Telling uniquely Singaporean stories through Teochew opera
Speech by Mr Eric Chua, Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth & Social and Family Development, at the Launch of “Ten Teochew Opera from Singapore: Collection of Chua Soo Pong’s scripts”
The traditional arts are important to our national and cultural identity.
a.They reflect the rich tapestry of cultural practices that make up Singapore’s multicultural society.
b.They also provide an important link to our diverse cultural roots that enrich and add to the vibrancy of our arts and culture scene.
Teochew Opera is a longstanding part of Singapore’s traditional arts scene.
a.It was first brought over to Singapore by immigrants from China, and has a long history of over 180 years in Singapore.
b.As one of the most vibrant components of Teochew culture, Teochew Opera has also helped transmit core cultural values from one generation to the next.
c.Today, Teochew Opera continues to flourish alongside modern and contemporary art forms.
Teochew Opera in Singapore has developed our own unique character and identity.
Its practitioners have also sought to innovate and develop Teochew opera by drawing inspiration from regional cultures and stories.
a.As one of Singapore’s most prolific Teochew Opera scriptwriter and directors, Dr Chua Soo Pong has been at the forefront of this endeavour.
b.Dr Chua used the medium of Teochew Opera to tell uniquely Singaporean stories, such as in 烈火真情 - “The Bukit Ho Swee Fire”, and 红山的故事 - “The Legend of Bukit Merah”.
c.Other works such as 宝弓奇缘, adapted from the Indian literary epic “Ramayana”, and 绣鞋奇缘, from “Cinderella”, showcases Dr Chua’s ability to tap on cross-cultural influences to enrich the art of Teochew Opera.
d.These works allow Teochew Opera to connect better with both local as well as international audiences alike, and this is very powerful testimony to the unique quality of Teochew Opera here in Singapore.
On this note, let me congratulate Dr Chua Soo Pong, Nam Hwa Opera and the Yeo Khee Lin Teochew Research Centre for the successful launch of this book “Ten Teochew Operas from Singapore: Collection of Chua Soo Pong’s Scripts”.
We look forward to seeing more of Dr Chua’s research efforts in the future.