SINGAPORE presented yet again another delectable cultural spread as it marked 50 years of relations with Malaysia.
On Dec 8, Singapore’s Culture, Community and Youth Ministry presented Titian Budaya Night: Crossing Cultures at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas in Kuala Lumpur which was hosted by the minister herself, Grace Fu.
Representing Malaysia was Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.
Titian Budaya Night was a culmination of a season of cultural and artistic exchanges between the two countries that had seen some 400 artists and creative talents, of which 150 were from Malaysia, coming together to present the best in music, dance, art and film from their respective countries.
“Riding on the spirit of collaboration between our artistes, Titian Budaya is a specially curated cultural season that is a fitting tribute to the close ties between the people of Singapore and Malaysia,” said Fu, in the foreword accompanying last week’s event.
The night was underpinned by Tsung Yeh, who directed and conducted the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO), the republic’s only professional Chinese orchestra.
What made the night special was the unveiling of a few pieces specially commissioned for the occasion. The ones that stood out were The Silly Little Girl & The Funny Old Tree, an adaptation of the late Kuo Pao Kun’s play of the same name by Malaysian Yii Kah Hoe, who modified it to fit a wayang kulit screen.
Pulling off the act was Kelantan’s wayang kulit maestro, Eyo Hock Seng, who was backed by his Kumpulan Sri Campuran.
Eric Watson’s Dialogue for Solo Tabla and Chinese Orchestra was also well received, with tabla master Jatinder Singh Bedi showing that almost any instrument could blend seamlessly with other instruments to create many inspired moments.
Dr Kelly Tang’s Montage: Three Movements for Jazz Piano & Chinese Orchestra was also marvellously pulled off by Jeremy Monteiro, Singapore’s King of Swing, on the piano.
Taufik Batisah rounded off the night with three P. Ramlee numbers which were rearranged by Eric Watson just for the occasion: Getaran Jiwa, Senjakala, and Bila Mama Pakai Celana.
When the audience cried encore, Monteiro and Jatinder returned to the stage to join Taufik and SCO, who again rendered Bila Mama Pakai Celana with an even more interesting twist that got everyone singing and clapping – a fitting end to a cultural celebration of cross-strait ties.