March 31, 2010


中国广东粤剧院二团 莅新演出

麦玉清, 梁耀安


March 28, 2010

vanished/vanishing landscape

And now I show you a few street opera posters in the 90s.

The first two were for a street opera in 1995 and 1997 at a site in Chinatown. I remember there were two other sites with street opera shows at certain times of the year - at Mosque street and Keong Siak Road. But all of them have vanished.

These two were for the well-known (to Cantonese opera fans) San Wang Wu Ti street opera at Chinatown. Both posters were for 1996 - one for March and one for September, a total of 37 days and there were more big stars. In recent years there was one performance each year lasting about two weeks. I think this landscape will vanish too. Hope I am wrong.

March 26, 2010

The changing landscape of ...

... Cantonese opera in Singapore in the last 2 decades.

That would be the subject if I were to do a project. I thought of this while reading a passionate opera fan's accounts - Growing up with Teochew opera. (

I chose the last two decades because I am more familiar with development of CO during this period.
I remember during the early 90s many foreign troupes/artistes came to perform in Singapore and the Chinese Theatre Circle had its annual Cantonese/Chinese Opera Festival.

But I will not be doing any project. So I just show you some souvenir magazines of performances in the early 90s.

1993 ...

1993 ...

1993 ...

1994 ...

1994 ...

1995 ...

1995 ...

1995 ...

March 22, 2010

the street opera scene

The street opera at Sims Drive ended on Sunday after 12 shows in 6 days. There were two other street opera performances during the same period at Whampoa and Toa Payoh but I don't know the exact locations.

I asked three friends where the places were and they gave me very vague answers - "lorong 7 or 8, near temple", "at Kim Keat, nearby is a hawkers' centre", "this one you take bus 124 to the terminal and the other one you take bus155 from your estate and you will see it".

Actually I need to know the name of the road and the name of the temple or landmark or the number of the nearest block so I can look it up on the map.

I went to the one at Sims Drive. The lead artistes, Lau Wai Meng and Kwok Feng Yee, were the same as the previous two (or more) years. The audience I guess were also about the same.

I talked to an elderly man. He said he was one year older than MM Lee. Apart from his big stomach, he looks healthy enough - eyesight OK, hearing OK, joints OK, memory OK. I told him that is very good already.

He said he came every year and his main purpose was to meet old friends and neighbours who used to stay with him at the kampong.
However, he lamented, the number of old friends and neighbours he met has been dwindling. Not surprising, I thought, as most of them must be around his age or at least 70 and not many are as healthy as he is.

Just as Singapore does not have enough babies, we don't have enough young cantonese opera fans to replace old ones. As old fans get older and are unable to come, the attendance at opera shows drops. This is inevitable. Furthermore, the younger fans are not as passionate as older fans. Some old fans could watch opera shows for 14 days or more in a row whether street opera or in a theatre.

The orchestra ...

March 20, 2010

old cantonese song

The gardener's daughter

舊曲欣賞 - 花王之女

March 16, 2010


I was thinking about pardon and forgive.

Forgive, you all know what it means. I checked up pardon in the dictionary. One of the meanings is to forgive someone for his wrongdoing.

Therefore, in one aspect forgive and pardon mean the same thing. For example: I forgive my husband or I pardon my husband.

Look at this sentence:

The King pardons the politician convicted of corruption. It means the politician is set free without punishment. I am not sure if it still means the same thing if you replace pardon with forgive.

March 10, 2010


A reader cum performer sent me a performance poster. There is this huadan, Huang Fei, in the poster. See her elaborate colourful headdress. You know what it makes me think of - the brilliant colours of the peacock plumage.

I looked for a few more headdresses to make this post longer. Here are two more colourful headdresses ...

Here is a simple one ...

March 07, 2010


See Tip 3

There are lizards in my flat too. Now, where to pluck some peacock feathers.

Then I thought of chickens. Nowadays it is very hard to see a live chicken with feathers going for a stroll. When I was young we stayed in a kampong where many households kept fowls.
It was common to see chickens strolling in the neighbourhood after their evening meals.

Do you know what chickens like to eat? Cockroaches and centipedes. So here is another tip - keep a chicken in the house and you will not have to worry about cockroaches and centipedes anymore. But I don't think it will work if you just hang chicken feathers in the house.

March 04, 2010

The unbrella as the match-maker

In the previous post I mentioned about sweltering heat and myself sweating profusely. No wonder, it was reported that that day was the hottest day, 35 °C, in February which is one of the hottest months in our Country's history.

About the video below ...
At the outskirt of a village, it is bing huang ma luan. The villagers are escaping from a war. A village girl and a young man bump into each other.

The maiden snatches the scholar's umbrella ...

粵劇經典 - 搶傘(吕玉郎, 林小群)

March 01, 2010

afternoon rituals

Taiwan's Yi Xin Opera has just completed its 17-day performance at Sheng Hong Temple. Every afternoon they had to perform a set of opera rituals which lasted about 45 minutes. These are some auspicious parts meant to bless the Nation, the Temple, the people and the show sponsors.

I sat through one of them. It was a day of sweltering heat and humidity. It saps your energy and makes you sweat like a fountain. I was sitting under a fan doing nothing, yet I was sweating. I think the performers' underclothing must be drenched with sweat.

This white attire is their underclothing.

The auspicious parts .......
(Notice the two rows of Chinese words above the stage, one reads from left to right, the other from right to left.

Then they go to pray at the temple hall .......

The praying ceremony over, they return to the stage .......