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Much to savour in a testing monkey year

This Chinese New Year, we see the festivities through the eyes of a novice photojournalist and a veteran. What CNY means to us is portrayed in the kinds of people, decor and scenes we choose to photograph.

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FEAST FOR THE EYES: An elderly lady trying to select the endless choices of CNY snacks she can buy. Cookie-sellers stack their stalls with hundreds of jars during the festive season.

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UNITY IN DIVERSITY: Despite the name, CNY is not just for the Chinese. Being a multi-racial, multi-religious society, it is imperative for all to learn about the culture of each other's races. From childhood, we are exposed to holidays, traditions and stories from various races and religions.

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CUT ABOVE THE REST: These days, lanterns aren't the simple, plain-red decorations of the past. Walk along Chinatown and you will find a plethora of lanterns in different shapes, sizes and textures. The lanterns in this photograph are made with a patterned material, giving them a classier look than your average paper ones.

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MONKEY BUSINESS: If you were called a monkey as a child, don't fret! The monkey is widely perceived as smart and powerful. In the olden days, people even offered sacrifices to monkeys to pray for rain. Many Chinese folk try to give birth in a monkey year, as they believe that this will make their children clever.

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ENSURING GOOD TIDINGS: In Chinese culture, the sunflower embodies long life, good luck, and is considered auspicious. Its yellow colour signifies vitality and intelligence. This CNY, make sure to have this symbol of happiness in your house!

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GETTING A GRIP ON THINGS: As everyone is well aware, 2016 is the Year of the Monkey. But did you know that years are all multiples of 12? From 12 AD, through 1200 AD, to now, in 2016.

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PLENTY TO TAKE IN: Chinatown is not only for shopping or sightseeing - but for eating as well. For the full package, tourists and expats come here to try out local flavours, while soaking in the culture.

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TIME FOR A CHANGE: Many Chinese throw out old furniture and clothes to replace them with the newer and the nicer during CNY. In Chinatown, even lanterns cannot escape the fate of being discarded and replaced.

IT'S the Year of the Monkey, which as animals go, is one of the most interesting creatures in the world. There are over 250 different species. They range in size from the pygmy marmoset, which has a five-inch body weighing about 100 gms, to the large mandrill, which is about 35 kgs.

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