Dick Lee, Talent Personified

When Bryan told me he wanted to catch Dick Lee’s The Adventures of the Mad Chinaman, I was surprised as I never pegged him to be a Dick Lee fan. He apparently grew up listening to Dick Lee’s songs so he badly wanted to watch it. Unfortunately the show clashed with the week he was supposed to be in Vietnam for a school trip so I went with my ex instead.

I didn’t know what to expect of the show. I assumed it was slightly theatrical, like the Fried Rice Paradise I caught last year. Instead, it was a small show with an intimate setting at the Esplanade Recital Studio of no more than perhaps 200 people. The stage was laid out as if it were his living room and he had invited his family, friends and fans to join him in his home while he regaled us with stories of his life. It was an amazing show as he unexpectedly shared stories of his early days, even showed us photographs when he was crawling or pooping in the garden. There were even some home videos of him doing the twist which he said were dance moves his mother loved.

His biggest influence in his life was his mother and she gave him the gift of music. From piano lessons to the records she played at home, it shaped Dick Lee to what he is today. Apparently he started writing his own music at a very early age and by about 13 or so, he was already performing in public. In between the stories, he would sit at his piano and play us his songs, some were familiar tunes that we recognise, some were songs he wrote in his teenage years. Did you know his song Life Story was written when he was 18???? it was released on his first album titled Life Story. He is so freaking talented I’m astounded. I mean what were you doing when you were 18? my proudest moment was probably getting a B for Chinese.

Life Story by Dick Lee

He shared some facts that I never knew: Lim Kay Siu, the actor, is his cousin. the first few national day songs such as “Count on me Singapore”, “Stand Up for Singapore” and “We are Singapore” were songs written by a foreign agency (he said Canadian) and lyrics written by an Australian, commissioned by the government in the 80s to instill patriotism in our hearts. Then he sang the first national song ever written by a Singaporean, Home, by none other than himself. I actually felt proud of his achievement coz Home is one of the better songs ever written.

At the end of the show, he very kindly signed autographs for us and I took a picture with him. He’s so nice and sweet, and he didn’t yell at people who came in late. i just googled his age and if I had known better, I’d have asked what skin products he used. it’s a very heart-warming show that revealed the life of a man all Singaporeans know, and that some of us grew up with. I’d recommend all of you to watch him but unfortunately for this run, he only has 3 shows this week. But he did tell me that he’s thinking of doing another set in a few months time. so watch out for it!

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