Held annually in October, the latest SUSS Cultural China Public Lecture, co-organised by SUSS and Singaporean Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao, once again recorded a successful showing.
Into its 11th year, the event held in the form of a webinar (with simultaneous interpretation in English) and livestreamed on social media, attracted more than 200 attendees over zoom and no less than 5,000 online viewers.
Mr Tan Chai Puan, a thought leader of the Malaysian Chinese cultural scene and co-founder of 24 Festive Drums, was the keynote speaker for this talk. He recounted the birth of the 24 Festive Drums performance, and discussed its dissemination across the globe and its future in the post-pandemic world.
Mr Tan Chai Puan, co-founder of 24 Festive Drums
In his welcome remarks, Associate Professor Foo Tee Tuan, Director of SUSS Centre for Chinese Studies, said that among all the speakers of the annual lecture, Mr Tan Chai Puan was the first speaker from outside of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. This marked the broadening of the event’s horizon and was especially meaningful.
A/P Foo added that the 24 Festive Drums embodied the concept of ‘Cultural China’, crossing geographical boundaries and encompassing the rich history of ethnic Chinese in China and overseas alike. The 24 Festive Drums is a performing art that fuses the 24 festive solar terms of the traditional Chinese calendar, Chinese calligraphy and the drums of lion dance. In 1988, Mr Tan Chai Puan and the late Mr Tan Hooi Song, a renowned musician, co-founded the 24 Festive Drums. Its dissemination had been astonishingly far reaching, to the extent that scholars incorporated the phenomenon into their research works.
Performing arts at the 24-Festive Drums
Over the lecture, Mr Tan Chai Puan talked about the notion of creating the 24 Festive Drums and how the performance piqued the interest of many from the very beginning. Today, more than 400 24 Festive Drums troupes can be found worldwide, marking the milestones of its evolution as it flourished over the last three decades.
Foreign students in Malaysia and the 24 Festive Drums troupes in Singapore had contributed to the dissemination of the art and technique of the performance, added Mr Tan. He also explored the possibilities of further developing the 24 Festive Drums ecosystem, post the pandemic.
After the enriching lecture, Mr Pan Cheng Lui, former editor of Shin Min Daily News and Singapore poet, joined Mr Tan to moderate the concluding Question and Answer (Q&A) segment.
Questions from the audience ranged from the relationship between the 24 Festive Drums and community service/social benefits, reasons behind its popularity among young people, to publications on the 24 Festive Drums. It was a well-received and successful event to say the least.
Scroll down to watch the lecture.