Chang Kwai Ming, veteran of the local arts and music scene, dies at 78

Mr Chang Kwai Ming at the 19th COMPASS Awards Presentation 2014.
Mr Chang Kwai Ming at the 19th COMPASS Awards Presentation 2014. PHOTO: FACEBOOK / COMPOSERS AND AUTHORS SOCIETY OF SINGAPORE (COMPASS)

SINGAPORE - Chang Kwai Ming, the chairman of the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (COMPASS) and a veteran of the local arts and music scene, died of cancer on Sunday (Dec 3). He was 78.

He was diagnosed with liver cancer, which spread to his lungs and bones, about three weeks ago, said his son, Mr Chang Yuh Kang. He collapsed at home and died in hospital the same night.

Compass chief executive and director Dr Edmund Lam called his passing "a great loss to Compass and the whole music community".

"He has steadfastly steered our organisation over the last 24 years, overcoming many challenges along the way."

"It is not an understatement to say that without him we would not be where we are today. He was an inspiring leader with a grand vision for Compass and the music community. He was very earnest in helping individual songwriters, music groups and organisations."

Dr Lam noted that his last project was to set up the Compass Music Talents Development Fund to help nurture the young musicians of various genres.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Chang was the director and general manager for music schools Yamaha Music (Asia) and Yamaha Music (Malaysia), the deputy chairman of the National Theatre Trust and served as acting principal at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.

A keen observer of arts and culture, he was also a columnist for Chinese newspapers Lianhe Zaobao and Shin Min Daily News.

Up until his death, he was also a board member and consultant to ISS International School, and held other positions such as chairman of the Singapore chapter of The Institute of World Chinese Literature.

Besides Yuh Kang, 43, he leaves behind a daughter, 45, and three grandchildren. His late wife, an accountant, died in 2013.

A wake will be held at his house at 18D Duku Lane, from Dec 4 to the evening of Dec 6.