November 30, 2007

广州粤剧团 - 豪门千金

For the Heiress’ Hand, 25 November 2007

This story is adapted from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. You might have read this in your Literature lessons in school. Remember the loan shark Shylock wanted to cut off a pound of flesh from his enemy, a merchant who couldn’t repay his debt on time.

I almost forgot how the lawyer argued and won the case for the merchant. Halfway into the show I remembered – he must cut exactly one pound, not more or less and the man must not shed any blood.

I feel the show is more of a play than an opera. Fans who are pure traditionalists will not like this. I won’t say it is very good but it is watchable and enjoyable. But I prefer the other new-style opera Hua Yue Ying. In many aspects It is much better.


Maids and assistants

November 27, 2007

Chinese orchestra

Another type of performance I enjoy watching is the Chinese Orchestra. The Singapore Chinese Orchestra is a very good one and it has performance regularly. Others like the Lion City CO and the Keat Hong CO seldom have public performance.

Here are two musicians in the SCO.

My two favourite instruments are the Pipa and the Erhu. The SCO has many huqin (erhu, gaohu, zhonghu) musicians and I have seen several of them perform solo pieces. In the pipa section there are only four musicians. I have seen only two of them doing solo - Yu Jia and Hou Yue Hua. Usually SCO chooses Yu Jia for solo. I think because she looks more glamorous.

I also like the sanxian. The only sanxian musician in the SCO is Huang Gui Fang.

To learn to play a musical instrument is not easy. You need plenty of discipline and self-motivation because it can be tough, boring and requires long hours of practice.

November 26, 2007

名曲欣賞 - 三年一哭二郎橋

Hello, does anyone know of any free software that can split mp3 music files?

November 25, 2007

Chinese opera at Capitol ?

Did you read this in Saturday's papers?
Sounds good. Not long ago someone suggested converting Majestic Theatre into a Chinese opera museum. But where got so many people interested in Chinese opera. And how often can they come.

November 22, 2007

Indian food

Remember, a couple of weeks ago I mentioned about this Big Banana eatery. The place is open now. It sells North and South Indian Food. I think it is cooked food - the food are laid out and you pick, not you order from a menu and the cook cooks your order.

Victor is also right - there is a stall inside selling fried bananas.

November 20, 2007

Holiday season

I was at OG departmental store, Chinatown, last saturday. Quite crowded and there were about a dozen people looking for luggage at the luggage section which is at level 5, the topmost level. Months ago there were the most two or three people. The year-end long school holiday has just started. This is a top holiday period for Singaporeans.

The economy is doing well; people are more affluent and travel more and can be lavish in their spending.
Hope they save some money too. Must set aside some fund for belt-tightening days, right? I think oil prices will go up further. This in turn will cause prices of many things to rise.
Inflation is predicted to go up to 5% next year.

And with inflation, investment advisers say don't put all your money in fixed deposits in the bank because your savings will worth much less later.
Also, diversify your investments. But for many ordinary people, I think there aren't many choices. They are not knowledgeable about shares, commodities, forex, etc. Insurance is meant for long-term and must suit your needs. Unit trust is more for medium-term and also does not give very good returns. Investment-linked deposits are not very attractive either. What else?

Synopses of coming shows by
广州粤剧团, please see Chinese opera performances (link at the right)

November 18, 2007

Opera enthusiasts 2

An unfortunate thing - A pair of sheng-dan from England performed the excerpt Lu An Zhou (Loh Onn Chow in cantonese). Not far into the show the sheng's hair suddenly became loose. As you all know, in this excerpt the sheng has to do a lot of strong action and vigorous movement. As a result his hair got tossed about and hampered his performance. Poor thing. But he courageously carried on with his performance till the end.

The audience appreciated that as well as their good performance and gave them a resounding applause. The hair-stylist did not do a good job or he himself was careless?

Some pictures of performers in the last two nights:


陈美燕, 胡桂馨, 卢少玲

金莲 - 卢少玲, 郭广麟

旦), 胡桂馨 This is the England dan who performed Lu An Zhou. She is tall.

俏潘安 - 王金英, 锺慧玲

王金英 - see, so relaxed after the show

A short clip of 陈美燕

a song by 王悦和, 方淑銘 (Malaysian)

November 16, 2007

Opera enthusiasts

A gathering of cantonese opera/songs enthusiasts from Europe and Asia at Kreta Ayer People's Theatre, Singapore. It is on from 14 - 17 Nov 2007.

They may not be the best from their countries. But it is a good opportunity to see them and to hear them sing. It is encouraging to see people of Chinese descent in other lands preserving and cherishing their culture.

Here are some pictures of
our friends. ...

Denmark and Thailand...




Hong Kong, this man is a very good singer...


比利時, I'm not sure of the name in English...
HK, England, Singapore, Switzerland...

A short video of Lu Bu performed by

November 15, 2007

MP and race

It was reported that In a survey, 92% of the people said they would vote for an MP of a different race. It means most people would not mind if their MP is of another race. I presume the MP is better-qualified than his opponent. If both are equal, then people may take race into consideration.

Now if you ask them 'Would you mind if there were no MPs of your race?', I am quite certain many would mind, particularly the minorities. It is not racist thinking; just that they think there would be no one to voice their concerns and aspirations. And if that ever happens, it is not good for our country.

As for myself, I won't mind voting for a non-Chinese MP but I would mind if there were no Chinese MPs in Parliament. These are two different things. Some Chinese may say they won't mind because they think it won't happen.

November 08, 2007

Chinese characters?

Hello, does anyone know why my computer cannot display certain Chinese characters. This one, for instance...

or this, look at ????? in the last line.

and this:

All the examples are from Melanie's blog.

November 06, 2007

白蛇传 Madam White Snake

3 November 2007 at Kreta Ayer People's Theatre, performed by the Tanjong Pagar Community Club Cantonese Opera Group, students of Lou Mee Wah.

Putting up a Chinese opera show in Singapore is a tedious, energy-sapping task, particularly a full-length opera by a CC group. According to Mee Wah, last year when she decided to do MWS, her friends asked her why she chose this opera as it would be very taxing for her as well as for her students.

Like most Chinese opera artistes in Singapore, opera is just a passion for her students; they have a full-time job to do. Understandably, their standards vary. There are some who did well and there are some who need to put more effort in their skills and more feeling in their songs. Shortcomings notwithstanding, the show was a great effort by the Group and it was a creditable performance indeed.

Different artistes took turns to play the three leading roles - Xu Xian, Bai Su Zhen and Xiao Qing.

The best scene was Flooding the Jin San Monastery. It was well-choreographed – slick and fast-paced accompanied by rousing music. Besides combat, there were displays of some excellent acrobatics and big-flag manipulation skills. Overall it gave the audience superb visual and audio entertainment.

A refreshing and unique feature – while waiting for the scene to change, a storyteller with two aunties as his audience, came out to tell the story of MWS. There was even the nostalgic catchy tune that used to precede Lee Dai Sor’s stories on Redifusion in the old days. The storyteller sat on a wooden box and the two women sat on the floor listening to him. The storyteller was Christopher Choo. Haha, he is a good storyteller.

Judging from the response around me, the audience liked this arrangement.

An unexpected thing – the VIP Assoc Prof Koo Tsai Kee, MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC, came before the show started at 7.30pm and stayed throughout the show until curtain call and photo-taking. Don't know he understood or not.

Picture, from left : Christopher Choo (the storyteller), Chung Yook Har (Green Snake), Loh Kwai Lan (Scholar Xu Xian) and Li Bing Mui (White Snake). They performed in the last two scenes.
朱振邦, 霞, 劳桂兰,

The 2 snakes - anxieties and worries before the show give way to joy and relief!

The artiste with the golden headgear was a 'heavenly soldier'. He was also the martial arts director. I think he is Gordon Choy. The one with the funny face was a 'crab general'. He manipulated the big flag.

November 02, 2007


I read a handbook. It says God always answers prayers. But, the answer is not just 'yes'. It can be Yes, No, Not yet or Here is something else for you. Well, anyway isn't it heartening to know that God listens to us.

In a previous post I said God didn't answer my prayer. I was wrong then. He did, only that his answer was no. Haha, he wanted me to go through the experience of giving a speech and to overcome my phobia.

Those of you who believe in God, be it in Taoism or Hinduism or any other religion, take comfort that there are good reasons if you don't get what you pray for. It is meant for your own good. Or it could mean that the time is not right yet. You might even get something better.

And when unfortunate things happen, it might not be a bad thing altogether. Heard of this Chinese proverb
塞翁失马. A misfortune may be a blessing in disguise.

Even if you have no religious belief, this way of thinking is quite helpful. It makes you more optimistic and cheerful. And when you are cheerful, you also look more radiant and attractive.