MCCY–“59 Years of Preserving and Promoting Teochew Opera”

Speech by Mr Eric Chua, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Social and Family Development, at Nam Hwa Opera’s 59th Anniversary Appreciation Gala Dinner on 2 Nov 2022

  1. 大家傍晚好!在此先让我恭贺南华潮剧社创立59周年。很荣幸今晚受邀一同与在座的各位一起欢度盛会。
  2. 随着现代化的步伐越来越快,传统艺术和文化日渐式微,而这两年冠病疫情的肆虐更是加剧了传统艺术团体所面临的考验。令人欣慰的是,南华潮剧社并未气馁,反而不懈努力耕耘,自我提升寻求创新和突破。
  3. 疫情期间,南华提倡停课不停学,加强加速数码化,将南华的剧目、音乐、培训、研究项目、跨种族音乐、跨剧种节目等上传到社交平台,改变传统“看戏”方式。
  4. 为培养新一代本地年轻人才,南华潮剧社更推出“传薪”戏曲汇演。在专业导师的带领下,师生同台致力传承,传递薪火,共展风采。在控制疫情的管理措施下,虽然现场观众人数有限,但“传薪” 在社交媒体的浏览量超过4000次。这为新艺术家们提供了一个新平台,继续推广和保存传统艺术。
  5. 2020年,南华潮剧社获得由国家文物局颁布的首届“新加坡非物质文化遗产传承人奖”。今年,南华潮剧社更获选成为中国广东潮剧院海外潮剧传承中心。
  6. 在此,我想要感谢南华潮剧社一直秉承着创社宗旨,与时并进、勇于创新,成功地突破了传统潮剧的呈现方式,让人们改变了对潮剧的刻板印象。这个精神值得我们支持和学习。
  7. 一个国家的经济和社会发展固然重要,但我们也不能忽视在文化上的建设,因为文化不仅是个人身份认同的一部分,更是国家精神和软实力的体现。在文化、社区及青年部,我们相信艺术与文化不仅能拉近彼此的距离,更能强化社会的韧性和凝聚力。新加坡华族文化虽然不比一些其他文化历史悠久,但有许多值得我们去探索和认识的重要遗产。为了让更多国人感受传统潮剧艺术的魅力,文社青部与国家艺术理事会将继续支持对这技艺有热忱的艺术团体和工作者,一起携手合作发扬此项艺术,让我国华族文化的底蕴越来越深厚。
  8. 最后,希望南华潮剧社及各艺术团体能再接再厉,继续通过新颖方式保存并传扬传统潮剧文化,让我国潮剧艺术生生不息、源远流长。最后谨祝南华潮剧社百尺竿头,更进一步!接下来,我以英语发言。
  9. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. My heartiest congratulations to Nam Hwa Opera for your 59th Anniversary celebration. I am honoured to be here with you this evening for this special occasion.
  10. The preservation and promotion of the traditional arts continue to be important for our society. To do so, however, is challenging, and the past two years have been especially so – traditional arts groups have had to respond to the changes and adapt quickly to a new normal. Nam Hwa Opera continues to persevere, constantly seeking out innovation for traditional Teochew opera, demonstrating their strong commitment to keep the art alive.
  11. Alongside their efforts to preserve Teochew culture, opera and music, Nam Hwa also accelerated the digitalisation of their archives during the pandemic. They have made opera more accessible to the community by sharing their repertoire, music, training, research projects, and cross-genre programmes across various social media platforms, and leveraged the wider reach that the digital sphere offers.
  12. It is also particularly important to grow talents for the arts sector. In order to cultivate a younger generation of local talents, Nam Hwa launched “Keep The Flame”, a production by local youths guided by professional teachers. While live audience sizes were limited due to safe management measures, “Keep The Flame” amassed over 4000 views on social media platforms, which allowed new artists to showcase the fruits of their labour to preserve, promote, and keep the flame alive for traditional arts.
  13. Nam Hwa’s bold experimentation and innovation over the years have successfully transformed the traditional way of presenting Teochew opera, allowing people to renew their impressions of what Teochew opera can be. Singapore Chinese culture and heritage form a key part of our identity, and your efforts help to strengthen and keep the traditions relevant in this fast-changing society. In 2020, Nam Hwa was one of the inaugural recipients of the “Stewards of Singapore’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Award” from the National Heritage Board. I am pleased to hear that this year, Nam Hwa was selected as the Overseas Teochew Opera Heritage Centre of the Guangdong Chao Opera Institute.
  14. Our arts inspire us, deepen our sense of belonging and national identity, as well as strengthen our commitment to building a better future together. With shared culture and experiences, we can better build empathy and understanding among us. Our arts, including Teochew opera, have come a long way in Singapore.
  15. My heartfelt congratulations to Nam Hwa Opera on your success. I am sure that you will continue to bring the charm of Singapore’s traditional culture and arts to people of all ages and across all ethnic groups. I wish you the very best.