Each year comes with a new theme - although the name might seem to be the same - with new programmes. This year, the event is held at Changi Beach Club. Given the big space, the programme took on a bigger dimension.
Guests were treated to a Drum performance at one corner of the Club premise. They could view from the restaurants through the glass windows. And just as the drums, beautifully choreographed in steps with the beat, beat on a retreat, the drums inside the restaurant rose as if in continuation bringing the distant sounds nearer. The audience, especially, the kids, were enthralled and excited, swinging their heads from one side to the other to catch the sounds.
And if one was to expect that it was the end of the excitement, a more subtle awaits. In the distance, the sound of Nanyin appeared, amplified to the restaurant. A procession had started with members of Siong Leng walking around the path, that skirted the Club's seawater pool, in a very traditional way complete with playing of the music, and carrying the ritual paraphernalia that is part of the tradition carried out for centuries. The procession walked all the way to the main stage of the restaurant where the ritual was conducted. For those who went to the Sacred Music performances in the Esplanade, you would have seen a similar one.
In between meals, the guests were treated to more performances. One specially arranged performance was the video slide presentation on the late Mr. Teng Mah Seng - including some video clips of his speech - with the young members of Siong Leng playing Nanyin in accompaniment.
This evening was a milestone to show that Mr. Teng Mah Seng's dream and foresight has been achieved in that a young group of Nanyin performers has come of age. Through the interests of these young people, guided by the elders in Siong Leng and trained by Nanyin veterans in Fujian, China, their achievements could be seen and heard on this evening. The Lao-Shi (teacher) and the young members were presented to the guests who are ardent supporter and Nanyin enthusiats. An ancient tradition since the Han-Tang Dynasty in China, it had moved from the upper part of China to Fujian where it grew its roots in Quanzhou, and from there, spread to Nanyang and the rest of the world. These young people represent that hope of continuity into the next millennium in Singapore.
Appreciations must be accorded to the guests and supporters who helped made this event a success and to the organisations who helped Siong Leng in many ways as it continues its journey. And to the members of Siong Leng, kudos, for you make it happen!