October 30, 2009


I have accumulated quite a lot of Cantonese opera discs throughout the years. I didn't even realize it - 2 or 3 this month, another 3 or 4 another month and when I go HK or China, another 7 or 8 and they take up space. I have put some in this box. I guess I will need another 3 boxes to keep all of them.

And I completely forgot that I have some photos in flickr until I saw something and it struck me into remembering. Here it is: http://www.flickr.com/photos/frannxis/

I have neglected it for 4 years. Here is one of the photos, recognize the shengs and the dan?

They are 彭庆华, 曾小敏, 文汝清

October 28, 2009

Lin Chong

This clip is from one of the 50-cent VCDs I mentioned in the previous post - 林冲雪夜上梁山.

This is Lin Chong expressing his anger at corrupt and selfish ministers in the imperial court ...

His wife and the maid lamenting the sufferings and helplessness of the people ...

October 26, 2009

Buddhist Temple and Opera

Buddhist Temple and Museum 

This is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum at South Bridge Road, opposite the Maxwell Road Food Centre. If you are a Buddhist, probably you would have visited or will be visiting this Temple. I have passed this place many times, but last Saturday was the first time I stepped inside. It has a big hall which is very impressive.

At basement 1 there is a small theatre called Nagapuspa Theatre (龍華劇坊). Tung Onn will be staging a Cantonese opera show at this Theatre in December. ( By the way there is a film show on 7 November in the afternoon. It is about Da Mo, the Master of Zen. If you are interested you can get a free ticket from the Temple. )

Opera VCDs

Bought some Cantonese opera vcds. These were selling at S$7 each some time last year. Recently, it was S$5 or buy two get one free. They are genuine stuff, not counterfeits. These VCDs by Koi Meng Fai and other HK stars are expensive in HK, about HK$120.


These are old operas but quality is good and got colour too. Last year it was S$1, now only 50 cents. I didn't see them at the shops in HK. There are also some old black and white cantonese movies - also 50 cents. In HK they cost about HK$35.

October 23, 2009

median age

I think you remember learning in school that  there are three type of averages - mean, mode and median.

It was reported that the median age of the stall-holders in the wet market is 60.

That means if you line up all the stall-holders from the youngest to the oldest, the middle one is 60 years old. It also means there is an equal number of stall-holders above and below him.

My perception of this is that the stall-holders are not all old people waiting to retire. There are also many younger ones in their thirties or forties.

If it says that the mean age is 60, I would think that most of them are older people. (mean = total ages of all the stall-holders divided by the total number of stall-holders)

If the modal age is 60, it tells us that stall-holders with the age of 60 form the largest group. Again I think it would give the impression that stall-holders are mostly old people.

Eye drops
See this bottle of eye-drops, you have to throw it away 1 month after opening. One month has passed and I used it on one occasion only. I was thinking what else I could use it for ... For the past few days I have been using it to clean my spectacle lenses. It does the job quite well. Any other suggestions?

October 21, 2009


怡情雅聚主角 - 余麗明

other lead performers (Joanna Wong is the artistic director) : 
黃安妮, 鍾慧玲, 朱振邦, 余麗明, 胡桂馨, 盧少玲, 謝秀艷, 周汶姿.

A group photo, the lady second from the right is the compere 陳淑樺.

..... 謝幕

October 18, 2009

PSLE maths problem

About the PSLE problem in the previous post  - Thanks to the two participants who attempted the problem. And congratulations to Victor. I didn't work out the sum myself, I looked at the solution and I find it logical.

The solution, below, is given in the blog.

Once upon a time you could get zero for your maths tests because some teachers were lazy and just looked at the answers. There were no marking schemes either. Nowadays there are marking schemes with marks given for knowledge, understanding and application. For example, in a problem sum, if you do not know how to do it and you just write down distance = speed x time. If it is relevant in solving the problem, you might get one consolation mark for knowledge.

October 16, 2009

newish and hard

I came across a blogger using the word newish. I didn't know the meaning. I looked it up. The dictionary says it is an adjective meaning 'rather new' or 'fairly new'.

I'm trying it out, hope I use it correctly ....

There is a newish fruit stall at my market. It was not there a month ago.

Came across a blog on PSLE Maths. Some problems are really hard. I think some parents and many lower secondary pupils can't do them. Here is one example. You need to understand the question and picture it in your mind or draw a diagram for illustration.

Hard, isn't it? Haha, but less difficult than quizzes on old buildings. Anyone cares to exercise your brain cells. If you do, please let us know your answer.

If you are not familiar with our education system, PSLE stands for Primary School Leaving Examinations. After 6 years in primary school, a pupil (about 12 years old) takes this exam. If he passes the exam, he goes to a secondary school.

October 14, 2009

The Ancient Beauties (4)

昭君和親 - 紅線女

October 12, 2009

The Ancient Beauties (3)

貴妃醉酒 - 梁淑卿

October 10, 2009

The Ancient Beauties (2)

貂婵拜月 - 琼霞 

October 08, 2009

The Ancient Beauties (1)

西施怨 - 吳美英  

October 06, 2009

12th anniversary

 First, a little about the previous post. I said that Jeong Mun Tuin was holding something valuable. If you have not visited Singapore before you may not recognize our currency. Well, those are pieces of Singapore's $50 notes.

Another thing, in the second photo I show you one of the second huadans, 梁曉瑩. She is the one doing makeup in my header picture. 

On Sunday night I went to watch Qiu Yong Ji Music Studio's 12th anniversary shows. For your information, Qiu is from China and is now a Singapore Citizen. He teaches singing, including Cantonese operatic songs  and I think he also teaches instruments like the erhu and gaohu.


That night there were 6 operatic songs. All were duets but among the 12 singers, there was only one male. So in the other 5 songs, the singers of the male parts were females. This is common in Cantonese opera shows and operatic songs concerts for the simple reason that most people who take up these art forms are females.

I chitchatted with one of the singers. She said she has been learning singing for a few years and she has been practising the song she sang for many months. A few years can be anything from three to ten years and many months can be as long as one year. And quite a number of them hop from one teacher to another.

It is not difficult to pick out the more experienced ones; they have poise and usually sing better.

October 04, 2009

China's advantage

One great advantage China has is it is never short of people for anything. I was thinking of Chinese opera. It might be less popular than it was before, but in China there are still many young people, male and female, wanting to learn Chinese opera. There are also regular opera competitions.

So in Cantonese opera for example, they don't need females to take up male roles. There are even young men and young women specializing in old woman's role and old man's role. And by the time they step onto the stage to do supporting roles, they already have a good foundation in the basics. Even walking and standing on stage are basic things that need to be learned. 

For two nights I was watching the shows by the Guangdong Cantonese Opera First Troupe. One of the things that struck you was people. Besides the first and second line artistes, there were at least two dozen others doing secondary and supporting roles. The artistes performing male and female dancers in the shows were about the same height and no one looks plump. Doesn't that mean the troupe has more than enough people for it be choosy. Besides talents, it can afford to pick on height and look. 

Doesn't this remind you of how Beijing chose participants for the Olympic Games ceremonies.

A China huadan once said that the stage life for a China opera artiste is quite short. Unlike their counterparts in Hong Kong, China artistes don't expect to perform into their sixties and seventies. 

My blogger friend Amai who is an opera actress herself has a post on one of the shows here:

Here are some photos of the second night. I took them during close curtain after the show has ended, so it is not against regulations. 

The main cast: 彭炽权, 丁凡, 蔣文端, 林家寶 

One of the second hua dans, 梁曉瑩 

Group photo

Do you see something in Jeong Mun Tuin's hand? On both nights after the show I saw  a member of the stage crew in the pit below handed her something. It looked like some documents. At first I thought it was some valuable certificate for her custody. 

Well, it was not a certificate but no doubt it was something valuable ...

October 01, 2009

old photos

Found these old photos in a huadan's album:   
An actor in old cantonese movies. A playboy; you might have read about him in the gossip news dating young girls one-third his age.

An opera artiste, I've only heard of her.

I don't know her but I think she was a singer. 

A famous opera huadan. She is about eighty now. Below is her recent photo (the one in the red coat). The photos are about 60 years apart.

I just found this picture of an old theatre. My first thought, it was in Hong Kong. Well, which country do you think it was in?