SIN SAI HONG
A film by Royston Tan (Singapore)
The opening of the National Museum of Singapore presents an opportunity to explore the varying perspectives that contemporary cultural practitioners and artists have adopted in response to issues of tradition and history.
Specially commissioned by the National Museum of Singapore as part of the opening festival, Sin Sai Hong is a short film which documents the Sin Sai Hong troupe, the oldest Hokkien opera troupe in Singapore.
The film captures the iconic songs and music of the troupe that are familiar favourites with Chinese audiences in Singapore for over four generations. Lyrical in its execution, the film illustrates the different eras of the troupe through the performance of their songs.
At the same time, it also offers rare glimpses into the backstage area, where the lives of the musicians, stage hands and singers often mirror the stories of the songs they perform.
Royston Tan followed and volunteered himself as an extras over a year in preparation for this film. This film premiere will be graced by the entire Sin Sai Hong troupe.
DATE & TIME
Sun 17 Dec' 06, 8.00pm
National Museum of Singapore Gallery theatre
Approximately 45mins with no interval
S$8 (all sold out)
The opera troupe Sin Sai Hong has been around close to a hundred years. I recall my grandmother having used to carry me as a kid to watch the opera performances. This troupe was known for its fanciful costumes and singing, but what made this troupe so special was despite falling crowd, it continued to maintain its high standard of performances year after year. After seeing the near disappearance of the Teo Chew troupe, I felt an urgency to capture their dedication before it disappeared. To prepare myself for the film, I volunteered myself as a soldier over the past one year to immerse myself in the troupe for inspiration; it’s at the backstage where I experienced the intimate, closed bonded and candid moments of their conversations, rehearsals and discussions, leading to the concept of this film taking place mostly at the backstage. By requesting every troupe members to select a song very personal to them in their performing career, this 35mins film shows you the early development of the Hokkien opera tune from the Nan Ying era to the 80s Taiwanese and present pop influences over four generations. The opera actress Ah Cai told me that "going on stage resembles life, once you are out on stage, do it well, you can't remake an entrance".