Sunday, September 11, 2011

Siong Leng celebrates its 70th Anniversary with a Book, titled "The Brave and The Graceful"

As part of the 70th Anniversary, a record showing the members of Siong Leng and its activities was published in an "old fashion Chinese bound" book. Inside this old fashion book was a very modern and artistic laid out book showing the various activities and developments of Siong Leng over the years. It is like a scrap book with photographs that brings back wonderful memories for members of Siong Leng and yet shares with the reader not familiar with Siong Leng, giving a glimpse of this rather big family of Nanyin enthusiasts.

There are a number of important historical milestones of Siong Leng, the first being the birth of Siong Leng, after its two predecessors have been disbanded at a very important historical cross road for Chinese and Overseas Chinese.

Mr. Teng Mah Seng's visionary and bold steps in "modernising" Siong Leng and Nanyin, anticipating that the rapid evolution of Singapore and the world would impact the traditional arts, led Siong Leng into the brave new world with revolutionary ideas of keeping the new Nanyin songs no more than 8 minutes long. It helps that one needs not having to memorize long songs. Mr. Teng took the lead by writing many Nanyin songs, producing some three volumes of them.

With the new steps, the next challenge was to bring in young blood to continue the tradition of conserving this beautiful ancient music and song. Again, he took the bold steps of putting young people to take the lead of the association.

Reaching to a rapidly anglicized young in Singapore was yet another challenge. Visuals became an important consideration. The next milestone must be the fateful meeting that led Siong Leng to be involved with Rojak. A new and energetic journey for Siong Leng began. Modern yet traditional, historical yet futuristic, these characteristics excite the young and the old. It was a learning journey taken together.

More of these stories are captured, sometimes on print (mostly in Chinese) and sometimes with photos. The young faces that adorn the pages indicate that this ancient arts has a future. A UNESCO Intangible Heritage, Nanyin is continuing to grow its roots and spreading its branches in Singapore.

This book, created by Johnny, is available from Siong Leng.

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