The Decline of Cantonese Opera in Singapore Essay

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Singapore, being a well-known cosmopolitan city, has many of its cultural roots coming from all over the world. Ever since the first record of Singapore’s’ population structure, the Chinese have dominated in racial concentration, now with a staggering 74.2% in 2013 . Through the course of history, these Chinese migrants have brought different cultural and religious norms, food preferences and conversing language to the little red dot from their various provinces. This essay will focus mainly on the entertainment pastime, Cantonese Opera; on how the Singapore government unintentionally had a hand in the decline of amateur Cantonese opera troupes, with specific…show more content…
In those days, radios were considered very expensive and a relatively underdeveloped technology. Thus with the introduction of a cable broadcasting service, broadcasts were now made available to households, even at areas where radio signals had weak reception. Moreover, SWMDA like many other associations had jumped on the bandwagon and decided to perform their songs on Redifussion Singapore. This along with their unparalleled sound quality had decreased the need to travel out of homes to enjoy Cantonese Opera performances. People were satisfied with just listening to the songs being performed. The next turning point was the introduction of television service in 1963 and the implementation of the Speak Mandarin Campaign (SMC) by the Singapore government in 1979. Not only did then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew stop giving his speeches in Hokkien, all non-mandarin Chinese radio and television programs came to a halt. This outward focus on eliminating dialect as a language of communication through broadcasting and other channels such as education resulted in lesser appreciation for entertainment performed fully in dialect; this included Cantonese Opera. “The vacuum was quickly filled by Hong Kong and Taiwanese opera movies, as well as a series of television operas produced in Singapore, Following the new trend, all these operas provided subtitles in Chinese characters” (Chua, 2005). As the

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