Like father like daughter.
Francis took up Cantonese opera when he was 18. When his daughter Lecia was old enough to accompany him, she would follow him to watch rehearsals and performances. Before long, she wanted to join in. And as it turns out – the kid’s got talent.
“She doesn’t speak Cantonese so she has to memorise all the songs including the intonation so it’s a lot of work.”
She studies gymnastics, dance and singing…. and is now the only child Cantonese opera performer in Singapore.
Today Lecia is practicing some gymnastics.
Her instructor, Guo Xu Qian, came to Singapore from Shangdon over 10 years ago as a performer. But his skill and expertise got him noticed and he was asked to stay on as an instructor.
He now teaches at the Chinese Opera Institute and performs regularly. He is a good-looking, softspoken guy and Lecia seems to adore working with him.
She pushes herself to get better and better all the while having a lot of fun. And dad is right there always watching and encouraging her.
Today they are working on walkovers – going from a hand stand, to a backbend and then up to vertical again… She starts by doing a single walkover but before long she is stringing together four in a row.
Francis decided to retire from his hobby a few years ago. “There wasn’t enough time for both of us to rehearse properly so I wanted to focus on her. She’s got so much potential.”
But he hasn’t totally lost it. Grabbing the staff, he twirls around and busts out a few deft moves. Lecia bursts into applause.
They are both quite proud of each other.