My Family History

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  Great Singers of Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore

The background music playing is Poon Sow Keng singing Lover's Tears from 1964. It is 320 kbps which is high  quality mp3. To stop the music or change the volume, please go to the foot of this page and adjust.

On October 1st, 1949, the People's Republic of China was formed. The Communist Government denounced and suppressed popular music as Yellow Music, a form of pornography. The China Record Corporation became the only music recording company in China.  Most singers and musicians relocated to nearby Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore etc. Mainland China remained this way until Deng Xiaoping (22/08/1904 -19/02/97) came to power and instituted the open door policy in 1978.

From the 1950s onwards, Taiwan became the centre for Mandopop ( Mandarin popular music ) with Hong Kong the centre for Cantopop ( Cantonese popular songs ) Both had thriving Film Industries where dubbing singers such as Yang Guang (杨光) and Jiang Hong (江宏) teamed up with female singers such as Tsin Ting 静婷 and Yao Li 姚莉. Their beautiful duets graced many films such as The Nightingale of Alishan 阿里山之鶯 1957, Bean-curd Queen (豆腐西施 ) 1959 and Love Ditties on the Tea Hill 茶山情歌 1962.
                          The Nightingale of Alishan                                                        Love Ditties on the Tea Hill
                                      Malaysia and Singapore

Malaysia was the main market of Chinese popular music exports for both Hong Kong and Taiwan. Malaysia is unique in the sense that the Malaysian Chinese have been consuming and exposed to all of the three languages from the two popular culture hubs. Singapore, by comparison, only recognizes Mandarin as the official Chinese language, and filters the use of other Chinese dialects in the public media.

There have been local Malaysian Chinese recording industries since the 1960s with Chinese singers involved in Mandopop. In the 1960s Poon Sow Keng (潘秀瓊) Huang Qing Yuan and The Melodiansn 黄清元, and others achieved great success in Malaysia and Singapore . In the 1970s and 80s, Malaysian Chinese pop singers such as Wong Shiau Chuen, Lan Yin, Donny Yap, and Lee Yee were popular. In recent times, popular singers such as Eric Moo, Lee Sin Je, Fish Leong, Z Chen, Penny Tai and Daniel Lee have enjoyed similar success.

                                 The Melodians.
                                     Donny Yap

Singapore was conquered and occupied by Japan from 1942 to 1945. After the war, Singapore returned to British rule. Eventually, it merged with the Federation of Malaya to form Malaysia in 1963. However, after two years of unease between Singapore's ruling People's Action Party and Malaysia's Alliance Party, Singapore separated from Malaysia, and became an independent republic on August 9, 1965.

The following year came Singapore's finest musical hour - or to be precise 2mins 38 secs. It was the Year of the Fire Horse, and up stepped Singapore's very own Elvis - the debonair twenty-one-year-old Huang Qing Yuan - to record the definitive and original version of Man Li, one of the classics and evergreens of Chinese Mandopop. With The Melodians accompanying him, heart-throb Huang really does full justice  to Wang Luobin's song!! Please click on his picture to the left, and hear this song and others. He became one of the Far East Top Ten Singers in 1975, and recorded just the 800 songs during his 40 year career.

Singapore had been a regional centre of music industry for a long time. Recordings of Chinese and Malay popular music were done at the EMI studio in Singapore, but until the 1960s, recordings were sent to be pressed in India and the records then sent back for sale. It was a centre of Malay popular culture where Malay stars such as P. Ramlee were based, but after Singapore independence in 1965, the Malay music industry began to shift to Kuala Lumpur.
                                The Stylers