City Harvest Dialect Church members enjoyed a family carnival with professional haircuts, photo-taking services and a cooking competition.
Contributed By Gan Sok Hoon
The annual family carnival held by City Harvest Dialect Church this year outdid itself with great services and games that left members and volunteers in high spirits.
The May 22 carnival, which ran from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. saw chartered buses bringing members, mostly elderly, from various parts of Singapore to the CHC building in Jurong West.
There were the usual booths offering games and food, but what made this particular carnival unique were booths offering haircuts, manicures and professional photo-taking services. These were a particularly great hit with the members.
At the professional haircut booth each haircut went for as little as S$2. A queue quickly formed from the entrance of the carnival all the way into the hall. Hairstylists were snipping away non-stop as they tended to close to 40 customers. Kate Phan, one of the three professional hairstylists said, “This is my first time providing haircuts at a carnival. I have always wanted to do volunteer work but have been very busy at work. I’m glad to have the opportunity to serve the Dialect Church members today.” She added that she felt “very fulfilled” watching many walk away satisfied with their fresh new looks.
Strategically located opposite the haircut booth was the photo booth. Right after getting their haircut, many proceeded to take pictures with their friends and family. The booth was practically a mini photo studio, professionally set up with nice backdrops and proper lighting. The lensmen at the booth were volunteers from the photography ministry of CHC. Photos were printed on the spot for the members.
The carnival also brought members down memory lane with booths featuring childhood games such as guppy-catching, balloon-bursting and bowling down tin cans. The members simply couldn’t get enough of the fun-filled games and yummy treats—they kept going back to the ticket sale booth to purchase S$2 tokens which entitled them to two rounds of games and two snacks.
The snacks, located at the roof-top garden on the fifth floor, where potong ice-cream and ice-cream sandwiches were sold. There were also free snacks and packet dinners. As the crowd enjoyed the food, they were entertained by a few of the elderly singing karaoke.
In another part of the building, the organizers held a cooking competition. The air was filled with the aroma of curry and spices. The contestants cooked up a storm with dishes such as fish head curry, traditional yam rice, chicken cooked with red wine, rendang chicken, sambal prawns, vegetable curry, and more. A total of eight contestants, mainly housewives with years of cooking experience, took part in the competition which proved a tough fight. Even the judges concluded that it was a difficult contest to judge as all the dishes were authentic and delicious home-styled items. The winner was Low Swee Choo, 67, who whipped up an outstanding traditional yam rice. This was her first time taking part in a cooking competition.
A mini-concert was held at the Children’s Church Hall at Level 4, where the Dialect Church’s song leaders and back-up vocalists performed a wide range of songs: Mandarin oldies, all-time favorite hits and contemporary English numbers. The audience thoroughly enjoyed themselves singing and clapping along as each performer sang. Many spontaneously went up to stage to sing and dance with the performers.
Teresa Pang, who brought her grandmother to the carnival, said, “The carnival was well-organized and ran smoothly. I was very moved by the devotion and love of all the workers and the volunteers for the elderly. It is such an inspiration to me!”
The Dialect Church Carnival 2011 was a resounding success, thanks to all the dedicated volunteers and the School Of Theology students who worked hard to make the event happen. Said one SOT student, “I never knew that serving could be this fun. It brought me great joy to see so many happy people enjoying themselves. It warms my heart to see all volunteers giving their best and all to help out. I have learned through helping out.”