Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Entertainment for Hungry Ghosts - WW

During the month-long Hungry Ghost Festival, besides the food offerings and Hell money, entertainment for our ghostly visitors are very important. The one thing many Chinese look forward to every Hungry Ghost Festival is the getai (street concert).

Street entertainment as good as at concerts

All over Singapore, there are a few getais performing every night. Singers and entertainers from as far as China and Taiwan would come to Singapore to sing at getais. Never mind if some are lousy singers. Their elaborate costumes are worth a look.

The huge crowd at Hougang Avenue 8

Some of the regular entertainers have their own fans. Every year, those loyal fans will follow them to every street concert where they perform.

All dressed up to please the audience

I attended several getais the past few nights just to get the photos for this post. Enduring the loud blasts from the speakers for hours, I also had to push my way right to the front of the stage so as to get closer to the performers.

Director Jack Neo and cast of 'Money No Enough 2'

This year, local director Jack Neo whose latest film 'Money No Enough 2' premiered on 31st July, appeared in several getais to promote his movie. Their appearance attracted large crowds. They sang, danced and bantered with the audience who truly enjoyed their performance as they were laughing and clapping away.

Go watch one and enjoy yourself.


  1. Hi ECL, I would like to attend this festival. It sounds like fun AND educational for people like me.
    Happy WW, and thanks for peeking in on our new poodle, Katrin!
    We think she is about eight (8) years old. And we know she is high maintance! :-)

  2. Jim,
    Come on over and visit, Jim! I'm trying to get an International Bloggers' Meet in Singapore next year.

    A poodle is high maintenance. :P

  3. no phua chu kang?? hehe... wah, this jack neo veli clever to promote his movie at getais! i hv not been to one for a long long time liao and i saw one near my place.. maybe i'll drop by tomolo nite :D

    but i sked oso... someone mentioned cannot go near the stage cos the first row is for the...... ahem... *hair stand*

  4. Wow That looks like fun. I had not heard of hungry ghosts before.

  5. My rainbow angel,
    Phua Chu Kang is out! hehe... it's Jack Neo and another one... watch out for my post on the mystery guests!

    The first row of chairs are for the VIPs aka Hungry Ghosts. I stood at the front side of the stage. See, my photos are taken at an angle, from the side not from directly in front of the stage.... lest I blocked their views. *shiver*

  6. jams,
    Now you know! hehe....

    I don't think there will be many hungry ghosts in UK. :P

  7. Wah.. did not know that getai thing is so elaborate.. i thought just local citizen having like karaoke or something...

    Thanks for the info dearie!

  8. LadyJava,
    It's like a cabaret show! All the entertainers are dressed up to the nines! Every one tries to outdo one another in their costume.

    Imagine a cabaret show on the streets and in the heartlands. Only unique to Singapore! lol...

  9. Wow! That must have been a spectacle ECL. Hope you didn't hurt your ear from the loud sound.

    Happy WW!

  10. strider,
    My ears are still hurting from standing too near the loud blaring speakers! hehe....

    I need to protect my ears the next trip. :)

  11. Ummmmmm, "hell money" Care to expand on that?

    My Wordless is posted. Stop by if you can.

  12. I agree with every one, so much fun there :)

  13. I always excited about getai, especially those with artistes from many foreign countries.

    In those days where people climb up the platform to watch it, some getai collapse under pressure as many people climb up to watch them performs.

  14. hootin' anni,
    I'll expand on the Hell money next... :P

  15. henry,
    Nowadays people are more gracious, they don't climb up nor sit on the stage.

    There are regulars at the getais and they helped to maintain order.

    It's great to see such entertaining performance and the audience enjoying themselves. The performers try to make the audience participate through their bantering.

    The songs sang are evergreens and they bring back lots of childhood memories for me.

  16. In malaysia
    Usually those performers dress differently ... or rather ... skimpily

  17. I brought my mum to watch the movie on Monday. So surprised that it was FULL house wor....We got the last 3 seats at the first row. :)

  18. Very interesting, I really enjoyed learning about your traditions. Would also like you to expand on Hell money. Happy WW!

  19. You got quite a workout as you went to all that trouble for this post. These are wonderful pictures. I learn a lot about your culture from your blog, and I'm grateful.

  20. Woman, do you have any idea how I can find out where each night there's getai?

  21. Happy wednesday!! wooww my entrecard is here today and thanks for the good clicks.

  22. I understand it's a must to be in SP during the Hungry Ghost

  23. Sounds like lots of fun!! you attend the most interesting festivals!
    Happy WW :)

  24. Looks like so much fun. Thanks for sharing your photos with all of us. Happy WW.

  25. Cool outfit!!!! Happy WW! hope to see you at my corner too...

  26. ECL, I can just picture u pushing and shoving everybody aside, just to get close enough to take good pics for us here, he he! Thanks dear! Good effort on ur part and thanks for sharing.

    PS. So who won the contest la?

  27. So they really reserve front row for the VIP? Then who would dare to sit behind that special row?

  28. Interesting. Love that I always learn something new when I visit your site.

    Visit Simone's Butterfly WW

  29. interesting ... and all this entertainment primarily for the ghostly visitors? cool! :)

  30. Hmmm eastcoastlife,

    Your article brings back memories of my years at Hougang during the late 1960's. I lived in that district while I was attending Montfort Secondary School.

    And yes, I remember the makeshift stage that were set up during the Ghost month on which classical Chinese opera were performed for the crowds.

    Good article!

  31. Looks like a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing the photos and little tidbits about them. Very interesting. Happy WW!

    Cascia @ Healthy Moms

  32. I'm sorry to say, when I was a child, and when there was a getai set up nearby my place, I used to dread night-times!

    Maybe it is because I can cringe at the sound of noises.....

    I cope by telling myself that getai is just once a year. Hopefully one day, the getai will give out ear-phones to all its audience to tune to the getai, so that non-audience can enjoy some peace. :P

  33. Hey, by the way will find a link on my blog on where you can purchase good ear-plugs, and they come with portable ear-plug cases! Quite affordable.

  34. By the way, where does the word 'getais' come from?

    When I was renting a room at AMK, I could hear those free live performance during a certain period. I don't know ... as an ex-resident close to the action, it could get really noisy ...

  35. This sounds like such a wonderful festival and your words add much to the pictures :)
    Mine is posted: WW #23 How Many Leaders Does It Take?

  36. You were brave to make your way so close to the front so you could get good photos!

  37. Fun, fun, fun. Very very interesting.

    Happy Wednesday :)

  38. What an interesting festival. I never heard of it before. Boy, a month is a long time to appease hungry spirits. In it's own way, I guess it's kind of the Chinese equivalent of Lent except you get nice street concerts to compensate for other restrictions. Thanks for another interesting WW.

  39. Do the ghosts mind if the singing is lousy, or are they entertained anyway?

    Maybe bad singing keeps the hungry and prowling ones away.

    Thanks for the interesting look at this tradition!

  40. Seriously I have never watch a geitai personally.

    btw, you're tagged by me so that we can go watch Wall-E

  41. yenjai,
    Some of the female performers on our getais are dressed skimpily too.... I don't want to show their photos. hehe....

  42. janice,
    First row!? hope you and Mom didn't sprain your necks! The movie so hot ah. :)

  43. napaboaniya,
    Go to
    for daily getai info.

    Sorry I didn't reply earlier, busy these few days because send my son for medical appointments and tests.

  44. mariuca,
    hehe.... so paiseh have to shove past the old people and aunties so as to get a good spot to take pictures.

    Result of Singapore's Most Entertaining Blog will be out on 5th September 2008, night of the awards presentation ceremony. :)

  45. Doreen,
    People don't care, some even sit on the first row. o.O

    I may be in front of the stage but I didn't even dare to stand right in the middle and take photos. In case I blocked the VIPs' views. :P

  46. maiylah,
    yes, these entertainers perform for the ghostly visitors.

    We used to have Chinese opera and even if there is no audience watching, the performers still have to do their best.

  47. wind mill,
    You lived in Hougang in the 60s? I was a Hougang resident.

    It shall does bring back lots of memories. There is no Chinese wayang (opera) show nowadays. Youngsters are not interested to watch it and the old performers have passed on. So sad.

  48. oceanskies,
    Many people who don't enjoy the getais find them noisy.

    It's free entertainment for the heartlanders and it happens only once a year. The performers aren't staged for the living.... it's for the spirits. Bear with them.

    If I wear the ear plugs I won't be able to hear the singing and jokes. :)

  49. wilfrid,
    getai is pinyin for 歌台 ( stage for singing). :)

    It is noisy and residents do complaint every year.... give it another 10 years or so, they might disappear altogether.

  50. raven,
    Yes, one month is a long time to appease the hungry spirits.... but to the spirits it might be too short, too soon. They have to wait 11 months to come back again. :)

    Amazing isn't it? To have such grand events and celebrations just for the ghosts.

  51. kallie,
    I think the ghosts don't mind the lousy singing. If it doesn't like the singing, it would probably give the singer a kick. :P