December 18, 2010

Merry Christmas

There will be no new posts for about 2 weeks.

December 16, 2010

Miscellaneous 2

Blink your eyes, and in two weeks time we will be welcoming a new year. Time passes real fast as if the Earth and all the clocks were getting impatient and moved faster than before. Next month is the 6th anniversary of this blog. Anyone wants to give me presents?

This is
an old phone that I like. I think the model is 6020. It is still functioning well and the battery is also fine. The only disappointment is its rudimentary camera which produces unsatisfactory pictures and videos.

I mentioned
the man who experienced strange happenings in his house (see post below this). I thought he was going to tell us how he managed to subdue the ghost so we could learn from it. But it seems he has removed all the posts related to the strange experiences. Maybe he doesn't want to talk about it anymore.

December 12, 2010


When friends call me on my handphone, they expect me to answer within 10 seconds. Maybe they think I carry my phone with me all the time. This is not so. At home, I leave my phone in the room. If I am doing work in the hall or kitchen, usually I will not be able to reach the phone in 10 sec.

I still have a home phone. Most people who call on this phone are relatives and family members. And they have more patience, sometimes allowing the ringing tone to sound for more than 30 seconds.

Recently I got a NOKIA X3-02. It was ok for about for a few days but after that the screen became frequently unresponsive to touch. I took it to a HELLO shop. I told them the problem. Surprisingly I got a new replacement with little hassle.

Do you believe in ghosts? This man experienced strange happenings in his house. He believes there is a ghost in the house and he thinks he brought it back after attending a funeral:

December 05, 2010

December 02, 2010

曲終人散 何日再會

梁兆明, 黄伟坤 with some members of the Kreta Ayer People's Theatre Foundation Management Committee.

One for the album ...

Bye bye







麥文潔, 李秋元, 梁兆明

December 01, 2010

car inspection

In Singapore, you have to send your car for inspection every 2 years. If your car is over 10 years old, then it is every year. If your car fails the inspection, you have to correct the defects and go for inspection again. Otherwise, you cannot renew your road tax which means you cannot use it on the road.

Last week I sent mine for inspection at a VICOM centre. An inspector drove my car down a lane with a few testing stations. At every station I had to wait anxious moments hoping the car would get the green light.

Soon it was over, lasting just several minutes. It cost me $62.05. My car passed and they gave me a nice certificate printed on good quality paper as if I would put it on the wall for people to see. I think it looks better than my Higher School Certificate.

When I was a child, I had a neighbour who gave tuition to primary school kids at his house. He hung his school certificate on the wall in the hall. I think it was to show that he was qualified.
At that time, getting a SC was an achievement to be proud of.

November 29, 2010


Backstage scene at Kreta Ayer People's Theatre - in this clip there are 2 male shengs, 1 female sheng and 1 female dan. The others are inside the rooms.

November 27, 2010


Chinese opera artistes at Kreta Ayer People's Theatre to raise fund for the Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital. It is the first of three nights. Here they are receiving souvenirs from Assoc Prof Ho Peng Kee. The first artiste in the clip is 陈楚蕙, a famous Teochew sheng.

November 17, 2010

yin zhi pai


Yin zhi hua pai is usually a heart-shaped or star-shaped bouquet with money notes attached. The notes are usually of denominations 50, 100 or 1000 dollars.

Last week I saw some stagehands putting up these bouquets at the street opera show at Chinatown.

I talked to a woman who came almost everyday. She said Long Koon Tin (the lead sheng in the shows) received 13 'pai' during the period of his performances. For example, in this picture he got 3 'pai' which could be given by 1 or more persons.

The other 2 'pai' are for the first dan and the second dan. You can see them in the video in the post below this.

and one for the second sheng.

November 14, 2010


Opera artistes doing their bit for charity at a street opera show in Chinatown. Do you recognize three of them who walked close to the camera. One even smiled at it.

November 12, 2010

November 08, 2010


Are you aware of this? A blogger said Photoshop can make some clothing material transparent.
I don't have
this Photoshop. My photo-editing softwares are quite elementary.

November 05, 2010

a horror story

The Surgeon's Tale by J.P.Dixon is one of the stories in this book.

I have read a lot of horror stories, but I forgot most of the stories soon after. However, I still remember this story although I read it many years ago. It is quite a unique story.

The story took place towards the end of the 19th century in a sleazy district in London with its seedy pubs, music halls and theatres where you could see bizarre and freakish shows. The story is about a woman performer who had a morbid fascination with the mutilation of her own body.

With every show, a part of her body (a finger for example) would be cut off. So, after ten shows all her fingers and toes would be gone. She had a perverse obsession to see how far she could go. The Surgeon came to know her and gradually got himself involved in the heinous and immoral experiment.

Perhaps this passage will give you a clearer picture of what I said.

November 03, 2010

ho wai

好位 and 好威 are pronounced ho wai in Cantonese with a slight variation in the intonation of the second word. The first ho wai means good seat while the second means very grand.

A friend related this little little story. A lady called him to say she would be performing and asked him to support. OK, he said and mentioned something about giving him a good seat (the first ho wai).

But the lady seemed to have heard the second 'ho wai'.

Depending on the situation and the way you say it, 好威 can mean a praise or a sarcastic remark.

She repeated the words inquiringly. So the friend had the chance to clarify.

It would be unfortunate if she had kept quiet but keeps it at heart, thinking he was being sarcastic.

October 31, 2010


Here are some instant coffees I have tried.

My top choice is OldTown white coffee 2 in 1.
Second is Gold Kili Expresscino

Third is NESCAFE home cafe

All the three have no sugar added; I add a little sugar myself.

Anyone has other recommendations?

October 28, 2010


On occasions when I had diarrhoea I would go through the food I had eaten to see what caused it. If I had eaten food like oysters, cockles or half-boiled eggs I would put the blame on them. Were I being unfair to them?

It could have been caused by other food. I read an article which said that the diarrhoea may not come immediately after you ate the
dirty food. It may come many hours later.

Actually in many aspects of our lives, we are also biased. For example, if we have several suspects in a crime, many people will think the one with a criminal record is the culprit. Another example, you do not buy products of a certain brand because you think they are not good.

What about fairness? Oftentimes, you hear people say this not fair, that not fair. Take exams for example, the authorities will try to make it as fair as possible. But there are other things beyond their control. Some candidates might have done the same or similar questions days before. If there are no wrongdoings, I think it is ok. It is just they were lucky.

There are many things which are not fair, but I think it is hard to have absolute fairness.

October 24, 2010

emotional attachment

Did you see these recent headlines ... New hospital to be built, More flats next year, Orchard Road to be raised.

One of the things it means is that we will need a lot of foreign workers. Probably many will be those who are already working here and some new workers will come to replace those who are leaving.

Suppose some
unforeseeable thing happened and we could not get foreign workers to come. We should not take things for granted, be it water, sand or foreign workers. I think people will see the effects very soon. Construction and road works will slow down. We will have to wait longer for our buses as there are not enough drivers. There may be floods more often as drains are not cleared regularly and our estates and streets may get dirtier too.

I was thinking who did these jobs in the early history of Singapore.

In the first half of the 20th century Singapore was a colony. There were no Singaporeans, all were British Subjects. Then, the hard dirty jobs were done by locals, many of whom came from China. One such group you could see at construction sites were the Samsui women. After that came Self-government, followed by Merger with Malaysia and finally Independence. Singapore progressed rapidly and as we became richer and more educated, we shun these jobs.

Chun See mentioned there is some psychological reason behind why old folks like to keep old things. While writing this post I thought of another reason why old folks are nostalgic about old times. It is an emotional attachment to a time when life was simpler, Asian values prevailed and foreigners were few.

I wonder what nostalgia our present kids will have when they grow old.

October 21, 2010

Two Greats

Unlike the sentimental couple I mentioned in the previous post, I did not keep my old textbooks and workbooks. If not I could write a few nostalgic posts about them.

However, I still keep some old newspaper cuttings as they do not take up a lot of space. If you live in a
smalll HDB flat, space and storage is an important consideration.

Below are two newspaper cuttings. They are about two Cantonese opera greats who have passed away. Unfortunately, I did not record down the dates they were published.

October 18, 2010

sentiments for old things

A lot of old folks are very sentimental about old things. Recently I found that a neighbour has a big heavy urn for storing water and another neighbour still uses her very very old set of furniture.

" It is better than a plastic pail, " the man said.

" The wood is very good. These chairs are very sturdy. Now even you have money you cannot buy them, " the woman said.

I was thinking: If the things could not be used anymore, would they still keep them in the house. Most likely no.

I also know a sentimental couple who were teachers. They still keep all their old files, magazines and books. There are a few shelves and cupboards of them, all dusty and I think not touched for years. They are reluctant to throw away any of these things. Besides these, they also have a lot of other very old things in their flat. It makes the place look congested, dusty and dim. I feel that it has an adverse effect on their health and spirits.

Sentiment alone is not a good reason for people to keep old things. Otherwise they would have tonnes of old things in the house. I think it must have significance to them, for example the first watch you owned or your earliest music player although you can't use it anymore. Furthermore, it must not be too big to be kept or too expensive/troublesome to maintain. Then you may want to look at them occasionally.

If not, I think it is best to dispose of them.

I was reading the comments at Victor's blog and Uncle Dicko has this reason why folks like old things:

" Maybe for some of us, the internal archives in our brain (memory recall) are functioning better with sentimental, old scenes than jazzy, new ones. That's why many of us love old things, collect old things..and still love our old clothes v much!"

October 15, 2010

some feedback

For the past few years Chor Wan Yook has been partnering Long Koon Tin to put up two full-length opera shows every year. Hope she will continue with it whether with Long or other shengs.

There are very few full-length operas by local groups or troupes. At the moment I could only think of the following: Kong Chow Wui Koon, Chinese Theatre Circle, Echo Opera Troupe, Tanjong Pagar CC Opera Group. Usually they perform one show a year.

I watched Long-Chor shows last week. Besides the few leading artistes, I think most of the other performers are students in Chor Wan Yook's opera classes. I would say they put in commendable effort.

I talked to a few fans during interval and below are some feedback. Some of them might have given the feedback in the feedback form.

1. The stage lighting not bright enough.

2. The light at the orchestra pit too bright. (The rows of seats in this theatre - Lee Foundation Theatre - slope downwards and everyone can see the orchestra members below the stage. Each member has a stand with the music script on it. When the show is on, each stand has a bright light which shines onto the scripts which reflects the light.)

3. It took too long to change scenes. This was only for the first show. Probably they were short of stage helpers and the lead artistes needed time to change costumes.

4. Shi Jiu (Liang Shan Bo's pageboy) doesn't look like a pageboy. He is big-sized and his tummy sticks out.

October 13, 2010

龍貫天, 楚雲玉

I got these photos at the shows I watched last week.

October 11, 2010

common sense

Someone said that common sense is not that common.

Why do pedestrians dash across the road?
Why do motorists tailgate?

Why do men have unprotected commercial sex?



and dozens of other examples.

I believe all of us, myself included, ever do things like we have no common sense.

I think it is not just a matter of common sense. Sometimes we forget the risks. And at times our self-discipline is weak and other factors or emotions override our common sense.

October 09, 2010

not correct

Overcome by emotions, tears streamed down her cheeks.

This is a sentence I made in the previous post. You know what it means but is it correct English?

When I looked at it again, it doesn't sound quite right.

From the Grammar lessons I learned in school, I remember 'overcome by emotions' is an adjective phrase which is meant to describe the noun/pronoun next to it. In the above sentence, the noun is tears. Obviously the adjective phrase doesn't describe tears.

I think this is more correct - Overcome by emotions, she couldn't control her tears.
In this sentence 'overcome by emotions' describes 'she'.

Please correct me if I am wrong.

October 07, 2010


This word came to mind while I was reading the news. Emotions were aplenty at Mrs Lee Kuan Yew's funeral.

Emotions was also a favourite word of my Sec 4 English Literature teacher. I think this is natural as Literature deals with human beings and their behaviour, actions and thoughts.

I can still remember a few phrases he taught us - overcome by emotions, a wave of emotions, emotionally-charged.

For example, Overcome by emotions, tears streamed down her cheeks.

However, Literature was not a subject I was good in. I only got a credit for it. I remember my Shakespeare's text was Julius Caesar.

October 05, 2010

A Gimmicky World

An old Cantonese movie starring ... 胡楓, 林鳳, 麥基, 林丹

A rich man has never seen his cousin before. He did not want to meet her. So, he switched identities with his personal assistant and told him to go and meet his cousin.

His cousin is a beautiful woman but the personal assistant lied to him that she is ugly. In this clip, the man discovers the truth.

Meanwhile, a pair of cheats are trying to use another beautiful woman to befriend the rich man in order to cheat him of his money. (You can see them walking into the cafe somewhere in the middle of the clip.)

October 03, 2010


The following are not friendly to your visitors:

A post with one long uninterrupted paragraph. It is difficult to read.

Embedded music/song - Some computers have problems with these sites or it may take a long time time to load the page. And remember the proverb: One man's like is another man's dislike. Embed the player too so that your visitor can stop the music if it wants to read your blog in quietness.

A page too clustered with things - badges, awards, advertisements, boxes and others. You may think it is impressive but others find it distracting and untidy.

Links - I think bloggers should check out the links in their lists once in a while. Dead or outdated links should be removed or updated.

These are just my own views.

September 30, 2010

Chinese opera in Singapore

This is an old video but it is still relevant. There were views of well-known Chinese opera personalities - Sng Poh Yoke, Joanna Wong, Lou Mee Wah and Chua Soo Pong.

September 26, 2010


At the hawkers' centre I heard a woman telling an older woman in Cantonese "stir your drink first". In Cantonese stir is gau. Then I thought of three other words which are pronounced the same way in Cantonese.

How would you say this in Cantonese: A boy named Ah Gau plays with nine puppies.

It is Gau Chye gau gau jet gau chye.

Gau can be play, nine or dog. Chye can be son or boy, or baby animal.

Furthermore, gau with slightly different intonations can mean:
to teach, to hand over something to another person, glue, a piece of thing, old (refer to things)

September 24, 2010

some young artistes





September 20, 2010

The Majestic

This is the former Majestic Theatre in Chinatown. I think the picture was taken just a few years ago. The picture is from this site - This site has many beautiful photos of sights and happenings in Singapore.

Last Saturday I saw this signboard and went in thinking there would be new shops after the renovation. I was wrong. All three levels have become the premises of Singapore Turf Club. It is now one of its betting centres/outlets.

September 18, 2010

RA films

I have not seen this film, but I think this belongs to the RA or R21 category. I am not in favour of showing these films in cinemas in the heartland.

Quite common to hear this "You cannot control it. It is easily available on the Internet." It is the reason some people give for allowing R21 movies at cinemas in HDB estates.

I don't agree that if something is readily available on the Internet, then you can allow it in our society or make it easier for people to get it. There are a lot of trash on the Internet.

The Review Committee said something like "let adults make informed choice". I don't quite understand what it means.

September 16, 2010

opera magazine

This is the latest opera magazine I bought. Nowadays I only buy them occasionally.

September 14, 2010

chuan and chuang

I realized that some people came upon this blog when they were searching for "qiang jian" because I have a post with this title. In it I was referring to the show in picture 1. I guess some people were probably thinking of something like in picture 2.

bao yu

I was listening to the Mandarin news on TV. The reader said "There are bao yu in this part of China."

Do you know what bao yu is?

No, not abalone; it is rainstorms.

chuan and chuang

Can you pronounce the above two words correctly?

If you ask the beautiful Chinese tour guide "Miss, when can we shang chuang?", you might get a scolding from her. It means you are asking her what time she can go to bed with you.
(Shang means to go up.)

It should be "shang chuan". It means what time we (the tourists) can board the ferry or boat.