To some (or many?), today is a special day for Singapore. The so-called long-awaited pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia have finally arrived just past 8:20am here in Singapore.
I do find pandas cute and in fact, I hope to have the chance to visit Chengdu Panda Centre in China someday. However, I am not excited at all about the arrival of Kai Kai & Jia Jia, and I think likewise for many out there. On the other hand, I thought I should not miss this momentous occasion, so I decided to watch the live webcast on the arrival of these two super VIPs from China which are a symbol of 20 years of good bilateral relationship between Singapore and China.
As I started watching, I decided to snap some photos from my computer screen using my iPhone, and even sent a couple to DS who was on his way to work, via whatsapp, to keep him posted. The quality of the photos are not great but I will still share them here.
Crates carrying Kai Kai & Jia Jia, waiting to be unloaded from the chartered cargo plane of Singapore Airlines that flew them from Chengdu.
Here they are! It is reported that some 60 guests including SR Nathan (former President of Singapore), Teo Ser Luck (Minister of State for Trade & Industry), Claire Chiang (Chairman of Wildlife Reserves Singapore), Chairman of CapitaLand Hope Foundation, were there to welcome them. What a great, warm welcome!
Crates were opened to unveil Kai Kai & Jia Jia to the guests at the airport. Well, I have already learned the difference between the two, but couldn’t tell from this shot who is who.
Getting ready to be transported to River Safari at Mandai. This truck was specially constructed for this occasion and the temperature in the truck was kept at 18 – 20 degree Celsius.
What a crowd at the River Safari! According to the commentary, some 500 young students from pre-schools and primary schools were there to receive our super VIPs, I mean Kai Kai and Jia Jia! They were each given an exclusive panda paw fan to wave when the pandas arrived!
6 Teams of lion dancers leading the way as the truck approached the River Safari. Traffic at Mandai Link had to be stopped to make way for the pandas!
Here they come, together with the two panda mascots
Curious young children waiting in anticipation but alas, they did not get to see Kai Kai and Jia Jia at all. All they could see was the truck driving passed them! But I heard that they were going to be treated to photo sessions with the panda mascots! So, I suppose that was their “reward” for being there.
Panda Dancing by the mascots. I must admit that they look cute!
Finally entered into River Safari that costs 8.6 million dollars and 2 years to build, and this will be home for Kai Kai and Jia Jia in the next 10 years.
Unloading Kai Kai and Jia Jia. Workers have to be very careful with every step, and all these were well rehearsed in advance too.
Just look at the number of people involved and on standby to transfer the two pandas into their quarantine dens.
Gates of the crates were finally opened to release the pandas into their individual dens. Carrots were used to lure them out. This one is Jia Jia, the female panda which had just celebrated her 4th birthday three days ago.
Here’s a glimpse of Kai Kai, the male panda which will be turning 5 years old on 14 Sep. He was one of the 7 pandas involved in the shooting of the Chinese movie Trail of the Panda （熊猫回家路）in 2008. Both pandas will be under quarantine for a month before they are released to the River Safari habitat and then open to public in December 2012.
Having spent almost the whole morning following through the live webcast, I concluded that it was incredible considering the amount of money, time, effort and labour involved, to just receive the two pandas, not to mention the tasks forward. One friend described it as “劳民伤财，劳师动众” in Chinese. I told her that’s exactly my sentiments!
Will the two pandas change my life? Will my life get better the next 10 years with them around? Well, I am sorry but my answer is a NO. I wish such huge amount of money and effort are better spent on Singaporean human beings!!