26 Nov 2021



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This webinar is free. Slots are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Chinese wayang in Singapore
Jeffrey Eng & Laura Yung

Chinese Opera is fondly known as "wayang" in Singapore. Tucked away in a charming lane in Geylang is a quaint little shop where you can find Jeffery Eng, the third-generation proprietor of Eng Tiang Huat Chinese Cultural Shop, which is one of a kind in Singapore. Jeffrey’s grandfather started the business next to an opera theatre in 1936. Join Jeffrey and Chinese opera enthusiast Laura Yung for a peek into Singapore’s cultural past. The speakers will introduce a brief history of Chinese Opera and discuss its structure and development in Singapore, with a focus on the amazing costumes and the language of embroidery.

About the speakers

Jeffrey Eng
Jeffrey Eng has been involved in his family’s business since the tender age of 10, when he would ferry orders to opera troupes. This gave him intimate knowledge of the colourful and dazzling world of Chinese wayang. To this day, Jeffrey still sews on his trusty Singer sewing machine handed down by his grandfather. A reluctant successor to the family business, Jeffrey soon realised that he is a cultural custodian and memory keeper. He is hands-on and passionate about conserving and promoting Chinese opera costume, accessories, musical instruments, Chinese textiles, and embroideries. Jeffrey is regularly referenced by cultural institutions in Singapore, including various museums, schools, clan associations, and the National Heritage Board of Singapore.

Laura Yung
After a 15-year career working for multi-nationals across the Asia-Pacific region, the US, and Africa, Laura Yung has returned to Singapore and is enjoying rediscovering the local culture and history. Laura’s interest in Cantonese opera started as a child, watching performances with her grandmother. The costumes, the music, the make-up, and the whole atmosphere fascinated her. At home, her grandmother often played soundtracks of her favourite operas all day long. Laura credits her command of Cantonese to listening to and reading opera lyrics. She is working on a project to revive teahouse style opera performance and is currently a docent trainee of the Asian Civilisations Museum.


Image courtesy of Laura Yung.