April 29, 2013

Chinese Opera Tea-house

I discover that I wrote a post about Chinese Theatre Circle's Chinese Opera Tea-house (Smith Street) more than 12 years ago. I reproduce the whole post below. If you are a regular visitor to the Tea-house, you may notice changes during these long years.

This was written in November 2000 .......

On Saturday afternoon the charge is $5 per head and tea is served. You can also order other drinks, including beer. The tea comes in a porcelain pot and small porcelain cups. For a complete set which includes tea, tim-sum and a dessert, the cost is $12.80.

The hall is rectangular. Though small, it is aesthetic and cheery. There are 2 TV sets in front and one at the back. (Singing is the karaoke-type and is free.) The walls are decorated with opera costumes and masks and Chinese calligraphies. There is a large wooden model of a type of Chinese sailing-boat at the front where the singer's platform is and there are two smaller ones at the back above the entrance. There is even a model of a roadside opera stage!

You can sing solo, with your partner or request your CTC idol to sing with you if the artiste is there. If you can't sing or don't feel like singing you can just sip your tea, watch and listen to the others.

That afternoon the regulars, a group of elderly ladies and a few men, were there. CTC's regular artistes are Hoi Siong, Frances Wong, Loh Siew Ling and Chan Kwai Lin.

There is a girl from Zhejiang. Her name is Dawn. She mans the SISTIC counter and helps to serve customers.

April 22, 2013

Preservation of Chinese opera

The scanned article below is from Lian He Zao Bao's edition on 1 April 2013. It is about Mr Ferdinand de Bakker, a founder of Preservation of Chinese Opera (PCO). The PCO is an initiative to preserve the culture and heritage of Chinese opera in Singapore and to bring it to the next generation. Mr Ferdinand is from Holland and his wife is a Singaporean.

Preserving Chinese opera is a formidable task. In Singapore, there are three main opera dialect groups (Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese) and a few other smaller groups (Peking opera, Yue opera and Hainanese opera). Preserving these Chinese operas means not only you need to promote them but also to ensure there are young people passionate enough to want to learn to perform. And learning to be a competent performer is a long dedicated process which requires commitment and perseverance.

I believe the various opera groups and organizations have all along been promoting Chinese opera and trying to attract young people to their shows and activities, and their leaders have been passing on their skills and passion to the younger ones who wish to learn.

April 15, 2013


Someone wondered in FB/Cantonese opera if Leong Siu Meng (梁兆明) would be performing in Singapore. I was wondering if Siu Meng is on FB, so I looked for 梁兆明. There are a few people with this name but they are not the one I was looking for.

Later I found him under the name Siuming Leung ...

There isn't much news at his FB page. Does anyone know if Siu Ming will be performing in Singapore?

周瑜归天 - 梁兆明, 黃燕

April 08, 2013

mirror view

I was driving along a road. I looked at the rear view mirror. There was a van behind me. There was a message on its front. As I had to concentrate on the road I did not have enough time to make out what the message was. One of the words I could make out was 'God'. So I guess it was something from the Bible.

When you look at a mirror, the words are laterally inverted. It is not the same as just reversing the letters. For example if you reversed the letters in 'cantonese opera', it would look like this ... arepo esenotnac .

However, if you look at its image in a plain mirror, it would be like this:
This is called lateral inversion.

I remember studying about lateral inversion when I was in lower secondary. I found it quite fascinating.

Now, look at this photo. Where is the mole? It is on his left cheek. But if this photo was the image in a mirror, then the mole is actually on his right cheek.

Another one ... I love YAM? Again if this photo was taken off a mirror, then it is I love MAY.

When does a right-handed man become a left-handed man? 
When you look at him in a mirror using his hand to write.

April 01, 2013


There are two aspects to shopping. One is go shopping knowing exactly what things you want to buy (for example a Samsung WF-30023G front-load washer) or shopping for things that you need regularly (sugar for example). The other aspect is to go shopping trying to choose what you think best suit your need, a dress for example.

You know, I dislike doing the second aspect of shopping.

I have been thinking of replacing my old compact camera which is not working well. I am thinking of one with a higher zoom. Then I saw an advertisement of an Olympus with a 24x zoom. Later I came across other cameras like Nikon, Fuji, Canon, Samsung and Casio which also have high zooms. Some looks quite bulky. I guess each one has its own good points.

For me, more choices means spending more time trying to pick a camera. So I think the simplest thing to do is to go to a shop, look at a few cameras with a high zoom and see which one appears to me in terms of look and price.

Anyone got any suggestion or recommendation?