At Gunong Sayang Association (GSA), we’re all from different backgrounds. We come from different walks of life. Some of us are accountants, proofreaders or secretaries. But it is our culture that bring us together.
Cultural preservation is an uphill task in Singapore. There is an unspoken need to modernise and keep up with the times. Often, we are asked to take the easy way out. Like buy mass-produced kebayas, or kamchengs. Or to use modern instruments to replace the accordion and rebana in our Dondang Sayang sessions. After all, these traditional items, we’re always told, are very hard to find now.
In spite of this, the GSA members continue to search for the items and techniques used by our elders. We search for these items not just in Singapore but abroad in Malacca. We teach ourselves the traditional instruments so our troupe can use them in our Dondang Sayang. In preserving our culture, we find ourselves having to innovate and be creative.
What we do in GSA is not just for this generation. We cultivate the younger generations and introduce the culture to them. That is why we set up the Adek Sayang youth wing and mentor them in our language Bahasa Baba and our performing arts. We want them to be proud of being Peranakan.
As people living in this age, we Peranakans understand the times we’re in. Yet, we must find a way to maintain our culture. The signature of GSA is our Wayang Peranakan. It encompasses so many parts of the multi-faceted Peranakan culture. It brings to life our amazing performing arts such as music, dance, drama, costume design and more. When audiences come to our Wayang, we can see that they are from all walks of life. We’re deeply honoured to see them enjoying our Wayang which is entirely in Bahasa Baba, a feat in Singapore.
On stage, we’ve always been united by a simple fact: to put up a good show for our audiences and ourselves. With each Wayang comes a reminder to ourselves: we’re proud to be Peranakans. It may not be easy but as the adage goes, the show must go on. And it shall go on.