December 27, 2012

getting fat ...

Many months ago, when I bent down I could touch my toes. Now I can't. My fingers are about 15cm from my toes. That means I have been eating more and have not had enough exercise and so fat has accumulated around my waist making it thicker.

Many people also can't touch their toes. It is not something unusual or abnormal. But I don't like to have a thick waist or a bulging stomach.

So I have decided to do something about it. I have set a modest target – to reduce the 15cm to 6cm in 5 months. I hope I will have good news to tell you in May 2013.

I have found several sites telling us that fat around the waist is not good for us. There are also suggestions on how to reduce weight.

Actually I am not fat but according to the mass-to-height formula I am a little overweight. 

December 21, 2012


Did you notice there are a lot of irrelevant comments in my blog recently. I deleted quite a number of them already. By the way, if you post comments at a post that is more than 2 weeks old, the comments will not be published until approval is given by the owner.

I cannot access my email at Lycos these few days. It has happened before. If you have any mail for me, please try .

Some people say that we only appreciate something when we don't have it anymore, be it a person, a relationship or a material possession. I was thinking of growth and foreign workers. I guess we don't really know until we have no growth and foreigners do not want to come here to work. My view is that if that happens, it does not bode well for Singapore.

December 10, 2012

essential service

At first I thought transport is not that essential. If there were no buses, the most you can't go to work or you just stay at home and don't go anywhere.

But, on further thought, it could be much worse. Take the worst scenario. All transport drivers (bus, rail and taxi) go on strike. Life will come to a stand-still. This will affect other essential services. Workers like nurses and fire-fighters cannot report for work. Tourists who want to return home cannot go to the airport.

I am one of those who support bus fare increase. I think it it reasonable. Of course most people will say no. Nobody will say yes to any increase unless it benefits them. I guess most MPs will speak against it in parliament even if they think it is necessary. I suppose they cannot be seen as unsympathetic or do not want to be accused of profit-minded. 

December 02, 2012

Your friends all died already

These were the words from a Cantonese a song that just sticks to my mind. I couldn't remember its title.

When I was young, Rediffusion was a major source of entertainment. Cantonese songs were one of my mother's favourites and she would increase the volume so that she could hear it at any part of the house.

This is what the song is about ...

A man and his daughter went to a cemetery to pay respect to someone. The man was a lazy bum. He mistook a few graves to be the one they were looking for. Then he found out that these graves were that of his old friends. He didn't know that they had died.

So his daughter remarked rhetorically : " Your friends all died already? " It sounded a bit funny.

I think the message in the song is to lead a healthy lifestyle as the man's dead friends had unhealthy habits and vices.

November 28, 2012

The most powerful gang in Singapore

Do you know the name of this gang? 

Certain words or images just stick to your mind like stains on the floor that could not be removed. 

Going back a few decades ... I was in sec 1 in my new secondary school. One day, a tall serious-looking man came into our classroom. He was not one of our subject teachers. He seemed to be lecturing us. I could not remember what he was there for or what he was talking about. But somehow this statement stuck in my mind - "I have the protection of the most powerful gang in Singapore - the Singapore Police Force."

Later I knew that he was the discipline master. From the statement I still remembered, I think he was telling us not to join gangs and not to be intimidated by gangsters.

November 19, 2012

大斷橋 - 黄伟坤, 曾慧


粤曲慈善演唱 – 龍貫天, 南鳳  video at Facebook Cantonese Opera

November 17, 2012

新加坡三皇五帝粤曲慈善演唱会2012 – 謝幕曲1







煒唐, 芳曉虹

November 13, 2012

Chinese Opera in English

Recently Chinese Theatre Circle presented a Chinese opera in English. This opera was first performed 10 years ago. I believe it was also performed a few times during this 10-year period. I do not know if any changes have been made to the opera. During the first performance, I presume there were people in the theatre who were watching a full-length Chinese opera for the first time, perhaps attracted by the novelty that it was in English.

Now, 10 years later, I was wondering whether these people went on to watch another Chinese opera or how many have become Chinese opera fans. I guess there are not many.

Here are some comments I posted on my first website in July 2004 .....

Chinese Opera in English

CO stands for Cantonese opera

Two years ago Chinese Theatre Circle (a Singapore CO group) performed a Chinese opera with the dialogue and singing in English. Die-hard CO fans were aghast at this tampering of tradition. Many CO fans could not accept it. But if the objective was to get new people to see Chinese opera, I think we should not dismiss it totally. It does no harm to CO. CO is not going to be replaced with English CO. Traditional CO in cantonese still prevails.

This opera targeted young people and english-speaking Chinese who have no or little experience watching traditional Chinese opera. These people are not against Chinese opera but feel that they may not appreciate the opera as they do not know Chinese. You do not see them sitting for 3 to 4 hours watching traditional Chinese opera in a theatre. To reach out to them we need to get them into the theatre.

The show did get younger people and new faces. (In contrast there were few elderly CO fans one usually sees at CO shows.) One day some of them might decide to watch a Chinese opera in its original dialect. Now, they may not become regular Chinese opera show goers; they may also not watch local shows which they perceive as low in standard. But likely they will watch shows by top troupes from overseas.

This is a good thing as it helps to increase the base of CO audience - at least for oversea troupes. (Many Teochew and Hainan opera fans also watch CO.) Otherwise, as the audience dwindles, organizers will find it not worthwhile to bring in foreign troupes or foreign troupes will not want to come as they feel they are not appreciated here. We, regular CO fans, will be the greatest losers.

Furthermore, the Opera might arouse their interest in Chinese culture and history.

Too optimistic?

Even if none of the above happens, at least these people had sat down in the theatre for 3 hours to enjoy a Chinese opera.

However, I do not see any purpose doing it in Malay or Tamil. If we want to promote Chinese opera to other races, it should be performed in Chinese.

November 10, 2012

舊片重溫 : 一水隔天涯 上集 (張瑛, 苗金鳳)

Old Cantonese movie starring ...
Top : 苗金鳳, 張瑛, 李敏
Bottom : 李鵬飛, 黎灼灼, 駱恭

November 05, 2012


The first night was a showcase for Mr Ling Dong Ming. He sang 6 of the 8 songs, one solo and 5 duets. The other singers are well-known female artistes from China and Hong Kong who are Mr Ling's former colleagues in opera troupes, partners and good friends.

Overall it was a good show and well-organized and you could see that a lot of effort had been put in. 

Surprisingly, there was no interval for the show which lasted more than 3 hours. I think the audience would like to stretch their legs after 4 or 5 songs. I guess the organizing committee were worried that people would dilly-dally, go for a drink at the coffee-shop nearby or gossip for too long during the interval and walk in while the artistes were performing. Perhaps next time it could station some of its members outside the theatre to remind people when the show is about to resume. An interval would also revitalize those who are feeling drowsy.

I also think it would be good if the guest artistes includes two or three top local artistes instead of all from overseas.

First night


蔣文端, 張琴思, 梁玉嶸

Second night 

Ling's students performing with the guest artistes from China.

Three more photos at Facebook.

November 01, 2012

some observations

In recent weeks I took public transport more than I drove. I observed that quite a number of young or able-bodied people did not want to sit at the reserved seats even though  a few of these seats were vacant while the other seats were occupied. I also observed that most of these people who were sitting at these seats gave them up when elderly people boarded the bus.

Last week I was driving along Aljunied Road. It was not peak hours, so traffic was not heavy. At a traffic junction, an elderly man was crossing the road though the red man was on. He walked as if he was challenging the drivers to knock him down or maybe he thought his body was made of steel. Of course no sane person would want to knock him down. So the first car slowed down and the cars following behind had to do the same.

Luckily for him, the drivers were paying attention to the road. If one of drivers had been careless, the man would probably be in hospital.

October 24, 2012

opera show @ KAPT on 20-10-12

This is Chan Wai Kin, the chief executive and organizer of the show. I had no chance to take his photo, so scanned one from the souvenir magazine to show you. He also performed a short excerpt.

I also had no chance to take photos of  many of the performers. They didn't stay long on the stage after the show. They also didn't take a group photo.

刘金定招亲 – 龔耀祥, 戚超群

October 22, 2012

The Negotiator

A few days ago I passed by the stall at the five foot way where I bought the Enid Blyton book. I took a look and saw this book. I have read most of Frederick Forsyth's books but not this one. So I bought it – only $2.

Now I am about a quarter way through the story. It is beginning to get exciting. Briefly it is something like this .....

A small group of wealthy and influential Americans were not happy with what their president was doing, especially about signing some disarmament treaty with the Russians. They also thought that in a not too distant future, the supply of oil would dwindle and America would be at the mercy of the few middle east countries that still had oil.

So they hatched a sinister plot to force the US president to step down. They also planned to assassinate the whole government of Saudi Arabia and replace it with a sect that would be beholden to the US. Their first step was to kidnap the president's son.

October 18, 2012


紫钗记 (牛车水人民剧场) 6 October 2012

香港红伶粤曲獅城滙 (牛车水人民剧场) 13,14 October 2012

October 15, 2012


Stars of old Cantonese movie 

The great detective - Cho Tat Wah

The fierce mother-in-law - Wong Man Lei

The loving mother - Lee Yuet Ching

The villain - Lau Hak Suen

Another bad guy - Keong Chung Peng

The loving couple - Ng Chor Fan and But Yin

Female shengs - Yam Kim Fai, Law Yim Heng

Heart-throbs of the 70s - Chan Poh Choo, Siew Fong Fong

Elvis Presley of the East - Cheng Kwun Min

Romeos - Cheung Ying, Chia Yeen

Durain lovers - Loong Kong, Lum Feng

Chivalrous duo - Lum Ka Seng, Siew Fong Fong

Mismatching pair - Sun Ma Chye, Tham Lan Heng (with Lee Pang Fei)

It is not easy to get a man who loves you a lot  - Chow Chong, Ka Ling

Swordsman and swordswoman -  Yu So Chau, Cho Tat Wah (with Lee Pang Fei)

October 11, 2012


Zuo (做) means do or work. If you say "Don't work" in Cantonese, it can refer to some work the person is doing (做工) or it can refer to a performance (做戏).

One Friday afternoon I met two friends along the road. They are amateur Cantonese opera performers. We stopped briefly for a few words. The dialogue was in Cantonese.

They were on their way to do some voluntary work. One of them told me she would be performing on Saturday night and asked me to support her. 

From her voice, I think she was not feeling well. I asked her. Yes, she said, she was on medication and was recovering.

Take more rest, I said. Don't work; let your friend do it.

You don't like to see me perform, is it? She said in jest.

For a moment I was wondering why she said that. Then I realized that she misunderstood me. When I said don't work she thought I meant don't perform. So I told her I meant don't do the voluntary work, not about her performing.

October 05, 2012

紅顏薄命 - 杜娟, 林黛, 林鳳

Beauties have a short life. These 3 actresses died at a young age - Du Juan at 27; Lin Dai, 29 and Lin Feng, 36. They killed themselves.

Whom do you find the prettiest? For me, she is Lin Feng.

Du Juan 杜娟

Lin Dai 林黛

Lin Feng 林鳳

September 29, 2012

different interpretations

Look at this sentence in my previous post:
" I only found one huadan who had removed her costume but still with make-up on."
After publishing the post I realized that people could interpret this sentence in different ways. 

What does it mean to you, 1 or 2 ?
Does it mean ....
1. Except for this huadan, the other huadans were still in their costumes and with make-up on.
2. Except for this huadan, the other huadans had removed their costumes and make-up.

However, if you look at the context of the post, No. 2 is my intended meaning.

So, there are occasions when what we say are misunderstood by others. 

I found 2 nice photos of the Zhejiang Wu opera stars who performed in Singapore last week ...