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Jalelah Abu Baker
The Straits Times
Saturday, Jan 7, 2017
If Chinese New Year decorations at shopping malls are looking somewhat familiar, it is likely because they have been up since Christmas.
Malls have transformed their Christmas ornaments and themes into Chinese New Year trimmings.
By doing so, the malls say they have saved money, reduced waste and managed to turn over the decorations in a shorter time.
Orchardgateway's fantasy underwater world decor was planned to cover both festivals, as the dates were almost "back to back".
This year, Chinese New Year falls on Jan 28, just a month after Christmas.
"We maintained the fantasy underwater world setting but added koi fish to bring out the Chinese New Year flavour and mood," said its spokesman.
She added that koi fish, which were added to a seascape of corals, symbolise good fortune, prosperity, longevity and success.
The mall managed to save 30 to 40 per cent in cost and wastage as a result.
Orchard Central, which is owned by Far East Organisation, said it saved up to 60 per cent in cost by repurposing Christmas ornaments, instead of putting up a new set-up.
In fact, the mall has combined its Chinese New Year decorations with Valentine's Day decorations with a turquoise and pink theme, featuring cages and artificial flowers.
More than half of the materials from the decor can be recycled. Far East's other malls, such as Clarke Quay Central and Square 2, are also repurposing decorations.
Over at CapitaLand Malls' Bugis Junction, the Christmas tree is now a giant spiral bamboo plant.
"What used to be whimsical waxed moustaches - not unlike the kind Santa typically sports - have now been turned into the upturned branches of the bamboo arrangement, signifying good luck for the coming Year of the Rooster," said CapitaLand Mall Asia's head of retail management in Singapore, Ms Teresa Teow.
Farther west, the Star Vista converted its larger-than-life Christmas bauble centrepiece into a tangerine, signifying prosperity and fortune.
The mall has donated some of its Christmas decorations to the Singapore General Hospital, which will sell them to raise funds for the hospital's Needy Patients Fund.
Ms Valerie Toh, 29, an office manager, said she did not notice the similarities in the decorations.
"Given the not-so-good economy, I think people will appreciate the malls cutting down on wastage rather than spending needlessly," she said.