June 29, 2008

Miscellaneous 2

Heard about the teacher who fled from the class and abandoned his pupils during the earthquake in China? He said he wouldn't care about other people, not even his mother, in such circumstances. Certainly he can't be a policeman, fireman or similar jobs ... right? And, in a crisis, to save his own skin probably he would sacrifice his colleagues, sell out his friends or even betray his country.

Read about the protests
to oust the PM in Thailand? Isn't he democratically elected and supported by the majorities. Like that, what for have elections.

the demonstrations in South Korea? Many weeks already. Protesters fought with police. Isn't a lot of time and resources wasted? Pity the policemen. And I don't think the demonstrators can achieve what they want.

June 28, 2008


During the Wuchuan opera week I met an opera fan who is a Teochew. He speaks good cantonese. He likes the Wuchuan Troupe and has watched 4 nights. He talked to me about the Guangdong Cantonese Opera Youth Troupe that came here a few years back. He still remembers the 2 shengs, Mun Yu Ching and Pang Heng Wah, his favourite. He said they were very good. He also watches local shows. Quite surprising that a Teochew so interested in cantonese opera and knows quite a lot too. He also watches Teochew opera.

A couple of days ago I saw a Chinese man at the pavement, in front of a pedestrian crossing. I think he was waiting for no cars before he crossed. Maybe he is from China where the drivers don't stop for you to cross the road. Even if you are crossing some will just whiz past you. In Singapore, if you just stand there some drivers will also not stop because they don't know if you want to cross or not. You must at least make the motion - step onto the road.

A few weeks ago
I was somewhere in the housing estate at Crawford Street. I couldn't figure out the directions, so I was not sure where the nearest MRT was. I asked a Chinese man who was passing by. He didn't understanding English so I asked him in Mandarin. It turned out he was a worker from China and he pointed out to me the direction to the Kallang MRT. Haha, a Singaporean asking a foreigner for directions!

June 26, 2008

Tyrwhitt Road

This road is in Jalan Besar. Now, how do you pronounce Tyrwhitt? Try.

At first I didn't know how to pronounce it.

This short road is very ordinary and dull-looking. Once upon a time there were 3 well-known landmarks in this area. One was the famous Jalan Besar Stadium which is still there. The second was the New World Amusement Park, an entertainment hub of yesteryears. It is gone now. The third was the prestigious Victoria School, which was next to JB Stadium. The school is in Marine Parade now. I don't know if the old building is still in Tyrwhitt Road.

VS was in Tyrwhitt Road for decades. There was a principal who used to tell the new sec one pupils the address of the school and how to pronounce that word.

Not tie-whit or tur-whit, he said, Tyrwhitt is pronounced Tilt.

Principal you know, so must be correct. Did you get it right?

I don't remember learning phonetics in school.
There are many words I don't know how to pronounce. It doesn't matter much. But if I have to say them to an audience, I will ask somebody first.

I have added a few photos of the Wuchuan City COT artistes at my Xanga Site:

June 23, 2008


Backstage scenes

If you want to see the Wuchuan COT in action, here are some clips uploaded by others:



June 21, 2008

Photos of Wuchuan COT artistes

You know, some opera fans are crazy about taking photos. They swarm over the few lead artistes during intervals and after the shows and pose with them one after another.

I only took a few random shots ...

Lead huadan Chen Shi Min
陈诗敏 ( I didn't manage to take the other lead huadan.)

Lead xiao sheng Zheng Yong Jian 郑永健

Xiao sheng Lin Tian Yongi 林 田 勇

Pretty huadan Zheng Cui Feng 郑翠凤 doing multi roles

Handsome multi-role xiao sheng Feng Ze Jun 冯泽君. He is an emperor here.

Handsome soldiers

June 20, 2008

巾帼奇英 & 碧海狂僧

巾帼奇英, The Magnificent Heroine was the show by the Wuchuan City COT on Wednesday night and was one of the most entertaining operas. This is the heroine Chen Shi Min, 陈诗敏. Somersaults, split-leg jump, one-leg stand, spears, swords - to her they are as easy as eating vegetable.

This is the passionate monk, 23-year-old Li Wei Cong, 李伟聪. He performed an excerpt, 林冲夜奔, on Sunday and he acted very well. And on Wednesday night he sang a song, 碧海狂僧 (an extra item not in the programme). He also sang very well with plenty of action, motion and emotions.

Wei Cong with an admirer

June 19, 2008

Good display of martial skills

On Tuesday evening I saw a man, probably from the Wuchuan City COT, praying outside the backstage of Kreta Ayer People's Theatre. Later I learnt that it was to pray for the safety of the artistes doing the fighting scene and that everything went smoothly.

Society may advance and modernize but some traditions and rituals continue. Some people may think it is superstitious, but the important thing is that it gives them peace of mind.

The fighting scene went very well with some spectacular stunts. They fighting was well-choreographed and the stunts well-executed. In one of them, the two male leads fought each other standing on the the backrests of two chairs placed on a table. When the villain was killed he fell backwards, body-straight, from the chair ... Oh no!!! We held our breath. But not to worry ... he fell into the hands of the imperial guards, his troupe mates.

All this needs good coordination, timing and teamwork.

Although the fighting scene went smoothly, there were two stoppages in two other scenes due to 'power failure'. In one of them, the leading actor was singing fine in one moment but the next moment there was no sound. What happened? So the show stopped.

Fortunately, things were put right very quickly.

Note: a cafeteria has just opened next to Kreta Ayer CC. It sells hot & cold drinks and food like fried mee hoon, chee cheong fun and char siew rice.

June 16, 2008

Fire on stage

There was a little surreal drama last Friday, the first night of the Wuchuan Cantonese Opera Troupe performances, at Kreta Ayer People's Theatre. Towards the last 10 minutes or so of the final scene, there was smoke at the upper right hand corner of the stage. We all thought it was part of the show. You see, the final scene was a fiery one with a lot of action, fierce fighting and some splendid stunts.

Then one of the rolled-up backdrops hanging behind caught fire at the right side. The rebels set fire to the palace? The fire to make the show look more real?

No, they are not part of the show.

The backdrop was lowered down and an 'imperial guard' tried to beat out the flames. The next moment there was some foam and the fire was put out. I think someone at the side of the stage used an extinguisher.

Fortunately the artistes were calm and the show continued after the brief interruption.

Here are some clips of the Wuchuan COT performance:

June 15, 2008


A week ago I was at Kreta Ayer People's Theatre waiting for the Kong Chow 168 anniversary show to start. Then I saw a lady usher guiding an old woman to her seat. From their conversation, she was 98 years old.

Those of you who are below 30, 98 is so far away, right? (According to my previous survey, about one-third of my visitors are below 30.)

She really looked old with her wrinkled shrunken face. She was of small-built. But, from the way she talked and walked, she looked healthy enough. I think she would have no problems passing the century mark. Later a woman came to talk briefly to her. She didn't speak loudly so it meant the old lady's hearing was still good. Still later a man sat beside her.

The usher asked her the secret for her longevity. She said "don't eat pig meat, eat fish".

I was thinking of going over to ask her what watching opera was like in the 1920s and 30s when she was a sweet young girl. But then ... Tok Tok Tok Chang! ... Chang! Chang! Chang! Chang! Chang! The show started.