BIRTHDAY bashes have never been this big. More than 14,000 diners celebrated the birthday of Tua Pek Kong, or the Prosperity God, at the Singapore Expo on Sunday night.
The mega dinner came with a price tag of over S$400,000 (RM840,000) and involved about 700 waiters, 150 cooks and 30 traffic marshals.
Organised by Loyang Tua Pek Kong, a temple that welcomes Taoists, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims, the event was also aimed at forging closer ties among various religions.
Last year, the temple organised a dinner at its grounds for over 6,000 people. It decided to throw a bigger party this time and started off with 650 tables in mind.
But the response was overwhelming and there had to be 1,400 tables, said temple administrator Eric Goh.
The cost of the dinner was borne by the temple and its devotees, who paid S$30 (RM63) each to attend the function.
Three caterers were engaged, one each to prepare Chinese food, Muslim food and Hindu food and 11 kitchens were set up.
Although they began preparing the food nine days ago, the cooks were still working furiously about 6 pm on Sunday, amid industrial-sized woks, huge pots bubbling with soup, and rows of steamers about 2m high. About 1,000 kg of fish and 800 kg of prawns had gone into these giant vessels.
The guests, who started streaming in from about 7 pm, were a colourful mix of senior citizens, young adults and children.
Guest-of-honour Chan Soo Sen, Minister of State for Community Development and Sports, was greeted by Indian dancers, a Malay drum troupe, and Chinese lion and dragon dancers, all performing side by side. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network