Written by: Adrian Chia
As though Chinese New Year could not come any sooner, Formal Hall Dinner (FHD) for Semester 2, held on 25th January 2011, saw KEVIIans celebrating the festival together, despite it being more than a week before schedule!
The theme of “Gold into the Rabbit Hole” originated from the Chinese belief that this lunar new year belongs to the Golden Rabbit. As early as 6pm, KEVIIans started gathering in the dining hall in eager anticipation. Dressed in different shades of red and gold, many KEVIIans looked well prepared for the new year with brand new shirts and dresses. Excitement over the programme for the night was running feverishly high even at the door, with Kai Lin exclaiming, “So festive! I’m really looking forward to the dinner!” On the other hand, residents with hungry stomachs certainly could hardly bear the wait, as Charmaine’s comment well epitomised – “Where’s the food? Hungry…”
As more guests arrived at the dining hall, which had been nicely decorated with origamis and ornaments made from “Ang Paos” (red packets), the festive atmosphere grew thicker as season greetings of “Gong Xi Fa Cai”, “Xin Nian Kuai Le” and the likes were exchanged between friends. Classic Chinese New Year songs blaring through the sound system perfected the mood for a joyous and wonderful night.
In keeping with the time-honoured Chinese tradition of never starting a dinner on time, the event finally got underway at 7.20pm. The first dish, known as “Fatt Choy Yu Sheng”, is a must-have for all Chinese New Year celebration dinners. This was served up by none other than our friendly Block Committee members, who surprised everyone by emerging from the kitchen carrying the large plates of fish salad. Also known as “Lou Hei”, the ingredients must be mixed by tossing them up with chopsticks while chanting auspicious phrases. For Niels, an exchange student from New Zealand, the experience was certainly an eye-opener!
The rest of the dishes – Seafood Tofu Soup, Herbal Chicken, Crispy Fish Fillet with Calamansi Sauce, Chinese Spinach with Abalone Mushroom, Stir Fried Prawn with Celery and lastly, Durian Puff, completed the heavenly delectable spread for the night. Kudos to the caterer for the sumptuous 7-course treat!
While everyone was busy tucking in and savouring the finger-licking good food, various programmes were going on onstage to keep the crowd entertained. First of all came Reuben, from the Overseas Community Involvement Project (OCIP), who conducted a charity auction of items imported from Cambodia. His sales pitch was truly hilarious – recall the multiple “LAST post-it pad, there will be no more chance for you to get one after this one is gone”, the “hanging wooden birds, with a fish behind” and “the wind chime, with a red / yellow flower”. While the response to the first few items was relatively lukewarm, the bidding war certainly got very heated towards the end as bids went up by leaps and bounds. KEVIIans proved to be a truly generous lot, especially when the proceeds were meant for charity work!
Then there was the game called “Delivering the Love Letter”, which saw the HallPlay team walking away with Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream vouchers as the fastest team to pass loveletters from one end of the 5-membered line to the other, without using their hands (no prizes for guessing which anatomical structure they used instead). Short clips of each block’s Dinner and Dance (DnD) pageants were screened next, drawing wild cheers from the crowd as they delivered their Chinese New Year greetings. No FHD would be complete without some great music. “Forget You” and “Dakota” were two marvellous pieces brought to us by the KE Band.
The event finally came to an end at 9pm amidst more well wishes from the emcees. Many thanks to the DnD Committee, the Culture Committee and the rest for the wonderful and unforgettable night!