Thursday, December 2, 2010

Unk Dicko Entertaining SM Goh and MPs..part 2.

When we arrived at the Qian Xi Restaurant at Tanjong Pagar Complex amidst a very tight security cordon, we were met by the organisers who showed us to our seats at Table 4. Both 13 year old Darren Goh and I were special invited guests. We had our names pasted on the tables. SM Goh was at Table 1, the VIP table nearby us with some of the other MPs of his GRC.
Lunch was a yummy Chinese style dishes served by individual tables. I observed that most of the other performers in the 2 hour plus programme were there just as performers. They were not involved in the lunch. So, I must thank the organisers for being invited as guests for Lunch too!

[ All photos from Unk Dicko's Archives ]
Just after 1 pm or so, when most of the items were over and people had a full stomach, the emcee announced, " And now we have for you something special.... a guitar performance by Mr Dick Yip who was the Active Ager and Infocomm Champion Award Winner of 2008.! "
Darren and I walked to centre stage and as we adjusted the mic and music stand, I introduced ourselves properly to SM Goh Chok Tong, his fellow MPs and all guests.
The 1st thing I did was to quickly correct the mistake by the emcee...who said " guitar performance". Just goes to show that he the emcee ( a veteran ) does not know the difference between the 2 instruments...sigh!
Soon as we were about set and ready, I spoke directly to our honourable SM Goh saying,
" I have picked a selection of songs of which a few are campfire songs of long ago...maybe at least 50 odd years ago. I can guarantee that most of you present will hear it for the first time today. Hopefully, some of the songs we are playing and singing will rekindle some sweet scouting memories for SM who was also a scout. By the way sir, Darren is a scout and I have been scout and scoutmaster for a long time. Sit back and relax and do join in to sing or clap along. "
Keeping to my promise...the first number we did was a very old campfire song called
" Ah Chong Sok". As expected that song got everyone's attention immediately. The rather noisy din of moments ago made by the 800 strong crowd was now replaced by a very strange atmosphere...only our ukulele and singing!
Everyone was listening ! Unbelievable.
When we ended, I asked SM Goh if he could remember or recall that song. He smiled and shook his head. See what I meant...that song has not been sung for over 5 decades! Very few today know that song even exists.

"Would you like to hear it again?" I asked. And the response was "yes".
So we played it again. And more could catch the lyrics this time. Many left their tables to go closer to the stage with their cameras, video cams and Tv crew was there too to film. This did not happen for all the earlier items...!
In case you the readers want the lyrics, here they are:
Ah Chong Sok
Ah Chong Sok is a cut-throat hawker,
Chee cheong fun hey chee cheong fun
He says his goods are not very costly
Chee cheong fun heh chee cheong fun
He marries a wife who's a sor lo kwai
Whose father's name is Tai Tow Kwai
And they all live together in Yap Poon Kai
Chee cheong fun heh chee cheong fun.

That song went down very well with the crowd.

Our 2nd number was that one time popular " Down By The Sea"..a campfire round, again almost half a century ago. I have been invited to many campfires over the last 40 odd years and in not a single one had I heard this song being sung. The scouts have "lost" it completely over the years.

Our 3rd song was that old funny song, "The 2nd Storey Window".
We played it in a rather more catchy, upbeat manner.
That got many people tickled by the lyrics.

To show we were capable of playing and singing different kinds of music, I included a calypso
number...that eternal evergreen "Yellowbird".
That got many people singing, humming, tapping including the VIP table! Well done Table 1!
For ukulele players, try to master the calypso strumming patterns ( there are a few ). It would add variety to your normal strumming style.
Our 5th song was a definite HIT ! I can judge by the way the crowd looked and reacted.
What was the song? No not the modern techno songs...none of that!
It was a beautiful, very traditional old English sea shanty...." Drunken Sailor".
My version..well is my version, with some foot stomping on the wooden floorboard of the stage.
The combined effect of the ukulele, our singing in "cockney" and feet stomping made this a top draw. Many were clapping away.

After that first 5 songs, I announced that we'd be doing our final 2 songs as a medley.
And that... these 2 songs have all the more special meaning and significance as we were right there that day....Gelang Si Paku Gelang and Di Tanjong Katong.

As both these songs have been incorporated into our Sing Singapore segments over the years, many of those present could sing along with us.
The VIP table were now singing away merrily to the sweet sounds coming from our 2 ukuleles!
I thanked one and all for listening to us and they applauded warmly and heartily. I think they all knew it was something very unusual they had witnessed that day.
For Darren my young ukulele student beside me, it would be a day he would treasure for a lifetime.

Table 4 - had 2 special guests, Unk Dicko and Darren Goh

SM Goh and his fellow MPs singing one last song

Unk Dicko was privileged to have helped Marine Parade GRC and 800 seniors make Grandparents Day celebrations an especially enjoyable and memorable one.
Thanks also to C3A whom I've always had a close association with.

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