1. New partnership launched by Grab and Watsons
Grab and Watsons have announced an “online+offline” partnership which allows Grab users to receive hygiene products at their doorstep and use GrabPay as a payment option in Watsons’ outlets around Singapore.
According to Freda Ng, Watsons International’s Chief Digital Officer, this partnership will help provide “added convenience to [their] customers who can now shop for over 62,000 health and beauty products [online]… and have them delivered to their doorstep in under two hours”.
This new partnership will see Grab acting as Watsons’ last-mile delivery partner for shoppers using GrabExpress. Shoppers who use this service will receive their purchases within hours instead of days.
Additionally, Watsons’ online catalogue is now listed on GrabMart, where items will be delivered instantly upon confirmation.
With the GrabPay option now available in Watsons’ physical stores, customers can now earn GrabRewards loyalty points while shopping at Watsons.
This partnership currently benefits Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Other Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines will also be involved in the expansion at a later time.
2. Lion dances not allowed in several locations; annual Chinatown light-up to go on amid quieter festivities
This Chinese New Year will be a quieter affair, with lion dances not being allowed to be held at coffeeshops, food centres, markets, and homes this year to prevent crowds from gathering.
The Singapore Wushu Dragon and Lion Dance Federation had announced on Sunday, 17 January, the stricter control measures in place for lion dance troupes in the Year of the Ox due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
Under these measures, only eight performers are allowed. This will also mean that dragon dances cannot function as they require many more participants. Performers will also have to wear masks for the duration of the performance, except for those controlling the head and the tail of the lion.
Lion dances will still be allowed to proceed in larger venues such as offices, factories, hotels, temples, and shops in mega shopping centres. All participants taking part in these activities will have to adhere to social distancing rules, and no more than 50 people are allowed at these venues for such performances to take place.
On a brighter note, the annual Chinese New Year light-up in Chinatown will go ahead on 23 January, Saturday. The 880m light-up will feature lanterns in the shape of pomelos, blossom trees, and ingots. There will also be 88 ox lanterns that will illuminate Eu Tong Sen Street and New Bridge Road. In total, there will be 888 lanterns lighting up the precinct.
This year’s decorations are symbolic of the theme – “Usher in Good Health, Prosperity and Happiness”. The centrepiece of this year’s light-up will be located opposite Chinatown Point. It will be a 10m tall golden ox surrounded by gold coins and ingots, with a riverbank and water wheel next to it to represent the flow of wealth and fortune.
The lanterns this year were designed in collaboration with 12 undergraduates from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). Visitors who would like to observe the light-up are reminded to abide by safe management measures. Alternatively, they can watch it from their homes as the event will be live-streamed on Chinatown Festivals’ Facebook Page on Saturday at 8 p.m.
Other than the light-up, there will also be short films about Chinese New Year delicacies to look forward to. These films will be streamed on the Chinatown Festivals’ Facebook page this month and the next.
3. Quarantining tennis players voice frustrations at the Australian Open
Many of the tennis players slated to play at the Australian Open have voiced their frustrations over “unequal practice” due to quarantine requirements.
Originally scheduled to start this month, the Australian Open was rescheduled for 8 to 21 February because of COVID-19 concerns.
Nine people linked to the Australian Open have now tested positive for COVID-19 and are quarantined. Among those diagnosed are a coach, a member of the traveling broadcast team, and crew who were working on board the flights which brought the tennis players to Melbourne.
All 72 players who are affected are required to quarantine for two weeks and will not be allowed to leave their hotel rooms during this time and until they are medically cleared. This means that players are not eligible to practice.
While some players understood the need to quarantine, they are concerned that their inability to train and practice during this time will affect their ability to compete effectively at the Australian Open.
This might put quarantined players at a significant disadvantage in the first grand slam of the tennis season.
In the week leading up to the grand slam, players will be allowed out for five hours daily to train in strict bio-secure bubbles ahead of a host of warm-up tournaments, all in Melbourne.
4. Light to Night Festival returns in 2021 with an innovative hybrid format
A marquee event of the Singapore Art Week, the Light to Night Festival returns this year with a host of innovative art experiences in a novel hybrid edition.
Spearheaded by National Gallery Singapore, the festival seeks to inspire audiences to forge deeper connections with art in new and engaging ways, and start the new year off with hope and positivity under the theme: “____-in-Progress.”
To bring the theme of “____-in-Progress” to life, this year’s edition of Light to Night Festival will extend its reach beyond the Civic District by blending online, offline, and hybrid online-offline programmes.
The public can look forward to integration of augmented reality technology as well public art installations aboard the cabins of an SMRT train.
Like in previous years, the Light to Night Festival 2021 will also support the local arts community through greater collaboration with local artists and the mentorship of art students.
For the full programme of what you can expect at the Light to Night Festival 2021, do check out their website at www.lighttonight.sg. Additionally, you can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
Onsite admission to the festival is free. It takes place from 22 to 31 January 2021, with activities ongoing from 10 a.m. until midnight daily.
It will be held across various locations in the civic district including: National Gallery Singapore, Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, Asian Civilisations Museum, Asian Civilisations Museum Green, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Padang, and the Arts House.