It Could Have Been is a Chinese crosstalk comedy tracing over 700 years of Singapore’s history. Written by Cultural Medallion recipient Mr Han Lao Da, the 75-minute performance explored stories such as Sir Stamford Raffles’ arrival, the Japanese occupation and the integration of immigrants in the past and present through six acts. Through this comedic theatre performance, audiences from all walks of life were able gain exposure to the Chinese traditional art of crosstalk and better understand Singapore’s history. The event also commemorates Singapore’s bicentennial, and encourages Singaporeans – both local-born and new members of our family – to reflect on Singapore’s journey.
In a quiz segment of the event, questions such as “Why are there variations in the English surnames of Chinese Singaporeans?” allowed immigrants to develop greater interest in how the local Chinese community had developed its identity as Singaporeans over time. At the same time, residents were also able to gain new perspectives about Singapore’s history and the role that immigration plays in Singapore’s history.
This production was staged at various heartland locations such as Capitol Singapore, Ang Mo Kio Central Stage, Our Tampines Hub and Kampung Admiralty. With over 400 attendees from different backgrounds and communities at each show, the performances provided a light-hearted and entertaining environment for residents and immigrant audiences to bond and understand each other through the theme of integration throughout Singapore’s history.