Sunday, 21 October 2018

Mindy Tan | Teochew Opera


“As long as the Chinese shrines exist and people continue praying, any Chinese Opera can survive”
Continuing my obsession with Chinese Opera (and for photographers who show work that resembles mine), I discovered the lovely work of Mindy Tan who produced a video-slideshow of her images of a Teochow (aka Chiu Chow) opera troupe called Sai Yong Hong.

The Sai Yong Hong Chinese opera troupe has been performing in the Bangkok area for over 10 years. Considered as the most well known Chinese Opera troupe in the country, Sai Yong Hong has 34 actors in total. Five members come from China and the remaining 29 actors are from Thailand. There are about 20 Chinese opera troupes in Thailand, but they are reputed to be the most professional.

There are almost 10 million Thai Chinese in Thailand, making it one the largest Chinese communities in the diaspora, however the opera is not as popular as it once was.


Chiu Chow opera is a traditional art form with more than 500 years history, and is currently enjoyed by 20 million Chiu Chow people in many regions and countries. Based on local folk dances and ballads, this type of opera formed its own style under the influence of Nanxi Opera; one of the oldest Chinese operas and originated in the Song Dynasty, and originated in southern China's Chaoshan region. Clowns and females are the most distinctive characters of its shows, as well as fan-play and acrobatic skills.


Mindy Tan is a documentary and Street photographer focusing on Singapore and other Asian countries. Mindy began her career as a newspaper journalist. She won the Society of Publishers Asia (SOPA) award for excellence in Human Rights Reporting in 2007, before becoming a successful commercial and documentary photographer.

She worked for brands like Shell, Uniqlo, Mini Cooper and Huawei, and produces commissioned work for various editorial clients including Reuters, the Associated Press and Die Zeit.

An ambassador to Fujifilm on its international team of X-photographers, she has exhibited with Fujifilm in Cologne, and presented at Fujikina 2017, in both Kyoto and Tokyo. 
She is currently on artist residency with the Exactly Foundation.