June 30, 2006

June 28, 2006


This was the last show by the Zhanjiang CO Troupe on 26 June 2006. It was a simple story but entertaining and well-performed. In all it was a good show. The main characters - a handsome man, a pretty girl, a fairy and a sea demon.

From left:- the Fairy (Lum Teng), the Lovers (Leung Siu Meng & Mak Mun Kit) and the Demon (Leong Siew Fei)

Leung Siew Meng is at the second row. On his right is Lum Teng, the second dan. Next to her is Ng Kim Meng, the second sheng (not in costume). Mak Mun Kit is at the other end. The eight pretty girls in front are dancers in the show. The kids are from their Kids' Troupe. They only performed a few excerpts on Sunday.

June 26, 2006

Maids and Soldiers

Cantonese opera fans would know Leung Siu Meng and Mak Mun Kit, lead artistes of the Zhanjiang CO Troupe. But ZJ also has a supporting cast of youthful versatile artistes who play secondary roles (characters of less importance) and other supporting roles (maids, soldiers, dancers, bandits, etc). They add zest and vigour to the show. They sometimes do take lead roles in operas or opera excerpts.

Here are some pictures of these artistes. These photos, except one, were taken backstage.

Men also yak, yak, yak… about hair-pieces?

A picture of calmness. This is Ng Kim Meng, the second sheng, but he is just an imperial guard in this show.

A handsome scholar


This is Lum Teng, the second dan. Tonight she is only a maid.

This 'dao ma dan' is Mok Yin Wun, all ready for battle.

Another 'dao ma dan', Leong Yin Har

Another lovely maid…”Pray people will notice the beautiful pink shoes I’m wearing.”

A pretty female warrior. I find that many of the dans here are pretty.

…thinking whether to add a 'butterfly'?

Everything must be correct

June 23, 2006

Backstage snapshots

The main artistes of the Zhanjiang Cantonese Opera Troupe

This is the lead female artiste, Mak Mun Kit. She was walking to the washroom. When she saw me wanting to take her, she stopped and smiled. So nice of her. Another Lin Xiu Zhen.

She with some fans

Mak Mun Kit and the lead male artiste Leung Siu Meng

Siu Meng with his personal assistant

Siu Meng again

Ling Fei, one of the senior artistes playing elderly roles

Wun Yook, another senior artiste

The lady walking away is Cheung Wah, also a senior artiste.

June 22, 2006

Xin Kwang Theatre

"........ ah ar ah are uh are ar are ah ar are ar ar arrrrrr ..... "
chang! tok! tok! tok! changgg!! chang chang chang chang chang...

You would here this if you stand outside Xin Kwang (Sun Kwong in Cantonese) Theatre in Hong Kong.

This type of singing and the clanging of cymbals is synonymous with Chinese opera.

This theatre is an icon of Cantonese opera to the people there. Throughout the year there are opera performances – by local troupes as well as China troupes. Besides Cantonese operas, occasionally there are other types of Chinese opera. The outside space is quite small and usually there are illuminated boards informing you of coming shows.

The night I was there there was a performance by a HK troupe led by two established artistes Li Long and Nam Fung.

The view from the street

The illuminated boards

This is the show I watched.

Coming performances

June 21, 2006

Hong Kong's Temple Street by Night

There are rows and rows of stalls and shops selling a variety of things from clothings, vcds to knives and torchlights. Other attractions :

Poor people's restaurant, always crowded at night

Some of the food, we dared not eat the clams which were very big. Imagine sinking your teeth into the flesh of the clams which are still half-alive. They would scream!!!

Food street

Another stall

This road has all sorts of fortune-telling stalls.

The stalls on the other side of the same road. The dimness makes them look more mysterious.

These lounges are mostly patronized by older people. The singers usually sing cantonese operatic songs. They charge about HK$20/head. You can order drinks including beer. These are not the sleazy kind of lounges.

Another one

This is not Temple Street. This is the Airport. See the heavily-armed policemen.

June 18, 2006

Zhanjiang Cantonese Opera Troupe

Leung Siu Meng and Mak Mun Kit
Leung Siew Meng and Lum Teng

June 15, 2006

Opera Channel

The hotel we stayed in in China had over 30 tv channels to choose from. Nan Fang Station 3 has cantonese opera programmes daily. This station also often shows old cantonese musical programmes from Hong Kong. Central Television has a channel dedicated to Chinese opera, CCTV 11. You can watch Chinese opera from morning to night. In between there may be China-produced movies or dramas.

One afternoon there was a Puju competition. Puju is one of the opera types mentioned by MK in her lectures. There were 5 contestants and there were 4 rounds. In each round they had to show a different skill or talent. And after each round one contestant would be eliminated. The last round in which only 2 contestants were left was the most difficult. They were given the scripts of a pop or non-opera song and they had to sing it in a Puju opera style they chose.

The contestant acting the laosheng was the first to exit. Next was the sheng in the yellow costume. You could see the dejected look on their faces. Poor things, they must have put in a lot of effort. And they didn’t even have the chance to show their other skills.

I think this system is not very fair. It would be better if everyone performed in each round and their scores were totaled up.

Contestant no. 1, the girl in the warrior costume, was the final winner.

The 5 contestants

The first to go

So sad

The winner

June 14, 2006

An Internet Cafe in China

This was my first visit to an internet café/bar. This one was in a small hotel. There were several rows with more than 50 stations. Each station had an LCD monitor, web cam and headphones. It was a weekday afternoon, only about half of the computers were occupied. There were a few westerners. Most of the people were playing games. There was a bar counter where you could order drinks.

The rate is 4 rmb/h. You pay a deposit of 20 rmb (S$4) and get a card with an ID and a password. When you check out they will deduct from your deposit. I used for less than 30 minutes and was charged 2 rmb (40 cents). I think they charge by blocks of 10 or 15 minutes.

Many sites were blocked, even blogs. I tried several sites whose url contained the word blogspot and got the message ‘the site you are looking for is not available’. So I could not see Victor’s blog or Amai’s.

My friend who has visited many places in China said such cafés were common.