Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Ah Beng and his Chio Buus

The Singapore "Ah Beng" to me is a very iconic type of person in Singapore. Often being stereotyped as being loud and flashy, he is also very fond of speaking up his mind, regardless whether you're comfortable with it or not.

This figure has been brought onto stage in a form of a standup musical comedy "Broadway Beng" and it's sequel "Broadway Beng Returns", both featuring local singer-actor Sebastian Tan. In fact, I've just returned from "Broadway Beng Returns", and I'm happy that I managed to catch it on it's last day at Drama Centre. As like other standup comedies, there isn't really much of a plot, just an Ah Beng (based rather, rather loosely on Seb himself) rattling (in Singlish and "Singapore Hokkien) about the latest going-ons in Singapore like the IR, The Phantom of the Opera musical and such, and making parodies out of them. This is my first time watching performance of such genre, and I quite like it. In the show, the "Seb Beng" (Sebastian the Ah Beng) was exceptionally funny, even funnier than his record keeper role in "The Forbidden City" or miscelleneous roles in "Titoudao". It was as if this role was specially designed for him (or perhaps it really is!). Seb Beng sang quite a number of songs, ranging from Broadway musical songs to Chinese oldies and Hokkien pop songs, and it was very entertaining seeing his Chio Buus (Denise Tan, Jackie Pereira and Leigh Mcdonald) dancing to his singing behind him in Ge-tai style. It was even more hilarious when he done a reprise of the same song, but in English interpretation. Of course, his translation was far from perfect, and everyone in the audience were laughing uncontrollably at the funny lyrics. Sebastian was really a good comedian, unexpectedly, and so are his Chio Buus. "Broadway Beng Returns" is a really entertaining performance, and if there's anything negative I got to dig out about the show, well, is that Sebastian need to brush up abit on his (Singapore) Hokkien!

Hopefully there'll be a sequel to this "Broadway Beng" series in planning; I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Japanese Puppet Animation

Japanese puppetry is a very high form of art as the puppeteers are able to control the puppets, which are equipped with many sophisticated mechanisms, in such a way that it looked almost like a real human being. Decades ago, there was period of time where Japanese puppetry was integrated into popular entertainment, and that was when Japanese puppetry animation was borned. This form of puppetry animation is unlike other forms of puppet animation from China or Taiwan, whereby it's purely entertainment, the Japanese puppetry animation is just as artistic.

Below here are two puppetry films by famous puppetry master Kihachiro, titled "Ghost" and "Flower Picking". "Ghost" speaks of a popular urban legend that when elderly people were on the verge of death, they'd transform into ghosts and try to eat up their children. For "Flower Picking", a little monk was lured into letting in 2 strangers into his garden with alcohol, who were trying to pluck the beautiful flowers in the garden.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Mistaken Identity Once Again

Two days ago, while I crossed over to the adjacent office building to mine for dinner, I chanced upon HC (some fellow opera troupe friends of mine should know who he is) enjoying his meal with his female friend. I walked up to him and greeted him, and he gave me a blank look, and asked if I was Jason. I told him I wasn't, and told him my identity, and he finally realised it's me. It has been ages since we last met, and since we don't really interacted much before when he came to help out with us (at least I don't need his service as I'm not acting dan roles!) and it makes no wonder that he couldn't quite recall me. But, it was only shortly after I left his table that I started wondering who is this "Jason", and then I recalled there's one Project Superstars finalist Jason Tan who had been said to resembled me alot. So could he have mistaken me for him? Well, with my new hairstyle, about 1/3 of my face is now covered by hair, and I won't be surprised if people starts mistaking me for him (or vice versa). But how much resemblence do I share with him? You decide, and tell me!


... and Jason!

Hair Talk

Going to the hair salon or barbershop is one of the things I'd rather avoid, for I'm rather particular about my hair (although at times I just can't be bothered to comb it). There had been too many unhappy experiences whereby I get very ugly haircuts. Therefore, usually I'd go get a haircut like once in two or three months, only when neccessary. Despite that, the adventurous person in me would always try new hairstyles whenever possible. Those who know me would probably recall I went to do a twist perm and bleaching of my hair last year, and on my next haircut, I "straightened" it (actually it's the twist perm losing its effect due to poor maintenance) and dyed it to blue-black. I looked so different in these two styles that one of my colleagues actually did not recognised me in office, until I called out to her!

On Labour Day, I went for a haircut at my favourite salon, and I changed my hairstyle again. This time round, I did a rebond, something which I had long wanted because I don't fancy my wavy, hard-to-manage hair. It was a very long process, having to coat the hair with a chemical to break the hair's disulfide bonds. Afterwhich, the hair was to be straightened with a thermal straight iron, and then another coat of chemical was applied to reform the broken disulfide bonds. All in all, it took about 3 1/2 hours, the longest period I've spent in a hair salon excluding waiting time! There was a bit of discomfort too, when my hairstylist was using the thermal straight iron. You see, this iron is like a waffle irons, except for the fact that the hot plates were long and thin rather than round, and it's very hot. Everytime the hairstyle places the thermal straight iron near me, I could feel the heat, and I was quite scared that he would make waffles out of my flesh. Of course I was in good hands, and nothing of that sort happened, but then everytime he finished a section of my hair, the heat from the iron would be still trapped inside my hair, and I felt as if my hair was burning.

All these aside, the final result was still quite pleasing to me. Not only did my hair turned straight, but it looked healthier and shinier too. Even some of my colleagues thought I had done a recolouring of my hair too, as my hair colour had became brighter as well. And how much I paid in total? Just S$80 to my surprise, as usually it'd cost over $100 just for the rebonding alone in other salons. I'm not sure if it's because I am their regular customer, or that it's one of their reopening promotion (they just shifted to their present location a few days ago), or simply because my hair was relatively short compared to their other clients, mainly females. Whatever it is, I'm quite satisfied with the results, and I might consider keeping this hairstyle for good.

How I looked years ago in short hair

After twst perm last year

After my twist perm lost it's effect and hair recoloured late last year

My hair recoloured and longer earlier this year

After rebonding now