September 29, 2011

curtain stuck

One problem that could happen during an opera show is the performer's microphone or the sound system malfunctioning.

Last week I was at a show and there was a rather unusual problem - the curtain on stage got stuck.

The curtain was the type that can be raised or lowered by pressing a switch.

It was before the last item. The curtain was being lowered. Most of it was about one-quarter way down when it stopped moving. However, one part continued to move until it was about three-quarter way down before it stopped.

Attempts to fix the problem were unsuccessful.

Finally, the organizers moved the table and chairs and other props to one side of the stage where the curtain was one-quarter way down and you could still see the faces of the performers. And the show continued.

I think the organizers were aware that the curtain was faulty because they did not use the curtain in the other items.

Fortunately, the last item involved only two artistes and they didn't have to move all over the stage or to fight with each other.

September 26, 2011

A memorable concert

I have watched Cantonese opera shows in Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou. I couldn't remember most of them. Here is one concert that I remember quite well. It was "Chan Ling Yeok's Cantonese Operatic Songs Concert".

I have also seen Chan Ling Yeok perform at The Kreta Ayer People's Theatre in Singapore and the Nan Fang Theatre in Guangzhou.

The show was in December 1999 at The City Hall Auditorium in Hong Kong.

This was the programme ...

These were the performers. They all sang very well.

September 21, 2011


This apple was put in the refrigerator for one day. When I took it out to eat, it has cracked. Maybe the outer layer cooled faster than the core and the contraction caused it to crack.

The 24-hour FAIRPRICE supermarket in my neighbourhood is not the super big one or the mini small one. I think it is in the lower of the medium range. There are 5 female cashiers from China, 4 female Indian cashiers and the other cashiers are Chinese. But there are no Malay cashiers. Not unusual, but quite odd, right?

Occasionally you hear people say "The reason is because .....". Do you still remember your lessons on clauses when you were in school? It should be "The reason is that .....".

September 17, 2011

Wuchuan and Nanning

In 2008 and 2010, the Kreta Ayer People's Theatre Foundation brought in two China troupes from outside its normal sources. They were the Wuchuan Cantonese Opera Troupe and the Nanning Cantonese Opera Troupe. They were new to opera fans here.

The Wuchuan troupe are particularly noted for their traditional opera skills which are very difficult to master. Both troupes also performed operas which were not performed by other troupes which had come here. It was a refreshing change to fans who have been watching the same China troupes and artistes for some 20 years.

The Wuchuan Troupe in 2008 ...

This was the leading sheng ...

Here is one of their shows. I already have a post about this show.

The Nanning Cantonese Opera Troupe in 2010 ...

The leading sheng ...

One of their shows ...

September 13, 2011

China Troupes in the 80s and after

Answers for quiz

The answers given by the two anonymous persons, whom I think are very dedicated Cantonese opera fans, are correct.

1 - Law Ka Yeng, 2 - Wun Fei Yin.

The mid 80s to the 2000s were the golden years for China's Cantonese opera troupes in Singapore. The first Cantonese opera troupe from China came in 1980.

It was the China's Guangdong Cantonese Opera Troupe.

From the mid 80s more and more troupes from China came to Singapore. On the other hand, troupes from HK became fewer and fewer. The China troupes were also well-received. So, Singapore became a popular destination for China troupes. The popular performance venue was Kreta Ayer People's Theatre.

Some of the troupes came several times during these years. The Foshan Cantonese Opera Troupe came 4 times and holds the record of performing to a full-house theatre for 28 nights in 1991.

Below are some souvenir magazines of performances by China troupes or artistes in the 90s and in 2000s. Most of them were engaged by the Kreta Ayer People's Theatre Foundation.

Foshan Cantonese Opera Troupe (1993) ...

Guangzhou Cantonese Opera First Troupe (1995) ...

Foshan Cantonese Opera Troupe (1998) ...

Zhuhai Cantonese Opera Troupe (1999) ...

The best of China's Cantonese opera artistes to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Kreta Ayer People's Theatre in 2000.

Zhao Qing Cantonese Opera Troupe (2001) ...

Shenzhen Cantonese Opera Troupe (2002) ...

Zhanjiang Cantonese Opera Troupe (2003) ...

Golden Blossom Cantonese Opera Troupe (2005) - the only troupe from Hong Kong ...

Guangdong Cantonese Opera First Troupe (2005) ...

Hong Dou Cantonese Opera Troupe (2007) ...

September 09, 2011

The Golden Years of ...

... Cantonese Opera in Singapore were probably in the 60s and 70s. In those years, besides performances by active local groups, troupes led by top Hong Kong stars came to Singapore to perform at frequent intervals.

This was what Joanna Wong, well-known Singapore Cantonese Opera personality, said in an introduction to a book. The name of the book and its author are underlined.

All pictures in this post were scanned from the book.

In 1975, HK stars Leong Hon Wai and Chung Lai Yong performed at the Kreta Ayer People's Theatre. Dr Goh Keng Swee, then deputy PM and Defence Minister, was honorary sponsor. Ticket prices from $2 to $8. (A plate of fried kway teow cost 25 cents those days.) Leong Hon Wai passed away just last month at the age of 67. He died from

1966 - Troupe led by Sun Ma Si Zhen and Ng Kwan Lai performed at the National Theatre. The National Theatre has been demolished.

1967 - Mak Beng Weng and Law Yim Heng at the National Theatre.

1976 - Street opera at Lorong 17, Geylang. Top HK stars were Yuen Siu Fai and Leong Chui Fun.

1980 - Street opera at Chinatown celebrating the Seventh Month Festival.

Here is a quiz for you. The pictures below show 8 opera artistes. Besides Leong Sing Bo, I think number 1 and 2 are more familiar to Singapore opera fans. Who are the opera stars numbered 1 and 2?

September 06, 2011

God works in mysterious ways

I was reading about Dr Seet Ai Mee and her hospice movement in the Sunday papers. She was our first acting female minister. She said, "The funny part of this story is God works in very mysterious ways."

Somehow her remark set me thinking of the presidential election. Is this one of God's mysterious ways?

I look at it this way - the outcome is not bad though the winning margin is as narrow as a hairline. It shows people want a president who is not only able and experienced but who could also connect with the masses.

Looking at it from a positive angle, I believe each of the top two contenders has the support of over 50% of Singaporeans. We can vote for only one candidate but we can support more than one.

September 04, 2011

virgin chicken at Chinatown

I was looking for something to eat at the Smith Street Food Centre in Chinatown. I saw this virgin chicken stall. I think it is quite new. Business seemed to be good. So I tried its chicken rice - $2.50 a plate. I added a chicken wing, $2 more. The chicken is quite good. But it is the skin that is the tastier part. So, if you are one of those who don't eat the skin, I suggest you go to the stall in the third picture.

This is soya sauce chicken. I already have a post about this stall in this blog. I prefer the virgin chicken.

There are several chicken rice stalls in this centre. This is a popular one.

There are two fried kway teow stalls. This is the stall I prefer.

September 01, 2011

male chicken in geylang

Last week I noticed this eatery along Geylang Road. It is Rooster Hot Pot or Ji Gong Bao. Maybe it is also the Chong Qing type which is quite popular in some parts of China. I think you can find it in some Singapore food courts too.

For your information:
A male chicken is called a rooster or cock.
A young male chicken is a cockerel, usually under one year old.

A female chicken is a hen.

A young bird is a chick.

Cow meat is beef and pig meat is pork but there is no special word for chicken meat. So, chicken can also means chicken meat, for example, Do you eat chicken?

I was looking for food which uses male chicken meat and found these funny food items - steaming cock, spicy deep frying cock, slaver cock, broiling cock ... If you replace cock with chicken, it sounds better.