Television used to be an influential item that was once a big part of our life. It probably still is today, except that its influence is being challenged by internet, smartphones and other entertainment devices.
Like many others, the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) dramas, especially those from Channel 8, used to accompany me in my childhood and teenage years.
The Early Days of SBC
The eighties and a large part of the nineties were undeniably the golden periods for SBC, the predecessor of Mediacorp (and TCS). SBC, Singapore Broadcasting Corporation in full, was established in February 1980 as a statutory board, after the corporatisation of Radio and Television Singapore (RTS).
Back then, the sources of Chinese dramas were mainly from Hong Kong and Taiwan. The dramas, many of them in Cantonese and Minnan (Taiwanese Hokkien), had to be dubbed in Mandarin for Singapore audience. After its establishment, SBC decided to invest and produce Singapore’s own Chinese drama series.
In 1978, Hong Kong’s entertainment realm was hit by the collapse of Commercial Television and the change in ownership of Rediffusion Television (now Asia Television Limited). The two incidents provided opportunities for SBC to recruit some of the top talents in Hong Kong scriptwriters and producers.
The early eighties also saw the first batch of local artistes recruited through drama training classes. This lasted a decade before it was eventually replaced by the Star Search competition in 1988, which produced the likes of Zoe Tay, Aileen Tan and Chew Chor Meng. In 1982, the successful production and broadcast of “Seletar Robbery” signified the birth of local Mandarin dramas.
Channel 5, Suria and Vasantham
Malay programs found their ways to TV as early as the sixties. “Pak Awang Temberang” (Uncle Awang Tells Stories) was the first Malay-language drama series aired in 1966. The seventies were the golden era for Malay dramas; many were produced and directed by Bani Buang (1929-1996), popularly known as the father of Singapore’s modern Malay dramas.
Locally-made Tamil dramas soon followed. “Ippadiayam oru Kudumbam” (What A Family), aired in August 1980, was the first Tamil-language drama series produced in Singapore.
Ironically, Singapore did not produce its own local English dramas until the nineties, even though Channel 5 was the first TV channel debuted in April 1963. The much-criticised “Masters Of The Sea” became the first local English TV drama series aired in 1994.
20 Most Memorable SBC (Channel 8) Dramas
Between 1982 and 1990, SBC produced close to ninety Chinese drama series for Channel 8; many were forgettable, some became classic, along with their theme songs which were tailor made to suit the storylines of the dramas. Creativity was at its peak as SBC explored different types of drama genres, such as mystery, horror, comedy, science-fiction and wuxia (pugilistic/martial arts).
RemSG sorts out its list of 20 most memorable Channel 8 dramas. Which of these were your favourite ones?
1. Seletar Robbery 实里达大劫案
Period: 24 July 1982
Main Cast: Huang Wenyong (黄文永), Chin Chi Kang (钱治钢), Lim Sin Ming (林生民), Steven Woon (云昌凑)
Plot Summary: It was a police and thief game as three robbers got away with a $300,000 loot from a construction company.
Trivia: Although it had only one episode and lasted only 90 minutes, “Seletar Robbery” was considered the first locally-produced Chinese drama. It took less than a month to finish the filming of the drama.
Memorable Scene: Chin Chi Kang as the undisputed villain.
2. Army Series 新兵小传
Period: 14 March 1983 to 06 May 1983
Main Cast: Huang Wenyong, Wang Yuqing (王玉清), Lin Liyun (林丽云), Ang Puay Heng (洪培兴), He Qitang (何其糖)
Plot Summary: Everything seemed well for the much-respected officer who was getting married and was just promoted to the rank of lieutenant, before an accident at the training ground cost his life.
Trivia: “Army Series” was the first true drama series produced by SBC, with a total of six episodes. It was also the first local production depicting the NS life, long before the movies of “Army Daze” (1996) and “Ah Boys to Men” (2012) were screened in Singapore. Its theme song “A Measure of Strength” (一份力量), sang by the SAF, was used as one of the National Parade songs in the late eighties.
Memorable Scene: Huang Wenyong, as the caring officer, was killed in the blast while saving his nervous recruit in a grenade-throwing training exercise.
3. Flying Fish 小飞鱼
Period: 12 August 1983 to 30 September 1983
Main Cast: Wang Yuqing, Maggie Teng (邓妙华), Chen Bifeng (陈碧凤), Wang Xiangqing (王相钦)
Plot Summary: A teenager who aspired to become one of the best swimmers, but was pressured by his father to abandon his interest and instead study hard for the examinations.
Trivia: “Flying Fish” was introduced shortly after the 1983 National Day. Dubbed as Singapore’s first idol drama, it catapulted Wang Yuqing to stardom. The production also invited Singapore swimmer and SEA Games gold medalist Ang Peng Siong to guide the actors and actresses in their swimming styles.
4. The Awakening 雾锁南洋
Year: 06 February 1983 to 07 May 1983 (Part 1), 06 August 1984 to 12 October 1984 (Part 2)
Episodes: 27 (Part 1), 26 (Part 2)
Main Cast: Huang Wenyong, Xiang Yun (向云), Chen Shucheng (陈澍承), Huang Peiru (黄佩如), Wang Yuqing, Chen Bifeng, He Jie (何洁), Chen Tiansong (陈天送), Chen Tianwen (陈天文), Huang Yuling (黄毓玲), Liu Qiulian (刘秋莲), Ke Shafei (柯莎菲), Li Huiyan (黎惠燕), Chin Chi Kang
Plot Summary: “The Awakening” came in two parts and four major stories; the arrival of the early Chinese migrants at the start of the 20th century, the Japanese Occupation, the independence of Singapore and the country’s rapid economic development in the seventies and eighties.
Trivia: The first local blockbuster drama cost a total of $500,000 in production fees, and involved more than 200 artistes and calefares. It managed to gain 800,000 in viewership, helping Huang Wenyong and Xiang Yun in cementing their statuses as the leading actor and actress in SBC. “The Awakening” also became the first SBC drama to be bought by TV companies overseas.
Memorable Scene: The Chinese migrants who arrived at Singapore in an overcrowded junk.
5. Men From The Past 大侠吴三奇
Period: 08 February 1985 to 03 March 1985
Genre: Pugilistic/Martial Arts/Fantasy
Main Cast: Chen Tianwen, He Jie, Liu Qiulian, Xia Chuan (夏川), Lina Yeo (杨丽娜), Yan Bingliang (严丙量)
Plot Summary: One of the earliest “time travel”-themed dramas in Asia, “Men From The Past” featured an ancient martial arts expert and his nemesis who brought their feuds to the modern society after travelling through time.
Trivia: “Men From The Past” was the first SBC production that had travelled overseas for some of their filming scenes. It was also the first SBC production that, instead of using voice dubbing, recorded the actual dialogues between the actors and actresses during the filming. This, however, received criticisms from the public that the acting crews’ pronunciations were not up to standard.
6. Son of Pulau Tekong 亚答籽
Period: 13 June 1985 to 26 July 1985
Main Cast: Huang Wenyong, Lin Mingzhe (林明哲), Chen Bifeng, Chen Xiuhuan (陈秀环), Huang Peiru, Liu Qiulian, Chen Guohua (陈国华)
Plot Summary: Two young men, leaving behind their innocent and carefree days at Pulau Tekong, struggled for their respective new life on mainland Singapore.
Trivia: The 26-episode drama “Son of Tekong” was well-remembered due to its locally-flavoured name (which literally means “attap seed”), beautiful theme songs and a storyline that struck a resonance with the previous generation who had experienced the resettlement from kampongs to HDB flats. The drama also showcased the rustic lifestyle of Pulau Tekong before it was converted into a militarized zone.
Memorable Scene: The RPL (Ramp Powered Lighter) that ferried the islanders and their belongings.
7. The Coffee Shop 咖啡乌
Period: 16 December 1985 to 04 February 1986
Main Cast: Lin Mingzhe, Chin Chi Kang, Xiang Yun (向云), Huang Yiliang (黄奕良), Hong Huifang (洪慧芳), Hong Peixin (洪培兴), Ke Shafei, Li Huiyan, Dai Peng (戴鹏), Wu Weiqiang (邬伟强), Steven Woon
Plot Summary: A particularly “grassroot” drama, “The Coffee Shop” talked about the incidents and people around the kopitiam, and the everyday life of the families living in the nearby housing estate, including the braggart stallholder and his four younger sisters, the gossip aunty and the hardworking coffee shop assistant.
Trivia: The drama’s theme song “Connection of Emotions” (情感联络站), sang by Eric Moo with the familiar phrase “kopi O kopi O“, became an instant hit overnight. “The Coffee Shop” was the first local drama to hit one million average viewership.
Memorable Scene: The clash between the “red” (wedding) and the “white” (wake) at the void deck.
8. The Happy Trio 青春123
Year: 06 February 1986 to 11 March 1986
Main Cast: Chen Bifeng, Yang Libing (杨莉冰), Huang Wenyong, Hu Shuxian (胡淑贤), Wang Yuqing, Chen Shucheng (陈澍承), Huang Peiru, Zhu Houren (朱厚任), Anna Tan (陈安娜), Jin Jugong (金举拱)
Plot Summary: “The Happy Trio” touched on the life and difficulties faced by three teenage girls, such as family, love, friendship and studies.
Trivia: The drama’s catchy opening theme song was sang by then-upcoming xinyao singer Yan Liming (颜黎明).
9. Men of Valour 盗日英雄传
Year: 13 March 1986 to 02 May 1986
Genre: Pugilistic/Martial Arts/History
Main Cast: Hugo Ng (吴瑰岸), Xiang Yun, Lin Mingzhe, Chen Liping (陈莉萍), Lin Meijiao (林梅娇), Huang Yiliang, Huang Shinan (黄世南), Li Huiyan (黎惠燕), Xia Chuan, Chen Tianwen
Plot Summary: It was a chaotic era during the early South Song Dynasty. Famous Song general Yue Fei led his army to resist the invasion from the barbaric Jin troops, with the help of several righteous swordsmen.
Trivia: A major attempt by SBC to produce a drama series with a storyline that derived from China history. One of its filming locations took place at the Chinese Garden. Taiwanese diva Feng Feifei was invited to sing the drama’s theme songs.
Memorable Scene: The massive battle between the Song city defenders and the Jin invaders.
10. The Samsui Women 红头巾
Year: 05 May 1986 to 13 June 1986
Main Cast: Zeng Huifen (曾慧芬), Hong Huifang, Huang Wenyong, Li Yinzhu (李茵珠), Li Wenhai (李文海)
Plot Summary: Another locally-flavoured drama series produced by SBC after “Son of Tekong” and “The Coffee Shop”, “The Samsui Women” described the life and difficulties of three samsui women working in Singapore after the war.
Trivia: The opening theme song, sang by Taiwanese songbird Sarah Chen, became a classic hit. The drama also brought fame to its leading actresses Zeng Huifeng and Hong Huifang.
11. Neighbours 芝麻绿豆
Year: 07 July 1986 to 03 October 1988
Main Cast: Cai Pingkai (蔡平开), Chen Guohua (陈国华), Duan Weiming (段伟明), Lina Yeo, Fang Hui (方辉), He Jie, Zhou Shiqiang (周世强), Jin Yinji (金银姬)
Plot Summary: Like “The Coffee Shop”, “Neighbours” was a “grassroot” drama series that had a day-to-day storyline revolving around a kopitam and its stallholders of different characters.
Trivia: The daily half-hour “Neighbours” was the longest running drama series produced by SBC, with a total of 510 episodes and lasted more than two years. It brought fame to veteran actress Cai Pingkai, as her character “Er Gu” (Second Aunt) became a household name. The opening theme song “Voices From The Heart” (小人物的心声) was included in the Ministry of Communications and Information’s “Sing Singapore” booklet in 1988.
12. Five Foot Way 五脚基
Year: 16 March 1987 to 24 April 1987
Main Cast: Huang Wenyong, Wang Yuqing, Ye Sumei (叶素梅), Huang Peiru, Huang Shinan, Bai Yan (白言), Liang Tian (梁田), Tang Hu (唐琥), Chen Meiguang (陈美光), Li Yinzhu, Wang Xiuyun (王秀云)
Plot Summary: Sharing a common space, the different families living at the row of shophouses showed their cooperative and helpful nature for one another. The story spanned over more than two decades, from the late fifties to the early eighties.
Trivia: Many veteran SBC artistes were involved in the production of “Five Foot Way”, which brought back many old familiar memories of Singapore such as tikam, chap ji kee and firecrackers. Its popular theme song “My Life Is Here” (我的生活在这里) was also recorded in Sing Singapore 1988.
13. Strange Encounters 奇缘
Year: 26 October 1987 to 27 November 1987 (Part 1), 19 December 1988 to 27 January 1989 (Part 2)
Episodes: 25 (Part 1), 30 (Part 2)
Main Cast: Wang Yuqing, Chen Bifeng, Zheng Wanling (郑宛玲), Jin Jugong, Li Wenhai, Chen Shucheng, Huang Peiru, Lin Mingzhe, Desmond Sim (沈金兴), Ye Sumei, Lina Yeo, Anna Tan, Huang Shinan, Lin Meijiao, Chen Huihui (陈慧慧), Huang Wenyong, Huang Yiliang, Chen Xiuhuan, Liu Qiulian, Zoe Tay (郑惠玉), Chen Hanwei (陈汉玮)
Plot Summary: “Strange Encounters” was made up of several short stories (seven in Part 1 and nine in Part 2) in paranormal, strange tales and Chinese legends.
Trivia: There was also a Part 3 of the drama series. It was produced by TCS and telecast in 1995.
14. On The Fringe 边缘少年
Year: 18 April 1988 to 20 May 1988
Main Cast: Li Nanxing (李南星), Yang Libing, Chen Bifeng, Zheng Wanling, Duan Weiming, Zheng Guoping (郑国平), Huang Yiliang, Lin Meijiao
Plot Summary: A group of rebellious youths gradually fell into the dark side of the society after losing their directions in life.
Trivia: In 2011, Mediacorp produced a 20-episode “remake” of “On The Fringe” (边缘父子), also starring Li Nanxing. It was Channel 8’s first PG (Parental Guidance) drama series.
15. Mystery 迷离夜
Year: 29 August 1988 to 07 October 1988
Main Cast: Madeline Chu (朱乐玲), Zeng Huifen, Lin Mingzhe, Chen Xiuhuan, Yang Libing, Wang Yuqing, Li Wenhai, Pan Lingling (潘玲玲), Zheng Wanling, Chen Shucheng, Huang Wenyong, Xiang Yun, Tang Miaoling (汤妙玲), Angela Ang (洪昭容), Edmund Chen (陈之财), Zhu Houren, Huang Shinan, Chen Meiguang, Cai Pingkai, Tang Hu
Plot Summary: “Mystery” was made up of eight short mysterious stories, namely “Butterfly” 蝶, “Piano” 琴, “Infant” 婴, “Beauty” 美, “Dream” 梦, “Caution” 戒, “Soul” 魂 and “Puzzle” 迷.
Trivia: A Part 2 was produced and telecast in 1992.
Memorable Scene: Madeline Chu, in the first story “Butterfly”, aged rapidly after bitten by a butterfly.
16. Teahouse In Chinatown 牛车水人家
Year: 10 October 1988 to 18 November 1988
Main Cast: Li Nanxing, Chen Liping, Lin Meijiao, Zhu Houren, Fu Shuiyu (傅水玉), Zhang Shuifa (张水发), Liu Quilian, Tracy Wong (王裕香), Sean Say (成建辉), Chen Tianwen, Steven Lim, Wu Weiqiang, Jin Yinji
Plot Summary: “Teahouse In Chinatown” described an ordinary family; an aging couple who was constantly worrying about their five children, each with a different character.
Trivia: The drama’s opening theme song was sang by Eric Moo.
17. The Last Applause 舞榭歌台
Year: 25 July 1988 to 16 August 1988
Main Cast: Zeng Huifen, Lin Mingzhe, Xiang Yun, Huang Wenyong, Chen Tianwen, Li Wenhai, Liu Qiulian, Lin Meijiao, Huang Peiru, Lina Yeo, Edmund Chen, Jin Jugong
Plot Summary: One of the blockbusters produced by SBC in the late eighties, “The Last Applause” talked about the life of different getai (stage) singers who faced numerous challenges and discrimination. Many years later, an aspired singer became famous and popular, leading to a misunderstanding with her lover.
Trivia: The drama’s popular theme songs “When The Curtains Falls” (落幕的心情) and “Gentle Night” (温柔的夜) were sang by local singer Maggie Teng.
18. Good Morning, Sir! 早安老师
Year: 22 May 1989 to 16 June 1989
Main Cast: Li Nanxing, Chen Liping, Madeline Chu, Aileen Tan (陈丽贞), Zhu Houren, Hong Huifang, Hong Peixin, Lin Tianlong (林天龙)
Plot Summary: A young passionate lady took up a teaching role at a local kampong school in the sixties, inspiring her students with new teaching methods. She later fell in love with a Chinese physician in the village.
Trivia: Along with its catchy opening theme song, “Good Morning, Sir!” was a big hit, as Li Nanxing and Chen Liping emerged as SBC’s new leading actor and actress. “Aiyoyo” also became Chen Liping’s nickname.
Memorable Scene: The kampongs and farming areas in Singapore that still existed in the eighties.
19. A Mother’s Love 亲心唤我心
Main Cast: Wang Xiuyun, Li Nanxing, Wang Yuqing, Zoe Tay, Zeng Huifen, Zheng Guoping, Fu Shuiyu, Xie Shaoguang (谢韶光), Ye Shipin (叶世品), Chen Fengling (陈凤凌)
Plot Summary: A mother got separated from her five young children after she was sentenced to prison. The siblings were eventually reunited with their aging mother many years later, after a series of hardships, conflicts and misunderstandings.
Trivia: “A Mother’s Love” was popularly regarded as one of the most touching SBC dramas in the late eighties. The drama also saw the debut of Xie Shaoguang.
20. The Finishing Line 出人头地
Main Cast: Li Nanxing, Zoe Tay, Edmund Chen, Aileen Tan, Liang Weidong (梁维东), Tracy Wong, Hu Shuxian
Plot Summary: “The Finishing Line” described the life and friendship of three good friends in Singapore in the eighties. Growing up together in a kampong at Sembawang, each of them had chosen a different career after their National Service.
Trivia: The drama catapulted Edmund Chen to stardom.
Memorable Scenes: A glimpse of Singapore’s thriving financial centre at Shenton Way in the late eighties.
Other Notable Dramas
Other memorable SBC Channel 8 drama series of the eighties also include “Takeover” 人在旅途 (1985), “The Bond” 天涯同命鸟 (1986), “Paint A Rainbow” 调色板 (1987), “Painted Faces” 戏班 (1987), “Moving On” 变迁 (1987), “Star Maiden” 飞越银河 (1988) (SBC’s first ever science-fiction drama), “Turn of the Tide” 浮沉 (1989) and “Two Different Lifes” 金兰结 (1989).
Published: 10 March 2014
Updated: 20 September 2020
Have been wanting to do this article for a long time. For all fans of nostalgic SBC Mandarin dramas.
Apologies to those who have difficulties understanding Chinese.
Hi Remember SG, thank you for the awesome article. I would like to ask if you have a follow-up or previous article on notable Singapore dramas in the 90s?
Also, if possible, is it okay if you can create an article that mentions the viewership (average and also peak) for all the Singapore Channel 8 dramas that you have? I am very shocked that you actually have data about the viewership of shows like The Awakening or The Coffee Shop. I cannot find any viewership information for shows in the 80s or 90s. I only know of viewership of dramas in recent years. I keep trying to find them (I only know that Pretty Faces got over a million viewers for one of its episodes, and Out To Win got a 30% share for its last episode, but we never have real viewership ratings, both average and peak for many many series). Please do publish that, and I would be really grateful if you can. Thank you!
Do you know where i can find drama Good morning, sir! with english subtitle
You can view the drama on Toggle now. but no subtitles..I need to turn on the volume to hear what they saying
I grew up with some of these shows and some of the familiar names. They had appeal for many non-Chinese viewers too. Thanks for sharing this great list here!
My 2 sisters and I like to role play the 3 characters from Happy Trio :))
插曲 [月下同行] 旋律优美，喜欢主唱严黎明温柔的歌声，把这首歌的意境带出来。[月] 也是本地才子梁文福的佳作之一。
Loving it. Brings me back to my childhood years. Thanks!
Thank you for sharing these drama, I love to watch local drama during childhood time. They are some actress and actor didn’t continue acting now,
Reblogged this on Living Happily Flore Leng !.
My first exposure to Singaporean television was Under One Roof that I first saw in SG and then caught some episodes here in Australia. Oh I miss SG!!
Haha I remember Star Maiden. That show had so many technical inaccuracies, unbelievable script, outlandish dialogue and cheesy effects I was and am still sure the whole cast and crew was on crack and 101 other mind bending narcotics when they made it. Easily MST3K material.
But remember the alien sign made famous by Chen Xiuhuan in the show? It was so cool back then! My primary school classmates at that time were all intimating her
the one i recall was 边缘少年。
there was a rerun some years back. the music clip is available on youtube. the tv station reused the song when they screened 边缘父子 some years back。
Is ah cai from 边缘少年 last time?
Yes. I vividly recall him playing as one of the group members who went (further) astray after getting caught up with glue-sniffing.
I still remember SBC’s sitcom “Sikit Lebih Kurang” & “Under One Roof”..
Painted Faces (戏斑) is another SBC drama series that I love very much!
My friend Kenn grew up in the 80s in Singapore.
He has fond memories of a Samurai show that involved a samurai whose hand was cut off. After that he travelled the land with a fake hand as the handle of his sword. He was suppose to be the faster sword drawer in the world. The name of the show according to my friend was “Dar Bai Fu”.
I have looked everywhere on the internet and your site has the BEST knowledge of shows from Singapore so I thought I would take a chance and ask if you’ve ever heard of this show or if you know of a place to look.
Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
You can go Toggle to view all the old dramas now. But I have no idea which is this show you are mentioning….
I don’t recall there being any samurai shows back then.
Closest I can recall is a show called “Fury of a Dragon” (冷月剑无言) that does have a Japanese character in it.
The V hand sign, I remember every kid in my school used to go crazy with that hand sign after watching that show, I even challenged my sister to see who can do that V with both hands. I also remember being very fascinated with this Chew Chor Meng fantasy martial arts drama where his special power is to extend his arms to attack his opponents.
“V hand sign”? Is that part of the gimmick with the sword arm? I am curious, any footage or images of this mystery show online?
No, the iconic “V hand sign” is from Star Maiden. You can see it in the last picture of the article.
The Last Swordman 最后一个大侠
There is also the Purple Killer in the drama whose fingernails can grow long and sharp.
My sadistic NPCC sergeant made me act as purple killer back then to entertain everyone during field camp at Ubin 😦
Around 33 seconds mark…
He is the chao ah gua acted by the all time SBC actor Jin Ju Gong in the Last Swordsman show. He acted as a normal righteous pugilist during daytime and transform into purple killer at nite to kill ppl. One of my fav SBC villains
Most memorable， 新兵小传. Waiting for the show to be aired on TV every Friday night, and only fornightly! If I remembered correctly. My favourite episode…. the ghost story !
I REALLY WISH THEY BRING BACK SOME OF THIS DRAMA BACK ON SAT OR SUN ESPECIALLY CHANNEL 8 DRAMA CALLED MYSTERY
You can watch on Toggle now. It is free 🙂
Some of the dramas mentioned like Star Maiden and Mystery available on Toggle… XD
maybe you can help! I cannot remember the name of a Chinese “period” drama. I am an American who lived in SEAsia and loved watching these shows…even though I didn’t understand them. The show featured very strong women, who were in charge. I saw it during the years 1987 and 1988. It might have been called “Lady Yang Warrior”? If so I would love to find a copy on the internet! I have seen something like it on Youtube. Not sure if it’s the same!
I do not remember SBC making any warrior lady Yang show. Perhaps it was a HK drama you saw back then? Please post the Youtube link you seen
Mediacorp is repeating men of valour fr 21may onwards at 2~4am. What a weird arrangement.
It is specially screened for ah chek who can’t sleep at nite and like to watch fighting shows…
王玉清 & 叶素梅 are one of my fav onscreen couple of the sbc 80s from five foot way 🙂
Anyone knows where Ye Sumei is now?
All these brought back so much fond memories of my childhood. I used to be glued to tv watching all these drama series. The acting skills of the current actors/actresses really pale in comparison to these veteran actors/actresses. That’s also the reason why I refused and never watched mediacorp dramas for the past 15 years.
Wuld Appreciats older dramas& the likes of True Life (fr previous U channel) being able to view fr Toogle.
Looking forward to enjoy those too…..thank you
Sorry, Error :- SHULD READ “& the likes of True Files”.
《also missing from ORIGINAL Txt :-
《 (fr previous U channel *FORMERLY UNDER SPH*》
Thank you this article.
I remember that there used to be another SBC sitcom that I’m now desperately searching for, but it now seems to be lost completely.
It’s called “Against The Wind” that was telecasted around late 80’s.
I’ll be very happy, if any of you can share any information about it.
What about 1990s drama? there are some action packed that feature the 5 tigers in Singapore STAR team?
Also there is another that feature interpol, cant remember what is the name
启航(Against The Wind)
Hello I wanted to buy 天涯同命鸟 for an uncle who acted in this drama long time ago.
He is now 73 years old.
Who knows where to buy those old Singapore drama in Singapore?
There were 40 episodes, do you know which part he appeared in?
I dun remember seeing this show inside Toggle. You have to ask Mediacorp to upload it. I looking for “Men from the Past” btw. I think Liu Qiulian is acting as some princess inside and Chen Tianwen is the imperial bodyguard who got transported to present day SG here and ended up looking for her in some HDB flats.
I was in an SBC Malaysian television drama from 1983 titled KUNCi being the first American girl in a Malaysian drama speaking Malay. Is there an archive of these TV dramas?
TV World in Tuas sees lights, cameras and action again
15 March 2012
The New Paper
It’s a step back in time. For a visitor, it’s a step into the Singapore of the 1950s.
But for some of the actors and TV people there, it is also a step back into the 90s, when they last filmed there. After almost a decade, TV World in Tuas is seeing lights, camera and action again.
Once the jewel of our local dramas, TV World, which is about the size of four football fields, was the equivalent of the film lots of Hollywood.
Created to look like the bustling Singapore of the 1950s, it has three main streets that lead to structures that look like a three-storey cinema, a railway station, a fire station, a city hall, a church, several mansions and rows of Chinese shophouses.
In the 90s, the Television Corporation Of Singapore (TCS, now MediaCorp) filmed memorable period dramas there. These included Strange Encounters 3, Tofu Street, The Price Of Peace, Wok Of Life and Hainan Kopi Tales.
About 10 years ago, the company gave up the area, which is next to the Tuas checkpoint.
Then last month, MediaCorp returned to TV World to film Channel 8’s 30th anniversary period drama, Joys Of Life. The series, which stars Chen Liping, Zheng Geping, Rui En, Huang Wenyong, Chew Chor Meng and Taiwanese artistes Alien Huang and Cynthia Wang, will start airing in June. The drama is also filmed in a MediaCorp studio and on a re-created street in the company’s Caldecott Hill compound.
Chew, who has filmed some 10 dramas at TV World since its opening in 1991, told The New Paper in an on-set interview last Sunday that he has many fond memories of the place. The 43-year-old actor had brought his wife and two daughters, aged eight and 10, along that day so he could show them where he used to work and what Singapore used to look like.
“There’s a river at the back of the compound where we fished when we had free time in between filming,” Chew said.
“There was also a Malay kampung set and a street from Chinese period costume dramas. It’s now just a big green field…
“(The area) should be conserved. The building structures are very good, and it’s a waste if we don’t film here any more. This is a part of Singapore drama history and a collective memory for actors of my era…
“It’s quite sad and a pity that the buildings are now labelled Briefing House, Block A and so on.”
A police spokesman told The New Paper that the area is now called Tactical Training Village and is used by specialist forces in the police for training purposes.
When The New Paper was there on Sunday, some buildings were cordoned off with tape. The streets in TV World now have real street names such as Cluny Street and Queen Street.
Chew said the TCS props department once built the interior of a plane in TV World because no one was willing to rent them a real aircraft for filming. He couldn’t remember which show that was for.
Chew and veteran actress Lin Meijiao also recalled another time when almost the entire cohort of TCS artistes stood on the steps of the city hall in TV World to film a trailer.
It was such a grand affair, they said.
Added Chew: “I love this place because it’s easy to get into the mood of a period drama with these retro buildings. You can’t find such places in Singapore any more. But I also hate this place because it’s so far away.”
TV World was open to the public for some time in the 1990s, Chew said. MediaCorp referred TNP to speak to Madam Winnie Wong, the executive producer of Joys Of Life. She said that she liaised with the police for about two months to obtain permission to film in TV World.
The film crew could not enter certain buildings in a restricted area. Only two streets and the cinema have been used for filming the drama. And because of the police training, the crew can film there only about eight days a month, usually during weekends.
Wong, who has worked in showbiz for 30 years, said she wanted to film at TV World because she wanted the drama to be a nostalgic trip down memory lane for the actors, crew and audience. Also, the period sets that MediaCorp has are of the 1930s and 1940s, but Joys Of Life is set in the 1950s and 1960s.
“Previous period dramas like Together and The Little Nyonya were filmed in Malacca and Penang, and the audience has seen those buildings before. There’s no surprise there for them,” Wong added.
“Some of the buildings in Malaysia are also either too run-down or too modernised. We have to avoid filming tall buildings and electricity poles.
“The veteran artistes and crew were filled with emotions when they re-entered TV World. I think the audience will feel the same when they see TV World on screen.”
Wong said MediaCorp only had to replace the doors, windows and business signs along two streets in TV World. She doesn’t know the exact cost, but said it was not a big sum and definitely worth the money.
She’s not certain if MediaCorp was asked to vacate the premises a decade ago because it was too near the Tuas checkpoint. What she understands is that MediaCorp cut down drastically on producing period dramas locally after the 1990s.
From filming more than four period dramas annually in the 1980s and 1990s, only one was filmed a year in the 2000s. They were instead filmed in China.
So it became financially unwise and costly to maintain TV World. Since then, some scenes in period dramas were also filmed in MediaCorp’s own backyard at Caldecott, where busy streets were recreated.
Younger artistes like Rui En, 31, have never filmed in TV World before, but her friends remember the place and told her about it.
“My first impression of the place is that it’s very, very cute. I didn’t know it existed until I was told we were to film here,” she told The New Paper.
“I didn’t grow up in this era (1950s), and it’s very foreign (to me). It’s very nice to have a location to help you with the acting.”
Her friends have also shared stories of how the place is haunted, but Rui En said she has never felt uneasy there, even at night. She plays a tragic character who is forced to marry a stranger to pay off her adoptive father’s debt.
Her co-star, Taiwanese actor-host-singer Alien Huang, 28, said he took many photos of TV World when he first filmed there as there aren’t any such permanent film sets in Taipei. He plays Chew’s son in Joys Of Life.
“This place is fresh and interesting, with the old buildings and an old car. I rode a bicycle around the entire compound to have a good look at the place,” he said. “I especially like the cinema because it has a very retro flavour to it.”
For the fans of SBC drama theme songs……
1. 小飞鱼 – 邓妙华 (新加坡电视剧”小飞鱼”主题曲)
2. 泪雨后的彩虹 – 邓妙华 (新加坡电视剧”小飞鱼”插曲)
3. 如何对你说 – 邓妙华 (新加坡电视剧”小飞鱼”插曲)
4. 红头巾 – 陈淑桦 (新加坡电视剧”红头巾”主题曲)
5. 艳阳下的日子 – 陈淑桦 (新加坡电视剧”红头巾”插曲)
6. 情感联络站 – 巫启贤 (新加坡电视剧”咖啡乌”主题曲)
7. 遗忘过去 – 巫启贤 (新加坡电视剧”咖啡乌”插曲)
8. 我的生活在这里 – 吴佳明 (新加坡电视剧”五脚基”主题曲)
9. 陋巷童谣 – 吴佳明 (新加坡电视剧”五脚基”插曲)
10. 岛的儿子 – 蔡振雄/翁素英 (1985年新加坡电视剧”亚答籽”插曲)
11. 亚答仔 – 翁素英 (新加坡电视剧”亚答仔”主题曲)
12. 早安老师 – 李季美 (电视连续剧”早安老师”主题曲)
13. 惑 – 刘雪芳 (新加坡电视剧”迷离夜”主题曲)
14. 飞越在梦中 – 刘雪芳 (新加坡电视剧”迷离夜”插曲)
15. 君心知我心 – 包娜娜 (电视连续剧”奇缘”插曲)
16. 青春1,2,3 – 颜黎明 (新加坡电视剧”青春123″主题曲)
17. 小人物的心声 – 吴佳明 (新加坡电视剧”芝麻绿豆”主题曲)
18. 月色同行 – 黄莺莺 (新加坡电视剧”家和万事兴”插曲)
19. 家和万事兴 – 黄莺莺 (新加坡电视剧”家和万事兴”主题曲)
20. 温馨的日子 – 曾庆瑜 (电视连续剧”君子好逑”主题曲)
21. 徘徊在十字路口上 – 曾庆瑜 (电视连续剧”君子好逑”插曲)
22. 情谊藏心底 – 巫启贤 (新加坡电视剧”牛车水人家”插曲)
23. 牛车水人家 – 巫启贤 (新加坡电视剧”牛车水人家”主题曲)
24. 黎明的心 – 颜黎明 (新加坡电视剧”生活歌手”主题曲)
25. 少年英雄 – 邓妙华 (新加坡电视剧”少年英雄”主题曲)
26. 烟雨寒秋 – 邓妙华 (新加坡电视剧”烟雨寒秋”主题曲)
27. 铁蝴蝶 – 林竹君 (新加坡电视剧”铁蝴蝶”主题曲)
28. 战乱情歌 – 林竹君 (新加坡电视剧”铁蝴蝶”插曲)
29. 绝代双雄 – 萧骊珠 (新加坡电视剧”绝代双雄”主题曲)
30. 独上西楼 – 萧骊珠 (新加坡电视剧”绝代双雄”插曲)
31. 提防小手 – 刘秋莲 (电视连续剧”提防小手”主题曲)
32. 金兰结 – 于台烟/郭崇仪 (电视连续剧”金兰结”插曲)
33. 渔湾情歌 – 于台烟 (电视连续剧”金兰结”插曲)
34. 世纪情 – 林淑容/李茂山 (电视连续剧”世纪情”主题曲)
35. 爱是永恒 – 杨艳清 (电视连续剧”飞跃银河”主题曲)
36. 明天的方向 – 谷行云 (电视连续剧”窈窕淑女”主题曲)
37. 错过 – 江玲 (电视连续剧”钻石人生”主题曲)
38. 我的家园 – 叶佩芬 (新加坡电视剧”变迁”主题曲)
39. 铁警雄风 – 姜鄠 (电视连续剧”铁警雄风”主题曲)
40. 生命之舞 – 李仪文 (电视连续剧”鼓舞青春”主题曲)
41. 爱恨一箩筐 – 姜鄠 (新加坡电视剧”摩登俏冤家”主题曲)
42. 挥出激情 – 杨全莲 (电视连续剧”绿水英姿”主题曲)
43. 不夜城传奇 – 徐小凤 (电视剧”浮沉”主题曲)
44. 大吉传奇 – 韩宝仪 (电视连续剧”大吉传奇”主题曲)
45. 悲欢年华 – 叶佩芬 (新加坡电视剧”悲欢年华”主题曲)
46. 戏班 – 杨艳清 (新加坡电视剧”戏班”主题曲)
47. 人生本是一出戏 – 杨艳清/陈树承 (新加坡电视剧”戏班”插曲)
48. 风雨同舟 – 岳雷/邓妙华 (新加坡电视剧”风雨同舟”主题曲)
49. 赤道朝阳 – 岳雷/邓妙华 (新加坡电视剧”赤道朝阳”主题曲)
50. 落幕的心情 – 邓妙华 (电视连续剧”舞榭歌台”主题曲)
51. 温柔的夜 – 邓妙华 (电视连续剧”舞榭歌台”插曲)
52. 暖流 – 陈秀环 (电视连续剧”暖流”主题曲)
53. 艳阳依旧 – 苏芮 (电视连续剧”逆风天使”主题曲)
54. 擦亮生命 – 张镐哲 (电视连续剧”生命街车”主题曲)
55. 云想衣裳 – 向云 (新加坡电视剧”云想衣裳”主题曲)
56. 母亲 – 张飘芳 (1989年新加坡电视剧”亲心唤我心”主题曲)
57. 燃烧岁月 – 包娜娜 (新加坡电视剧”燃烧岁月”主题曲)
58. 壮志豪情 – 姜鄠 (新加坡电视剧”壮志豪情”主题曲)
59. 铁狱雷霆 – 玛莉亚 (新加坡电视剧”铁狱雷霆”主题曲)
60. 最后一个大侠 – Beyond (新加坡电视剧”最后一个大侠”主题曲)
Do they sell the SBC songs? Looking for some songs!
Yes, just bought the above songs from iTunes, album is called “50 years of TV”, but unfortunately it doesn’t include “雾锁南洋“by 孙振福， “情迷” by 江玲， “天涯同命鸟” by 潘秀琼, “我曾有个梦想”by 吴佳明， ”边缘少年” “容许我相信我” by 姜鄠，so I’m still searching for these , appreciate if anyone can advise when to get them.
Yeah there’s a lot don’t have! That’s why i didn’t buy it.
I listened all those songs you mention on YouTube and will like to know 家和万事兴1986 song thank you haha I wasn’t even born when all those dramas originate aired on date I was born 1995 but still know all of the dramas the blog posted hehe
Thank you for posting this. It definitely brings back many nostalgic memories for me.
I’m pretty sure we had busy social lives like playing with our neighbours, school and homework, but many of these TV series garnered an average of a million viewers every weeknight which is quite amazing considering Singapore’s population then was probably around 2.5 million.
The common threads for those dramas that I love – many of which you have featured here are either stories that tell a slice of Singapore’s history and of us common-folk and the challenges (known and unknown) that we faced then.
Of course, my Singaporean drama watching stopped the moment I arrived in Sydney to begin my new life but I will always thank TCS for showcasing Teochew Family (潮州家族) in the 90s before I left because I finally understood why my Mum and some of her sisters had strange names (that weren’t Mum or Dad) for their own parents, and it wasn’t their names too.
The strange names you referring to are your parents’ dialect names?
09 Aug 2017
Veteran local actor Bai Yan dies, months after celebrating 100th birthday
19 August 2019
The Straits Times
Veteran local actor Bai Yan, who celebrated his 100th lunar birthday in May, died in the early hours of Monday (Aug 19) after he was hospitalised for pneumonia.
His granddaughter Jenny told Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao that Bai was hospitalised for pneumonia 10 days ago, and died at about 3am on Monday.
Bai had celebrated his 100th birthday on May 5, with the bash attended by more than 130 local actors and people in the TV industry, including Zoe Tay, Aileen Tan, Christopher Lee, Jin Yinji, Zheng Geping, Hong Huifang, Chen Xiuhuan, Zhu Houren and Tang Hu.
Bai’s wake is held at the Singapore Casket and his funeral will be held on Friday.
Born Yan Boyuan in Wuhan, China, in 1920, Bai began his acting career in the 1930s, when he joined the touring Yin Yue Music And Dance Troupe in southern China. He came to Singapore with the music and dance troupe as a young man in the early 1940s and married then local movie star Ye Qing in 1944. She died at 94 in 2016.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Bai was known for acts involving magic and acrobatics mixed with dance, and was adept at performing sketches. In 1985, at the age of 65, Bai was invited to join then Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) and acted in his first television serial Blossoms In The Sun. He has acted in other TV serials such as Son Of Pulau Tekong (1985), Men Of Valour (1986), Five Foot Way (1987) and My Fair Ladies (1988).
Bai played the patriarch of a family in We Are Family (1988), a role that was tailor-made for him. He kept in touch with the show’s actors, including actress Fang Hui, who had left Singapore but still visited him whenever she returned to the country.
The veteran actor retired from acting after receiving the Special Achievement award at the Star Awards in 1996. He had acted in about 70 TV serials in 11 years.
You have forgotten to add in 怒海萍踪
Yes, i was in singapore 1985, i watched the take over chinese dramas, very good, and one called,, and around 1987 or 1988,, * miau tiau suk ni, cin cze hoa ciu,, also very nice,,kopi o , and 3 faces,, all very nice,, i hopes i can watching the take over full episode, and others mrmorable singapore,, dramas,, thank yiu so much
One of Singapore’s last video rental stores…
Veteran local actress and singer Chen Meiguang dies at 87
9 November 2020
The Straits Times
Veteran local actress Chen Meiguang, who moved many to tears with her rendition of the Chinese song A Little Flower in 2007, has died at the age of 87.
Her only child, Mr Huang Yi, 65, told Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao that her domestic helper alerted him on Saturday after she was unable to wake Chen up for breakfast.
He immediately called for an ambulance, and his mother was sent to Sengkang General Hospital. The doctors there performed a brain scan on Chen and found that she had cerebral haemorrhage.
Mr Huang said his mother regained consciousness briefly and mentioned that SBC, the precursor of Mediacorp, had asked her to go back to film TV shows.
She died at about 8am in her sleep on Sunday (Nov 8).
Mr Huang said that his mother had been using the wheelchair in the last six to seven years and suffered from dementia in the last two years.
“A month ago, my mother would mention the names of veteran actors from time to time, saying once that Uncle Bai Yan is looking for her,” he was quoted by Wanbao as saying.
Veteran local actor Bai died in August last year, months after celebrating his 100th birthday. Chen and Bai had appeared together at Mediacorp’s 30th Drama Anniversary Show in 2012.
Chen left the Television Corporation of Singapore in 1998 due to health reasons, but returned to acting on an ad-hoc basis, acting in TV serials like Legend Of The Eight Immortals (1998).
Mr Huang said his mother’s biggest regret is not receiving the Special Achievement Award at the Star Awards. Actor Xie Shaoguang, who won this award in 2003, said then that the award should go to Chen instead, as she was someone that younger actors should learn from.
Chen, who was born in Muar, Johor, in 1933, was a singer before becoming an actress in the 1980s. A soprano, she joined a singing contest at age 15 and later performed at getais. She used to teach singing and one of her students was Dawn Yip of the Jean Yip hairdressing business, who won a national singing competition in 1979.
Chen once told an interviewer that her favourite role is that of a morally ambiguous cigarette seller in Five Foot Way (1987).
In recent years, she was mainly remembered by many for her rendition of A Little Flower.
She sang the song at the Star Awards 25th Drama Anniversary in 2007, moving many to tears. She subsequently performed the song at Mediacorp charity shows in 2008 and 2011, attracting large number of calls for donations.
According to Wanbao, Chen was invited to sing at six concerts after the charity show in 2008, singing one song per concert.
Chen’s wake will be held from Wednesday at Block 546, Hougang Street 51, with the funeral on Friday.
I would like to say “thank you” to the sbc tv dramas from 80s to 90s. A very entertaining and memorable dramas. 👍👍👍.
Chew Chor Meng, May Phua Pay Tribute To Don’t Worry Be Happy’s ‘Lao Hero’ Mak Ho Wai, Who Passed Away At 76
14 April 2022
Veteran Hongkong actor Mak Ho Wai has died at the age of 76.
The actor is best known in Singapore for his role as the ‘Lao Hero’ in the classic Mediacorp sitcom, Don’t Worry Be Happy. The show, which ran from 1996 to 2002, was much loved by all, and also starred Mediacorp artistes Quan Yifeng, Chew Chor Meng and May Phua.
News of his passing was first shared to the media by the late actor’s good friend, Hongkong actress Michelle Yim today (Apr 14). In a statement, the 66-year-old actress confirmed that Ho Wai passed away at his home in Singapore on April 13.
“On behalf of Mak Ho Wai’s family, we would like to thank everyone for their concern. Our beloved friend Mak Ho Wai died peacefully at home last night (April 13). Ho Wai loved his family deeply, and was a good husband and father. He cherished his friends, and was a great actor too! We’ve lost another good friend! May he go in peace!” she wrote, urging everyone to allow the Mak family some time to grieve.
While the cause of his death was not stated, Hongkong media reported that the actor is believed to have passed from either a heart attack or leukaemia.
Ho Wai was a graduate of TVB’s 12th artiste training class alongside Hongkong stars like Lawrence Ng, Carina Lau and Sandra Ng.
He starred in several TVB series, including 1989’s The Justice of Life and 1992’s The Greed Of Man.
The actor moved to Singapore after starring in a number of local productions, including 1995’s The Golden Pillow and 1998’s Return Of The Condor Heroes.
His last appearance on-screen was in 2005, when he guest-starred in the Mediacorp drama Destiny. After he retired from showbiz, he worked as a volunteer guide at the National Museum of Singapore.