First to Buloh, then to MBS

Volunteer actor Ben Xiao was at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve for a script reading of musical A Nation in Concert, when he killed four mosquitoes with one hand.

But the presence of the persistent buzzing insects did little to dampen the mood of the cast members for this year's show, called A Wetlands Adventure.

The group was there last month to get a better feel for the musical's setting before the actual rehearsals began.

Written by award-winning playwright Desmond Sim, the musical extravaganza tells the story of a group of animals living in Sungei Buloh who put up a yearly concert to commemorate Save the Swamp Day.

Conflict happens when migratory birds to Sungei Buloh plan a concert of their own on the same day.

The musical is directed by writer and actor Jonathan Lim and will be staged at The Marina Bay Sands Theatre on Nov 8.

The cast visit to Sungei Buloh was actor and presenter Pierre Goh's first time at the nature spot.

Goh, 35, plays Otter, a self-absorbed youngster. He said: "I'm not an outdoors kind of person. My first thought when I heard we're going to Sungei Buloh was 'Oh no, mosquitoes!' "But it turned out to be a nice sort of gathering because I got to see the cast members as well."

Drama instructor Chermaine Ang, 38, who plays a migratory bird called Lesser Whistling Duck, said: "It was fun to see the different species of birds in Sungei Buloh and it also gave me a good feel of how the concert goes with the script and setting."

Xiao, 33, felt that Sungei Buloh's unique appeal to migratory birds roosting parallels the situation in Singapore.


Said the personal trainer: "We have our locals who stay rooted and the foreign workers or expatriates who take up residence here.

"But at the end of the day, everyone comes together to make this home a better place.

"Another theme of the play is empowerment, showcased through the mix of people who are on stage," he added.

More than 100 underprivileged talents from non-profit organisations such as Association for Persons with Special Needs and Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped will perform alongside volunteer talents and veterans.

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) is the platinum sponsor for this musical.

As part of SPH's 30th anniversary celebrations, SPH chairman Dr Lee Boon Yang will present donations to 50 charities after the matinee.

SPH's contribution will be matched by the Government, coming to a total of $1 million. Net proceeds from the show will be channelled to the participating charities.

Tickets to the show at 3pm and 7.30pm are available at Sistic. For more information, visit

This article was first published on Oct 29, 2014.
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