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.