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2020 Lunar New Year Celebration Dinner Survey Results:

 

In reviewing the survey results, it's interesting to look back at 2014's:

http://singaporeconnect.org/pages/survey

http://singaporeconnect.org/pages/cny-2014-survey-results

http://singaporeconnect.org/pages/cny-2014-quiz-results

 

 

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Was the selection to your liking, or what would you like more or less of?

 

The quality of food is not that great. It is ok though, as I went there mainly to connect with the community.

2/11/2020 10:50 AM

Perfect! Would be great to include lo hei and sweet tang yuan since it was lantern festival.

2/10/2020 12:32 AM

2 dishes, the Pork Leg was not ell received on my table (fried rice or chow fun or roasted chicken would be better), and dessert could have been better (almond jelly with longan).

2/9/2020 11:34 PM

The general quality of the food is not as good as last year.

2/9/2020 9:55 AM

fish was so so, otherwise everything else was yummy

2/9/2020 12:57 AM

More seafood. Felt the menu selection was a bit understated for a CNY dinner, then again generally most CNY dinner menus have the stereotypical crab/lobster/cold dish. Crab/lobster dishes are ideal choices, though difficult and messy to consume.

2/9/2020 12:20 AM

I think the selection was good enough for a table of 10

2/8/2020 11:23 PM

Preferably last year food at Jade Cathey

2/8/2020 10:11 PM

 

Comments:

First, as you can see from the feedback, going to the same restaurant, same menu, it can be rated anywhere from "needs improvement" to "excellent". So accessing the quality of food is individually subjective.

This is something we'll like suggestions on. Our team spends considerable time each year looking for a place. Sometimes we like going back to the same place because if it has worked well, it should work well again. It is also easier to negotiate a discount from a restaurant if we're a repeat customer. However, we also like choosing different geographical regions, so the event is not always so far away to get to for different people. For example, sometimes closer to SF, or the East Bay. For this year, the other places being looked at besides China Stix were Asian Pearl (Fremont), New Port (Cupertino). Of these, China Stix came in with the most affordable menu. A number of members in our organising committee had eaten at China Stix and felt they were quite good. The best part in favour was the venue can be split into two partitions, either seating 150, or 270 in total. We knew 270 would be too large, but 150 seemed about right. That's something not every restaurant can accommodate: giving us a partitioned area in that size range. The other thing we liked about China Stix was the convenient parking - which some of you feedback too.

The organising team ate at China Stix twice and chose the dishes based on that, plus substituting out more expensive dishes for cheaper dishes, though still holding out for some seafood dishes. We knew it's a bit more of a Taiwanese style than Cantonese style, i.e. may be less similar to Singapore-style Chinese seafood restaurants. We'll take your feedback to see what can be sourced next time. As for Jade Cathay, good note.

Lo Hei: Yes, it's always a thought and request. There have been years we've managed to have Lo Hei. The chief problem is it's not a well-known dish here, and it is labour-intensive to make. Most restaurants either say they can't do it, or will try, but request an additional, say $10 per head for an attempt to try doing it. Would we raise the ticket cost by $10/head to afford it? We think it's not justified. 

If you look back to 2014's survey results, though, I think the fact we didn't get comments like, "food was slow to be served" and "quantity insufficient! and i'm a girl who eats very little..." shows that our efforts to get a minimum bar, fared better in 2020 than 2014.

 

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Would you have liked other performances, such as martial arts? Were there too many or too few performances or just right?

Just right

2/10/2020 8:21 AM

magic show

2/9/2020 12:20 AM

The previous wushu performance by our SG SEA Games rep was very entertaining.

2/8/2020 11:37 PM

Good performance. like the organized way for group picture

2/8/2020 11:23 PM

Good stage for photo shots with the lions dance troupe

 

Comments:
One thing interesting is not everyone likes Lion Dance. In 2014, someone wrote, 
"Maybe we don't need this? I will prefer more desserts. And the liondance troupe were soliciting for money and wasting our time.!" 

In other years, we've also gotten feedback that there was too much entertainment and people didn't get a chance to talk or socialise enough.

The reason why we still continue to have a Lion Dance is the bulk of the respondents do like it, and more interesting, all the organisers love it. As in, if we were to source for volunteers to organise, the volunteers themselves have said, "the reason why I volunteer is I want to see a Lion Dance". So, the consensus is to still continue with a Lion Dance each year.

That said, we've made a note to have the performance shorter. As for other performances, they will depend on availability, i.e. a Wushu performance obviously depends on having such a talent being around and willing to perform. Please let us know if you know of such opportunities!

 

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Ideas to improve the format or participation?

Would be great of the lady or emcee can distribute their attention across the rooms. Tables in the corner doesnt get attention

2/10/2020 12:32 AM

Last year was fun and exciting. The game host did good but seems to be too serious making the atmosphere too “serious”. Chinese New Year should be fun and light.

2/9/2020 9:55 AM

A lot easier than 2019, thanks for allowing us to raise our hands, and not shout like 2019, thanks for asking others to get a chance esp when the other people who consistently raise their hands.

2/9/2020 12:20 AM

Introduce 1 kiddy and 1 adult game

2/8/2020 11:37 PM

fun Singapore quiz. Gets people excited and upbeat

2/8/2020 11:23 PM

Time was the good not too long

 

Comments:

Quizzes and games have often been done but one of the reasons we've had to take it "seriously" these last few years is that one of the requirements for getting funding from OSU or SGN is for the event to "help connect attendees to Singapore". In past years, perhaps we've taken it a bit literally, like having questions on current affairs in Singapore. If you look back at 2014, we had questions (the quiz, by the way, was created by Singaporeans at Stanford University, so maybe they trended towards having more brainy-type of questions) like, "What is the top item seized by Singapore Customs?", or "Which of the following may qualify a male living in Singapore for exemption from National Service?"

Then, we get interesting comments, like the quiz was too difficult. Or, it is not inclusive for those not from Singapore. This year's took into account those comments and so the quiz was made easily and the quiz was not 100% tied to Singapore-only questions, yet, still having some connection to Singapore. It has also helped that in our conversations with SGN, they have also lightened up on this, something like, as long as the event connects Singaporeans AND their network of friends together, we're OK. 

 

How did you find the lucky draw/raffle?

It was fun and warm up the atmosphere. Great job!

2/11/2020 10:50 AM

Very good. Generous sponsors.

2/10/2020 8:21 AM

Thank you for sponsoring! Wasnt sure why we need to buy the raffle tickets if it was meant tk give away prize. Some folks werent sure if cash ang pow needs to declare tax or not.

2/10/2020 12:32 AM

The number we felt were not mixed up well, alot of them were in the 300s. The root cause we believe is the box was too small that there was no room to toss and mix well. In the future, a bigger box should be used.

2/9/2020 11:34 PM

Can have more prizes.

2/9/2020 12:41 PM

Cash gift are great. I suggest breaking down the gift values as giving out to more people. Last year feels like everyone won something. Whereas this year seems to be only a selected few. The overall experience of making more people win something is more important than the prize amount in my opinion.

2/9/2020 9:55 AM

creative

2/9/2020 12:57 AM

Need to shuffle raffles more efficiently before selection.

2/9/2020 12:20 AM

Excellent prizes !

2/9/2020 12:04 AM

Good

2/8/2020 11:37 PM

I think it is OK, a draw is a draw

2/8/2020 11:23 PM

Should be given to each table a chance to participate

2/8/2020 10:11 PM

 

Comments:

"Last year feels like everyone won something. " -- Our thoughts in some years was too much time was spent drawing the raffle and collecting prizes, because people typically can't socialise while a raffle is being drawn. There was a thought to just pre-draw the numbers and flash them on the screen and let people collect, but others like the fun of seeing the winner come up. It gets a bit excessive though if a third of the venue gets a chance to come up for a prize, so for this year, we did trend towards less prizes, but with higher value per prize. It's a different viewpoint from yours, we can see, but that's our reasoning.

"Thank you for sponsoring! Wasnt sure why we need to buy the raffle tickets if it was meant tk give away prize. Some folks werent sure if cash ang pow needs to declare tax or not." -- Two reasons for buying the raffle tickets, one is, we calculated our budget with the assumption that part of it would be made up by raffle ticket sales. Income = Ticket Sales + Subsidy + Raffle Tickets. Second reason is the cash ang pow is derived from the Raffle Tickets - and gave us the flexibility of choosing the amount based on the amount of tickets purchased. The discussion on going for a cash prize: we have not done it before. However, others in our organising committee saw it had been done at other CNY events in the area. We were concerned about the tax declaration bit and checked that if the amount given out is over $600, a declaration would need to be made. It was felt that if it has been done, and kept under $600, we would be OK, and it would be welcome (as opposed to gift cards). We welcome any guidance and feedback on this.  

"The number we felt were not mixed up well, alot of them were in the 300s. The root cause we believe is the box was too small that there was no room to toss and mix well. In the future, a bigger box should be used." -- Point noted! There were some years I think we had one of those nice Raffle mixing machines. The main issue with things like that is we often can't find a place to store them after the event.

"Can have more prizes." --  We made a call out over our Facebook group for sponsors and well, we got no responses there. If you want more prizes, seriously, help us find sponsors. It's not easy to just get prizes for free. 

 

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Was the start time appropriate? Other comments?

Ok

2/10/2020 12:32 AM

Ok

2/9/2020 12:41 PM

6

2/9/2020 9:55 AM

ya started a bit late but i guess what can you do

2/9/2020 12:57 AM

Maybe if possible post schedule of time of events ahead of time if possible

2/9/2020 12:20 AM

Good

2/8/2020 11:37 PM

Just make sure Singaporeans come on time for the event.

2/8/2020 11:23 PM

Not too long or short perfectly right

2/8/2020 10:11 PM

 

Comments:

"Maybe if possible post schedule of time of events ahead of time if possible" -- Actually, it was posted on the Facebook Page for the event and on the Registration Page on Ticketspice. Can you please let us know _where_ else to post this ahead of time, so that we don't miss anyone who's looking for it?

"ya started a bit late but i guess what can you do" -- We were waiting for some key guests to arrive, and also we noted at the stated start time, we had ~ 45% (thanks to the electronic registration) checked-in. 

"Just make sure Singaporeans come on time for the event." -- We kinda tried, an email for all ticket holders was individually created (yes, it was a lot of clicking) with the table number, and the start time (5 pm) for the event, to remind folks on the day of. 

 

What else did you like or not like about the event? What can be improved or what is not needed in your opinion?

It is hard to have a perfect format. I am just thinking if there is more time/slightly different session format to know people beyond those in assigned table, that would be helpful

2/11/2020 10:50 AM

Thank you for organizing!

2/10/2020 12:32 AM

table by table pictures not quite necessary

2/9/2020 12:57 AM

Appreciate the spacious parking, the safe and brightly lit location to walk around.

2/9/2020 12:20 AM

I really enjoyed the quizzes it’s inclusive for non Singaporeans

2/9/2020 12:04 AM

None

2/8/2020 11:37 PM

I find that the CNY is a little loud. Makes it difficult for attendees to talk and socialize having to compete with the noise of the music

2/8/2020 11:23 PM

Next time put a bottle of red wine to each table where everybody can Yum Sing to each other or across other tables. This will create better atmosphere as Singapore Yum Sing party.

2/8/2020 10:11 PM

 

Comments:

"It is hard to have a perfect format. I am just thinking if there is more time/slightly different session format to know people beyond those in assigned table, that would be helpful" -- It would be super cool if you could come help us brainstorm this. We've thought about mixing people amongst tables, but quickly found this did not work - people actually WANT to sit with their friends. We would say about two-thirds of the people coming in, have a set idea who they want to be at their table. So how do we help the one-third mix around? 

"Next time put a bottle of red wine to each table where everybody can Yum Sing to each other or across other tables. This will create better atmosphere as Singapore Yum Sing party." -- There were past events we did do this - like MC leading the entire group in a Yum Sing. It can be re-visited. We probably should have made note that the restaurant has "free corkage" earlier and encourage people to bring in red wine, if that helps. We've generally tried not to purchase alcohol but let it be donated.

"I really enjoyed the quizzes it’s inclusive for non Singaporeans" - That's great!

 

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Comments:
The pricing for the event has crept up over the years as the main cost of the event, a table of food served at a restaurant, has gone up. The relative amount of subsidy (per head) we get has also slightly gone down, as our events have gotten larger (which is a good thing!) There were some years where we miscalculated the expected number of registrations, but had to pre-commit number of tables ordered to the restaurant, so we had a loss.

A challenge with the CNY event is we offer tickets with a range of prices, from kid to student to adult. The obvious reason is we want to make the event inclusive for all, and recognise that families with children can find it harder to justify full-fare tickets for everyone, and students tend to have lower disposable income. We certainly want to welcome all these groups, so we have variable ticket pricing. Yet, the restaurant charges the same per table whether you have it full of students or adults. To get to a balanced budget, yet be able to publish ticket prices in advance, we have to model the expected ratio and hope it doesn't skew too much, say, we get too many students (which of course we don't want to dissuade), and start making a loss. 

Overall, we try and make a small profit on the LNY event. We have managed to fill in these losses from past years in subsequent years, and our goal is to give the profits from the LNY event back to the community, by subsidising events over the year where it is not preferable to charge for admission (i.e. potlucks/networking events), but still have costs. Sorry if it feels a little too expensive, but you have got to know, restaurant food is not cheap in the Bay Area!

 

 

Issues that did not happen:

It's great to look back to 2014 and see what did not happen in 2020.

In 2014, checking in people at registration was slow. A comment made, 


"
Have more registration points, and not arrange names according to their last name. More importantly, make use of a laptop/excel sheet to speed up the location of one person's name. So, process is like this 1. Guest arrives, get name (first or last does not matter) 2. Use laptop/excel sheet to CTRL+F to locate their given name 3. Get the table number of that guest 4. Locate the tags using the table number 5. Give tag - having more receptionists would also speed up wait time."

"Let us know our seats prior to the event and put up the list at the door. There is probably not a need for registration if entrance is by self print tickets. If still concern about security then generate QR codes or similar. No cost involved."

In 2020, guess what? We have smartphones, and we could look up the guest registration by first or last name, to get the table number. We also took the effort to email ticket-holders the assigned tables ahead of time. And in 2020, we did QR codes! 

"The late start to the food can be attributed to a communication lapse on the organisers. The registration process was proceeding slower than scheduled, resulting in significant resources being dedicated to this. The organiser in charge of food did not inform the restaurant at the event on when to start serving food. The other organisers who were not in charge of food were too busy to check on this. Around the same time, one of the organisers, the MC, and some of the attendees noticed that the food was not starting on time. A query to the restaurant was made and they said they were waiting for the command to start serving food."

It feels like we were a lot more organised this year - registration just about mostly closed by the start time. Overall, we were about 5 minutes off the schedule.

"Many attributed the insufficient ability of the MC to convey her message over to the attendees to their unawareness of the quiz. Some others thought that the quiz (or any other game) was not essential to such a Chinese New Year dinner."

Part of that was the restaurant in 2014 did not have a sound system, and we installed a home system which was not powerful enough to be heard over the din. From this, we knew we could no longer cheap out on not paying for a sound system. The survey in 2014 established people were willing to pay an average of $1.47 extra per ticket to get a sound system. Unfortunately, it's not that inexpensive, but we made it a must to have a good sound system at events by renting it if the restaurant does not come with one, even though it does cost quite a bit more than $1.47 per person (say in the region of $3 per person). This made it possible for the MC to be heard. And by making the quiz (a component for OSU/SGN purposes) fun, including tying it to prizes, the comments in 2020 appear more like people enjoyed it!

"Having Yu Sheng is nice but it is fine without it. I was very embarassed that our community could not be quiet when the MC was speaking. It took the lion dance to keep them quiet!! We need to have volunteers watching at least every 2 tables before the MC starts speaking to keep the noise down. This is not new. This has also happened at the National Day event organised by Singapore Consulate. This needs to be enforced in the future. The MC spoke way too fast that I could not even understand a word of English. Other than that, the event was great. Keep up the great work!"

Well, being an MC is tough! We are fortunate to have an MC in 2020 who spoke clear, if not banter-like, Singaporean English and is clearly happy to be one.

The MC in 2014 was a Stanford Student who was willing to give it a go, but had a bit more of an academic sort of delivery, admittedly. Still, thank you all volunteers for putting in time and effort into events for our community!

"Seating arrangements were very awkward and tables were very strangely grouped together. It would have made more sense to allocate a set number of tables for each group (NUS/Stanford/IPA) and allow them to arrange seating amongst themselves."

Did not seem to have complaints about the table groupings this time.

"Space was okay, however food serving time was slightly messed up. The start of service wasn't until 30 mins into supposed start time. Then there were either really long waits in between dishes, or 2-3 dishes came pouring in together without proper staggered timing resulting in waiters having to clear the dishes really quickly without everyone fully enjoying each individual dish. Good job organising though! Thanks!"

Did not seem to have complaints food serving time being as messed up this time.