Drinking, carousing at getai show

On Sept 4, I watched a getai show opposite Khatib MRT station and was upset by what I saw.

At about 10.45pm, the last singer for the evening came on stage.

The emcee asked her to join him and three other singers - two female and one male - at a row of tables, where a group of men were drinking liquor and enjoying the show.

The emcee introduced the men as the "bosses" for the getai show, then proceeded to climb onto the tables with the four singers and sing on the tables.

While they were singing, the men offered the female singers beer mixed with hard liquor in glasses wrapped in $50 notes.

The singers drank, then kept the cash. After finishing the drinks, the singers hugged the bosses.

They were all very drunk by the end of the show.

My impression of getai is that of professional singers performing on a stage.

Instead, I saw a group of women entertaining a group of men on table tops in a questionable manner.

This was despite the fact that there were children present at the show.

I understand that younger singers are encouraged to take part in shows to continue the getai culture.

I worry that these younger singers are being groomed to become drinking entertainers.

If this is the future of getai, then I am not in favour of preserving the tradition.

I hope the authorities can also make clear if public drinking is allowed after 10.30pm at getai shows.

Tan Teck Lee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2015, with the headline 'Drinking, carousing at getai show'. Print Edition | Subscribe