Friday, January 12, 2018

Winston Filmer Radio TV Singapore Tribute by Horace Wee

The Late Winston Filmer
Image from: Mun Chor Seng
A time to every purpose, under Heaven
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep
A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
To everything, there is a season
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven.

(Words-adapted from The Bible, book of Ecclesiastes)

My time has turned for more than fifty years knowing Winston as a friend. Through all the changes, ups and downs in the world, changes in our lives, we remained friends till his passing on the 12th of January 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.

We were not close as best friends are, but our paths separate as they were, would cross over the years. There were arguments and disagreements over the years, something he said recently was the "foolishness of his youth". I left it at that.

When he left for Australia with his family in the eighties, there were only a few occasions that we came in contact. The last around 2012 when he came back to Singapore for the memorial service for his wife Teresa. Frail and having difficulty in walking, we managed to spend those few days together catching up on past years.

These last few years, we had conversations over the phone probably longer than we ever had in the past. He found it difficult to face the loss of his wife and found in me a willing person and confidant to listen to his outpourings of grief, aches, pains and recollections of all the years gone by.

Winston started his career as a sound assistant for the fledgeling Radio Singapore that operated from the Cathay Building next to Dhoby Ghaut. Later he progressed to selecting records and music for radio programs. As a musician, he had strong associations in the keronchong music community and was in demand to play his guitar for various events. 

Of course, he was also part of the club music scene of the fifties and played the current music then. Later, when he was introduced to his future wife Teresa née Khoo, they would form their own band and hold court at the Adelphi Hotel in Coleman Street.
The Late Winston Filmer is 2nd from left with bass
Image from his Facebook Page.
When I first met Winston, I vividly remember that day when he brought me to his home, one of the two-storey terrace houses along Geylang Road not far from Haig Road. Listened to some of his records and then took a trip to Sungei Road (thieves market) to browse around for electrical parts.

We would be working together many times after that. From the early recording sessions of the Crescendos, Ruby Wah a popular songstress at that time to a variety of commercial sessions at EMI, Kinetex, Reddifusion and Life studios. Not forgetting the various programs and shows on Radio and Television Singapura that included the Talentime series. He would be the bass player in all these sessions. Prior to leaving Singapore, his last stint was a bassist in the SBC orchestra.

He was not active as a musician in Australia, playing only a few occasional gigs. With failing health he spent his years in retirement.

With his passing, I wish him a safe journey to heaven and to reunite with his beloved Teresa.

My prayers are that he finds all the peace and happiness he has wished for.
May his soul rest in eternal peace. Amen.

Goodbye Winston.

Sent from my iPad

Thanking Mr Horace Wee (professional guitarist) who wrote the above tribute to Winston Filmer. Also thanking Mun Chor Seng for the first photograph and Mr Filmer's family (Facebook Page) for the second photograph. 

Article by Horace Wee.
Image from Mun Chor Seng.
The article and images have been copyrighted.

14 January 2018
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I am sadden to learn of Winston's demise. One consolation is he is now reunite with Teresa Khoon. I remember him very well as the bassist for the RTS Talentime band. The others being Charles Lazoloo, Rofino Soliano, John Lee n Horace Wee. Charles n Rofino are also not with us now.


/1968, 1969 talentime bass player with Horace Wee RTS


I’d seen Winston Filmer playing a couple of times. His wife Teresa used to watch the variety shows held at the Rediffusion Auditorium in the late 50s. She took part in a play along with Steven Lee, Larry Lai and myself. The three of them played lead characters and read their parts cleverly. May Winston and Teresa RIP.


Never met Winston, but my family know Teresa's family. Her dad the late Khoo Teng Heng (magician) and my dad Lee Tak Kwang (alto sax and mandolin etc) were like KFC and Macdonald - if you find one you are likely to find the other. Cheerio.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

1) Thanks Stephen for your elaborate and vivid description. Appreciate your knowledge about local 60's scene.

2) Thank you, Michael. It's interesting to note that you are familiar with the family. Also the information about your father, another musician. I shall be glad to publish his article on the blog if you wish to write about him.


Thanks maybe someday. My late dad was the Billy Vaughn of Singapore in the fifties and sixties. My dad knew and played with many of the band members of RTS and RTM. One of his favourite music was Kronchong. BTW do you play Kronchong? Cheerio

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

No, I'm not a musician at all Michael. Just a passer-by who happens to love all types of music and the keroncong is one of them. Songs like KERONCHONG MORISKO, GAMBANG SEMARANG, SAPU-TANGAN are familiar since I grew up listening to them. But THE MOON REPRESENTS MY HEART and LOVERS' TEARS are just as lovely. Thank you, Michael.

Also lovely to know your dad was the BIlly Vaughn of Singapore. WHEELS is unforgettable.

FRED CHING said...

I remember as I was growing up in Hindhede Road in the 1960s. It was always a treat to see the RTS Orchestra on the television screen in the classic look of suit jackets. The band members were vivid, classy and just plain awesome. The music was great and their performances were a superior class act. With Winston Filmer’s toothy smile, it was a delight to watch. Thanks to the late Mr Ahmad Jaffar and his RTS Orchestra for exposing us kampung kids to so much music from around the world. Thanks for sharing. Those were some days🙏🏻🙏🏻

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you, Fred. Yours is an awesome description of our RTS Orchestra on television. And right in our living. Those were some days, yes.


Winston Filmer was a friend and an experienced guitarist with the RTS orchestra in the 60s. He was a very friendly chap and ever willing to share his music with anyone and was living in Oz since emigrating there. RIP Winston.


Very touching tribute.

CHEN DAVID said...

I remember that Teresa’s family had a tailor shop at Bras Basah Road.

mannypanta said...

I am from the Philippines. I had a classmate named Teresa Filmer in a summer seminar at the Yamaha Music Foundation in Meguro, Tokyo, Japan back in 1978. She was a lovely lady. But other than that she worked as a teacher at the Yamaha School of Music, Singapore, I did not know much about her. Could this be the same Teresa Khoo Filmer that is mentioned in this article? If it is, then I am sad to know she has passed on. Thanks.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Yes she was TERESA FILMER.
God Bless Her Soul.
Thanks for writing in 'mannypanta'

I'd love if you could contribute
some articles about 60s Filipino music.
Write in anytime and I' publish.