Monday, December 29, 2008

The Lang Ting Tang Man (Chinese Story Teller with a Guitar like Musical Instrument)

The Lang Ting Tang Man, olden days busker!
It has been a very long time since I last saw a Lang Ting Tang Man (name in Penang Hokkien dialect) singing on the street. These Chinese story tellers wander around the country telling stories, normally Chinese classics using song and playing music from a guitar like instrument (looks like a banjo). The normal stories were from the era of Romance of The Three Kingdom, Chinese Romeo & Juliet (Butterfly Lovers), Water Margin (my favourite) and many more which I cannot recall anymore. Some of the stories were funny. I think I saw the last of this Lang Ting Tang Man in my hometown when I was a boy. The guy at my hometown in Butterworth has a few pieces of long metal plates with Chinese characters attached to the end of his guitar. He used the metal plates for fortune telling by charging a small fee for it. He will start by singing some old Chinese songs and then ask the customer to choose a piece of metal plate for him to interpret. There is a picture of a Lang Ting Tang Man in the Penang Museum and I actually highlighted it to my kids when we were there 3 weeks ago. To my surprise, last week I saw this octogenarian (80 years old) Lang Ting Tang Man at the Kepong Baru Wet market, sitting under the hot morning sun singing away. His little guitar is a bit more of a modern type as it has an output to a loudspeaker without any casing. Other than singing, I don’t think this guy read fortune for customers. Sadly, not many people really paid attention to this poor old aged entertainer from a long gone era. He was at this location in front of a music record shop for one week in a row already, giving them some sort of a competition. I couldn’t resist giving him a little donation, a small token that I can afford!

16 comments:

cleffairy said...

o.O Pete, very long never see this kind of entertainer oredi. i saw a few in Penang when i was a little girl.....very nostalgic indeed. i'd pay attention to this kind of entertainer any day than the modern ones. Very intriguing, he must have loads of wisdom and experience in life. Sure have a lot of stories to tell.

foongpc said...

I think I saw this kind of entertainment when I was very small. I've never seen any since then. I didn't know they still exist nowadays!

Kikey Loo said...

i never have chance to meet any Chinese story tellers wor..

Pete said...

Cleff : Ya, Cleff, very nostalgic, I went back through time to my childhood days whenever I think of this old music man! LOL

Foongpc : Ya, I thought that they have extinct lorrr, but I think very soon, cannot see anymore!

Kikey : Ha ha, that means you are still very young lorrr. Now, only got the photos of these music man in Penang Museum.

CheaHS@n said...

Pete sure bringing on back the good times bro. Of course this kepong baru lang ting tang man has to keep up with high tech. Hokkien saying "so lang bo su ting..."
Cheers

Pete said...

Bro Cheah, Wah lau leh your Hokkien very 'cheam' larrr. Tia bo lor leh! LOL

levian said...

you talked to him? is that how you know his age? i've never heard of the Lang Ting Tang Man.

Pete said...

Levian : Ya, I asked him his age but did not get his name. I think there is no more Lang Ting Tang Man around.

astrogalaxy said...

Hi Pete,
Thanks for visiting my blog!
I'm glad to exchange links with you.
Have a coming Good YEAR!

Josephine said...

I never seen before.

Vagner Ferreira said...

Hello Pete. Where is my link on the blogroll? Already added the Pete Formation in my blogroll. I await your visit. A hug!

Pete said...

Astro : My pleasure. Have added you link to my blogroll. Thks

Josephine : Ha Ha, you are still young lorrr! LOL

Vagner :Sorry just added, broadband line a bit slow just now. Thks

MsRay said...

Thanks for sharing with us your story about the Lang Ting Tang Man. It's really sad that this part of your culture will soon fade away.

Btw, thank you for visiting my site and sure, I'd be glad to exchange links with you.

Pete said...

Hi MsRay, thks for visiting. I hv added your link to my blogroll. Cheers

MsRay said...

Hi, Pete! I don't see any shoutbox in your blog so I'm leaving you another message here: Get your camera ready and let's play tag.http://www.msray2008.com/2008/12/another-candid-camera-tag.html

Anonymous said...

Great post. Reminds me of my childhood in Penang. There were many of these Lang Ting Tang men around then.

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