Create your video by listening to and selecting any of the audio extracts from the fifty (50) oral history interviewees.

In this section, you will find interviews from the theme – The Arts

Abdul Ghani  [Accession No: 1885] [Full interview]

Abdul Ghani was a writer, poet, and artist who created a comic strip in the 1970s known as Mat Dalang, kickstarting a caricature movement for Malay artists in Singapore. After his studies, he worked as an apprentice at Keppel Harbour, before becoming a clerk at the Public Utilities Board (PUB), then known as the Singapore Municipality. He was also involved in Angkatan Pelukis Aneka Daya (APAD), and the National Arts Council (NAC), on its art education programme committee.

1. His Art Teacher [ Download ]


2. An Artist’s Conviction [ Download ]


3. His Philosophy: Be like the Lalang [ Download ]


CHEO, Chai Hiang  [Accession No: 1914] [Full interview]

An artist who pioneered Singapore’s modern arts scene, Cheo believes in utilising everyday materials as a way of transcending boundaries in his art. He attended the Teachers’ Training College (TTC) and was a teacher from 1966 to 1971. He left Singapore for the UK in 1971 for professional training in art, particularly in print-making. He was also a curator at Nepean, University of Western Sydney.

1. No Regret for Going to Art School [ Download ]


2. The Little Book of Zen [ Download ]

CHEW, Kim Liong  [Accession No: 3342] [Full interview]

Dr Chew is a practising visual artist who grew up in Johor Bahru and went to Chinese Primary School, where he learnt to write with a brush and ink. After university, he took up a position at the National Institute of Education (NIE) to spearhead curriculum development for art teacher training, and introduced new diploma programmes in Art and Music teaching. He eventually moved to the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), and was appointed the Dean of Academic Studies in 2007.

1. Chinese Art in the Modern World [ Download ]


2. The Days of Kite Fighting and Wooden Motorbikes [ Download ]

EDMUND, Christina  [Accession No: 3022] [Full interview]

Christina Edmund released her first record when she was 17 years old. She was approached by EMI, but got turned down because she was already in the process of recording her second album. She eventually went into the Hindi music scene, and performed at the Vaisakhi festival. Her family band, the Edmunds, performs regularly at Hindu temples.

1. Memories of Recording her First Extended Play Record [ Download ]


2. The Positive Experience of Giving an English Music Touch to Indian Songs [ Download ]

YOUNG, Fernando  [Accession No: 3024] [Full interview]

Fernando Young was first introduced to pop music by his older brother who was playing in a band called The Dukes. Young initially fronted the band until they teamed up with Bobby Lambert, who was the winner of a Talentime contest. He then became the band’s manager, as well as a booking agent. The Dukes disbanded in the 1980s and Young went into insurance, setting a new record by selling 300 insurance policies in a year. Interviewee is also a public speaker, and believes in giving back to society and helping others.

1. Music Evolution from the 1960s to the 1970s [ Download ]


2. Starting His Own Studio [ Download ]

CHEN, Georgette  [Accession No: 956] [Full interview]

One of Singapore’s pioneer artists, Georgette Chen spent her formative years in Paris, New York, and China, where she eventually found success. Chen went to the Colarossi Art Academy in Paris, and the Art Students League of New York. She left China after the Second World War, and also taught at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA).

1. The Beauty in Baskets [ Download ]


2. Chendana [ Download ]

FITZGERALD, Harvey George  [Accession No: 3228] [Full interview]

Harvey George Fitzgerald learnt guitar from a young age and played his first gig with Thunderbirds when he was 12 years old. He performed professionally starting from the mid-1960s onwards as his father would book shows for them in a club at a Royal Air Force (RAF) base in Singapore. Thunderbirds also performed in pubs under the Goodwood Hotel Group. Interviewee left the band in 1975.

1. The Thunderbirds’ First Performance at a House Party [ Download ]


2. English Pop Music Scene in Singapore, 1960s – 1970s [ Download ]

HENG, Amanda Liang Ngim  [Accession No: 2891] [Full interview]

A female contemporary artist who was involved in the founding of local art collective, The Artists Village, in 1988, Amanda was enrolled for part-time studies at LASALLE College of the Arts, and eventually continued her art education in Perth at Curtin University. Interviewee’s first exhibition was a women-show at a gallery in Bras Basah Complex in 1986. Heng’s works typically explore real-world social issues in the context of Singapore’s multicultural and fast-changing society.

1. The “Crocodile Village” [ Download ]


2. Becoming an Artist [ Download ]

CHUA, Henry Why Lin  [Accession No: 3216] [Full interview]

Former bassist of The Quests, which was one of Singapore’s most successful bands of the 1960s and 1970s, Chua first learnt how to play the guitar when he was in primary school. The Quests went on to perform at Talentime and eventually managed to clinch a recording contract with music label EMI Records. Chua left The Quests in 1967 to pursue his engineering studies.

1. English Pop Music Scene in Singapore in the 1960s [ Download ]


2. Recording with EMI [ Download ]


3. First Song [ Download ]

Ismail Haron  [Accession No: 3001] [Full interview]

Ismail Haron started getting interested in singing professionally in the 1960s. His first EP sparked a shift in the Malay music scene with its Western influences. He first joined Valiants, before he was recruited to be the vocalist in Vigilantes. He also recorded a few duets with diva Anita Sarawak during the 1970s. In 1976, Ismail left Singapore for Australia, where he lived for 26 years.

1. Covering English Top 40 Hits in Malay [ Download ]


2. Songwriting [ Download ]

CHANDRAN, Joseph  [Accession No: 3002] [Full interview]

Joseph Chandran is the former frontman of the 1960s Singapore band, The X-periments. Some of his performing experiences include the four years he spent in Europe, and at Serene House, where he entertained American G.I.s on R&R from the Vietnam War. The X-periments disbanded in September 1985. Chandran was also involved in the Singapore Indian Music Party (SIMP) as a rhythm guitarist during the first year he was working in the Labour Research Unit at NTUC.

1. The Upside of Competition [ Download ]


2. Musicians’ Meetups [ Download ]

KARMAKAR, Ronendra  [Accession No: 343] [Full interview]

A teacher turned cartoonist, Ronendra lectured at the Teachers’ Training College (TTC) and was eventually appointed the Specialist Inspector of Arts and Crafts. He later became a full-time cartoonist. His father was a founding member of the Bengali Association, which was formed in 1947.

1. Are Cartoonists Born or Taught? [ Download ]


2. A Cartoonist’s Journey [ Download ]


3. Popularity of Art Clubs [ Download ]


4. The Making of a Cartoon [ Download ]

LIM, Hock Ann  [Accession No: 3452] [Full interview]

An outstanding watercolour-painter, Lim Hock Ann completed his education at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), before joining the Housing and Development Board (HDB) as an apprentice. Thereafter, he ventured into the private sector, and worked on the People’s Park, which was designed by DP Architects. His first solo art exhibition was at Volvo Loft in 2009.

1. Art has No Pinnacle [ Download ]

2. Art is an Evolving Thing [ Download ]

LIM, Wee Kiang  [Accession No: 3502] [Full interview]

Lim Wee Kiang’s first exposure to music came through Rediffusion, which broadcast in Hainanese. Heavily influenced by The Rolling Stones, Lim formed The Straydogs in the mid-1960s. Known for their hard-edge R&B and blues-influenced sounds, The Straydogs eventually clinched a record deal with EMI. After they disbanded, interviewee stopped playing music, and ventured into visual arts. Lim later opened a guitar shop called Guitar77 at Excelsior Shopping Centre, where he helped out local musicians.

1. The Straydogs [ Download ]


2. The Straydogs’ Performance at the National Theatre [ Download ]

McNALLY, Joseph (Brother)  [Accession No: 1876] [Full interview]

Brother Joseph McNally was the founder of LASALLE College of the Arts. He attained his Masters in Art Education at Columbia University, and when he was enrolled there, he resided with the LaSallian Brothers at the Ascension Community in New York. Thereafter, he taught General Paper at St Patrick’s School. McNally was also involved in the Ho Kah Leong Art Review Committee.

1. The Mecca for Singaporean Artists [ Download ]


2. Paint-Pot-Joe [ Download ]


3. The Beauty of Wood [ Download ]


4. Switching from Painting to Sculpture [ Download ]

ONG, Kim Seng  [Accession No: 2601] [Full interview]

Born in Singapore in 1945, Ong Kim Seng has been a full-time artist since 1985. Before settling on watercolour as his favoured medium, he experimented with acrylic, oil pastels, and even Chinese painting. He went to Colombo Plan Staff College, where he provided drawings and graphics for all the lecturers. Ong also participated in many exhibitions overseas, and was the honorary president of the Singapore Watercolour Society.

1. Criteria of Painting Building [ Download ]


2. Role of Colours [ Download ]


3. Painting Tips [ Download ]


HO, Raymond; CHEE, John [Accession No: 3163] [Full interview]

Raymond Ho and John Chee are former band members of The Crecendos, a popular Singapore band of the 1960s, which became the first act to be signed by Philips Records in the era of pop music. They opened for Cliff Richard and the Shadows, as well as Herman and the Hermits at the National Theatre. The Crescendos disbanded in 1966 and never regrouped after the death of their lead singer, Susan Lim, in 1970.

1. The Female Vocalist [ Download ]


2. The Crescendos’ First Single [ Download ]

VILLAMIL, Rolando  [Accession No: 3229] [Full interview]

Rolando Villamil was a band member of the D’Starlites. They performed at the National Theatre, Cockpit Hotel, made television appearances, and recorded 18 songs with EMI Records in Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Philippines. Interviewee was nearly deported from Singapore for having long hair in the 1960s. He eventually left the band and migrated to Perth in 1974.

1. What Your Audience Wants [ Download ]


2. The Right Attitude [ Download ]

Salleh B Japar  [Accession No: 2018] [Full interview]

A Singaporean contemporary artist who came into prominence in the late 1980s, Salleh enrolled at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), and later Curtin University in Perth. He returned in 1990 and joined the National Museum as a curator, concurrently teaching part-time at NAFA. His work transcends his personal background and reflects the beliefs and teachings from different religions.

1. No Figurative Work? There’s Something Else [ Download ]


2. Destined to Be An Artist [ Download ]

Sarkasi bin Said Tzee  [Accession No: 1943] [Full interview]

Sarkasi Said is an internationally renowned Singaporean batik painter, who uses paraffin wax as a resist. He was also an Angkatan Pelukis Aneka Daya (APAD) member, and contributed works to the batik museum at Haji Lane.

1. Sarkasi’s Design [ Download ]


2. A Floral Fantasy [ Download ]

Shah Mohamed Tahir  [Accession No: 3512] [Full interview]

Shah Mohamed Tahir started forming bands when he was still in secondary school, one of which being Sweet Charity, which played at Malay weddings and birthday parties. He took guitar lessons with Ray Anthony of Heritage, who later asked him to join the band. While still studying Mechanical Engineering at Singapore Polytechnic, he was working on Heritage’s first album. Interviewee’s personal interest in studio equipment slowly grew and he eventually left Heritage. He has worked with Hype Records, Mediacorp, World of Music, Arts and Dance (WOMAD), and was also engaged for the 2005 and 2009 National Day Parade celebrations.

1. Songs Played by Local Bands in the 1970s [ Download ]


2. First Time Performing [ Download ]


3. Writing More Original Songs for the Band [ Download ]


4. The Introduction of Auto-Tune [ Download ]

CORNELIUS, Vernon Christopher  [Accession No: 1711] [Full interview]

Affectionately known as Singapore’s very own Cliff Richard, Vernon Cornelius gained both local and international success as the frontman of The Quests. The band eventually went on to make the first long play record on the EMI label, and saw their music reaching Australia and England. Interviewee was also involved in arranging music for the launch of Toshiba’s first colour TV in Singapore, and music accompaniment for Talentime. He also worked part-time at Rediffusion, before leaving in 1974 and moving to advertising.

1. Music in the Family [ Download ]


2. The Silent Competitor [ Download ]


3. Exposure to Malay Music [ Download ]