The loud bang of a gong on the morning of 27th January signalled the start of the Lunar New Year celebrations at Victoria Junior College — the entire J2 cohort, joined by VCA Year 5 students, gathered in the hall to usher in the year of the Rooster with an exciting hour-long programme of performances, games, and activities. With the hall decked out in traditional red and gold decorations, students were visibly excited and buoyed by the festive mood (the upcoming four and a half day break certainly factored into it as well).
Our talented Chinese Orchestra, led by student conductor Raelynn Tan from 16S63, kick-started the celebrations with a medley of popular festive songs such as Gong Xi Gong Xi (恭喜恭喜) and He Xin Nian (贺新年), arranged by Poh Qing Kang. These classics got the entire hall singing along if not at least tapping to the beat. Following their masterful performance, Guzheng took over and calmed the boisterous crowd with Yi Zu Wu Qu (彝族舞曲), drawing remarks like “Guzheng music is amazing” from Garrett Rajkumar of 16S32. “The guzheng is such a zen instrument; I would be so happy if they played guzheng music at Starbucks instead of jazz!” exclaimed Hanan Huang from 16S63.
Perhaps the most gravity-defying act of the day, Wushu began their performance with a deceptively unhurried, meditative sequence. However, the audience began to noticeably perk up as the peaceful music soon gave way to blood-pumping, energising electric guitar tracks. Audible gasps arose as the performers burst into a dynamic series of leaps, kicks, and somersaults, and cheers erupted as they demonstrated their deft skills in wielding weapons, jabbing and twirling them in complex movements. Many students were overheard exclaiming in shock and disbelief as one performer transitioned effortlessly from a leap into a split. “This is straight out of an action movie,” we heard one girl mutter to her friend in awe.
After the run of performances, the games segment saw the crowd go restless for fear of being sabotaged and sent to the stage. After two rounds of tossing a huge beachball at the students, 6 students — 3 boys and 3 girls, all (coincidentally) from 16S30 — were made to answer questions related to the Chinese New Year festival and its traditions. Unfortunately for the boys, who got more wrong answers than their female counterparts, they were made to do a forfeit — a dance to a popular Chinese New Year tune. Though the forfeit might have been an ordeal for them, it was a clear demonstration of the effectiveness of the celebration at educating and uniting the school population, as students of all races learnt more about Chinese customs.
The fun-filled and action-packed performances and games then gave way to a more meaningful activity, Huichun Time! Huichun is the process of writing calligraphy to welcome the new year. Our School Leaders, including the principal and vice principals, took the stafe to pen down Chinese New Year couplets and calligraphy wishing the best for our students. Having the School Leaders up on stage to send well wishes to the school was a rather new experience that surprised the crowd, as a group of J2 students commented “Oh, wow, that’s a first; I don’t remember them doing this last year!” The calligraphy was also complimented by all, with many even admiring Mr Guru’s piece. “Mr Guru is lowkey calligraphy expert” exclaimed Jarod from 16A11. The leaders proceeded to display their pieces — originally forming the sentence wo ai wei chu (我爱维初; I Love VJ) before rearranging them to form wei chu ai wo (维初爱我; VJ Loves Me) — a cute touch!
The final act, a skit put up by the talented members of the Chinese Cultural Society (CCS), sought to educate the audience on the origins of the Chinese Zodiac in an entertaining and bizarre way. They definitely succeeded in making it memorable — students were at turns baffled and in stitches by some of the surreal, hilarious scenes. Depicting the story of how the rooster was granted a place with the other zodiac animals, Victorians were treated not only to talking roosters (named after famous fried chicken brands), but also to brilliantly funny anachronisms such as smartphones being used in ancient China.
To mark the end of the celebrations, Lynx’s house captain Houston and Pegasus’s house captain Sachin burst into the hall dressed up as the Cai Shen (the fortune god) and his chicken companion, sending the crowd into peals of laughter. As these two showered the crowd with sweets, the CT reps (who pitifully had to stand outside the hall the entire time and thus missed the celebrations) dutifully handed out mandarin oranges to their tutors to wish them wealth, prosperity, and good health in the year of the Rooster. With the crowd still on a high, the festive celebration came to a poignant, meaningful, and enriching end. While many Victorians then left to head overseas to visit relatives or prepare for reunion dinner, we definitely all enjoyed this year’s Chinese New Year celebrations.
Ashley Chan, 16A11
Claire Chan, 16A12