Singapore, Singapura, Sunny Island Set in the Sea

Published 6 years and 1 month ago on Theatre Profile

SIngapore, Singapura means ‘Lion City’ in Malay.  A small island set in the sea, as described by the words of a folk song that I learnt as a child. Many see SIngapore, SIngapura, as modern, engineered, crowded, clean, sterile to some, but nevertheless, home to some of the most amazing artistic talent I have come across.  

When I think of Singapore, my hometown, I think of these artists.

The rich sounds of the T’ang Quartet ( old Singaporean favourites like Bengawan Solo, Burong Kakak TuaSingapura, Oh Singapura is a sight (and sound) to behold.  Well versed not only in the Asian folk songs, they are also classically trained musicians who graduated from the Royal Music of College and the Royal Academy of Music in London.  Their renditions of the old folk songs make me smile involuntarily at the memories they invoke.     

Then, there is Ivan Heng of Wild Rice Productions ( , a pioneering theatre director of Singapore and a graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, winning several awards for his work and touring Europe extensively before returning to SIngapore.  He is a natural comedian with a flare for the absurd.  His productions are a comedic observations of local norms, hilarious and accessible to all here.  Years ago, I bummed into him on the district line in London, where he introduced himself to me and promptly invited me to his show.  

Tammy L Wong, modern dancer and now freelance choreographer, author, graduate of University of Southern California in Berkley is another example of amazing work heavily influenced by her roots.  Her latest is Andante, a ten minute dance performance about Elizabeth Choy, Singapore’s own local war heroine who suffered torture during World War II at the hands of the Japanese.  Her dance is soulful, thoughtful and at times harsh and demanding on her dancers and audience.  The result is wonderfully poignant, beautiful work that reaches into the audience’s heart and captivates the soul.  My dance teacher.

Art finds its way somehow, to thrive and grow. 


The T’ang Quartet -  

WIld Rice Productions -

Tammy L Wong - 

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