Posted By Lester V Ledesma

Managed to photograph a rare performance of Hainanese rod puppets, thanks to some friends at a Chinese marionette theatre enthusiast group. 


The performance was fascinating - and it was so different from the other traditional puppet shows that I've seen here in Singapore. The sight of the old folks scrambling for the coins was especially fun - until it dawned on me that theirs was maybe the last generation to have an emotional attachment to this show.


Being non-Hainanese, I am not sure if children take part in the coin toss. I imagine this must have been a blast for the kids of long ago. If so, these old-timers were probably the same boys and girls chasing after lucky coins, fifty years earlier when it was a much larger affair.


I think if we want performances like these to continue as living traditions, we need to bring the kids along. These days the Hainanese rod puppets are only performed once a year. However, if the children enjoy it they'll remember it - and hopefully they'll want to see it again and again as the years go by.

I'm hoping to catch this show again next year - and next time I'm bringing my daughter along :)

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