinatown and  the malls filled with people preparing for reunion dinners.  Therefore I have few urbanist related observations about the physical aspects of Singapore during this festive time. I did however enjoy many meals and gatherings with dear friends and their families, from Singapore and abroad, over the weekend. Being able to spend time with these people reminds me of one of my favorite aspects of being a city dweller – meeting and befriending people from all over the world. It is cities such as Singapore and New York, which function as hubs for so many industries and knowledge centers, that we are more likely to interact and meet people from across the world. While I have met many fascinating people in rural towns in Latin America, Africa and Asia, the diversity of my friends in these towns can never compare to the networks I have been blessed with in New York and Singapore.

Therefore while my first CNY in Asia may have been mostly spent in private spaces instead of exploring how the city celebrates in public, the simple act of sharing a few meals with people allowed me to remember why I love living in cities. In the end it really is the people that draw us to cities.

- Melissa

20120126-180636.jpgBraised Duck at a Lunar New Year Lunch with an Indonesian Family

20120126-180703.jpgYu sheng, meaning “prosperity toss,” a relatively new Singaporean CNY traditional dish which everyone tosses together before serving.

20120126-180719.jpgSpekkoek, a descendent Indonesian layered cake that a friend brought back from Jakarta.

20120126-180738.jpgAn early CNY meal with National University of Singapore colleagues and researchers from Europe, Australia and Hong Kong after an international workshop.

20120126-182213.jpgWatching a lion dance at the Singapore Art Museum.

For photos of Singaporeans celebrating the Year of the Dragon outside of their homes, especially in Chinatown, CNNgo has a beautiful sideshow of the festivities.

All photos are by the author, the art work featured at the beginning is from the Singapore Art Museums Signature Arts Prize.

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