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SPH Chinese Media Group to mark the Singapore Bicentennial with a crosstalk production on Singapore's history

Singapore, 9 May 2019 --- Singapore Press Holdings’ (SPH) Chinese Media Group (CMG) will present “It Could Have Been____!” (狮城古今笑谈), a well-received Chinese crosstalk (相声 xiang sheng) production to mark Singapore's Bicentennial year.

The production is co-organised with People’s Association (PA) and presented by China Life Insurance Singapore Pte Ltd (China Life Insurance Singapore) in support of the Singapore Bicentennial.

The performance, which is free admission, will be launched at this year’s Singapore Book Fair with the first two shows to be staged at Capitol Singapore (Stage @ Plaza, Level 1) on 8 and 9 June. Subsequent performances will be staged over the next few weekends at Ang Mo Kio Central Stage, Our Tampines Hub and Kampung Admiralty.

Scripted by Cultural Medallion recipient Mr Han Lao Da, a Singapore xiang sheng pioneer and renowned Chinese-language theatre playwright, “It Could Have Been___!” was first staged at the Esplanade in 2015, garnering rave reviews from audiences.

Mr Han updated and condensed the script into a 75 min performance, comprising seven acts that span across 700 years of Singapore’s history. It is directed by Jalyn Han, an experienced theatre practitioner and anchored by two local crosstalk veterans, Johnny Ng and Yong Ser Pin.

Mr Han said: “We have changed the Chinese title of this production to reflect our modern perspective of Singapore’s history. We hope that it will help to educate Singaporeans about our past, which did not begin with the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles but way before that. The production also touches on the relationship between Malaysia and Singapore which is a constant concern of citizens from both countries. Crosstalk is an ideal platform to help audiences to appreciate serious topics in a more lighthearted manner.”

The 2019 version is modified for the open stage. Through the comical language of Chinese crosstalk, the script spans over 700 years of Singapore's history, from the naming of Lion City (Singapura), the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles, the Japanese Occupation, the merger and separation of Singapore and Malaysia, the integration of Singapore’s new and old immigrants to modern day Singapore. The production will offer a synopsis in English at the beginning of each scene to cater to a wider audience.

Ms Lee Huay Leng, Head of SPH Chinese Media Group, said: "This light-hearted but thought-provoking production is an extremely meaningful and entertaining showcase. Through the comical language of a cross-talk, it enables audiences to acquire better understandings about Singapore's history and the close ties between Singapore and Malaysia. In addition, aligning with Singapore’s commemoration of the Bicentennial this year, it brings back nostalgic memories of Singapore’s history and heritage, as well as conveys that the nation’s spectacular successes and achievements are not facile."

Ms Clarin Wee, Director, Grassroots Policy & Programmes Division, People’s Association, said: “As part of our efforts to commemorate Singapore’s Bicentennial, the People’s Association is happy to co-organise with SPH Chinese Media Group to bringSingapore’s history to the heartlands through the traditional chinese crosstalk performance.  Through our collaboration, we hope to reach out to more Singaporeans and they can get to enjoy this light-hearted and engaging performance.”

Mr Zhu Lixin, Deputy General Manager of China Life Insurance Singapore, said: “Singapore’s Bicentennial Commemoration 2019 marks a milestone in Singapore’s history and is a keenly anticipated high profiled event regarded by the Singapore government and Singaporeans. As part of China Life Insurance (Group) Company (“China Life”) which is the largest financial insurance corporation in China, China Life Insurance Singapore is proud to sponsor “It Could Have Been___!” event. This event enacts the various chapters of Singapore’s history through an engaging cross talk performance to relive the monumental moments such as the notable contributions of the early migrants to the present success of Singapore. It is also opportune that this event is in a crosstalk performance format. As crosstalk is a popular Chinese cultural art form, we are delighted to use this event to help promote this traditional art to a wide audience. This year coincides with the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China and China Life. We hope to mark these celebratory occasions to further grow our insurance business here and as a socially responsible company, we are committed to offer value-added financial solutions to serve the financial needs of Singaporeans to jointly create a better future for all.”

Performance details:

8 June (Sat), 8pm, Capitol Singapore (Stage @ Plaza, Level 1)

9 June (Sun), 4pm,   Capitol Singapore (Stage @ Plaza, Level 1)

15 June (Sat), 7.30pm, Ang Mo Kio Central Stage

16 June (Sun), 7.30pm, Ang Mo Kio Central Stage

22 June (Sat), 4.30pm, Our Tampines Hub

23 June (Sun), 6pm, Our Tampines Hub

29 June (Sat), 7.30pm, Kampung Admiralty

30 June (Sun), 7pm, Kampung Admiralty

Please see attached Chinese media release.

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Co. Regn. No. 198402868E 

For media queries, contact:

Ms Ann Choo
Assistant Manager
Culture, Education & New Growth
Singapore Press Holdings
DID: 6319 1968

Francis Mah
Senior Manager
Corporate Communications & CSR
Singapore Press Holdings
DID: 6319 1028

About Singapore Press Holdings Ltd

Incorporated in 1984, main board-listed Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) is Asia's leading media organisation, engaging minds and enriching lives across multiple languages and platforms.  

SPH's core business is publishing of newspapers, magazines and books in both print and digital editions. It also owns other digital products, online classifieds, radio stations and outdoor media.

On the property front, SPH owns 70% in a real estate investment trust called SPH REIT which comprises Paragon, a premier upscale retail mall and medical suite/office property in Orchard Road, The Clementi Mall, a mid-market suburban mall and The Rail Mall, a stretch of shopping and dining outlets along Upper Bukit Timah Road. SPH REIT also holds 85% equity stake in Figtree Grove, a freehold sub-regional shopping centre in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. SPH owns and operates The Seletar Mall. It is developing a new commercial cum residential site at Woodleigh.  It also has a stake in Chinatown Point and owns a portfolio of Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) in the United Kingdom.

It is in the aged care sector and owns Orange Valley, Singapore's largest private nursing home operator.

SPH runs a regional events arm and a chain of Buzz retail outlets. It also invested in the education business.

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