The Darwinian Phenomena #1- series by Nick Ng
1. Ah Boon, a second generation of The Opera Troupe
NICK NG The Chinese Opera in Malaysia - The Darwinian Phenomena
Chinese operas in Malaysia, brought in from early Chinese migrants in the 19th century, has remain a part of Chinese custom for decades, bringing joy and enjoyment to the people then, when modern entertainment was not heard of in the 19th century.
In their heyday, the rich costumes and traditional performances attracted large crowds during Chinese festivals and celebrations. In early 2000s, due to dwindling crowds and the advent of modern entertainment, the traditional opera performances was seen being intermixed with modern performances by sexily clad singers.
The operas began to undergo a form of evolution then, very much like Darwin’s theory. As the artists began to age and with less crowd attending their performances, they underwent a natural process where traditional routines were intermixed with some aspects of modernity. This “dearth” was furthered upon by less and less of the younger generations willing to train as opera artists.
Like all things in life, the process of modernisation underwent an evolution, like nature's natural selection, where customs of yesteryears were slowly replaced by other forms of practices, bringing forth new versions of the customs.
This series of portraits, devoid of expression, are meant to hide the mixed emotions of leaving a once colourful past behind and looking forward to the remaining years ahead. The images portray the evolution of Chinese operas, from its rich costumes to the present modern day singers, and within the coming decade, visitors will just see singers dancing and singing in their sexily clad outfits.
Photographed in Kuala Lumpur during the Month of the Hungry Ghost.