Amateur Cantonese opera actress Lim Eilian shaved her head bald recently to play the role of a Buddhist monk in the locally written opera, Entwined Destiny, which she is helping to stage at the Kreta Ayer People's Theatre on Saturday.
Proceeds from ticket sales and donations will go to Metta Hospice Care.
Lim, 55, a devout Buddhist, shaved off all her hair about a fortnight ago and received blessings from the Venerable Sek Menzu in a special ceremony at his temple, Jin Shan Fo Yuan, a week ago.
A student of Cantonese opera veteran Ling Dong Ming for more than eight years now, she actually did not need to shave herself bald. Wearing a thin, skin-coloured cap would have done the job, as many others do when they play a role requiring a bald pate.
She says: "I want to express my sincerity and show to the cancer patients undergoing chemotheraphy that there is nothing wrong and scary in losing one's hair."
Lim is sponsoring the entire cost of S$70,000 to stage the opera adapted from the Taiwanese ge zai xi, Compassionate Water Repentance Sutra. She says she had met many cancer patients at the several hospices where she worked as a volunteer .
"Many of my relatives, including my mother, died of cancer," she adds.
The three-hour-long opera, to be staged by the Sin Ming Sing Cantonese Opera Centre, illustrates Buddhist teachings of karma, compassion and repentance through a story spanning over 1,000 years from the Han dynasty to the Tang dynasty in ancient China.
Lim says the production, which has a cast of 42 members, was two years in the making.
This is the third time she is staging a Cantonese opera in aid of a hospice.
In 2009, she staged one for HCA Hospice Care and raised S$84,000 for it and in 2012, she organised a second show and collected S$100,000 for the Assisi Hospice.
To make Saturday's performance a must-see, she has flown in popular Cantonese opera stars Cheng Wing Mui and Pak Wan Long from Hong Kong and Li Jianglin and Deng Zhongping from Guangdong, China, to play the leading roles.
She has also roped in veteran Cantonese opera musician Wen Gansong from the Guangdong Opera Academy to compose and orchestrate the music of the entire opera.
Lim's opera teacher, Mr Ling, 52, says: "She is a very good student. Besides that, I am also impressed by her dedication to charity, organising one show after another to support the dying at our hospices."
For Saturday's performance, her target is to raise S$100,000 for Metta Hospice Care.
Full-Length Cantonese Oprea: Entwined Destiny
Where: Kreta Ayer People's Theatre
When: Saturday, 7.30 pm
Admission: Tickets at $10 and $20 (call 6536-6813 or 9839-6783)
This article was first published on JUNE 3, 2014.
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