SGDay2019MadeInSingaporeMusings

Made In Singapore musings with Siti Khalijah and Judee Tan (Meenah & Cheenah) and Open Score Project!

One highly anticipated segment at the annual Singapore Day is the “Made In Singapore” Concert, featuring our very own local artistes! Two artistes on this year’s line up – comediennes/actresses Siti Khalijah and Judee Tan (also known as Meenah & Cheenah) and syncretic music ensemble Open Score Project – share their thoughts on performing at Singapore Day for the first time, and their must-have Singaporean items when they travel overseas.

OSU

 

 

Aside from the ‘localicious’ authentic hawker fare and the fun, informative activities at the Singapore Showcase, another highly anticipated segment at the annual Singapore Day is the “Made In Singapore” Concert, featuring our very own local artistes!

 

Two artistes on this year’s line up – comediennes/actresses Siti Khalijah and Judee Tan (also known as Meenah & Cheenah) and syncretic music ensemble Open Score Project – share their thoughts on performing at Singapore Day for the first time, and their must-have Singaporean items when they travel overseas.

 

 

Siti Khalijah and Judee Tan (Meenah & Cheenah)

 



Hi Siti and Judee! Meenah & Cheenah recently concluded another successful run in Singapore. What’s it like to bring both personas back to life on stage, three years after the inaugural shows?

 

Siti: It's definitely good to bring it back because when we staged it 3 years ago, the tickets sold very well and there were a lot of people who didn't get the chance to see it. It was timely to bring it back while the topics were still relevant. All the script needed were just some updates, which was what we did. It definitely feels great to bring it back, and we're glad that it didn't turn out to be just a one-off trial/project type of thing.

 

Judee: For me it was great, because then I could revisit and try to do things that I didn't get a chance to try the first time round. That was the biggest thing for me I guess, to have a rerun. In Singapore theatre, we don't usually get the chance to keep refining the performance, so a rerun is always GREAT! It's a very rare and precious opportunity. Actually for me, I really appreciate it because having time to spend with characters is very important for an actor's process.

 

 

The show’s tagline is ‘One Meenah, One Cheenah, One Singapore’ - what does this mean to you, and what does being Singaporean mean to you?

 

Judee: When we came up with [the tagline], we had a laugh over it because it rhymes so well and fits the song [One People, One Nation, One Singapore] so well [too]. It's beautiful to me that we're able to sit down and laugh about this together. Being Singaporean means so many things, but in the context of ‘Meenah and Cheenah’, being Singaporean means we get to be surrounded by different types of people, races, culture, community, and to be able to celebrate and call it one.

 

Siti: I think we're just being cheeky with the tagline. If you just say ‘One Meenah, One Cheenah, One Singapore’ it feels very exclusive to these two racial groups and that's definitely not the theme nor intention of our show. In our lyrics, we actually mention the other races that we consider friends as well. I wouldn't take the tagline literally, we are not excluding the Indians and the Eurasians, as well as other races. If you listen to the full song, you'd know what we mean. It's also linked to what it feels like to be Singaporean for me, it's the inclusivity of all races and people from different backgrounds.

 

 

As the saying goes, “You can take the Singaporean out of Singapore, but you can’t take Singapore out of the Singaporean.” What’s one Singaporean trait that sticks with you when you travel overseas?

 

Judee: Where got such thing? Anyhow take a quote and put 'Singaporean' in there, that's very Singaporean! The other Singaporean thing is thinking, "Whenever I'm overseas, I have to try their food!" We're very passionate about food.

 

Siti: I can identify a Singaporean from far away just by hearing them speak.

 

 

What’s one quintessential Singaporean item Meenah and Cheenah wouldn’t be able to travel overseas without?

 

Siti: This Meenah likes her pedas (Malay for ‘spicy’) things and she can't live without it. So when she goes to Europe or America, she must bring something pedas with her. Whether it's chilli padi or chilli powder, I'll always have one in my bag.

 

Judee: I will bring a book but I may never read it.

 

 

What can audiences expect from your performance at Singapore Day?

 

Judee: People around our age will definitely feel nostalgic and [our performance] will bring back memories for them.

Siti: The audience in Shanghai will get a piece of the show, and a little something extra. We’re bringing a taste of [the show] we performed in Singapore, but [what’s] special about this performance is that [they’ll] get to interact directly with ‘Meenah and Cheenah’… something the local audience didn't get [to do]. If you miss Singlish, you'll be able to bring out your inner Ah Lian or Minah by coming to this!

 

 

Open Score Project

 

 

Hi everyone! Tell us more about Open Score Project (OSP), and what inspired all of you to come together to form this ensemble.

 

OSP: There's a certain magic that happens when musicians from various cultures and musical backgrounds come together to make music. Although we're individually different as musicians, the act of coming together and breaking barriers to work towards a holistic sound is a display of the human spirit and the beauty of diversity. This inspired the creation of OSP; we wanted to spread this magic first from amongst us as musicians, and then to our listeners.

 

 

How would you describe the sound of OSP – would you consider it a 'Singapore' sound?

 

OSP: OSP is a 'Singapore' sound in the sense that we tap into the musical diversity that exists in Singapore, which undoubtedly reflects Singapore's multicultural society. We'd say that our sound is eclectically congruent, drawing only upon the use of acoustic instruments such as the tabla, pipa, cello and accordion. It is tastefully put together to ensure balance in textures, while being mindful about highlighting cultural and musical nuances of the instruments. We mostly perform covers of Singapore songs and folk songs from around the world, but we're also working on our own originals, and a concert that's happening later this year!

 

 

This is the first time OSP will be performing at Singapore Day. How do you feel about being invited to perform at the biggest Singaporean reunion overseas?

 

OSP: Oh yes, we're extremely excited and we can't wait to perform for our fellow Singaporeans! We hope that our music will move everyone there to the core.

 

 

What’s one quintessential Singaporean item that the team brings on overseas travels?


OSP: The one thing that every Singaporean is blessed with, and considered the second most powerful in the world: our passports.

 

 

As the saying goes, “You can take the Singaporean out of Singapore, but you can’t take Singapore out of the Singaporean.” What’s one Singaporean trait that sticks with you when you travel overseas?

 

OSP: We think the trait that sticks is definitely our ‘kancheong-ness’, as we try to be very thorough with the details and planning of our trips overseas. We want to make sure that everything is in order so that we can give our best in our performance.

 

 

Are you an overseas Singaporean living in China? If you haven’t already heard, Singapore Day 2019 is coming to YOU! The biggest overseas Singaporean reunion will be taking place at Century Park, Shanghai on 13 April 2019, bringing you a slice of home with our exciting exhibits, captivating concerts, fabulous food and the coolest company. The best part? You can speak Singlish all you want – shiok ah!

 

Register for Singapore Day 2019 and you will also be in the running for a lucky draw to win a pair of return Singapore Airlines tickets from China to Singapore. Don’t wait already lah – register here today!

 

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