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KUALA LUMPUR, 11 April 2017:
Even after 20 years as a comedic performer, Gurmit Singh showed last Friday night that he still had it in him to have his audience in stitches – playing the iconic Ah Beng contractor role Phua Chu Kang, aka PCK.
Instead of making his grand entrance on stage, he caught everyone by surprise by entering the HGH Convention Centre hall from the back.
But from his very first words: “Hurro, hurro, eh, where am I, ah? Aiyoh, I enter from the wrong side oready. I come in the back way. Solly, ah, solly”, to the hilarious games he played with the crowd, Singh’s rib-tickling antics had his appreciative audience in tears.
The packed hall immediately broke into cheers at the opening notes of his catchy, well-known jingle – giving PCK a rousing Malaysian welcome.
Yes, PCK may be Singapore’s homegrown, super curly-haired and garishly yellow-booted contractor. But his brand of Singlish is well understood by locals, who lapped up every pun and joke with Hokkien, Cantonese, Malay origins. Phwor!
The Phua Chu Kang and Friends Comedy Show may not have featured (what a pity!) his original wacky TV family, (who can forget his mahjong-loving wife, Rosie, his OCD sister-in-law Margaret, his super smart brother Chu Beng; and his two inept, lazy goon helpers) – but he did bring along some new friends for the one-night only show.
Kael and the Gangstar Squad opened the show, but it was clear the audience was impatient to get PCK on stage.
When he finally “entered”, he barked at the band to ‘shut up’ and chased them off the stage – much to the delight of the crowd, who were eager to get the show on the road.
The side-splitting games followed with some very good sports who didn’t seem to mind being made fun of.
Many even sprinted to the stage to participate, with one bold lass admitting to PCK she had come all the way from Johor “just for you”, and another young man who kept his hands in his pockets all the time.
Of course this did not go unnoticed by the sharp Singh, who was quick with his “great-grandfather’s” quip: “He who keeps hands in pocket is always on the ball”.
There were no real ‘winners’ – because everyone daring enough to have the mickey taken out of them went home with their arms full of prizes.
A couple of super lucky participants even walked away with autographed PCK signature yellow boots and hard hat – much to the oohs and aahs of the audience, many of whom were probably kicking themselves for not participating in that round!
There was some serious business to be taken care of as well, and Singh appealed to the crowd’s generosity for donations to The Shepherd and Pusat Jagaan Kanak-Kanak Down Syndrome dan Hyper Aktif BBT2 Klang.
He sang two songs while the boxes were being passed around the hall – Barry Manilow’s Mandy and Ronan Keating’s When You Say Nothing At All.
But if his singing chops impressed – dun pray, pray, lah – you should have seen the 52-year old’s breakdance, silat, wayang, martial arts and Chinese ribbon dance moves.
His other friends included ventriloquist Joseph Thien and his three puppets, all with very different personalities (‘Ah Beng’ was a rough talking, girl chasing puppet with attitude; ‘Fried Chicken’ was Thien’s first but slightly delusional puppet who thought his name was ‘Fred Chicken’; and Master Wong, the kung fu master (of the invisible kick) puppet from Guangzhou.
Comedian Fakkah Fuzz rounded up the show lamenting about the time his ang moh friend wanted to learn how to speak Singlish. The repeat-after-me ‘lah’ and ‘meh’ lessons went well, but the ‘hor’ one didn’t go very well when he repeated it to his white girlfriend. “I’ll see you later, hor”.
If you weren’t there, aiyoh, damn chik ak!