I did my First performance at the VMH in 1951 as the winner of the Junior Section of the Singapore Chinese YMCA Piano Competition and played the winning pieces with the Governor of Singapore Sir Franklin Gimson and Lady Gimson presenting the trophy to the winners of the competition. I was 11 years old then and my music teacher was Mr. Benjamin Khoo.
The next year, 1952, I won the Radio Malaya Series 3 Talentime, again performing at the Victoria Memorial Hall with Kingsley Morando as the compere and the Radio Orchestra conducted by Corr Reif... the numbers I did was a medley of the top songs of the month that included, "In the cool, cool, cool of the evening, Cuddle up a little closer, Jealous Heart and the piece de resistance a Boogie Woogie number composed by Winifred Atwell. The prize money was $25.
My music teacher for Pops was Mr. Cecil Wilson who was at that time, the bandleader of the Great World Cabaret Orchestra. After winning the Talentime I was dubbed as the Boogie Woogie Wonder Boy and began doing a lot of performing at different events... all for free... my late father was the one who wanted me to be famous doing all these performances when all I wanted to do as a young boy was to play football, table tennis and other things young boys do... but he was the motivator and I'm eternally grateful for his wisdom and foresight.
Sam Gan, Perth, Australia. 1.1.2022.
Come on my reading friends, let's write in and comment about Sam. He's in his 80's now. Play it again, Sam.*