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Published: Wednesday March 26, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday March 26, 2014 MYT 7:15:09 AM

Songkran festival goes dry

THERE will be no water pistol fights, celebrity dunk stations, or really, any kind of water fun at Singapore’s first Songkran water festival on April 12 and 13.

The organisers of Celebrate Songkran 2014 at the Padang have taken heed of the national campaign to conserve water and nixed the water-based activities.

Instead, they will host a Water Conservation and Water Heritage Exhibition in conjunction with national water agency PUB.

The organisers said this was appropriate in view of the recent dry spell and current moves to cut back on water usage.

Though lighting designer Sanischaya Mankhongphithakkul, 25, agrees with the rationale, it still feels a little odd. “What’s a water festival without water?”

During Songkran, celebrated every year during the Thai New Year from April 13 to 15, thousands take to the streets to douse each other with water guns and buckets.

Event organiser Leo Chin, 38, said the reworked concept does not detract from the celebration of water. “Water can either be saved or wasted. In this case, we have chosen to save it.”

While he was bracing himself for some backlash, he did not expect it to affect the target of 10,000 participants over the two days.

Chin said he cancelled all water-related activities after he had public feedback expressing concern about water wastage.

He approached the PUB last week to explore how the event could support water conservation efforts.

A PUB spokesman said: “While some rain has returned, the recent dry spell is a good reminder for all of us to not take our water for granted, and to conserve water.”

Other activities at the event will go on as planned. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

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