July 30, 2007

Opera nite @ the Frontier

28 July 2007.

Mr Cedric Foo, MP for West Coast GRC, came but he attended only one excerpt after giving away some souvenirs. Quite a pleasant man, like my MP Mr Yao Chih. As he left he walked up the passage-way shaking hands with people like during election time.

The CC was very generous - the audience got free drinks and snacks , even got people giving out free hot coffee.

Nothing much to write about the shows except one funny thing.

Half-way through one excerpt I think the dan's microphone strayed away from its path, so it no more faced the dan's mouth. As a result the dan's voice was barely audible. Then someone from backstage gave her a hand-held mic. The dan did a cute thing. She tried to tuck the mic under the waist strap of her costume. Hahaha...I find it quite amusing, like a bandit tucking his pistol in his waist.

The mic couldn't go in. I wonder why she wanted to do that. So all you performers, ensure that your mic is working properly and securely fastened.

The group photo.....



, 戚超群, 钟丽容...


July 26, 2007

小公主 與 小駙馬

Pictures from cantonese opera magazine 粵劇曲藝. These kids performed in HK recently. According to the magazine the audience had a fun and hilarious time laughing and clapping away. I think the happiest people must be their parents.

'打金枝'的小公主與小駙馬, 觀眾看得開心極了.

析梅巧遇生和花旦, 大快心.

洛水夢會, 小朋友雖然不懂情情愛愛或什麼是海枯石瀾, 也演得絲絲入扣, 唱得動聽.

英雄, 易水送荊軻.

July 25, 2007

Movie star follow-up

Chun See and fmchan, both of you are right. She is Kar Ling (嘉玲).
, Kar Ling, now.....

and this is she 40 years ago...look so different.

July 21, 2007

Movie star

Hello, those of you who often in the past watched old cantonese black-and-white movies, do you recognize this former film star below. I think you could also watch her movies on our television before the no-dialects on TV policy took effect. I can't remember that was how many years ago. After that all dialect programmes were dubbed in mandarin.

She used to partner Xie Xian (
謝賢) in her movies. According to this programme I watched she married a Thai businessman, retired completely from movie-making and went to Thailand.She now lives a peaceful contented life with her family.

July 20, 2007

Computer screen

This is my computer screen. See, there are lines across the top. At first, maybe 1 year ago, only a few but now they are about 1cm thick already. Anyone got these on your screen?

There was an article two days ago which says prices of LCD monitors have dropped 30%. So I was thinking whether to buy one. But this computer is more than 3 years old. On second thought, I think leave it alone. Wonder whether there will be more lines.

July 19, 2007

A leaf from Singapore's Chinese opera history....

1996, Clarke Quay - Chinese Theatre Circle, probably in collaboration with STPB, started the weekly presentation of traditional chinese opera at Clarke Quay. It was accompanied by a live orchestra. The performers did their make-up at the open space in front of the stage. They also changed into their costumes on stage for everyone to see. The opera excerpts attracted local fans as well as tourists.

This is Lou Mee Wah, now the instructor and chief of the Tanjong Pagar CC cantonese opera group, helping a performer with her costume.

The two artistes posing with a tourist were Richard Lee Kim Seng and Jasmine Cheung Seok Lin.

The excitement of a live street opera performance. A scene frozen in time.
I felt it was a good idea. It could also include other local groups as well as other operas like Li Yuan Xi, Hokkien opera, Yue opera, etc.

July 17, 2007

Sad farewell

I have been attending concerts by the Singapore Chinese Orchestra for years. I know only one musician in person but I can recognize many others by sight and I know some by names and something about them from write-ups in the programmes.

Today I visited a blog of Miko's friend and learnt that one of the SCO musicians has passed away recently - at just 53. A talented man - what a loss. Tian du ying cai. He is Mr Yeo Puay Hian. He played the Zhongruan and he was also a composer. I still remember him on stage. He used to sit on the right side of the conductor together with other musicians playing the plucked-string instruments like pipa and liuqin.

So although I only know this little about him, I feel a sense of loss. He will not be there on my future visits.

July 16, 2007

Dr Goh Keng Swee

I think it was in the mid 80s. It was Dr Goh who thought teachers' pay were too low and unattractive for such an important and stressful job. So he revised teachers salaries. Not just a few dollars or just for starting pay. He revamped the salary scales across the board making teaching more attractive. It boosted teachers' morale and thickened their wallets. So teachers are very grateful to Dr Goh.

He also felt that at that time civil servants were using pompous and flowery language in their correspondence. So he recommended them read the book 'The Complete Plain Word'.

This photo shows Dr Goh, then MP for Kreta Ayer, receiving a cheque from a cantonese opera artiste at a fund-raising show at Kreta Ayer People's Theatre.

小曲 - 浪子心声

July 15, 2007

Traffic offence

Almost forgot about this.....

One night, I think at least 10 months ago, I stopped at a police road block. I think they were looking out for drink drivers. Die, I thought, too late.

No, I didn't drink; only too late to put on the seat belt. The officer came to my side, looked in and was quick to notice this. He recorded my particulars and mentioned something about demerit points. I expected the TP to send me an offence notification. But till now I have not heard anything from them. I wonder if they have dropped the case since I have no other offence in their record or maybe they don't send notifications.

Does anyone know the penalties for (the driver) not wearing seat belts?

July 13, 2007

Chinese opera stage

The pictures are from a book about Chinese opera history in Singapore. These are opera stages in the 50s/60s.

A quaint-looking opera stage.....

A unique juxtaposition - a cabaret songstress singing at a Chinese opera stage.

July 12, 2007

邵振環 Siu Chan Wan

The first artiste in the second row is Siu Chan Wan.

Chun See wrote about ‘disappearing wayang stages’ in his blog and there was mention of a Cantonese opera artiste Siu Chan Wan. People commented that he was very good. I have also heard about him but know little about him and I watched him perform once only.

Here are two comments from Chun See’s blog (Link at the column on the right.) -

1. I think Siew Chan Wan is almost 80 and still plays a young scholar in the local scene. No doubt he is good but to see him playing a young hero (with limited movements) is a heartache. I had a picture of him playing as a young lady (mah j) and mind you, he looks 'pretty'.

2. I recall that "Siew Chan Wan" was very popular, had numerous Cantonese opera fans, and commanded a huge fee then, and apparently must be booked months or a year in advance.

I looked up my ‘opera archive’ and found the poster above. He is from Malaysia. He came in 2002 to perform at the 145th anniversary of Pat Wor Wui Kun. He performed an excerpt with a HK artiste. That was the one I watched. I remember there was some funny part. At that time I thought he was in his late 60s. I could imagine in his younger days, with his good looks and good skills, he must be the idol of many opera fans.

But I also share the sentiment that an elderly opera artiste should not play the role of someone who is, say 45 years younger. There may be exceptions. Senior citizens taking up opera mainly for recreation or leisure are also exceptions.

July 10, 2007


This is a nice video but every few minutes the producer's 'logo' floats across the screen and sometimes momentarily blocks out the performer's face. This logo is quite big somemore. Annoying and it spoils the video. Is there a way to remove it?

July 06, 2007

Where can you..........?

1...buy new books by kg...

2...enjoy using public toilets without door and flush...

3...listen to cantonese opera songs foc in the park...

4... see people idling and smoking at a public exercise station...

5...see swordswomen learning 'jade girl sword skills'...

6...still travel in buses with cables...

7...take a cruise along the Zhu Jiang...

8...buy imitation dvds at about 5% of the price of the originals...

I think you all know where already....right, it is Guangzhou.

July 04, 2007

Old pictures

My friend Victor, a compassionate man, blogged about an old woman rummaging through a rubbish bin at Geylang, Singapore. Then I remember I also took a picture of an old woman, so decided to pick some old pictures to show you...These pictures were taken in Hong Kong one December two or three years back.

Night time. This old woman was begging at one of the busiest districts in HK - Mongkok. It was December and the temperature at night can drop to as low as 13 degrees C. The picture was a bit blur because this camera has no anti-burr and I felt bad if I held it to focus for too long. Regrettably, I did not help the woman.

In contrast, on the same night and just tens of metres away, these flirtatious girls, promoting some products, were posing for photographers.

I have tried Hainanese chicken rice in HK. The rice was yellow in colour. The chicken skin was yellow and oily. Some blood in the chicken bones was still reddish. The chilly was more sweet than hot. And expensive - about HK$45 (S$9). Our HCR is much better.

This shop specializes in fish...fish balls, fish cakes, fish this and fish that. Not bad.

July 02, 2007

PM on a Tiger

PM Lee on a Tiger Airways flight to Hanoi. Picture from Tiger Tales, in-flight magazine, May/June/July issue.

About 10 years ago, after the plane had landed and was taxiing on the runway, you could see people getting up and trying to get down their luggage. Nowadays you don't see this anymore. Maybe people are more experienced.

Somehow I thought
of the first time I tried to get off a moving bus before it stopped completely at the bus-stop. At that time the buses had no doors. I fell and my schoolbag also dropped down and some books fell out. Luckily I had only some bruises, nothing serious.

Soon I learnt that you have to run forward a short distance to ease off the momentum. How fast and how far you run depends on the speed of the bus. This is something to do with Newton's law about a body in motion.

Later I could do that quite well and I quite enjoyed this little 'thrill'.