Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Getai in our backyard

So we moved. Not exactly to the heartlands but definitely to a more local neighbourhood. Proof of this is the fact that a make shift stage was set up over the weekend for a getai show.

For my foreign friends, getai translates to mean "song stage". These are performances typically staged during the Hungry Ghost Festival (which is now) sponsored by the Chinese clan associations or businesses in the area. Gosh I haven't been to one of these in ages & when I realised that there is one right in our backyard, it was time to introduce X & the Girl to this uniquely Singaporean experience.

It was a bit of a lost cause of course cos they kept asking me what was going on & my Hokkien wasn't good enough to do a meaningful translation & X could not appreciate the kitschy appeal of it all. But it was a walk down memory lane for me & I'm glad all this happened right in my hood.

Hungry Ghost Festival occurs in the seventh month of the Chinese Lunar calendar. During this time, the spirits of the netherworld cross over to wander. Hence it is time for the Chinese to burn offerings, incense, put up performances to appease the ghosts so that they may enjoy their brief sojourn & return happily to where they come from.

Be it a make shift stage
there will always be fancy lighting, band & a very powerful sound system

Glam or Kitsch ?

Our fellow audience members

Monday, August 29, 2011

Night festival

We love the Night Festival organised by the National Museum. We've been going to them the past 2 years - you can read about them here & here. This year it was no exception & the best thing is that they have extended it to 2 weekends.

One night in the museum

Eva Quartet singing Bulgarian folk songs
The Museum Rotunda provided good acoustics

This was my favorite
Marco Polo by Taiyuan Puppet Theatre
The story of Marco Polo performed in Hokkien & Italian !
(with subtitles of course)

Parking Mad by Benedetto Buffalino
parked Volvo cars in front of SAM flashing red & white lights from within
a crowd favorite

Curiosities by Alain Benini
Jellyfish attack - courtyard of SAM

Since it was raining on Saturday night & most of the events were pushed back, we headed over to the Peranakan Museum for their Night Ride programme.

The Girl got to do her sand art in their glow in the dark room.
Always popular with the children

Performance by Fusion Beats

Our biggest disappointment was not being able to catch the highlight of the Festival - Corazon de Angeles in Paradise. Originally scheduled for 10.30pm (which is already late for the little one) but got pushed back to 11.45pm due to the rain & there was no way she could stay up that late (she fell asleep at 10 in the cab on the way home).

There's more this weekend so grab a program & enjoy the museums at night.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Qian Hu Fish Farm

I'm fascinated with the story of Qian Hu Fish Farm and the rise of the Managing Director Kenny Yap. A family business that started as a humble pig farm is now a multi dollar business listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange. Even the story of how they decided on their logo is an interesting one.

The Managing Director calls himself Kenny the Fish. The youngest of 7 brothers & the only one educated abroad, is featured in the media constantly. He has a website selling his many business books, one of which is called "Guppies & Yuppies. Kenny Yap - the fishy smell of success". Another "The rise of an Asian Entrepreneur" has him on the cover posing practically nude with bags of fish. Even you might be interested now ?

So what does Qian Hu do ? It supplies ornamental fish & it's listed on the exchange - wow. One weekend, we were wondering aimlessly around & when my brother suggested visiting their fish farm, I readily agreed.

There is even a map of the compound so needles to say it is huge.

A huge part of their business is the ability to successfully breed Asian Arowana. There were some selling for tens of thousands of dollars. They aren't edible (or at least I wouldn't eat a fish that costs $25,000), they aren't particularly pretty, they don't change colors nor do they talk. So what's the fuss ? They are endangered & also called Dragon Fish, enough said.

The company is obviously very proud of their MD cos there are walls (yup more than one) filled with newspaper & magazine articles all about him. He is after all the poster boy for Qian Hu.

We enjoyed looking at the fishes. I suppose if you have an aquarium at home, this would be a great place to get your supplies. We went kelong fishing last year & decided to keep the fish. After spending more than $100 to get an aquarium & accessories, the fishes lasted no more than 1 week. So much effort went to naught & the poor fishes....

We couldn't tear the kids away from the terrapins

There was also an area for fishing

Although it's a little out of the way, Kranji is a place that we will probably be visiting more in future if we want to get away from the city
Check out the Kranji Countryside Association website

Now who says Singapore is boring ?