Retired actor Bai Yan turns 100

PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO FILE

It is perhaps easier to ask what Bai Yan (above) 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 and comedian in a 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, Bai, who has retired from show business, will celebrate his 100th birthday in a restaurant with a guest list that includes luminaries such as Zoe Tay and Aileen Tan, reported Shin Min Daily News.

His devotion to his craft and never resting on his laurels were also celebrated in a monologue called White Soliloquy. It was staged by Toy Factory back in 2010.

"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 on Facebook.

Bai got into TV acting when he was in his 60s.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2019, with the headline 'Retired actor Bai Yan turns 100'. Print Edition | Subscribe