Cina Cool

Ah Beng Says:
Hello all, how are you today? Think you all know me, Ah Beng, because I very famous one. But for those don’t really know—let me tell you, you always see me at local kopitiams or KTV bars downing beer or drive my favorite car (the Honda Civic yellow color, by the way) all over town. My girl, Ah Lian likes all the cute cute things like fashion, shopping and concerts. For me, it’s all about drinking, eating, tattooing and all the fun macho stuff, lah.
Entertainment for Boys
You know, our little city is full of all things Cina and they’re quote cool, OK. Have you all been to the mammoth five-in-one nightlife institution St James Power Station? Wah, I tell you—it’s the biggest and most happening place in Singapore at the moment, and its trendy outlet Dragonfly (St James Power Station, 3 Sentosa Gateway, 6270-7676) is like the best place
for cool Mandopop acts like that ex-Singapore Idol contestant Sylvester Sim and the band Queen, all flying the Cina flag and great to pick up chio bus too. Wah, and I tell you the Sylvester guy his voice is damn power one.
For karaoke-ing, I recommend Mono (St James Power Station, 3 Sentosa Gateway, 6270-7676)—very high-end KTV bar where I can impress the girls with my Jay Chou impression—and that’s where all the chio bus are so captivated by my voice and come talk to me. But I have to say, sometimes too high class not good, so if you want to croon your favorite Mando-,Canto- and Hokko-pop ballads and still wanna be Cina hip head like me (but without the snob factor), go down to K-Box (#08-00 Cineleisure Orchard, 8 Grange Rd., 6756-3113) or Party World (#B1-00 Crown Prince Hotel, 270 Orchard Rd., 6333-6050) to sing your heart out with your friends. Here, hoh, you can find thousands of Chinese hits and pay an average of just like $10 per hour—very affordable right?
After all that KTV-ing, I also like to go chill out with my friends at Dag Thai Disco & KTV Lounge (#B1-01 Golden Mile Complex, 5001 Beach Rd., 6293-9310) and Thai Disco & Karaoke (#02-81 Golden Mile Complex, 5001 Beach Rd., 6295-1611). I say, so what if it’s Thai? All my Cina friends frequent the place week after week, and it’s here where we, 21st century Ah Bengs, get the most kicks when it comes to nightlife. After that, I go chase after more chio bus at Babyface Disco (One Fullerton, 1 Fullerton Rd., 6236-5120), where I dance away all night wearing my brand new floral tops and rugged Giorgio Armani jeans.
The same with billiards sia. The very cheem sounding Master Cue Snookerium (#01-02, 5 Marina Grove, 6323-6024) is where I can gawk at chio bus, throw darts and drink beer. The vibe here very happening—I say it’s very underground, but a lot of people also like it for it’s very relaxed atmosphere, leh.
Our Makan Places
But Ah Bengs in general just can’t just survive on chio bus, Cando-pop songs and billiards, right? We’re also human so sometimes we also need to eat. And from our spiritual home in Hong Kong comes the biggest craze since Bubble Tea—called the Cha Can Ting, which basically stands for Hong Kong street cafes, lah. The best hangout places are Sin Wang HK Cafe (#01-04 Marina Sq., 6 Raffles Blvd., 6337-5297) or Tong Shui Cafe (54 Zion Rd., 6737-6946)—quite high class dining one judging from my usual standards—as they serve some of the best instant noodles soup served with luncheon meat, fried egg and the sweetened bread—shiok, ah! Who cares about latte and cappuccino when I can have my own silk milk tea here as well, which I can drink while watching chio bus in their mini-skirts.
But if I want to meet my home boys, hoh, then I usually make an appointment with them at Geylang Lorong 9 for the famous beef hor fun, fried oysters and tau hui (bean curd). Just tell the taxi driver Geylang Lorong 9—they sure know where it is one. If they don’t know what’s going on, ask them to look for me, I hentam (hit) them, OK?
Hello all, my name is Ah Lian. As you know ah, my boyfriend Ah Beng likes all this KTV and showy things like clubbing, but I am bit more cultured, so I prefer other stuff like fashion, the arts, attending concerts, music and watching films. My friends at school always say I a bit of a snob. But aiyah, I am a modern day woman, so I must like a bit more modern things also right?
Entertainment for Girls
I think with the latest slew of Chinese concerts with big names happening all over town—those of you who missed the recent concert by my favorite singer Taiwanese Jolin Tsai, I tell you now that you missed a really happening one—there are a few more shows than you can still check out, so don’t cry OK?
One really good one that I will making a beeline for is the Alan Tam 30th Anniversary Concert (Apr 28, 7:30pm, Singapore Expo—The MAX Pavilion, 1 Expo Drive, 6580-8308), where this grandfather of Canto-pop will belt out Chinese hits like “Friends” and “Love in Autumn.” Tam is the undisputed dancing king, and this concert happens really soon on Apr 28, so go buy your tickets now, OK? But also don’t forget Tam’s counterpart Jacky Cheung’s upcoming concert The Year of Jacky Cheung World Tour (Jul 13-15, Singapore Indoor Stadium, 2 Stadium Walk, 6344-2660). Cheung is most well-known for his heartrending Chinese ballads. Also a must are the cuties who form the threesome group Grasshoppers, who are performing at the Forever Grasshopper In Concert show (May 19, 8pm, Singapore Indoor Stadium, 2 Stadium Walk, 6344-2660). These guys are so talented as they sing and dance really well. I’ve liked them since I was, like, 10, so yeah, am really looking forward to the concert where I will scream and sing along until I run out of voice.
For something more old-school, veteran singer Liza Wang will also be performing with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra for the Liza Wang & The Singapore Chinese Orchestra—A Mother’s Day Celebration show (May 11-12, 8pm, Singapore Indoor Stadium, 2 Stadium Walk, 6344-2660). I think Wang is cool because she epitomizes all there is about glamorous Hong Kong in the olden days—so I will definitely be there to see her outrageous costumes! Kumar, eat your heart out!
Art Retreat
Talking about glamor, I think what’s glamorous and atas (snobbish) these days are the contemporary Chinese artworks that you simply must get your hands on. Prices for these beauties have skyrocketed recently, so I advise you to buy them now before they get even more expensive! Go get Chinese artist Yang Yongsheng’s provocative drawings of the human figure from his exhibition Lost in Thoughts held at Art Seasons Gallery (5 Gemmill Lane, 6221-1800). He explores the human condition, and breaks his paintings down to themes that capture the reality of the silent, secret world that we live in. Wah, cheem (deep), right?
Also check out contemporary artist Ming Jing’s fun and colorful paintings of women, which possess a musical quality that is almost seductive, at Art Retreat (#01-45/47, Lobby C, Ubi Techpark, 10 Ubi Crescent, 6749-0880). More collectible contemporary Chinese artworks can also be had at other cool galleries like Ode to Art (#01-36E/F Raffles City, 252 North Bridge Rd., 6250-1901), as well as the current exhibition Idealism by Zeng Fanzhi at the Singapore Art Museum (71 Bras Basah Rd., 6332-3222), which feature more than 30 works from the great artists’ celebrated series like Hospital, Meat and Mask—sounds interesting, eh?
Fashion and Movies
When it comes to fashion I like the cute stuff only. So I recommend you shop at This Fashion (#01-02 Oriental Plaza, 291 New Bridge Rd., 6324-8260) at Oriental Plaza for girly tops and skirts so that you can look as stylish as me—no problem. This is one of their biggest outlets at Chinatown, so definitely got lots to buy here one. Also check out show haven D & C (#01-20 City Plaza, 810 Geyland Rd.). D & C, which is short for Dot & Comma (so clever, hoh?), near Geylang for some killer shoes. I swear, they’re the best. Oh, City Plaza is also where me and my girlfriends hang out to look for more clothes—trust me OK, you all will like it one.
After all that shopping, I usually get very tired, which is why I like to stay home and watch Chinese TV series and concerts once in a while. I always frequent Visma Video & Trading (#01-21 Pearl’s Centre, 100 Eu Tong Sen St., 6224-9592) because they sell a wide array of Chinese concerts in VCD and DVD formats. A lot of its stock consists of mainland Chinese parallel imports, which makes them more affordable, lah.
Poh Kim (#B1-16 Katong Mall, 6440-6115) is also very good for girls with special needs like me. Its range of TVB (a HK broadcasting station) serials is especially comprehensive, with lots of old ’80s and ’90s serials available. And what’s best, most of them are in Cantonese—so shiok, hoh? Other good VCD stores to check out include TS Video (#01-79E People’s Park Complex, 1 Park Rd., 6538-8550) and Blue Max (#02-47 Chinatown Point, 133 New Bridge Rd., 6438-7412).
Deeper insight into the Cina culture with our very own Broadway Beng
A Day in Chinatown