Season of Prosperity

Vivien Shiao Shufen 29 Jan 2013

As the Christmas trees are being put back in storage, it’s time for HR to start planning for the next big event in 2013 – Chinese New Year.

Known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year celebrations are a must for most offices in Singapore. In addition to a feast where yusheng, a quintessential Teochew-style raw fish salad, is served, some companies even organise a display of the traditional Lion Dance to usher in good fortune and wealth.

“Chinese New Year is a very important festival, especially in an Asian culture,” says Noel Hawkes, Vice President, Channel Development and Attraction Sales, Resorts World Sentosa (RWS). “Many companies use it as an occasion to thank their clients and staff and to kick-start the new year with renewed hopes. It is also well believed that celebrations during Chinese New Year will bring prosperity and usher in an auspicious lunar new year ahead.”

Aside from the emphasis on luck, Chinese New Year is also about reunions – celebrating the bonds of friendship between colleagues. It is a great way for firms to build team camaraderie.

With both local and multinational corporations placing so much significance on the celebrations, it is important that HR starts planning for the event in advance. Chinese New Year begins in February, and restaurants are already taking reservations for the season.

Flavours of Spring

One destination to consider holding the Chinese New Year feast at is RWS. With so many venue options available, companies are spoilt for choice in this particular resort. Aside from Chinese restaurants such as Feng Shui Inn, RWS is extending corporate dining to its other restaurants as well, including contemporary Chinese cuisine with bold new flavours at Forest restaurant, helmed by well-known Singapore celebrity chef Sam Leong.

For companies that are keen to have some fun before their meal, Universal Studios Singapore will also be rolling out ride and dine packages for guests. This means that employees will get the opportunity to ride some of the theme park’s exciting attractions before indulging in a Chinese New Year feast, making the celebration a multi-sensory experience that everyone will remember.

Special “Prosperous Fortune Packages” will also be rolled out for corporate dining, starting from S$738++ per table, with special dining venues that include The Maritime Experiential Museum, and banquet rooms in the Equarius Hotel, set amidst lush greenery on top of the Resorts World Convention Centre.

Restaurants across the resort will be offering special menus, with special dishes just for the occasion. Some exceptional dishes include the Giant Gold Ingot, which envelops a tantalising mix of abalone, fish maw, scallops, sea cucumber and other premium ingredients, at Feng Shui Inn.

There is also a special twist on the traditional yusheng dish, with an assortment of special creations such as the Flambe Salmon Lo Hei, Japanese Top Grade Sea Cucumber Lo Hei, and Imperial Bird’s Nest, Fish Maw and Salmon Lo Hei, also at Feng Shui Inn.

“A must for everyone is the tossing of yusheng, while shouting out auspicious greetings,” says Hawkes. “It is believed that the higher you toss and the louder you shout, the more prosperous the following year will be. It is often that competition ensues between tables, but all this is in the name of fun.”

Hidden jewel

For companies that are keen on a quieter affair close to nature, one of the restaurants in The Jewel Box should be high on the list for consideration. Nestled in lush surroundings atop Mount Faber, it is located just 10 minutes away from the city and houses four restaurant venues: Black Opal, Sapphire, Empress Jade, and Moonstone. In addition, there is also a Diamond Palace Ballroom and the Singapore Cable located in the same area.

One big plus for organisating your Chinese New Year event there is the serenity and views the venues offer. Situated at the edge of the hill at 105m above sea level, one can see the magnificent ocean and hear the gentle rustling of the trees and chirping of birds.

For companies that prefer a semi-formal setting, Empress Jade has a contemporary mix of East-meets-West, serving delightful Cantonese delicacies, presented in the perfecting setting of long tables with a touch of traditional jade accessories that make it quite appropriate for a Chinese New Year meal.

Firms that prefer a touch of luxury might look to Black Opal, which offers a fine dining experience and provides the perfect setting of a sleek and lavish décor set against the lustrous backdrop of Singapore’s harbour, the city and Sentosa Island. Black Opal showcases ornate furnishings and table settings that exude a toned opulence that will please the fussiest of employees.

To further impress employees and give them a night to remember, arrangements can be made for travel to The Jewel Box via Singapore Cable Cars. The cable car experience presents an inspiring and fun way to travel up in style. Alternatively, coaches and valet services are also available.

Any restaurant can be booked ahead of time, and even the entire Jewel Box can be reserved exclusively for corporate functions.

 

Top tips for Chinese New Year

There are many ways of spicing up the traditional Chinese New Year Party. Here are some suggestions from HRM:

•        How about coming up with a theme? Asking staff to dress up in Chinese New Year colours can get boring. But a theme like Shanghai Nights, or Flower Power may add some punch to the party

•        Book a restaurant venue early – this cannot be emphasised enough

•        Plan a programme that will be enjoyed by everyone. Don’t forget to include your expatriate or non-Chinese staff in the organisation process

•        If the yusheng is going to be held in the office premises, make sure there are plastic sheets covering the tables, or be prepared for a really arduous clean-up session. You have been warned

•        Surprising staff with little gestures like oranges, and even an ang bao, may do wonders for employee engagement

 



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