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李大傻 Big Fool Lee

August 13, 2007

Caught the show 李大傻 at Drama Centre yesterday. I had actually expected it to be a jovial show, but it turned out to be more serious than jovial.

The play was about the legendary Cantonese story-teller Lei Dai Soh (actually I think it should be Lei Dai Sor/Sau) of Singapore broadcasted on radio/丽的呼声 (Rediffusion). His real name is Lee Fok Hong and he took his name 大傻 from some Hong Kong personality/show. Phonetically it sounds like “you big fool” and there is the famous Cantonese tune of “bin gor wa wo sor” (“Who says I’m a fool”). However, due to the reasons of politics (Speak Mandarin campaign) and the TV, he was slowly phased out as he didn’t want to change from Cantonese story-telling and also due to the popularity of TV – it would have been meaningless for him and the essence of the story, spoken in a language that is not so familiar to him in terms of speech, would be lost (Note: he understood Mandarin perfectly well). He had many ups & downs in his life even though he was really a simple man.

Watching the show, the significance of how it was played came upon me – the actor playing 李大傻 only spoke Cantonese throughout the whole show as opposed to others. To me, this symbolised his steadfastness in his principles and emphasized certain issues.

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