Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Golden Hairpin

When I was very young, our family’s favourite pastime was watching black and white Cantonese kungfu movies at the South Country (Lam Kok) Theatre in Kampong San Teng. This was in the 1950s. One movie that I cannot forget is The Golden Hairpin (碧血金钗). After more than half a century, all I remember about this movie, other than the title, is that the lead role was played by a popular Hong Kong film star by the name of Cheong Ying Choi (张英才) .

And the reason I cannot forget this movie is that I never got to know its ending. You see; this movie was a bit like the Lords of the Ring trilogy. Hence, after watching the first episode, we had to wait patiently for months before the next episode became available. I remember that after watching 2 (maybe it was 3) episodes, I was waiting eagerly to catch the grand finale …… but it never came! I waited and waited; but I never learnt how the story ended. How frustrating! (But, actually, it was not difficult to guess the ending, because it was one of those typical “kill villain and avenge si-fu’s death” type of story.

Anyway, thanks to YouTube, I am now able to find ‘closure’ because I discovered that somebody has actually uploaded all 4 episodes. In fact, in the comments section, one viewer expressed his gratitude because like me, he too did not see the final episode. Unfortunately, after more than fifty years; I have totally forgotten the story. And hence, if I wanted to know the ending; I have to go back to the beginning. Well, like we Singaporeans are fond of saying; “Where got time?”.

Nevertheless, out of curiosity, I did watch a few minutes of the beginning and was thrilled to see the names of many actors that I had not seen for ages; such as Chan Hou Kow (陈好逑) and Si-ma Wah Lung (司马华龙).  Anyway, if you have more patience than me; here you are. Enjoy.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Remains of my kampong

I have often been approached by students; usually from NUS or NTU, to assist them with their projects. Usually they found me through this blog or my Goodmorningyesterday Facebook Page. 

Much as I enjoy speaking to young people about the Singapore of my childhood, I usually turn down their requests because I simply could not afford the time. Besides students, my fellow nostalgia/heritage bloggers and I also get requests from media professionals and documentary producers. Usually, I would tell them that the information they are looking for; for example what it was like to visit the New World or Great World Amusement Park, can easily be obtained from their parents or older relatives and neighbours. If for certain reasons, they are not able to do that, I would accede to their requests. Here are two recent examples.

The first was a Malay boy from NUS who wanted an oral interview about the Chinese operas that used to be organised in our kampongs. The second was also from NUS. He interviewed me for his project about the everyday life of Chinese kampong folks. As part of his assignment, he produced a short video of the place where my home once stood. I share it with you here.

PS - One thing I have always wanted to tell anyone who approached me for such assistance; but was too shy to say so openly, was this; if you want me to spend a few hours of my time to assist you with your project, shouldn’t you at least show your appreciation by purchasing a copy of my book? Even if you don’t read such books, you could give it to your parents as a gift, right?