I agree! Incidentally, there was an article some time back in the our local Catholic newspaper covering the production of the vestments for this particular occasion. It gave a glimpse of the material that was to be used, but I was still hugely impressed on the day itself, when it was finally revealed to the public during the procession.
In summary, it was done by the Atelier Workshop, a non-profit team made up of religious sisters from the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary and laity. Their mission is making Catholic vestments for all the clergy within the Archdiocese. (Yes, for better or for worse, the manufacture of vestments isn’t a commercialised market in Singapore.) Their style is very conservative, mainly composed of Christological and Eucharistic motifs set against a simple straight Gothic ophrey. One could fault them for their designs being on the more ascetic side, but I personally feel this works very well.
For this special occasion, they used brocaded gold silk as the basic material. Silk is incidentally both the finest fabric in Asian tradition and a traditional material for Catholic vestments, so it is fitting that it was used for this most special occasion. This material was used thematically for the vestments made for this mass, as can be seen not only in the vestments of the Archbishop Coadjutor but also - to a lesser extent - in those of the concelebrating prelates, and the stoles of the attending priests.
If you look at His Grace’s vestments, you might come away with a feeling that it has some rather Asian influences, and you would not be wrong. If you examine it closely, you may note many motifs within the silk. The most obvious are those of the cross and the vine, which are strong Christological symbols, woven with a lightly Asian flavour. In addition, the sharp-eyed amongst you might note a flower, which is the lotus. In Asian - particularly Indian - tradition, the lotus is regarded as a symbol of purity, for it is a flower that grows from muddy swamps, yet remains unsoiled in its beauty. It is therefore considered an appropriate symbol for an archbishop, not just for his personal purity and virtue in all its dimensions, but also for his mission to lead the growing missionary church undefiled by growing secularism and anti-religious influences in modern society.
Otherwise, the motifs present on the vestments are very traditional. There are the three crosses on the mitre and four on the chasuble, symbolising the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, and there is the Chi Ro centred upon the mitre, one of the most ancient of Christograms, heavy and powerful in its significance without having to be loud and garish.
This day was doubly significant as both the Feast of the Chair of St Peter the Apostle, celebrating our communion with the Bishop of Rome, as well as an Ember Friday of the first week of Lent (if you still remember what these are). While white is the prescribed liturgical colour of this feast day and thus the main colour of all the other celebrants, gold was suitably and licitly substituted for Msgr Goh. Red was used as a secondary colour in Msgr Goh’s vestments. Red is doubly significant as both the festive colour of the Chinese on this most solemn yet joyous of occasions in the Church, as well as a harkening reminder of the descent of the Holy Spirit. In Chinese tradition, it is regarded as both a colour that brings luck and is associated with royalty, and is therefore most suitable for our shepherd to be enthroned in his cathedra. In Christian tradition, it signifies the tongues of fire of the Holy Spirit descending upon Msgr Goh during this rite of Ordination.
This was a long post, but I hope this helps anyone who has taken the time to read this.