Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Johor getai singers flocking to Singapore

Source Website: http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/johor-getai-singers-flocking-singapore
By Yip Wai Yee, The Straits Times, Monday, 24 August 2015


Johor getai singers flocking to Singapore
Sun Cola (Yang Guang Ke Le), 18PHOTO: Johor getai singers flocking to Singapore
Malaysian acts, such as Sun Cola (Yang Guang Ke Le), 18, are known to jazz up their shows with dazzling costumes and slick dance moves.
ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG, Published on 23 August 2015 at 5:00 am SGT
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The Seventh Lunar Month is in full swing, during which it is traditionally believed that the gates of Hell open to let spirits roam the streets. But during this Hungry Ghost season, there is a different kind of hungry visitor from across another border: the Malaysian getai performer.

Malaysian acts have long been familiar sights in local getai, which are concerts believed to appease ghosts so that they do not disturb the living.



Malaysian acts, Fang Fun, 50, with dazzling costumes and slick dance moves
PHOTO: Malaysian acts, Fang Fun, 50, with dazzling costumes and slick dance moves
Malaysian acts have long been familiar sights in local getai. But with the ringgit at a record low against the Singdollar, more Malaysians are crossing the Causeway to take advantage of the stronger Singapore currency.
Photo Source: The Straits Times
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However, with the ringgit at a record low against the Singapore dollar (about RM2.97 to S$1), more Malaysians are crossing the Causeway to take advantage of the stronger Singapore currency.

The result is a Malaysian invasion, with some Singaporean acts feeling the heat, say getai organisers.



Singaporean sisters Susan (right) and Regina Yeo (left) take on the competition by playing musical instruments during their shows.
PHOTO: Singaporean sisters Susan (right) and Regina Yeo (left) take on the competition by playing musical instruments during their shows.
Photo Source: The Straits Times
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Veteran local getai organiser Peter Loh, 64, estimates there is a 30 per cent increase in the number of Malaysians coming here. He is organising 30 concerts across Singapore during the Hungry Ghost season, which runs from Aug 14 to Sept 12 this year.

For him, it makes financial sense to hire Malaysians because they are cheaper and better.



Malaysian performers do whatever they can to make their shows more exciting - from spending more money on costumes to changing their act. Singaporean performers are very sui bian (lackadaisical in Mandarin) in comparison.
PHOTO: Malaysian performers do whatever they can to make their shows more exciting - from spending more money on costumes to changing their act. Singaporean performers are very sui bian (lackadaisical in Mandarin) in comparison.
Photo Source: The Straits Times
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"Malaysian performers do whatever they can to make their shows more exciting - from spending more money on costumes to changing their act," says the man who has been organising getai concerts for more than 40 years.

"Singaporean performers are very sui bian (lackadaisical in Mandarin) in comparison."

In his line-up of performers this year, four out of 10 singers are Malaysians, double last year's number.



In the weeks leading up to the getai season, Peter Loh, 64, received many phone calls and social media messages from aspiring Malaysian singers hoping to be booked for jobs here.
PHOTO: In the weeks leading up to the getai season, Peter Loh, 64, received many phone calls and social media messages from aspiring Malaysian singers hoping to be booked for jobs here.
"If Malaysian getai singers cost me less money but can deliver equally or even more entertaining shows, then why wouldn't I choose to hire them?" Mr Loh says.
Photo Source: The Straits Times
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In the weeks leading up to the getai season, he received many phone calls and social media messages from aspiring Malaysian singers hoping to be booked for jobs here.

"I don't even ask them to send me video samples of their work when they call me because Malaysian getai singers are, in general, of a high standard," he says.



On average, a Malaysian getai singer is paid $80 to $100 to sing three songs here. That is more than the RM180 to RM200 (S$60 to S$67) they would make back home to cover six songs.
PHOTO: On average, a Malaysian getai singer is paid $80 to $100 to sing three songs here. That is more than the RM180 to RM200 (S$60 to S$67) they would make back home to cover six songs.
Photo Source: The Straits Times
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To him, it all boils down to what is value for money.

"If Malaysian getai singers cost me less money but can deliver equally or even more entertaining shows, then why wouldn't I choose to hire them?" Mr Loh says. "I am a businessman after all."

That said, the A-listers, regardless of nationality, such as Singapore's Wang Lei, Taiwan's Hao Hao and Malaysia's Li Baoen, are still in demand.



Besides the better money, foreign getai singers also face little red tape from the authorities. They are not required to apply for a work pass to work here while on their social visit pass, which is subject to a maximum period of 60 days. Rising Malaysian getai singer- dancer Sun Cola, 18, for example, leaves her house in Johor Baru by 4pm to get to a 7.30pm show in Singapore.
PHOTO: Besides the better money, foreign getai singers also face little red tape from the authorities. They are not required to apply for a work pass to work here while on their social visit pass, which is subject to a maximum period of 60 days. Rising Malaysian getai singer- dancer Sun Cola, 18, for example, leaves her house in Johor Baru by 4pm to get to a 7.30pm show in Singapore.
Photo Source: The Straits Times
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This is how the business works: A client, say a wet market association or a clan association, pays a lump sum to a getai organiser to put on a show.

A show typically costs anything from $4,000 to $16,000 and the money is used to cover everything from the performers' fees to stage, lighting and music equipment set-ups. The organisers then take a cut of whatever funds are left.


By Yip Wai Yee, The Straits Times, Monday, 24 August 2015



 Malaysia's Sun Cola has boosted her act this year by incorporating complex aerial hoop dances, on top of her signature belly dancing routines.
PHOTO: Singaporeans tend to be more conservative - maybe because they are on home ground, so they are afraid that they would be seen and judged by their friends or family.
Photo Source: The Straits Times
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The gates of Hell open to let Vampire roam the streets
PHOTO: The gates of Hell open to let Vampire roam the streets
But during this Hungry Ghost season, there is a different kind of hungry visitor from across another border: the Malaysian getai performer.
Submitted by SweetMaria on 24 August 2012
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Sun Cola (Yang Guang Ke Le), 18
Sun Cola (Yang Guang Ke Le), 18
PHOTO: Sun Cola (Yang Guang Ke Le), 18
In his line-up of performers this year, four out of 10 singers are Malaysians, double last year's number. 



Reference