1,000 fans brave rain at Bras Basah for Xinyao singers

Dawn Gan, the leading female star of the Xinyao movement, takes to the stage once more at Bras Basah Complex, along with other Xinyao stars like Eric Moo, Roy Looi and Liang Wern Fook, as part of a documentary on Xinyao. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WE
Dawn Gan, the leading female star of the Xinyao movement, takes to the stage once more at Bras Basah Complex, along with other Xinyao stars like Eric Moo, Roy Looi and Liang Wern Fook, as part of a documentary on Xinyao. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Performances by former stars of the Xinyao movement at Bras Basah Complex on July 6, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Performances by former stars of the Xinyao movement at Bras Basah Complex on July 6, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Performances by former stars of the Xinyao movement at Bras Basah Complex on July 6, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Performances by former stars of the Xinyao movement at Bras Basah Complex on July 6, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Performances by former stars of the Xinyao movement at Bras Basah Complex on July 6, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Performances by former stars of the Xinyao movement at Bras Basah Complex on July 6, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Music lovers who came of age in the 1980s clap, sway and sing along to Singapore-style campus songs on July 6, 2014, at the central atrium of Bras Basah Complex. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Music lovers who came of age in the 1980s clap, sway and sing along to Singapore-style campus songs on July 6, 2014, at the central atrium of Bras Basah Complex. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - Raindrops might have fallen on their heads, but music lovers who came of age in the 1980s clapped, swayed and sang along to Singapore-style campus songs on Sunday afternoon at the central atrium of Bras Basah Complex.

​At least a thousand fans turned up for the two-hour concert featuring 1980s singers headlined by Eric Moo, Roy Loi, Dawn Gan and Pan Ying, who went on stage​ slightly later than planned because of afternoon showers. ​​

The event was staged as part of The Songs We Sang, a documentary about the ​​​Singapore Chinese ​song ​movement popularly called Xinyao. Back then in the 1980s, ​talented students would compose their own tunes and pen their own lyrics, performing the songs in lecture halls and later TV studios.

On Sunday, film-makers staged a Xinyao reunion at Bras Basah, as the complex known for its bookshops was a student hangout, as well as a popular ​v​enue for Singapore singers ​to launch and promote their ​cassette ​albums in the 1980s.

Fans, some with children or bags of groceries, filled up the central atrium on the ground floor as well as the corridors and staircases of the complex as they lapped up songs like Encounter (Xie Hou), Friendship Forever (Xi Shui​ ​Chang Liu) and Your Reflection (Ni De Dao Ying). 

"It's reliving our memories," said clinic assistant Susan Ng, 40, ​who was happy to hear her favourite singers again, though she lamented that singer Jiang Hu (Thomas Teo), who is known for his hit song Love's Refuge (Lian Zhi Qi), was not at the event.

​​A face that stood out in the crowd was that of security guard Seleyan Tovinvarasu, 44, who was there with his friend. "I seldom listen to these songs 'cause I can't understand (the language)," he said. "But I recognise their faces when I see them," he said, referring to the Xinyao singers. ​​

The documentary, which is partly funded by the National Heritage Board, is expected to be completed next year, The Straits Times had reported earlier.