Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Watching Chinese opera

When I was small I liked to watch Chinese opera which was performed in conjunction with the birthday of certain deity. It would be held for three or four days. My friends and I would be putting our chairs in front of the stage long before the opera started. The temple was built quite near the sea, as most of the villagers worked as fishermen and they prayed to Ma Chor Po, the name of the deity who is supposed to protect fishermen when they are at sea.

I seemed to be able to grasp what the characters were saying from the songs that they were singing. You see this Chinese opera was performed with conversion and songs. Sometimes Teochew opera was engaged to perform to entertain the deity but to me it was more for the villagers. At other times, Hokkien opera troupe did the job.

After a day, we began to love the persons behind the characters. I used to stand by the road to see them in person as they walked to Jelutong town to buy food or other things. We could rough made out who they were, I mean the character they assumed on stage.

Nowadays, we still can enjoy opera shows on the birthdays of deities but most of the time, it is the singing troupes that are performing as youngsters prefer such troupes to opera shows.

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