Remembering Xinyao 新谣 Veteran Dawn Gan 颜黎明

Her voice is crystal clear, high pitch but pitch PERFECT!  Her voice is sweet, bright and cheerful! Sweet with power and great control!  We love her singing very much.  That is Dawn Gan 颜黎明.  Along with many other great Xinyao singers with great voices – they were all a source of inspiration and motivation to us in the 1980s.

Although you have left this world, you will always be remembered for your positive and cheerful attitude.  Although my encounter with you was mainly through music and a short meetup in 2014 during the Xinyao Concert – (‘The Songs We Sang), you were such a bubbly and cheerful person and always wearing a big bright smile!   I was really happy to have met you!

Watch a special tribute to her by Lianhe Wanbao-  颜黎明同学惜别会 on this link:


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Her biggest hit was the SBC drama theme song ‘青春123’ followed by many other great hits.

Deeply influenced by Xinyao since my teenage years, in secondary school during the 1980s,  I treasure and love all the beautiful songs composed by our local composers and sung by our talented singers.   They were a motivation to us all during that time and Xinyao is really something special – a unique SG genre of songs – that belongs to us Singaporeans.  

I remembered that together with my classmates, songs have a great influence on us and our school life.   Especially for me as a lonely child growing up in single parent family, songs and drama plus great friends made up for the emptiness and helped us through our school.  And most of the songs were really heartfelt, lyrics written so sincere and so true. It is not just a simple form of entertainment.  It was so pure!  Unlike the commercials songs nowadays.  Read every single lyric in the Xinyao songs and you will know it.

Xinyao are original songs written in Mandarin back then in school compound, some of them actually are Chinese poems.  That started a wave of Xinyao craze where we will all gathered at Bras Basah Complex (also known as ‘Books City’) as the singers will be performing on weekends.  Because the performances were staged at the complex that sold mainly books, I think it is a great movement – encouraging us students then to embrace books and songs at the same time.

I will be the biggest fan girl, gathering all my friends to go with me to watch the Xinyao performances.  And all of us know the songs by heart.   Again, I wished I have kept all my cassette record tapes!

(Did you have a good laugh at me – my boyish haircut?  LOL)  I am one big fan of Eric Moo and Allan Moo!  I think back then we knew the singers much better than the composers.  Huge credit must go to the composers, with the brilliant minds to create such wonderful music!

During that time, I think every school will have their singing competition. And we will also participate in singing competitions.  We had the chance to sing a song by my composer friend too (wonder where is she now, hope to find her too).

Xinyao songs will live forever in our hearts.  I hope the future generations will continue to uphold this spirit, learn our evergreen Xinyao songs, upkeep this unique SG culture and be able to compose meaningful songs.





*Photos featured here are all the author’s own photos taken at the events.


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