Veteran actor Bai Yan to celebrate 100th birthday with guests including Zoe Tay

News of veteran actor Bai Yan turning 100 has unleashed a flood of good wishes and nostalgic memories from netizens.
News of veteran actor Bai Yan turning 100 has unleashed a flood of good wishes and nostalgic memories from netizens.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

It is perhaps easier to ask what Bai Yan has not done in the entertainment world.

The man, who has acted in local TV shows such as Son Of Pulau Tekong (1985) and Pretty Faces (1991), has also made the cut as a singer, magician, dancer, acrobat and comedian in a versatile, multi-decade career.

The China-born artist left home at 16 to learn the ropes as a member of a performance troupe that also embarked on overseas tours, with Bai eventually opting to call Singapore home.

On Sunday (May 5), Bai, who has since retired from showbiz, will be celebrating his 100th birthday in a restaurant with a guest list that includes luminaries like Zoe Tay and Aileen Tan, Shin Min Daily News reported on Monday.

His devotion to his craft, and never resting on his laurels, was also celebrated in a monologue called White Soliloquy. Staged by Toy Factory back in 2010, it paid tribute to his contributions to the industry.

"He does all this (performing) not because of fame or money. He is not only serious about stage, he is also someone who is not afraid to suffer or lose out," said director Jalyn Han then of Bai.

That production won Nelson Chia a Life Theatre Award for Best Actor.

News of Bai turning 100 has unleashed a flood of good wishes and nostalgic memories from netizens.

"I remember him as the coffee shop uncle in the (TV drama series) Kopi-O 30 years ago. He was quite old then. Impressive," one person wrote.

Bai signed on to TV acting when he was in his 60s.

Another netizen described Bai as a "role model for CPF", perhaps hinting that the Central Provident Fund Board could tap Bai to spearhead an active ageing campaign, funded by payouts from CPF members' retirement accounts.