November 26, 2009

Time for a break

Time flies. Blink your eyes and you will be saying goodbye to 2009.

Time for a break. I have said before, a break from the computer cures my backache and eye-strain. There will be no new posts for about 3 weeks.

Meanwhile here is a short clip of a song by Wong Wai Kuan to entertain you. It was taken at the San Wang Wu Ti charity songs nights. It was taken with my old Casio camera, so the quality is not too good. For more entertainment, you can go to my video channel. The link is at the right column.


November 25, 2009

two numbers

Weekend again (the same weekend as in the previous post), we were at the food centre at Chinatown complex looking for something to eat. Singaporeans' popular food, chicken rice, can be found at several stalls. Fish-head meehoon and steamed fish-head are also popular dishes at this centre.

Then we saw a stall with the name 五五廿五. It sells fish-ball mee. This number 5525 and another number 6636 seem to stick to my mind.

6636 was the car number of a former colleague. It came out first prize and I heard he won quite a big sum.

5525 was the car number of a retired school principal. I couldn't remember if it came out in any 4-D draws. What I remember was there was a staff function there was a game in which prizes were given and one of the questions was 'What is the principal's car number?'.

Several hands were raised and those who answered said "5525". Wrong, said the compere, you have to say the letters on the left and right of the number too, otherwise the principal will be unhappy. Surprisingly, many did not know the letters. Finally one young man got it right.

5525 and 6636 are also quite unique. They have 3 same digits and the number formed by the last 2 digits is the product of the first 2 digits. ( 5 x 5 = 25, 6 x 6 = 36 )

If you have not been to this food centre before or if you are a foreigner thinking of coming here, here is a little information for you:

The food centre is at the second level of Chinatown Complex which is facing the Buddha Tooth and Relic Temple, a tourist attraction. It is quite big with a few sections and there is a wide variety of Chinese food. If you come during evening peak hours on weekends, most likely you will have to wait for half an hour or more if you order dishes at some well-known restaurant-type stalls.

That was how long we waited for the food - pork rib king, fish slices fried with vegetable and braised sea cucumber with mushrooms and toufu. (There were only two of us.)

November 23, 2009

opera fanatic

Last weekend I was chitchatting with an elderly woman at the Chinatown street opera show. She said she lives far away. But she said she came down to see both the afternoon and night shows almost everyday spending about S$200 on them. I said jokingly that she could book a room in a cheap hotel nearby for the two weeks. Surprisingly, she said she would if she were rich.

The two leading 'stars' did not perform in the afternoon shows on weekdays. The second-line sheng and dan performed the lead roles on weekday matinees, which were not well-attended. So I think the woman really likes to watch opera. She said she also liked Long Koon Tin, the lead sheng of the shows, because he was lively and performed well. And she has been watching him, as well as some other artistes, for years. Also she has been watching these street shows since she was a young girl.

I also learned from her that .....

Many years ago the organizers also invited other shengs, like Ng Chin Feng, to perform. But it seemed that in recent years the audience preferred Long Koon Tin. Maybe because of this and some other reasons, it has been Long Koon Tin for the past several years.

Still further back, the shows used to last for 2 or 3 months, then reduced to 1 month and then to 3 weeks and now 2 weeks.

So, if you want to do a project on street opera you should go to a street opera show and interview fanatic fans like her. They are quite happy to tell you of the good old opera days. Some of them might also have some old posters or pictures to show you.

November 21, 2009


This is Cheng Weng Mui, the lead dan at the street opera at Chinatown ...

This is Long Koon Tin, the lead sheng

Collecting donations on one of the charity songs nights. The man in the blue shirt is Long Koon Tin.

This dan does miscellaneous minor roles. There is another picture of her with make-up (also collecting donations) at the third post below this.

三皇五帝慈善演唱会 - 去國歸降(小段)

November 19, 2009



龍貫天, 彭炽权, 曾慧, 陳詠儀, 钟丽容, 歐凱明, 黄伟坤

November 17, 2009

九天玄女 Fairy from Ninth Heaven

by the ECHO Troupe on 14 November 2009 at the Lee Foundation Theatre

The lead artistes - Chan Fook Hong and Wong Mei Ling

A group photo with the guests.

The Guest-of-Honour was Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed. When he was invited to give a 'speech', he said jokingly 'still want speech, so late'. Then he greeted the audience with "Da Jia Hao" in Cantonese and received a warm applause. People always find it endearing when a non-Chinese VIP or celebrity greets a Chinese audience in a Chinese dialect.

He was late and apologized. He explained that he had to attend the reception for Obama at the APEC meeting. Then he said a few words to encourage the troupe. It took just about 2 minutes. It was considerate of him.
After that he gave out some souvenirs.


November 15, 2009

San Wang Wu Ti street opera

Every ninth month in the lunar calendar, this long tent is a familiar sight at the Sago Lane area in Chinatown. It takes about one week to erect the structure and set up everything inside.

One half of it houses an opera stage and the seating platform which is quite wide. Ventilation is good, but on a hot afternoon you can feel the warmth. There are seats for about 500 people with a lot of space at the sides. However, more seats will be added for certain shows.

The stage is also wide. You can do 3 or 4 somersaults from one side to the other.
The backstage is rather congested because there are quite a lot of people, around two dozens I think - the artistes, their assistants and stage-hands.

The other half is the altar with statues of deities of the Taoist sect San Wang Wu Ti. This is also the area for devotees to pray and for religious rites to be performed.

If you do not wish to buy tickets for the opera shows you can watch from the outside.

Sometimes during the night show, the organizer asks the artistes to go down with donation boxes to collect money for charity.

One of the shows - a happy ending with all the main artistes on stage. The lead sheng and the lead dan are the third and fourth from the right.

Once upon a time there were three empty fields in this area. Now one field has been converted to a car-park. On another field now stands the Buddha Tooth and Relic Temple. Wonder how long will the remaining field remain.

November 13, 2009


About a week ago I was caught unaware by an ERP gantry which was still in operation. I thought it would be off as it was already past 7pm, so I didn't insert the cash card. Yesterday I received a notice from the LTA advising me to pay the ERP charge of $2 and an admin fees of $10 within 14 days.

Now one good news - my car number was one of the consolation numbers in one of the 4D draws, last weekend. I didn't win much money but I am happy. Hopefully the number will be one of top three numbers soon. I just checked Singapore Pools website and found that the number was the first prize number 13 years ago. Time for it to move to the top again, right?

When your car number comes out, your friends, colleagues and neighbours expect you to win. They won't believe you if you tell them you didn't buy.

November 08, 2009

wanton mee

Occasionally I went to eat wanton mee at Koung's when it was at Lorong 13 (near Geylang Road). I usually went in the mid-afternoon and each time I had to wait for about 20 minutes.

A few months ago Koung moved to Lorong 21A, junction with Sims Avenue. Last week I went to its new location for the first time. It was also mid-afternoon and I also had to wait. However, I only waited for 2 or 3 minutes for the cook to prepare my mee. There was only one other customer at a table eating the wanton mee. When I left there were no more customers.

It was in sharp contrast to its Lorong 13 scene. There were no crowded tables. There was no chattering. I cannot judge just by one visit. But it looks like business has dropped.

One reason could be that many regular customers still do not know its new address. I think another reason has to do with its location. It is less convenient and it is not inside the main food zone in Geylang.

November 03, 2009

another show

The local cantonese opera scene is quite vibrant. Throughout the year there are performances by various troupes and groups from the community clubs, associations and other organizations. Sometimes there are several shows on one weekend.

These shows also serve a social objective. Opera fans can socialize and gossip on these occasions.

I went to watch another show last week.
Here are two of the items:

1. This dan is very tall, taller than her partner by one head. It was ok here because they were acting mother and son.

蓮花身哪吒会母 - 李丽金, 叶宝珠

2. An excerpt about a female ghost appearing in human form before her husband to test whether he still loved her.
Her husband had forsaken her and was going to marry the daughter of someone of wealth and influence.

情探 - 龔耀祥, 梁秀芳

November 01, 2009

some photos

An article I read some time ago about teaching Cantonese opera to school pupils in Hong Kong .....

Photos of some China artistes, how many do you recognize ... I recognize only 8.