He shaves off goatee for role

He shaved off his trademark goatee for his role in a Teochew opera.

And all he had was one line: "Bring the horse here."

Tampines GRC Member of Parliament Baey Yam Keng, 43, said he was approached to perform by the event organiser, Mr Nick Shen, who is in his 30s, early last week.

Mr Shen said he asked Mr Baey as he is a Teochew and because "he and his family supported my opera performances last year".

Mr Baey was given the option of playing the role of the general or the wise man in the "Six Kingdoms Appoint A Prime Minister".

He took it to social media to help him decide. In a Facebook post, he asked which role he should play.

He chuckled: "Apparently, people felt that I should play the role of a general."

The opera is based on a piece of history that involves six generals.

"They were united by a wise man to fight the Qing Emperor."

The Wan Qing Culturefest 2013, organised by Tok Tok Chiang Arts and Culture, was held at Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall last Saturday.

Mr Baey, who was making his first opera performance, was not the only one on stage. The other roles were played by the Lau Sai Thor troupe, which has 100 years of history in Chinese opera in Singapore.

Mr Baey joined them for a 30-minute rehearsal yesterday at 3pm before getting into costume and having his make-up done.

After more than an hour in the dressing room, he was unrecognisable.

He said: "It looks a bit funny because I didn't recognise myself. I'm not sure if I suit opera make-up. I think opera performers usually have sharp features and big eyes. I don't."

He said the make-up helped him get in character and "feel the part".

"Since people couldn't recognise me, I wasn't self-conscious on stage," he said.

About 70 people attended the opera.

Mr Darren Leow, a 39-year-old project manager, said: "Mr Baey's performance was great. I really enjoyed it."

It looks a bit funny because I didn't recognise myself. I'm not sure if I suit opera make-up.

- Mr Baey Yam Keng on his make-up for the performance

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