Thursday, March 06, 2014

End of the road for a 110-year-old Chinese opera troupe

The Sin Sai Hong Hokkien Opera Troupe held its last performance on 4 March 2014. Unfortunately, I wasn't there to document the end but I was lucky enough to have photographed the troupe in 2010 and 2013. 
Sin Sai Hong, the oldest Hokkien troupe, had been performing for audiences in Singapore and  Malaysia for the past 110 years. 
During the heydays of street opera between the 1930s to 1960s, these street performances drew large crowds. Today, these street opera troupes struggle to stay relevant as audience numbers dwindles. Since the government changed its linguistic policy in the 1970s to favor Mandarin, many of us are unable to understand dialects. This also led to a lack of young talent joining the troupes. Sad to see this troupe that was built on three generations of tears and sweat go, but thank you for the memories, and the warmth the performers have shown me even though I could hardly communicate with them in proper Hokkien. For more photos click here

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