Headline February 01, 2017/ ''' SINGING -[*!WOW!*]- $$$$$$$ '''

''' SINGING -[*!WOW!*]- $$$$$$$ '''

*ALMIGHTY GOD* : The creator of Heavens & Universe, the master of thoughts and being. the knoweth of all truth:

*Guidance and Wisdom must come. Must prevail*.  In a world so precariously poised, where your creations in search of hope, have no where to turn to : *Blessed Are The Peace Makers*.

The World Students Society belongs to every single student of America. One share-peace-piece. Just as it belongs to every single student in the world: One share-piece-peace. 

ALMOST a decade later, in 2003, Hossan Leong revealed that he'd been asked by the  MDA  to remove a song about Malaysia's ex-prime minister from the Hossan Live! show , but refused.

''We live in a society of paranoia,'' he said at the time. '' [We] couldn't say this because 'Oh, you don't know who's listening, and we'll get put in prison.' I think we have to be brave about things.''

And still, by the mid-noughties, the sole outlet for the  stand-up amid the climate of constraint    -after the  Punchline Comedy Club  at Marriott Singapore's  Bar None  folded in 2002  -was  ''1NiteStand Bar and Comedy Club in Clarke Quay.

I'd tried to grasp the particular context of local humour and appreciate it on its own terms, but all I really craved were the qualities that it so sorely lacked: subtlety, perceptiveness, originality, Salvation, of a sort, was on the way 

Jonathan Atherton, the travelling man of comedy, had been in Singapore, since the early '90s, playing at clubs like Riverbank, and by the time he and Heazry Salim opened  The Comedy Club Asia  in 2008 at  Colours by the Bay's DXO  club, comedically at least,  Singaporeans  were living in more liberal times.

The shift was embodied by the  Melbourne International Comedy Festival Road-show, which had started at  The Substation before migrating to the DBS Arts Centre  and becoming a sold-out annual fixture.

There was clearly an appetite for this  stuff, yet the majority of the audience was still made up of expatriates.

Julie Englefield, then the  Substation's General Manager, explains why the culture surrounding the  stand-up  was fundamentally incompatible with young Singaporeans' way of socializing.

''The typical audience member   - in contrast to audience in Australia, where comedy is often cheap,  pub-focused and attended by young, rowdy crowds is   -thirty something and well-off,'' she says. 

''For them, going to a comedy show is like spending a night at the theatre. They appreciate intelligence and don't respond well to a set peppered with the F-word''

At the Comedy Club, Aussie transplant Atherton   -with his shotgun delivery, vast repertoire of languages and extensive Asian experience  -had long learnt to tailor his act to a local audience, and knew exactly how far he could go.

But many of his imported comics simply regurgitated the same routine they'd trot out in Melbourne or London. While the delivery was refreshing, the subject matter   -notwithstanding the old wanking joke  -fell flat in a Singaporean setting.

It wasn't until May 2009, and a new offshoot of Jami Gong's  Takeout comedy's openmic nights, that the city had an Asian stand-up night  -ironically, at  Gallery Hotel's eM studio,  a riverside cubbyhole favoured by expats.

In an Peranakan place shophouse, Howl the Moon brought in more foreign comics alongside a musical showcase, Duelling Pianos. Owner Kerry Ball, a veteran promoter who'd also helmed  The iNitestand, understood the market better than most. 

''The type of comedy that I've been bringing in has has been a lot more, for want of a better word, cutting edge,'' he says. 

These chortle-fests chimed with the slow-burning cultural glasnost of the time  -the proliferation of social media, a palpable shift towards open criticism of the government- the inaugural Pink Dot, from Ang's  parodic

The V conference and Ivan Heng's wild Rice. An otherwise pessimistic Nanyang Technological University thesis from 2010, by Trisha Lin and Phoebe Tan, noted a fundamental transition in Singapore comedy:                 
''Content ownership has gradually shifted from government regulation to social responsibility.'' a local crowd has was responding: these were alternative nights out in comfortable environs with a lower price tag.

By October 2010,  when Pakistani Banker   Umar Rana  kickstarted *Comedy Masala*,  Singapore stand-up had a foothold  -the weekly ''comedy underground''  at the  Home Club. I asked Rana about the hurdles he faced in those early days.

'' Initially, the challenge was finding a venue,'' he tells me. ''I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and had a clear vision for where this could go. Home Club was one of the places that had been recommended. I went over one night, met the owners, and we agreed to start  Comedy Masala there.''

What about the government? ''There were no constraints at all,'' said Rana. ''We were just another act at the club, and  Home Club  was renowned for 
being the best venue for live  up-and-coming acts.

Singapore has very supportive arts, theatre and music scene, and I think the nurturing approach of many organisations has been the key to success.'' In fact,  the only cautionary note has been from Masala itself, on Rana's weekly mailers:

*WARNING : mature audience only. Entry strictly restricted to 18 years and above.*

And did he struggle to find performers? ''There was no issue with the talent -many of us had already being doing the weekly open-mics with TakeOut Comedy.''

These were heady days for local and regional comics. Audience, too, were just getting used to the idea of standing for two hours to watch strangers gleefully toy with  OB markers them laugh.

Soon, Masala bringing in audience numbering over 100. Rana used his banking acumen to keep the costs down, and his own improv experience to bring in the talent.

''Masala didn't start flying in comedians to headline until the first anniversary, and the performance fee for visiting comedians is low. So based on venue participation, sponsorship and the cash contribution, it was possible:

*To put on excellent shows at very reasonable prices*.''

The Honour and serving of the latest, historic research on  *Nations and Societies* continues. Thank Ya all for reading and sharing forward.

With respectful dedication to the Leaders, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society and Twitter-!E-WOW!   -the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Haha-Iah '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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