Glitzy gigs at Guo gathering

(From left) Dancers in futuristic outfits and celebrity Guos such as popular TV host Guo Liang and local singer Guo Mei Mei will be at Singapore Fen Yang Guo Association's dinner.
Dancers in futuristic outfits (above) and celebrity Guos such as popular TV host Guo Liang and local singer Guo Mei Mei will be at Singapore Fen Yang Guo Association's dinner.PHOTO: FLAME TREE COMMUNNICATIONS
(From left) Dancers in futuristic outfits and celebrity Guos such as popular TV host Guo Liang and local singer Guo Mei Mei will be at Singapore Fen Yang Guo Association's dinner.
Dancers in futuristic outfits and celebrity Guos such as popular TV host Guo Liang (above) and local singer Guo Mei Mei will be at Singapore Fen Yang Guo Association's dinner.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
(From left) Dancers in futuristic outfits and celebrity Guos such as popular TV host Guo Liang and local singer Guo Mei Mei will be at Singapore Fen Yang Guo Association's dinner.
Dancers in futuristic outfits and celebrity Guos such as popular TV host Guo Liang and local singer Guo Mei Mei (above) will be at Singapore Fen Yang Guo Association's dinner.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Clan hopes to woo new members as it marks 75th anniversary with star-studded event

Dancers in futuristic costumes will kick off the evening's performances before well-known local TV compere Guo Liang introduces Singaporean singer Guo Mei Mei on stage to sing her popular song, Mouse Loves Rice.

This is not yet another pop concert, but a dinner and show to mark the 75th anniversary of Singapore Fen Yang Guo Association on Saturday at the Raffles City Convention Centre.

The Chinese clan association - for people with surnames Quek, Kwek, Kek, Kok, Kuo and Kwok in different Chinese dialects, and Guo in hanyu pinyin - is also hosting a two-day Global Guo Convention, which begins on Friday.

Mr William Quek, 58, organising chairman for the dinner and convention, said the pop-concert concept was deliberate.

"We want to change people's perception that a clan association's celebration is old fashioned, with traditional Chinese music, songs and dances, and wish to appeal to the young with something new and modern," said Mr Quek, the association's first vice-president.

At the dinner, a music video of a rap song - performed by 30 of the association's leaders - will also be shown. It traces their links to their ancestors in China.

The association is spending more than $400,000 on the weekend's events, Mr Quek told The Straits Times. This includes the cost of hosting more than

200 clansmen from overseas, engaging a public relations consultant and producing two souvenir publications, one of which features 10 famous Guo personalities in Singapore.

Mr Quek said the association hopes to get more people to join its youth group, which was set up two years ago.

"We hope to increase the present membership from about 20 to 50 by year end."

A 15-minute comic skit about people from all walks of life

and different dialect groups coming together to join the association will be presented at the dinner show by local entertainment group Wu Jia Ban, as part of the recruitment drive.

"We must get more young people with the surname Guo to join us in order to bring the association into the future," said its president, Mr Kok Chee Choon, 64, a travel agent. The association has 700 members, with most of them in their 50s and some in their 60s and 70s.

Youth group leader Kwok Puay Hoon, 40, a customer service officer with an insurance company, said she intends to attract young members with overseas trips and activities with youth groups from other Chinese clan associations.

The highlight of the Global Guo Convention will be a forum on Saturday, where four prominent individuals surnamed Guo will share their success stories.

They are Mr George Quek, founder of BreadTalk; Professor Eddie Kuo, director of the Centre for Chinese Studies at SIM University; Mr Kuo Kuo-chi, an entrepreneur and former politician from Taiwan; and Mr Ricky Kok, founder of the Chang Cheng group of restaurants and coffee shops.

The Saturday dinner will be attended by 800 members and their guests as well as Social and Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, the guest of honour.

At the dinner, the association will present a cheque for $10,000 to Theatre Practice, a local drama group founded by the late Singapore playwright Kuo Pao Kun 50 years ago.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2015, with the headline 'Glitzy gigs at Guo gathering'. Print Edition | Subscribe