Sunday, October 27, 2013

Nanyin at Kusu Island

Another tradition that Siong Leng upholds and continue is the visit to Kusu Island Tua Pek Kong Temple during the 9th Lunar Month Pilgrimage.

Each year, since the old days, during the 9th Lunar Month, there is a pilgrimage where devotees from as far away as Thailand and Indonesia would visit Kusu Island to pay respect to Tua Pek Kong (Da Bo Gong).

This year, Siong Leng continues this tradition, visiting the temple on 26 Oct 13. More than a hundred participants join the evening trip to Kusu Island where Siong Leng members and devotees pay their respect to Tua Pek Kong and the resident deities with two Nanyin sacred songs.

After a light dinner, like the good old kampong (village) days, participants gathered and sat at their favourite corners of the temple while the young Siong Leng members prepared for their performance for Tua Pek Kong. Nanyin songs and music ranged from the famous old Nanyin pieces to the more modern ones comnposed by the late Mr. Teng Mah Seng, which provided the Nanyang connections to the Lao Jia back home in China.

Unlike the old days when the older folks would watch, listen and chatted amongst themselves as the musicians performed for Tua Pek Kong, this time, shutterbugs sat near to the musicians to capture the actions. Young and old, big and small cameras, and even handphones, all joined in the shooting. You could see the number of spot lights hitting the faces. (^^). Tua Pek Kong must have watched in amusement reminiscing the old days where handphones were virtually non-existent.

The older and younger members played their part in this evening of performance with a light breeze blowing through. Unknown to us, a storm bypassed Kusu Island and headed for the city.

Many who were new to Nanyin and Kusu Island too came away delighted with the experience. A feel of what it was like decades or even centuries ago. As the city moves rapidly, like the bypassing clouds carrying the storm, Kusu Island Tua Pek Kong Temple stood still. A scene of the ancient time was replayed.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Nanyin performance at Thian Hock Keng

23 October 2013 is the 19th day of the 9th lunar month, the third and final Guan Yin festival of the lunar year. Since 1948, Siong Leng has been performing Nanyin, continuously on the three festivals at Thian Hock Keng, and likewise, continue with the tradition.

Over the years, Thian Hock Keng has seen more younger Nanyin performers. This is great for the continuation of tradition and an assurance that Nanyin will continue on in the decades ahead. The evening's performance was made possible with the sponsorship of Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan and the National Arts Council.

Thanks to the continued support from the National Arts Council, Siong Leng has been able to work on more creations, working with other musical groups in its presentations. At the same time, it continues to play the age old Nanyin traditions that the older Hokkiens in Singapore are familiar with.

The performance at Thian Hock Keng treated the audience with a mix of new and old melodies and songs. A nostalgic journey for the old and a refreshing start of a new journey for the young.

An inspiring moment when it is said that words could be music. Watch this.