ack: Li Si She Shut
For those of us who have heard his stories before, it was like listening to an old friend again. It was like yesterday, for many. It was like a scene repeated from days gone by, be it the tenants of the house squatting or sitting together to listen to the small Rediffusion box or the men drinking coffee in the local kopi tiam (coffee shop). It was delightful to see how each had his or her own ways of listening to the verbal descriptions and imagining them. Closing one's eyes would be the most probable case although some would be staring blankly into the space.
Where there were different people turning up for each sessions, there were some die-hards who were there on every of the four occasions. In the beginning of each session, the President of the Association, Mr. James Lee, would welcome the visitors in Cantonese and explain a little about the Association. At the end of the Storytelling, when the other participants came for the URA Clan Association Heritage Walk, he would explain in Mandarin the history of the Association.
Listening to the tales told by Lee Dai Soh, in his own style with humour and invitation to his audience to feed back to him, I discovered that much of what was shared in the storytelling was about the history, legends and folk beliefs of China. It is through such stories that our folks of the old days, many of whom were illiterate, learnt and shared with their grandchildren. Do you know why in the Southern Lion Dance, there was that guy with a mask of a monk and a fan? Listen to Lee Dai Soh's story on "Drangon Dance, Lion Dance" (this was told on 28 Jul 12).
It was an interesting four days of storytelling that I attended faithfully, although my comprehension was at best 40%. But it was like a refreshing revision as I suddenly could recall some of the Cantonese words long embedded somewhere in my skull. A friend was so excited listening to the stores, akin like a dehydrated fish finding water. Suddenly one program in her brain was activated and her Cantonese came rushing out.
Kudos to Kwong Wai Siew Li Si She Shut, National Heritage Board and URA for the great initiative and collaborations to make this possible for us to experience. Looking forward to repeats with more stories.