Located at 1 Straits Boulevard, Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC) is 11-storey tall and home to a 530-seat auditorium, a 500-seat multipurpose hall and 150-seat recital hall. It is envisioned as a space to cultivate a deeper understanding, broader appreciation and long-lasting love for Chinese culture and aims to document the multi-faceted nature of Chinese culture in Singapore.
In celebration of its official opening, SCCC had presented the first SCCC Cultural Extravaganza with a series of activities ranging from film, music, exhibition, workshops and talks.
I am honoured to be invited to attend few of the Culture Extraavganza programmes.
Singapore Chinese Cultural Contribution Award Ceremony新加坡华族文化贡献奖颁奖礼
Singapore Chinese Cultural Contribution Award aims to recognise individual and organisations from various sectors, who have made outstanding contributions in the promotion, enrichment, propagation and development of Singapore Chinese culture. It comprises of two categories – Individual and Organisation, and is conferred by SCCC.
The winner for the individual category is Mr Han Lao Da, who has been active in Singapore Chinese theatre since 1970s. He played a major role in the promotion and localisation of crosstalk in Singapore, and even published 3 crosstalk collections and commentaries.
The winner for the organisation category is Siong Leng Musical Association, which is founded in 1941. Siong Leng Musical Association is recognised by reinventing and rejuvenating Nanyin music (a traditional form of Chinese Classical music that originates from the southern Chinese province of Fujian) and find new ways to present this traditional art form and make it appealing to the younger audience.
Winners will each received a specially commissioned trophy which is made of interlocking strip of jade (and weighted at 10kg!), S$10,000 cash and up to S$10,000 in their project funding.
Voyage is a spectacular musical directed by award-winning director Royston Tan. The 90-minute multimedia musical incorporate 3D projection-mapping technology and holographic imaging, featuring re-arangement of traditional Chinese folk songs and nursery rhymes by Teng Ensemble.
Audience get to enjoy the traditional drumming performance by Mediacorp actor Desmond Tan, colourful dance sequences by THE Dance Company, and tales of the tender affections from a mother to her child by veteran actress Li Yinzhu and “Getai” princess and radio deejay Lee Peifen.
Desmond Tan’s drumming is better than I expect, understand this required considerable strength to play well, it’s not difficult to guess the amount of effort he had put in to achieve this. With the 3D projection-mapping and holographic imaging, the dance sequence really bring me to another dreamscape. I was a bit surprised when the dancer suddenly ‘vanished’ on stage before I finally registered that the dance is just a holographic image!
667 is an omnibus film which is an anthology of short films by 5 local film directors. The five film-makers are Eva Tang, He Shuming, Kirsten Tan, Liao Jiekai and Jun Chong, who debute his first film in 667.
According to producer of the omnibus – Royston Tan, the number ‘667’ refers to the average size in square feet – of a three-room HDB flat in Singapore, home to many Singaporeans during those early years.
Since the project traces the journey of these filmmakers as they go in search of their cultural roots and how they make Singapore home, the HDB flats came to mind as they are home to a lot of Singaporeans and during the early years of development, they played a big part to bring different communities together.
Out of the 5 short films, my favourites are the following:
“The Veiled Willow”《柳影袈裟》 – Eva Tang 邓宝翠
|Image credit: Eva Tang|
It is the 1960s, a period of economic transition in Singapore. Left with no choice, Chef Tham has to leave the household he has been working for to take on a job as a chef in a restaurant, leaving the loyal maid servant, Lau-jie, to care for Second Grandma. After her children and grandchildren have moved out, Second Grandma is faced with the loneliness of staying in an empty house, yet it is still her wish for Lau-jie to marry Chef Tham. Unfortunately, they belong to a generation who carries the burden of unspoken heartaches to themselves.
I was saddened by the ending, I even feel a bit heartache and helpless for the characters.
The strong and stubborn Lau-jie who insist to lead ‘her way of ‘ life and not dependent on anyone else; the gentle and traditional thinking Second Grandma who gave up her passion to fulfill ‘what every woman needs to do’ and the loyal and faithful Chef Tham who still prepare a table full of Lau-jie’s favourite dishes even after he was rejected.
Second Grandma, Lau-jie and Chef Tham are the older generation who hold on to their beliefs and refused to be moved by the changing new generations. But they cannot stop the environment from changing, and one day they will be forgotten by others. One day, will I be abandoned by my future as well?
“Ke” 《客》 – Jun Chong 张俊峰
|Image credit: Jun Chong|
The story revolves around the initial fear and trepidation of an elderly lady in a relatively new environment. Alone and armed with only a name, she sets out to find her grandfather in Singapore’s only Hakka cemetery. Through the use of cinematic images and the poignant use of the Hakka dialect, we follow the journey of the protagonist in her desperate journey to find her family member before the cemetery gets relocated. This is Jun Chong’s first film.
As a Hakka (and luckily one who understand and speak simple Hakka), the familiar language spoken in the film make me feel nostalgic. Seeing the old lady cluelessly searching for her grandfather’s tomb upset me a bit, I remember the desperate and disappointed look on mum when she tried to look for my uncle’s (her late brother) tomb but didn’t managed to find it.
Once again, the environment have left the past behind and moved on, but the sincerity in a person does not necessary change as long as she is firm and sincere in her belief.