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They've stolen Songkran! How Singapore is promoting its H2O fest

How Singapore is Stealing Songkran

Monday, March 17, 2014
Today's Updating News Report

PHUKET: The Grinch stole Christmas. Now Singapore is stealing Songkran, chasing visitors to attend its own version of the traditional Thai New Year water festival.

While authorities on Phuket have argued for years whether Songkran should be kept traditional or sold as ''world's biggest water fight,'' the wealthy Singaporeans are going with the flow.

''Celebrate Songkran 2014 in . . . Singapore!'' shouts the promotion on the internet at, where Singapore seems determined to undermine Thailand's exclusivity on the festival.

''It's gonna get really wet!'' says the caption under a photograph of a Thai boy about to squirt a stream of water directly at the camera.

The theft of Songkran is part of the promotion for the H2O Music Festival at The Padang, Singapore, The two-day festival will be the ''Largest Water Festival Celebration Party in Singapore!''

The festival on April 12-13 is a bit more expensive than Songkran on Phuket or in Thailand, with tickets starting at $35 and ranging up to $75. Muay Thai kick boxing and Thai food are part of the package.

This could be the turn of Thailand to tackle Singapore for appropriating Thailand's culture in much the same way that Indonesians claim Malaysia has ripped off many of its traditions and passed them off as its own.

Each year, thousands of Thais join tourists in the streets of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Pattaya and splash each other with water. They also splash out the cash.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand projects that despite the political tension, tourism spending during this year's Songkran Festival will grow by 5.3 percent to 4.3 billion baht in the 13 provinces in which it is holding promotions.

But there's no accounting yet for Singapore Songkran, which is likely to make a splash among the cash-rich citizens of the island nation and their visitors.

*The Grinch is a fictional creature created by Dr Seuss. He first appeared as the main character of the 1957 Christmas story 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas!'


Comments have been disabled for this article.


I'm definitely going.

Posted by nicke on March 17, 2014 14:54


"Steal"? ha ! Thailand has long been the copy king.

Posted by bombdefuzer on March 17, 2014 15:30


didn't the Thais steal a vietnamese fried noodle dish and renamed it to "thai fried"?

Posted by paddy on March 17, 2014 15:33


Perfect thanks for the tip that's songkran sorted no rip offs or tuk tuk crooks and you'll get what you actually pay for in clean old Singapola

Posted by scunner on March 17, 2014 16:08


actually may go was going to fly my son up from school in singapore for weekend but this will be easier and as someone mentioned you can have a drink and not worry about being ripped off by tuk tuks

Posted by Michael on March 17, 2014 19:54


I dont think they can copy a true Thai Songkran Festival.
There will not be 100's of death people on the roads.. they are not allowed to use waste water against tourists as happened last year at Patong, no drunk drivers on the road, etc. Besides that, in singapore there is proper transportation, proper law enforment etc. Basically they just cannot copy our mess here... no way

Posted by Mr. K on March 17, 2014 21:43


Singapore is welcome to it. Maybe they will recapture the old spirit of what it was about instead of the insane nonsense it has become in Thailand.

Posted by Logic on March 17, 2014 23:43


Sounds like two days of fun!

Posted by me on March 18, 2014 06:53


Thailands culture? Don't forget it's also celebrated in the same way in Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. Good on Singapore for celebrating the New Year of these countries. I'd love to attend it myself. Even in Australia it will be celebrated enthusiastically amongst these Nations communities.

Posted by It's too late on March 18, 2014 08:44

Editor Comment:

If it was a cultural exercise, that would be fine. But some Singapore entrepreneur is ripping off all those communities and pocketting $35 to $75 a head. How much of that will get back to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar? Not one cent.


Wow, I want to Singapore for Songkran! Singapore confirm make Songkran very cool and exciting. Anyway Songkran is not only limited to Thailand, Songkran is a festival widely celebrated in Vietnam , Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and even Sri Lanka.

Posted by MaryLamb on March 18, 2014 08:54

Editor Comment:

Celebrated as a free event, MaryLamb, not a money-making exercise for entrepreneurs.


Be my guest! if they wanna do it.
It will not get as crazy as Chiangmai or Pattaya where the whole city is shutting down, I bet it would be just a street somewhere in singapore being shut down. What's so fun about it?. You can't get a true sipirit of Songkran.

Posted by MJ_Boy on March 18, 2014 09:11

Editor Comment:

No, but you can earn up to $75 per squirter.


This is not like the situation between Malaysia and Indonesia. In that case, those tradition were truly indigenous and part of Malaysian culture. It was just that Malaysia and Indonesia have common aspects of the culture ... no theft there.

Posted by Cultural Seer on March 18, 2014 10:32

Editor Comment:

I guess the same applies to Thailand and Singapore, Culture Seer?


"How much of that will get back to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar? Not one cent" and why should it? A great entrepreneurial idea and definitely will get the support of many. Thailand is the capital of copying everything and anything - the tables have suddenly been turned and know you are complaining about it? ha hilarious.

Posted by Ciaran on March 18, 2014 10:53

Editor Comment:

I'm not complaining, Ciaran, merely trying to get you to understand the difference between culture and cold, hard cash.


to start with Songkran was "stolen" from India where it is known as "Sankranti". It actually merges both Sankranti and Holi traditions into 1.

Also its celebrated throughout the region NOT exclusively in Thailand.

And last how it is celebrated today in thailand has nothing to do with culture, traditional way is to pour water gently NOT a water fight...

Posted by Wan on March 18, 2014 12:44

Editor Comment:

Is there some point you wish to make about Singapore's appropriation of the region's culture for profit, Wan, or not? So far it appears not . . .


Dear Editor,

Charging for the music fest is not a rip-off.

The rest of the event (Bazaar, Carnival, Muaythai) is FREE ENTRY for everyone...

More importantly, never was there any intent to replace or replicate. It is to provide an alternate venue for people who cannot make it to the authentic celebrations.. Come on, who can replicate those events in Chiang Mai, Khao San Road, etc...? Nobody..

Posted by Gary on March 18, 2014 12:52

Editor Comment:

Opportunism, Gary, is how i would categorise it.


It is callled stealing! i just wonder who think that thai copy king or thai fried noodle (it 's called pad thai) have you guy ever been to thailand or know about real original thai tradional and history?

Posted by Clumsy on March 18, 2014 17:01


Singapore is pathetic in trying to emulate such culture, anyway it would resemble nothing like the fun you will enjoy in Thailand. Totally gonna boycott it, and I will tell everyone to!

Posted by james on March 18, 2014 23:49


I'm surprised Chalerm hasn't filed several law suits...

Posted by Ted on March 19, 2014 14:28


reminds me of the Eminem song.... "will the real slim shady please stand up...."

Posted by Anonymous on March 20, 2014 20:06



Its all one world really Pad Thai, Chillis (Americas) papaya (South America)

Posted by Michael on March 20, 2014 23:26


I think what the author is trying to pin-point is the "charging" part.Go ahead and celebrate Songkran anywhere in the world but don't go using it for selfish reasons.It will be hard for others to understand,we are talking about a valuable tradition.

Posted by Eilla on April 2, 2014 11:57

Editor Comment:

Singkran has been cancelled because it worked against the city state's need to conserve water.

Saturday June 25, 2022
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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