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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

I write songs, I sing them... I play the piano and a little bit of the guitar.. I've released 5 albums of music, I love the scent of freshly fallen rain and the scent of lavender on bedsheets. I would drink tea all day long if the caffeine didn't keep me up at night. I hate driving in L.A traffic. I would love to one day catch the squirrel that steals the plums from my tree and make him a pet. I don't watch TV anymore. My 3 year old daughter is more entertaining than any TV show could ever be :)

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

A chance encounter with a Chinese Opera

I had just finished buying some chicken hor fun
to take home for dinner and was walking to the
bus-stop when I heard the sound of cymbals and
the acrobatic stylings of a woman's voice singing
a Hokkien operatic song.

Walking quickly towards the music's source,
I found, smack in the middle of cosmopolitan,
present-day Holland Village, a throwback from of
old.

A Chinese opera was being presented, with
puppets, porcelain-faced puppets dressed in
old Chinese wayang clothes elaborately embroidered.
The puppets were about 30 cm tall and they even
had their own velvet chairs, which looked surprisingly
modern in architectural styling, something one might
actually buy from Ikea, if not for the fact that
the chair was miniature, merely 10 cm tall.

I could not understand what they were singing about
as the opera was being presented in Hokkien.
It was very fascinating to watch though and
I was amused to see that in place of a traditional
guzheng or erhu, there was a man backstage, playing
a Casio keyboard. I guess even something as
traditional as a Chinese opera being staged in Singapore
is not untouched by the convenience of modernity.
The lady singing was also the puppeteer.

Right in front of the stage were many plastic red buckets,
each filled with various foodstuffs like Maggi instant
noodles. I assumed that they were being offered to
the various gods that were depicted in the illustrations
on the gold and red altar at the front of the tent,
this being the season of the Lunar New Year and such.

So perhaps, the opera too, was being staged for the enjoyment
of those who had passed beyond the present.

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16 Comments:

Blogger Blitz said...

Despite living so many years in Singapore, I've failed to see any opera performance :P

BTW, your concert at NUS was really fantastic. It was really a pity time flies so fast when you're enjoying the moment. My mind was still thinking about the concert few days after the performance :) Hope that you will be back in Singapore again soon for another concert!

Thursday, February 23, 2006 5:08:00 AM  
Blogger Deborah Li said...

Hm.. corrinne, if you're talking about the ghost month opera.. yup, its played mainly for the ghosts!! :)

Thursday, February 23, 2006 6:36:00 AM  
Blogger 薇若vero said...

Corrinne...
It sounds interesting that you met the little puppets on the way home. Couple days ago, it was said on our news that puppet opera is broadcasted on TV in states, and they sing in ENGLISH!! Haha!! Don't know if you watch it, maybe that's interesting too.

Oh, it's Veroinca from Taiwan. We have had a-week working days together, don't know if you remember. :) I am happy to know that you already release your second album. Keep going!!!

Monday, February 27, 2006 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger See Fei said...

nice entry. hope you like the street opera.

Monday, February 27, 2006 11:41:00 PM  
Blogger juzdawn said...

It never fails to amaze me, those little puppet shows or Chinese operas complete with the technicolor costumes and painted faces. Makes one reminisce the good ole' days where I sat through these shows, transfixed on the languid movements and the bright lights. This is Singapore. You hardly get these stuff elsewhere. And probably the only place in the world where you might see a Malay wedding in a void deck and a Chinese opera being staged nearby. :)

Awaiting patiently for the third instalment of your food for the soul... Dawn

Wednesday, March 01, 2006 4:02:00 AM  
Blogger Apollo Chocolate said...

I've just seen one Chinese Opera using an electric guitar for the music =) And the stage was really small so that only 1 or 2 people could squeeze on it.

In contrast, I saw another that had a bigger budget and there was even a really old guy... who's a camera man... video-ing the whole thing on a Sony Beta Cam!

See you around!

- The girl with the polite phone =)

Friday, March 03, 2006 3:35:00 AM  
Blogger saxhound said...

hello corrine! can i tell u i really really love ur songs and i can really identify with them! esp 'everything in its time'. watched ur interview and u're really an easy going person. and i'm from rj too! so i'm really proud of you.. and breakin away from the sterotypical careers of a high-flyer and goin on to pursue ur passion =D really hope to hear ur next album! good job!!

Sunday, March 12, 2006 7:57:00 AM  
Blogger Wing Yee said...

Dear corrinne, i'm so glad to have found your blog, more so to have made this inspiring musical discovery. As I am typing this my iTunes is playing your 'Free' on repeat. You don't know how therapeutic your songs are to someone who is studying overseas. I was from rgs,rjc and am a Catholic too.Just want to thank you for the difference you have made to me and everyone else.Keep up the good work and blog more!! :) God Bless.

Sunday, March 12, 2006 2:23:00 PM  
Blogger Wing Yee said...

btw, will you have any concerts in UK? A lot of Singaporeans love you here!! :)

Sunday, March 12, 2006 2:30:00 PM  
Blogger ~Nimajneb Ees Ney Woh~ said...

I've never seen an opera in Singapore before. So i suppose you are no longer in Singapore?

Saturday, April 08, 2006 1:20:00 AM  
Blogger CHARLOTTEEATSCARROTS:D said...

hey corrinne! :D
i really love your music, it's like food for my soul.
it never fails to make me smile (:
thank you, for writing such beautiful songs.
god bless!
<3 charlotte. xoxo!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006 6:43:00 AM  
Blogger Ben Kenobi Lim said...

hi there Corrine,

Had not updated my blog for some time, and i was just checking out a friend's blog. Pierre's and I realised he had your link. I did not know corrine may was you. I just heard the songs and thought that they were nice. And was glad that finally a singaporean making it good. Only when one day I saw your pic, that I told my wife.... hey I recognise this girl. We probably knew who was who but not exactly knew each other. We were in the same group at the NTU catholic camp. And then I knew you were in the Hosanna Music Ministry too as at that time, I was seeing Gerrie Low.

Anyway, great to hear of you doing well. All the best... look forward to more albums!

Take care, God Bless. Ben

Thursday, May 11, 2006 12:52:00 AM  
Blogger Ben Kenobi Lim said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Thursday, May 11, 2006 12:52:00 AM  
Blogger Ben Kenobi Lim said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Thursday, May 11, 2006 12:55:00 AM  
Blogger kingone said...

update!

Friday, May 12, 2006 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger GG said...

I'm touched by your music, and listening to it everyday. Thanks! May God bless you.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 12:11:00 AM  

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