The Welcome Party
Kuching is a small town in Sarawak, Malaysia, so when a pop show that featured Singapore singers and bands made their way there, the population went wild. Nearly every young person in the area wanted to see them.
According to Audie Ng who was the leader of the Silver Strings, everyone in the group was treated like international stars. They were all invited to the Governor's house for lunch, with reporters tailing them. After the interviews, they went to their hotel to unpack.
Audie remembered an incident when they heard a knocking at their hotel door. Thinking it was the housekeeper coming to check the room, one of the band boys sauntered to the door with a cold drink in his hand and casually opened it. The shock he experienced lasted to this day.
Apparently, some of the boys had to hide under the blankets because they were still in their briefs. It was a hilarious situation, one where the Silver Strings could remember forever.
The Talent Shows
The show featured Bryan Neale the bouncing boy from England, Judy Lee TV and radio nightingale, Catherine Chong top a-go-go dancer, Shirley Nair Singapore Singing Sexation (as advertised). K.V. John was the compere for the evening and Robert Chua was the executive producer.
There were two top bands in attendance then, The Silver Strings and The Jets. The line-up then for both bands were Audie Ng, Merlin Lim, Danny Boy and Dickie Tan. I provided the tag-line, "the big beat band with the big bang beat" when I was with them for one and a half years. Mike and Herb, Beatles of Malaysia, were the highlight of the show.
The other band The Jets, had lead guitar Edward Tan, bassist Alan Poh, Harold on rhythm and Robert on drums. He was known as Singapore's dancing drummer. I remember they had one of the best instruments in the business, using solid Fender guitars on stage. Thomas Ang was their singer then.
There were two shows each evening at 6.45 pm and another at 9.15 p.m. and staged at the Odeon Theatre in Kuching.
A Good Deed Not Forgotten
When the top Kuching pop band was invited to perform on stage, Audie Ng was shocked to see the lead guitarist carry an amplifier as small as a Rediffusion set with six batteries inside. Seeing it might not be able to amplify the guitar sound in the large cinema hall, Audie offered the group to use the Silver Strings Fender amplifiers.
He remembered very well that they played the instrumental Tabu with pomp, polish, and pride. The band leader was ever grateful for the favor and kept in touch with Audie and the band.
"Twenty-five years later he came to Singapore looking for the Silver Strings and repaid his favor by allowing me to service all his four nightclubs in Malaysia," explained Audie who provides bands for entertainment places.
The Show Producer
Robert Chua said: "In 1966, I produced and staged pop shows in Singapore and Malaysia and was the manager of The Jets. I wonder how many of my friends in Singapore remember these pop stars?
|KV JOHN (MC) SHIRLEY NAIR|
Can you imagine tickets were S$1, S$2 and S$3 (then S$1 was HK$2)? This was before I secured a job with Singapore television when they rejected me as they considered me too young."
Robert Chua was one of the youngest producers in S.E. Asia when he started.
According to Mr. Chua, he was one of the youngest show producers in the 1960's. He was only 19.
YouTube: Terry Snyder And The All Stars - Tabu. (1959).
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