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Date 2022-02-18


The legacy of performance of Taiwanese Gezixi in Singapore in the 1960s


Tsai, Hsin-Hsin

Professor, Department of Chinese Literature, National Chengchi University


In January 1932, a Taiwanese troupe called Feng Huang Nan Nu Pan (Phoenix Men and Women troupe) was invited to perform in Indonesia. When they passed through Selatpore, they were also invited to perform in the Li-Chun yuan theater in Chinatown by overseas Chinese merchants from southern Fujian. Since then, they started the first page of Gezixi's performance in Singapore. The former names of Singapore include Selatpore, Sin Chew, Sin island, etc. Singapore was part of Straits Settlements and later became a member of Federation of Malaysia before becoming Republic of Singapore in 1965. On account of the geographical connection between Singapore and Malyasia and the fact that there were many fujian immigrants living together, gezixi that using hokkien dialect was deeply loved by audiences from Southern Fujian. They not only invited gezixi troupes one after another to perform, but also cultivate a large number of gezixi's local fans. It catalyzed the transformation and establishment of local gezixi troupes.

At the end of 1941, when the Pacific War broke out, the communication of gezixi troupes with Singapore was interrupted. After World War II, as the international situation returned stable, based on political identity and commercial economic considerations, some troupes such as Hsin T'ai Kuang, Po Hua, Mu tan kui, Jih Yueh yuan, San Hung Chu, were invited again to perform in Singapore in the 1960s. Due to the fact that it has been a long time till now, it becomes difficult to collect and record historical data of performance in this period. This paper synthesizes newspaper advertisements, literature and historical materials, official documents, playlists and records, and oral interviews to comprehensively construct the historical impression of Taiwanese Gezixi's performance in Sinchew in the 1960s, and also explores and analyzes the network constructed between troupes' employers and fans in Singapore and Malaysia, the flow between material records and broadcast media, and the communication between Taiwanese troupes and Singaporean local opera troupes, etc.

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Bulletin of Taiwanese Literature