Yesterday was the day that Melbourne celebrated the Chinese New Year, with lots of festivities China Town and Crown Casino. Although the first day of the year of the ox was last Monday, that was also Australia Day, hence the celebration being this weekend. Priscilla dragged me along to watch the events.
Firstly we headed to the city. We got a spot on the fourth level of the multilevel car park in Russel Street near the intersection with Little Bourke Street, where we watched the Chinese Youth Society of Melbourne’s Lion and Dragon Dance team and the Hung Gar Yau Shu Martial Arts School. Here former Lord Mayor John So dotted the eyes of the CYSM’s new lion before they performed the first of what was to be many lion dances of the day.
After CYSM performed they had to make way for the Millennium Dragon as well as some other lions and smaller performing dragons. The Millennium Dragon is relatively new, replacing Dai Loong in 2003 as Melbourne’s processional dragon.
We spent part of the afternoon at the Museum where we saw some of the history of Melbourne’s Chinese community. Most interesting were the various pictures of the Chinese debutant balls, in particular the 1977 one featuring Wyman Young who is now the head of the Martial Arts School, and the 1988 picture featuring Richard Louey, head of the CYSM. Priscilla and I thought that Wyman’s hairstyle was interesting in the 1977 picture; although I am sure he wished he had that much hair now.
After the Museum we had a quick bite to eat and then went home for a shower and to get changed. We then went to Crown Casino to watch the nights festivities. We watched Tommy Chung the Noodle Man make 4000 noodles whilst Harry, Crown Casino’s MC for the Hawkers Bazaar and Chinese New Year festivities, cracked really lame jokes.
Then it was time for Karaoke. Normally the karaoke has a separate stage and they are not usually part of the main entertainment. The karaoke was particularly bad on Sunday night but Harry kept the crowd entertained with his antics. Everyone especially liked Harry and the Mum of one of the singer’s hamming up whilst the daughter sang the Titanic theme song. Her singing was particularly bad and out of tune, but I’d still rather listen to her sing than Celine Dion.
Olivia won with her version of an ABBA song, whilst Ping here was runner up.
After the karaoke came the real highlight of the night. Firstly the Dragon Tenors performed some opera and Chinese folk songs, before soprano Shu Cheen Yu performed some more opera. The highlight was when Shu Cheen got the dragon tenors to perform the drinking song from La Traviata with her. When the tenors later performed an encore performance, they called Shu Cheen out to perform the farewell song. Then CYSM and HGYS came out to perform some more martial arts and dragon and lion dances to end off a great night.