March 28, 2006

Coming Performances

Just added a 85-sec clip by Jeong Mun Tuin

Cantonese opera performances by The Guangdong Cantonese Opera Theatre at the Esplanade Theatre.
Tickets : SISTIC
31 March 2006 @ 8pm - A Gentleman's Bridge ( Details: click here )
01 April 2006 @ 8pm - The Origin of Dreams (Details: click here )

Below is a 63-sec clip by the two lead artistes, Jeong Mun Tuin and Ting Fan, of The Guangdong Cantonese Opera Theatre.

March 27, 2006

Bloodshed in the Imperial Palace

At Tampines Cultural Centre (Tampines East CC) - 26/03/06

This is quite an unusual story.

One day the Princess and the Prince Consort were on an outing, the clumsy PC fell into a ravine. Everyone thought he would be dead. The Princess, in collaboration with the PC’s mother, did an unbelievable thing. She asked the PC’s twin brother to impersonate him. I think it was to maintain the power and status of her husband and herself. And the stupid brother agreed.

Miraculously, the PC did not die. He returned 3 years later. By then it was too late to switch back as the Princess had bore a child of his brother.

A very tragic ending - the Mother died drinking the poisoned wine which the emperor had decreed for the PC. The PC also died while his brother became insane.

I might have interpreted certain things wrongly as my understanding of Hokkien is less than 50%.

The main cast – the Princess, the PC, the Mother, the official in the ‘Law Ministry’, the court maiden Xiaohui – performed well, especially the lead artistes. The opera is also quite entertaining.

But I felt that the title is not quite appropriate. At first I thought it was about rebellion, revenge and killings. How about Tragedy in the Imperial Palace?

I was rather surprised that the orchestra was quite big. I counted 10 or 11 members.

This is the first time I watched a xiang opera performed by a local troupe.

March 22, 2006

Macpherson Constituency

I live in this constituency. Before the last or second last election Macpherson was in Marine Parade GRC (Group Representative Constituency). Then someone in the opposition said that he wanted to contest in Macpherson as he felt he had a good chance. So you see, Macpherson was taken out to be a single-seated constituency.

It is the second smallest constituency in terms of population.

This time round it was reported that two opposition parties are interested in Macpherson but they have yet come to any agreement or compromise. If both of them come in and one or two independents also join in, there would be 4 or 5 candidates. That would be some excitement. Unlikely to happen though; most likely two candidates only.

Near my block is a hawkers’ center and a wet market. These are the places where politicians usually go around shaking hands. So far none has come. Anyway they only appear during the election period. Then there will be a lot of zap, zap, zap….

Macpherson once had a minister MP many years back He was one Mr Chua. I think he was Minister of the then Ministry of Interior.

Now my MP is Mr Yao Chih.. I met and talked to him twice but not during meet-the-people sessions. I find him an amiable man who listens to you.

March 19, 2006

At Thien Hock Keng Temple

It was still early after dinner at Chinatown. I had bought ticket for the China Quyi Concert at the Singapore Conference Hall. The show would only start at 8pm. I remembered Miko’s Troupe had a performance at Thien Hock Keng Temple at Telok Ayer Street which is quite near. I decided to go have a look.

This temple, also known as Temple of Heavenly Happiness, is the oldest and most important Hokkien Temple in Singapore. Hee..hee.. not that I know a lot about temples. I read it in a friend’s blog. If you are interested, click here:

I reached the temple after seven. A young man was talking to an audience in the temple courtyard. Show started already, I thought. I sat down and looked around. Those sitting at the front were mostly tourists while the locals were behind. The young man looked a bit familiar. He was telling the audience about the history of Nanyin and Liyuanxi. He also mentioned about the Goddess of Mercy Festival.

Then three pretty young ladies and a handsome lad dressed in Tang costumes appeared. Each of them was holding a different musical instrument and they gave a demonstration of Nanyin. I find the scene has a sort of ancient oriental charm and beauty. You can imagine yourself transported back in ancient time to the imperial court of the Tang Dynasty.

I realized that this was a talk-cum-demonstration show mainly for tourists. I asked a man selling vcds at a table. He confirmed what I thought. He said the actual show would start at about eight.

Next, a handsome young man dressed as a scholar (a sheng) demonstrated some movements and expressions of emotions as well as how to use the sleeves.

Finally some tourists were invited to put on a piece of costume and to follow the movements of the sheng.

I left after 7.30. Hope I will be able to see the artistes perform in Tang costumes or in Qipao another time.

March 13, 2006

China snapshots

Journey to the West Park - the monk, Xuan Zang, with his 3 disciples

Street entrepreneurs in China

A few weeks ago there was a report with photos in the papers of how our foreigner workers were trying hard to adjust to life in Singapore. And hard work for many of them – labouring at the worksite for 8 hours, clearing garbage for 12 hours or a maid at her employer’s beck and call for the whole day and only one off-day each month.

The report somehow prompted me to look at my photos to see if any are suitable to post here. My photos are not kept systematically in albums with headings, captions and dates. I put most of them in envelopes and some were spoilt because they stuck together. Found some photos taken during my travels in China. They are not pictures of breathtaking sceneries or magnificent tourist sites, just pictures of ordinary folks going about their daily activities.

two hands also not enough

meditating? fortune-teller? no lah, he repairs shoes, a cobbler

This person sharpens knives. Sharpener, right?

Wu Song selling tiger skins.

Can you see the man in the green light?

Beep ! beep! this is the whistle-blower.


choose your faithful companion (the puppies, not the girls)

March 06, 2006

Two Shows

Friday night I was at Kreta Ayer People’s Theatre to watch Zhu Zhi San chooses a son-in-law. Saturday night, some opera friends were performing at Victoria Theatre; so I was there. Otherwise, I think I would have gone to Joo Chiat C C. Just read Miko’s entertaining report on her show. There were some unexpected hitches during the show but they handled the situation very well.

Zhu Zhi Shan is a good comedy but I wouldn’t rate it too highly. The ‘dan’ (lead female artiste) was very pretty. The ‘sheng’ (lead male artiste) was tall and thin. I think he was slimmer than the dan. I took this picture after the show. Actually I would like to take the performing artistes only but the officials joined in. The dan is in the red costume, The sheng is behind her, partially blocked by Dr Chua of the COI.

The 6 opera excerpts at VT were not new and I have seen all the artistes, except one, perform before. This one looks new and young. She was acting the Green Snake in an excerpt Flooding the Jinshan Monastery. She looked quite tense but she could remember all her songs and actions in the 30-minutes excerpt. Not bad.

During interval I went backstage to try to take some pictures. The backstage is quite vast. There are makeup rooms on both sides. I think upstairs also got. Everyone seemed to be occupied with something. Then I went onto the stage behind the closed curtain. This girl was carrying a stick-like thing with a basket at one end and walking about. So I asked her permission and took her picture.

She is Chung Wai Ling. She would be acting a peasant girl in a popular excerpt from the famous Reincarnation of a Beauty. Her acting and singing resemble Mui Suet See, a Hong Kong artiste.