This online shoebox contains random pictures, notes, whatever. I've been a professional writer-photographer for so many years now. It's a damn good excuse to carry a camera around.

Posted By Lester V Ledesma

The last few days of the Taoist Hungry Ghosts month saw this Teochew opera troupe waiting for its last curtain call of the season:


And then there was the burning of hell money everywhere. At Newton Circus, a massive paper effigy of the Tai Soo Yah - the hell god - was sent off to the netherworld in spectacular fashion.

Thus ended this year's Hungry Ghosts Festival.

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 :)

Posted By Lester V Ledesma

Had a very interesting last week. Spent most of it in the mountains shooting Philippine Kakao:


The day after that, I found myself in Chinatown shooting Philippine Kaoka :)


Posted By Lester V Ledesma

Often playing to an audience of none, the dying art of Chinese street opera - known locally as wayang - exists in Singapore only because of traditional Taoist celebrations that require its presence.




The wage for a wayang performer stands at around SGD$50 per day. Actors who are below retirement age do this only as a part-time job.


Very few, if any young Singaporeans are taking up this art form. In the last 10 years that I've lived in this island, I've seen about half a dozen troupes close down. The current crop of performers feel they are the last of their kind.


Posted By Lester V Ledesma

Eunos, SIngapore: A puppeteer from the Sin Hoe Peng Jia Li string puppet troupe brings a wooden princess to life:





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