December 24, 2011

Birthdays of some HK stars

All the pictures below are from the 9-year-old calender. So the photos you see here were taken at least 9 years ago..

Long Koon Tin was born in 1959, so he is 52. Wong Chew Kuarn's birthday is 9 November, but her birth year is not stated.

Yuen Siu Fai is 66.

Mun Chin Sui is 69.

Ng Chin Feng is 65.

Li Long is 59.

Law Kar Ying is 65.

December 20, 2011

an old postcard

While spring-cleaning my cupboards I found an old postcard. I suppose all the faces you see in it are local artistes. Do you know anyone? I think I recognize one of them - the girl doing make-up.

Do you keep old calendars? I also found a 9-year-old calendar with pictures and birthdays or birth dates of some HK opera artistes. How old do you think these two stars are - Long Koon Tin and Wong Chew Kuarn ? Answers in the next post.

By the way, when you do spring cleaning you cannot be too sentimental. Otherwise you will be reluctant to throw away your old things. Many of these things probably have a small place in your memory. But, most likely you will not look at them again until your next spring cleaning and I think you will also not miss them if they are no more there.

Have you read about the young man who collects beer bottles? He already has about 1300 of them in his house. Then there are people who collect dolls, teddy bears and other toys. I guess finding the space to keep them and cleaning them would be quite a headache. In future would it still be a joy to clean them or would it be a chore?

December 17, 2011

opera shop

I rarely look at the classified advertisements in the papers. Some days ago this one caught my attention. So I took a closer look.

It was an ad for Unisong, a shop selling Chinese opera goods.

I mentioned this shop in the post Where to buy Cantonese opera CDs. The shop was in Chinatown Point then. So now it is in Fook Hai Building..

Kids performing opera

聲輝粵劇推廣協會- 陳昶廷、李若萱 - 粵劇折子戲 - 《鳳閣恩仇未了情》

December 14, 2011

Dream of the West Chamber 西楼错梦

Last month I watched the Cantonese opera Dream of The West Chamber presented by the Eunos Community Club Chinese Opera Group. The leading artistes were Wong Mei Ling (Lynn Ng) and Chan Fook Hong.

From what I recall, in recent years only two Cantonese opera groups in community clubs present full-length shows - ECHO in Eunos CC (lead by Wong Mei Ling) and the group in Tanjong Pagar CC (lead by Lou Mee Wah).

Putting up an opera show is a tedious task. Besides taking care of your own role you have to attend to a dozen other things. You also need a group of good friends to help you. Then you have to get financial support too. Mei Ling may not be very well-known, nonetheless she is passionate about her art and is tenacious in the pursuit of artistic excellence.

Dream is not the type of shows that attract young people. One thing, it is very long. Another thing, it can be boring at times even to fans and ardent supporters of Cantonese opera.

That afternoon, the show started several minutes after 3 and ended at 8 at night. There was an interval followed by a short souvenir-presentation ceremony. Even if you disregard this and the time for change of scenes, the show itself is about 4.5 hours long.

Besides Mei Ling and Fook Hong, veteran artistes Leong Kam Fai, Chow Chun Hong and Chen Ming Cai also put up creditable performances. I think this was the first time I saw Chen Ming Cai. According to the write-up in the souvenir booklet, Chen Ming Cai has performed Peking opera, Teochew opera as well as Cantonese opera before.

November 23, 2011

The joy of spring cleaning

Blink your eyes and Christmas will be upon us.

I decided to start with some spring cleaning. The first targets were my drawers. They were clustered and untidy. I threw away tons of trash. It included receipts and bills, expired
guarantee cards, newspaper cuttings, instruction booklets for things like cameras and phones, old photos, old spectacle frames, old VCDs .....

You know, spring cleaning has a psychological effect. When you see your things getting organized and orderly, it lifts up your spirit and you feel happy.

After the clean-up my drawers are now neat and tidy and still have some space left.

There are still more to be done but, no hurry, I intend to complete spring cleaning before Chinese New Year. Still a lot of time, right?

Meanwhile I am taking a break. There will be no new posts for about 3 weeks.

November 19, 2011

God helps those who help themselves

How to make millions from sales! Get the job you want!

These were two of the topics in positive thinking books I read long ago. I didn't make millions and I didn't get the job I wanted.

Not everyone can do what the writers say. Even if you follow the advice, it doesn't necessarily mean you will be successful. People have different personalities, temperaments and abilities.

Not long ago a successful person tell students that getting 'As' is not important but creative thinking is. I guess the speaker is one of those who became successful this way.

Getting 'As' may not be important but getting 'As' is better than not getting. And thinking won't help you much if you are lazy.

There is a practical handbook which I find quite helpful. I have written a post about it last year.

For example, it would say something like this ...

If you have a problem, don't just ask God for help and then just sit down and hope for a miracle to happen. Miracles very rarely happen this way. God helps those who help themselves. God has put on Earth people and resources to help you. He works miracles through them.

So, if it is a medical problem, go and see a doctor. Take the first step and He will guide you along.

Meanwhile, have faith in your prayers.

November 16, 2011

got queue means good food

Are you one of those who think that if there are a lot of people queuing or waiting for their food at a stall, then the food there is good to eat.

If you are and if you happen to be in Macpherson Estate and you feel hungry and you like to eat porridge, then you can try this porridge stall the Pipit Road market which is opposite the Macpherson Community Club. Every time I passed this market in the morning, there was a queue. The stall is closed on Mondays and it opens only in the morning.

One evening I was at the food centre at the Chinatown Complex. Some Western tourists were having a discussion and then two of them went to join a long queue at a popular noodle stall. I think generally Western tourists know little about local hawker food and they are not particularly enthusiastic about the taste of the food. So, probably these tourists also believe that Got Q means good food.

This Ah Lo Cooked Food at the Centre always has a long queue during the few hours that it is open and the food is sold off very fast. The day I took this photo it was closed.

November 13, 2011

琵琶行(全曲) - 鄧志駒, 曾慧

This is a full version of the song. It is 21 minutes long. Both singers are pupils of Sun Ma Si Zhen.

November 10, 2011

Still Can Use

Still Can Use - That is the name of a shop at the Chinatown Complex in Smith Street. It sells old things. I think it was opened only recently. There are old Chinese movie magazines, black and white photos of old movie stars, posters, CDs and even old records - those black round flat discs that can only be played with old record players with a needle. Maybe the shop sells these old players too. (I forgot what you call these discs or the old players.)

This is the view of the centre from Keong Siak Road. The shop, No. 133, is on the ground floor.

November 07, 2011

old and older

In an earlier post I said that the San Wang Wu Ti master of rituals is getting older.

Look at these 2 sentences:
(1) He is getting older.

(2) He is getting old.

Do they have the same meaning? Does older mean very old?

It depends. However, in many instances older is not old at all.

For example, you may tell your teenager son: "You are getting older. You must be more responsible."

In fact older is only a comparative.

Everyone grows older everyday. But we cannot say Everyone grows old everyday.

In some cases saying to your friend 'You are getting older' is better than 'You are getting old'.

November 03, 2011

一葉輕舟去,人隔萬重山 ...

大家來唱 - 鳳閣恩仇未了情












生:哀我何孤單,何孤單 .....

October 30, 2011


The Cantonese street opera at Chinatown sponsored by disciples of the San Wang Wu Ti religious sect completed its 15-day performance a few days ago. I think this is the only remaining Cantonese street opera in Chinatown. I watched only a few of its 30 shows.

Some fans preferred to watch from the outside.

The lead sheng and the two lead dans are popular. They received '$$$ gifts' frequently throughout the 15 days. Each flower design had a 1000-dollar note attached.

The spectator hall is wide and well-ventilated. The stage as well as the backstage is big and spacious. However, at times smoke from the burning of incense papers and joss-sticks drifted over from the prayer hall. And on some occasions, while watching the show you might also hear loud proclamations by San Wang Wu Ti's master while performing his ceremony in the prayer hall.

Attendance at the night shows were good. On Saturday and Sunday nights and the two nights of Charity songs, the organizers had to add extra seats. There were people who watched all the night and weekend shows and there were people who watched many of the shows. However, you could see that the audience consisted of mostly elderly people.

In years to come, some of these people will not be around and some will find it too cumbersome or tiring to go to watch street operas. But there are not enough younger fans to replace them.

When will the curtain fall on the SWWT street opera in Chinatown?

I found out from older fans that in the old days there were several street operas in Chinatown. For example, there used to be one at Mosque Street and there was also one at Keong Siak Road. And SWWT used to bring in troupes twice a year.

Through the years, the curtain fell on them one by one.

As for the SWWT opera, I heard they might not be able to use that piece of land for their activities in future as the land has been slated for development. Then the SWWT master of rituals might not want to do the rituals, like cutting his tongue with a knife, anymore as he is getting older. This will affect income for SWWT..

So you see, there are many negative factors regarding the continuation of the last Chinatown street opera.

October 26, 2011


This concert was the second of two night concerts staged by Chinese Theatre Circle to commemorate its 30th anniversary. The first night was 'A Showcase of CTC's signature operas'. However, there was no excerpt on another CTC's beloved opera, Madam White Snake.

What I also find missing were some well-known former CTC members who are still active in the opera scene. I think fans would be happy to see them perform their signature excerpts again.

Here are the presentations on the second night.


十三郎 - 关小萍

对花鞋 - 林嘉文, 卢少玲, 陈良兴

紅楼双玉折梅情 - 徐艳紅, 洪清芳

水淹蓝桥 - 陈沛诚

苦凤离鸾 - 罗秋鸿, 卢少玲

閒谈 - 李季桦, 卢少玲, 罗秋鸿, 徐艳紅, 陈淑桦

斩经堂 - 郭广麟, 利莲茜

Mr Law Chow Hong and his wife (second last photo, 3rd and 4th from left) are Cantonese opera songs teachers in Hong Kong.

Ms Lam Kar Mun (third photo, sheng in the centre) is an opera teacher in England.

When you see Kwan Siu Peng, she is always dressed in her trademark suit (second photo). She was the compere on the first night. I was surprised to see her in a cheongsam (or qi pao). I thought she looked nice in it and she would wear something like that on the second night too. I think it would suit the song she was singing. But she wore her trademark suit again.

Here is a low quality short clip by Law Chow Hong by Loh Siew Leng. There is a good quality video of this song, by Law Chow Hong and another female singer, at YouTube.

October 23, 2011

Lost Horizon

During my 4 years of Literature lessons in secondary school I must have read about a dozen Literature books. I can only remember three of them - Great Expectation by Charles Dickens, Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare and Lost Horizon. Anyone of you used Lost Horizon as a literature text?

These 3 books are not easy to read, one reason being they were written long ago and so the language the authors used is quite archaic.

Actually I can't remember who wrote Lost Horizon. I also remember little about the story or its characters except that it is about a paradise-like place called Shangri La.

So, I searched for 'lost horizon'. And here are some information.

Lost Horizon is a 1933 novel by English writer James Hilton. It is best remembered as the origin of Shangri-La, a fictional utopian lamasery high in the mountains of Tibet.

Shangri-La is a fictional place described as a mystical, harmonious valley, gently guided from a lamasery, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains.

Hugh Conway, the character in the story, was a veteran member of the British diplomatic service. He finds inner peace, love, and a sense of purpose in Shangri-La, whose inhabitants enjoy unheard-of longevity.

Shangri-La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise but particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia — a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world.

October 19, 2011

MPs at Chinese opera shows

MPs I saw at Chinese opera shows in previous years .....

Cedric Foo at The Frontier Community Club ...

Fatimah Lateef at The Drama Centre ...

Chan Soo Sen at Kreta Ayer People's Theatre ...

Other MPs I remember seeing were Yaacob Ibrahim and Lim Biow Chuan.

October 15, 2011

drinking wine the Chinese opera way

I found these two photos and downloaded them some time ago. I can't remember the names or web addresses of the sites or blogs. I hope the site owners won't mind I use their photos.

The huadan in the first photo is Chor Wun Yook.

This photo shows the huadan drinking wine. She holds the vessel with her lips and slowly bends her body backwards to let the wine flow down her throat. I have seen two operas in which the huadan drinks wine this way - The Drunken Gui Fei, 貴妃醉酒 and Dick Cheng, 狄青.

During the whole process she doesn't use her hands at all. She uses her mouth to grip the vessel on the tray held up by a maid and then she lifts it up with her mouth. When she has finished drinking she places the vessel back on the tray with her mouth .

I don't know what this show is or who the artistes are. Looks like this huadan has been drinking too.

October 11, 2011

seven storeys

Most horror stories are forgettable. However, there are a few that are quite unforgettable. You cannot remember details but the story line sticks in your mind. I have already mentioned one in a post somewhere in this blog. Here is another one.

A man was admitted to a hospital. It was not something serious.

This hospital has seven storeys. Patients with the least severe illness go to level 7. At each lower level, the severity of the illness increases. Level one is for patients who are going to die.

The man was admitted to level 7. Days later, for some flimsy reason he was moved down to the 6th storey. Inexplicably, as days and weeks went by he was moved to yet another lower level again and again until he was on level 1.

Is there something sinister going on in the hospital or is there some supernatural force at work?

Does it sound like a horror story to you?

Well, it is not the type that makes you scream or squirm. It is the ominous undertone that rattles you. Its horror lies in its sense of foreboding and the dread and fear that come with it.

You would not like to be admitted to such a hospital, would you?

October 08, 2011

When they were young .....

... they were cute, cuddly and adorable.

Parents wished they had a child like her. ... Fung Bo Bo,
馮宝宝. (Anyone knows who the man is.)

Or they wished they had a daughter as filial as she. ... Siew Fong Fong, 萧芳芳.

Or that their sons were as smart as he. ... Yuen Siu Fai,

The older Yuen Siu Fai, a well-known Cantonese opera artiste in HK.

The young Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee with Siew Fong Fong

Recently I had a sudden surge of interest in the old movies and movie stars. Many of the stars I have not even heard of before. Some of the old movies sound pretty interesting and the old stars look amiable, reminding me of friendly folks in my neighbourhood in the old days. Here are a few of the old stars.

蓝夜 ...

邓美美 ...

小燕飛 ...

林妹妹 ...

伊秋水 ...

李月清 ...

This was probably one of the earliest movies about Emperor Guang Xu and his concubine Zhen Fei. I have never heard Leong Mo Siong sing this song.