July 31, 2008


Once I had a young colleague who had an innocent way of annoying people. Innocent because it was not intentional and I think she was not even aware of it.

One time during a casual chitchat, I told her I had just bought a washing machine of a certain brand. 'Oh,' she said, 'this brand no good one. Always gives problems ....... ' and so she went on telling me about the problems she had heard from friends. Quite disheartening, isn't it?

Another time I gave her a lift on my way home. On the way I stopped at a duck rice stall, told her to wait for a minute and went to buy some duck for dinner. When I came back and told her what I bought, she said, 'I don't like duck. Ducks very dirty one, you know where farmers rear ducks what ducks feed on ....... ' And so she went on. Quite upsetting, isn't it?

July 28, 2008


I don't think I've shown you these photos before.

Recognize the man in the middle, he is Mun Chin Sui. He came with his wife for a show at the Kreta Ayer People's Theatre 2 or 3 years ago. This photo was taken backstage. The other man's action looked as if he was scolding Mun Chin Sui. It was not so. It just happened that I captured the scene at that instance.

This photo was taken at the end of the show. Standing next to Mun Chin Sui is his wife. Recognize the others in the photo?

July 25, 2008

粤语片诗礼传家 - 胡枫 & 林凤

A clip from an old movie by Wu Feng and Lum Fung ... about a big family in olden China that was steeped in superstitions and traditional beliefs, customs and rites. A wife's role was to serve her husband and produce children especially boys. Maids were village girls from poor families sold to rich households. They had no rights at all.

Other stars in the movie: Lee Heong Kam, Ng Chor Fan ... I don't know who acted the maid or the name of the other male actor.

This couple were forced to marry by their parents. They didn't love each other, the man already had a sweetheart. But on the wedding night they decided to accept their fate and try to love each other.

Heard of the Chinese saying Beauties have short lives. When Lum Fung died, she was only 36. A pity right?

This clip shows the couple on their wedding night (no M18 or M16 scenes, suitable for everyone, from babies to grandmothers) and a maid being ill-treated by the mistress of the house.

July 21, 2008

李大傻讲故事 - 八仙過海

The 8 Immortals cross the sea. This is a short audio clip from a longer story "The 8 Immortals create havoc in the East Sea". The storyteller was Li Da Sha (Lei Dai Sor in cantonese) - a renowned cantonese storyteller from the 50s to the 70s.

The 8 Immortals made such a big mess in the East Sea. As a punishment the Jade Emperor banished them to Earth .......... and they lost their magic powers and have to do things the way all of us mortals do.

The pictures in the video clip below were copied from Sihui's blog. Shihui is a Xiang Opera artiste. Her blog has lots of nice photos.

July 19, 2008

Pump attendant

This evening I went to buy petrol at at ESSO. The pump attendant was a young man, a bit dark and has some moustache.

Thinking he was a Malay I said 'Lima Puloh ... Hijau' and pointed at the green pump.
In case you don't know Malay, lima puloh means fifty. Hijau is green.

He said 'Ni hao'.

Oh, not Malay, Chinese.

Then I talked to him. He was from Shandong.

Later in the office I asked the cashier how much a petrol attendant normally earns.

About $750, he said.

So far I have encountered foreigners in jobs like cashiers and helpers in supermarkets and foodcourts. But first time I saw a Chinese-national pump-attendant.

So hard to find locals to do the jobs?

One way is to increase the pay. But even with increase, I think only older workers will consider doing these jobs. And they might not stay long.
Not easy to solve, right?

A few weeks ago at an opera show I was talking to woman over 50 years old. She occasionally does part-time jobs. She said she won't do a job if is too strenuous, too far away or if the pay is less than $___. I can't remember the amount. So she said she is usually out of job. I suppose it is ok for her as she doesn't look like the very poor type.

July 18, 2008

Nice photos

There are some nice photos of Koi Meng Fai and Ng Mei Ying at this site: http://www.pbase.com/chan_ysc/chinese_arts__cantonese_opera

July 17, 2008

Tall Tales

One day I was having dinner at a stall in a food centre. I saw an auntie helper scooped rice from a big container, poured it into the cooker, added water and switched on the cooker. But she didn't wash the rice. Never mind, I thought. You won't get sick eating unwashed rice. It is also not an offence not to bathe the rice.

Anyway, after my dinner I asked her how come she didn't wash the rice. You know what she said. She said in the afternoon she washed already and then dried it. So free, nothing to do or what? You believe that ... You know how the grains stuck together when they are wet. Wash the whole container of rice and then dry the rice? Bullshit!

Another time
it was outside a lift in a commercial building. I was waiting to go down. When the door opened I saw a Chinese man quickly drop his hand which was holding a lighted cigarette to his side.

Inside the lift I said to him 'Cannot smoke inside the lift'.

After a pause he said 'I not smoking what, where got'.

Oh, trying to be smart, I thought.

After a pause I said 'According to law, whether smoking or not, holding a lighted cigarette with smoke coming out is an offence'.

True or not, I don't know. I just said that hoping he would not smoke in the lift again.

He kept quiet.

July 15, 2008

梁醒波演喜剧 Leong Sing Por's comedy

Leong Sing Por was an outstanding comedian in movies as well as in opera. I think during the early 70s, you could still see his cantonese-dialogue movies on television.

Here is a clip from one of his comedies. You may recognize other actors/actresses in the clip - Law Kim Long, Chan Ho Kau, Kwan Hoi San, Mui Lan, Hui Ying Sau.....

In the first scene Uncle Por uses a broom to beat Law Kim Long because Law has wrongly accused him of stealing. In the second scene Mui Lan hugs Uncle Por because she has mistaken him to be her father.

粤语片 七 喜临门

July 13, 2008

Nan Yin

Hello cantonese opera fans,
Introduce to you a Quanzhou-style Nan Yin by talented artistes from Siong Leng Musical Association. They are Xu Su Zhen, Huang Yu Ying and Huang Ling Ling. This video was taken by Chinatownboy.

And here is one Guangdong-style Nam Yum. I don't know who the singer is. She is blind.

July 11, 2008

What's done cannot be undone

I was doing a search when I came across an article with the above heading at theborneopost.com. It was dated 27 April 2008. Nothing surprising. But there was a little surprise for me. It quoted a chunk from a post I put up about 3 years ago. I have already forgotten much of what I wrote. It also quoted Victor's comments. Quite a surprise, isn't it?

Here is part of the article, the sections in blue are from my post -

What Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim didn’t say is: “Forgive yes, forget no.”

And, of course, it’s all very true that what is done is done. It cannot be undone.

Frannxis’ blog has this to say about the proverb:

" Bought a box of persimmons at Fairprice for $5.80 and the next day Fairprice had it on offer at $4.80. This type of thing happened before and each time I used to scold myself for buying the thing too early. But then who knows. So, I find this proverb ‘What’s done cannot be undone’ very appropriate and consoling.

Earlier in the year, someone I know bought a return air-ticket to Hong Kong from a budget airline at the normal price. Soon after, the airline had a promotional offer to Hong Kong — the price was several tens of dollars less and it covered the travel period of this person. He was sore at the airline.

‘What’s done cannot be undone’. There is no point brooding over it; otherwise you make yourself unhappy.

Similarly, if you had said or done something that offended your friend, see what you can do to repair the damage rather than brood over it.

This proverb also reminds us to think before we act. "

Someone named Victor posted on the same website the following comments:

" About the drop in the price of persimmons by $1 the next day, be consoled that you were getting persimmons that were one day fresher on the previous day.

One good example of a product with price decreasing almost everyday is the PC. I bought my Pentium III Datamini 1 GHz PC in March 2001 for more than $2000. Today (with) that kind of money can buy a Pentium IV PC of 3.4 GHz. But if I keep waiting for the price to drop, I will never get to buy a PC as it becomes a never-ending waiting game. "

At the end of the day, it may be too late to say “What’s done cannot be undone”.

What to do under the circumstances?

Never let it happen again or have the vision and foresight to prevent it happening.

from: http://www.theborneopost.com/?p=34659

July 09, 2008

Soul Journey 《启程》

Watching the Nan Yin concert, Soul Journey, was a unique soul-nourishing experience. Siong Leng Musical Association put a lot of effort in the production, whether in the music itself or in creating the Zen atmosphere and mood to bring you into its Soul Journey.

Even at the reception outside the theatre, they had three young members standing in front of two wooden tubs to help you wash your hands. Next, another member served you tea in a tiny teacup. And all the while their Malay musician, Mohd Faizal, helped you relax with his soothing guzheng music.

As you entered the studio someone gave you a thin sash for you to blindfold yourself in one of the items. The studio was dimly lit. The orchestra pit was at one end. There was a big drum and there was something that looked like a tree. At the other end a man sat cross-legged on the floor, meditating. On both sides were rows of seats.

And for the next 80 minutes, the audience were immersed in a world of serene Nan Yin tunes and graceful liyuan dance and movements.

Nan Yin music is melancholic and soulful. It is also slow-moving. Nan Yin songs are sung in the ancient Quanzhou Hokkien dialect. Not everyone likes or can appreciate Nan Yin, said Cai Ya Yi, SL's new performer from Quanzhou. She sang very well. Another good singer, Mei E, didn't perform that night.

During the dialogue session there were quite a lot of comments and questions. The participants liked and enjoyed the show and appreciated SL's effort in promoting Nan Yin.

The elderly man who asked the last question said that young people today are not so conversant in Hokkien and may not attend dialect shows ... and he added "Cantonese opera no people see, now they have to perform in English". Maybe he was suggesting SL could consider Nan Yin in mandarin or English. But I don't think Wang Bi Yu, SL's artistic director, will like the idea.

His remark about Cantonese opera is incorrect. As if now a lot of Cantonese operas are in English.

In Singapore, so far only one Cantonese opera has been performed in English and its primary aim was to get young people to watch. Attract them first and hopefully they will go on to watch Chinese operas in their original dialects.

And the Cantonese opera scene here is quite active. With the exception of the one opera in English and another one in mandarin, all operas are performed in Cantonese.

July 07, 2008

Want to sell your organs

The only good thing about allowing people to sell their organs is that it saves other people's lives. But changing the law is not so simple as some people think - just change the law, put in some regulations and safeguards and everything is fine.

Many people write about the sufferings of the patients but what about the sufferings of the seller and how his health will be affected after the operation.

Just imagine cutting open your body and digging out your organ, eeeeeeek! What if later on you find your body cannot accept the loss of the organ and gives you all sorts of problems.

If you want to change the law, you may have to decide what organ can sell and what cannot sell. Some people may want to sell their eyes. One eye also can survive.

I think it could make people more selfish. People may want to sell instead of donate.

Will a man sell or forced to sell his organ to pay for his gambling debts ...

Just some thoughts that passed through my mind.