- Title: VARIOUS: Taipei, Bangkok and Beijing welcome in 2012
- Date: 1st January 2012
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) UNIVERSITY STUDENT ZHANG YITIAN, SAYING: "I feel very excited to spend this year's New Year's Eve at a countdown event. This is my first time ever to participate in a countdown. I'm a fourth year university student. After graduation it's very likely that I will leave Beijing for work. I feel honoured and excited to spend my last New Year's Eve in Beijing in a countdown. This is very memorable and meaningful for me."
- Reuters ID: LVA77O52JF52N2T5KNU0VO6LT73M
- Location: Taiwan, Province of China, Thailand, China
- Country: Taiwan
- Duration: 00:00:22
- Aspect Ratio:
- Topics: Quirky,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Story Text: Tens of thousands of people in Taiwan gathered in front of the landmark Taipei 101 building on Saturday (December 31) to welcome the New Year.
Fireworks were displayed at the world's second tallest building followed by an evening of concerts and performances.
In Thailand, people celebrated at Central World shopping mall.
After enduring months of flooding and then the big cleanup, many residents were looking to take some much needed rest.
Security was tight with about a thousand military and police officers working at checkpoints and throughout the Central World plaza, which is located in the heart of Bangkok.
Fifty-year-old Linda Schlieper brought her entire family from Ayutthaya, one of the hardest hit provinces, hoping to end the year on a happy note.
"I want to find something to celebrate with my family. Because the house was really flooded, we lost a lot."
Foreign tourist Isabelle Wong enjoyed the party.
"Super. It's very big and plenty of people, I did not know, it's the first time, it's very nice."
Thirty-year-old Supaporn Warishkiporn said she came looking to have a good time after the floods.
"Well, I would like something grand for the country, something good that everyone can feel good about in their hearts. So I wanted to come so we can all be in better spirits."
Before the festivities, the evening began with monks meditating in more than 30,000 temples throughout the country. The prayers were intended to comfort flood victims and offer blessings for the new year.
The main event was held at Sanam Luang near the Grand Palace where 32 senior monks led prayers until one o'clock in the morning. At least 20,000 people showed up for the ceremony and millions of Buddhists are expected to visit Sanam Luang over the holiday weekend.
Meanwhile, in Beijing thousands of people watched Beijing's first official New Year's Eve countdown.
Organisers said about 3,500 pre-selected students, tourists and guests took part in the event at the historic Temple of Heaven, where emperors prayed to the heavens in imperial China.
Images of traditional kites and goldfish jumping out of rivers were projected on the 600-year-old royal temple.
Beijing residents said they enjoyed the event.
"It feels so festive here. This New Year's Eve is a very memorable experience. I feel very happy. I feel very joyous. The laser show is very good. It's a very memorable New Year's Eve," said student Shi Haotian.
"I feel very excited to spend this year's New Year's Eve at a countdown event. This is my first time ever to participate in a countdown. I'm a fourth year university student. After graduation it's very likely that I will leave Beijing for work. I feel honoured and excited to spend my last New Year's Eve in Beijing in a countdown. This is very memorable and meaningful for me," said Zhang Yitian, another student.
The crowd shouted in unison as the last seconds of 2011 ticked away on numbers projected on the Temple of Heaven.
As the first seconds of 2012 clocked in, laser lights lit up the Chinese capital's historic temple and red balloons rose to the sky among green laser beams and gold confetti.
Organisers said in a statement no fireworks were set off because they are not environmentally friendly.
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