同安根手足情—第39届理事苏钊星及第23届互助部财政苏钊进
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同安根手足情—第39届理事苏钊星及第23届互助部财政苏钊进

如果不说,单看照片,其实也不难从外貌猜出两人是兄弟。哥哥苏钊星(59岁)(穿无袖汗衫)比弟弟钊进大一岁。两人每星期会拨出三天到麦里芝蓄水池步行健身。

双双步行保健康

钊星说,自从当了会馆的副交际,每个月至少有一次,他必须代表会馆出外应酬,意味着每月至少一次得喝酒吃大餐。这一来,要确保身体健康,晨运就显得更加重要了。钊星钊进兄弟俩逢星期一、四、六,到蓄水池步行七公里,五年来不间断。

开始时两人只是每星期步行一天。习惯后,增加到三天。钊进会驾驶自己的小货车去载哥哥,哥哥则会准时在组屋楼下等候。由于哥哥去步行往往不带手机,所以钊进有时就算极不愿意起床,也得乖乖就范,所以钊进说,能够这么有纪律定时运动,还得感谢哥哥。

兄弟俩步伐一致。不过,要从性格上区别两人就容易多了。哥哥钊星沉默寡言,弟弟钊进爽朗健谈。这当中还是有原因的。

钊进在40岁那年因为胆固醇过高,血管阻塞,不得不动手术。医生说,手术过后,如果不好好照顾身体,五年内便会说拜拜。钊进心想,自己平时不吸烟、不喝酒,怎么就惹上高胆固醇?唯一比较可能的是,自己在工作场所吸入太多二手烟。自己也曾想过,“为什么偏偏选中我?” 不过,乐观的他决定,动手术后一定要多运动,过健康生活,才不会见不到当时才12岁的孩子。

野餐乐队手足情

两人兄弟情深,不只是从五年前一起快步走开始。其实两人从小就一块抓蜘蛛。18、19岁,两人也一起参加野餐乐队。当时的野餐乐队地点是在樟宜尾,票价大约是两元,包来回接送。买票后,便能边吃东西边玩乐器边听歌。 

钊星比弟弟更早参加野餐乐队。钊进后来也跟了去。而这一去,让他对吉他产生兴趣,奠下了他往后弹电子吉他的基础。

钊进做的是五金出入口贸易。弹吉是属于副业自由身性质。他曾经在万金夜总会、职总俱乐部、Strawberry Park 和Spark等多个酒廊夜店表演过。现在也还不定期受邀到一些场合表演。

从寡言到健谈

  
钊星退休前,做的是东南亚土产出入口贸易。他在1980年加入会馆,并在2006年成为理事。钊星退休后,目前在同安会馆互助部协助打理日常事物。他比弟弟钊进更早加入会馆,也更早成为会馆理事。

和钊进相比,钊星较寡言。钊进说,其实他曾经也和哥哥一样话不多。一次,一名酒廊顾客告诉他,出来社会做事,不会说话是要吃亏的。钊进记在心头,从此学习同别人打交道,天南地北聊天,也因此增长了不少知识。

钊进在酒廊夜店当吉他手,有时顾客会请喝酒,但自己坚持不让人请,按他说,理由是很实际的。因为担心一旦被人请,就得回请对方,而靠自己一份帮人打工的薪水,怎么够喝?其实,钊进能保持不吸烟、不喝酒、不赌博的生活习惯,说穿了,是因为定力够。因为除了喝酒一事,当年年轻英俊的钊进,当然不乏酒廊美女轻声细语投怀送抱。曾经有舞小姐递字条给他,约他下班后见面,但都被他婉拒。当时娶了歌手为妻的钊进,时时提醒自己,家有贤妻。其实,到今天,钊进不时也会买些太太喜欢的小吃回家哄太太。

刘德华抱过钊进的儿子

在酒廊夜店工作,也让钊进看到了一般人不容易看到的大明星。譬如他曾经为香港天王刘德华和已故巨星张国荣和陈百强伴奏,也曾为谢贤、狄波拉、徐小凤、关菊英、陈百祥和黄杏秀以及台湾的余天、甄妮等人弹奏。

当时刘德华还未大红大紫,钊进说,刘天王还曾抱着他的儿子拍照呢!只可惜这张珍贵的照片再也找不到!

钊星和钊进兄弟俩,虽然都有各自的家庭,但每星期的步行,让他们有份私密时光,分享说不完的生活点滴,手足情宛如深入土壤的树根,越久越牢。

An interview with Mr Soh Cheow Seng and his brother Mr Soh Cheow Chin

The brothers look much alike even in the eyes of the strangers. 59-year-old Cheow Seng (in sleeveless T-shirt) is older than his brother, Cheow Chin by one year. Both would brisk walk at MacRitchie Reservoir thrice a week.

Good food and drink is no alien to Cheow Seng. The Guild’s Vice Head of Public Relations has to attend at least one banquet dinner every month after he assumes his post. This makes his thrice weekly walk on Monday, Thursday and Saturday even ever more important if he wants to keep in shape. But this is no big deal for him and his brother. They walk 7 km, 3 times a week, and have been doing so for the past 5 years.

Initially, their walk was limited to once per week. With time, they increase its frequency to 3 times per week. Cheow Chin would drive his van to pick up his brother Cheow Seng in the morning. Cheow Seng would wait at the void deck of his flat. As he does not carry his hand phone for the walk, Cheow Chin has no excuse to call even if he feels sleepy and would like to cancel the walk.

The brothers, though look alike, are actually very different in person. Elder brother Cheow Seng is quiet, while Cheow Chin is eloquent. And that is not without a reason.

Cheow Chin suffered from high cholesterol and blood vessel blockage when he turned 40 years-old. He accepted doctor’s advice to undergo a bypass surgery. He was told that he would have only five years to live without any surgery.

As a non-smoker and someone who does not drink, Cheow Chin could never quite understand why he had high cholesterol. The only explanation might be due to his smoky work environment. Fortunately, Cheow Chin’s fighting spirit kept him going. He was determined to live a healthy life after his surgery so that he ‘would be able to see his, then, 12-year-old son.’

Even at a much tender age, the Soh brothers had been spending time catching spiders together. When they were around 18 years old, they participated in the so called ‘picnic band’. For the price of two dollars per head, they would be able to have lunch while listening to live band at Changi. Transport was usually provided for such picnics.

Cheow Seng participated in picnic band much earlier than Cheow Chin did. However, it was Cheow Chin who was very much attracted to live band to the extent that he, later picked it up as his hobby cum freelancing trade.

Cheow Chin, in the business of metals trading, likes to freelance as a guitarist. He has played on several occasions in nite clubs and nite spots including Strawberry Park and Spark.

In comparison, Cheow Seng worked for a local product trading firm with markets in South East Asia prior to his retirement. He became a member of the Guild in 1980 and was elected as a council member in 2006. After his retirement, he started to help out at the Guild’s Mutual Help Section.

Being the chattier one, Cheow Chin admits he was like his elder brother, a man with few words. The turning point came when once he was asked by a nite club customer why was he so quiet. He was later told that saying too little could sometimes be one’s liability as it would be difficult for others to understand one’s thought, let alone communicating effectively. Cheow Chin accepted his advice, he also tried initiating conversations with strangers and is now able to speak eloquently.

Working as a guitarist in nite clubs allows Cheow Chin to meet many people. Sometimes, customers would buy him drinks, but he always turns them down. The reason is simple. ‘If I accept their drinks, I need to reciprocate in the future. I don’t earn much. I cannot afford to buy customers drinks,’ he replied.

Despite working at nite clubs, he leads a very healthy life. He avoids drinking, smoking and gambling, and would go home immediately after work. During his younger days, there was no lack of opportunities for him who is good-looking till now, to be approached by female guests and artists. Once, a female artist invited him for supper after work. He, who was married then, had to turn her down. Cheow Chin also keeps reminding himself that he is a family man. Even now, Cheow Chin would buy food for his wife when he comes across something she likes to eat.

Having worked at nite clubs for so many years, Cheow Chin met all kinds of people, including artists from Hong Kong and Taiwan. He had played guitar for superstars like Andy Lau, the late, Danny Chan and Leslie Cheung, Patrick Tse Yin and ex-wife Debora, Paula Tsui, Guan Juying and Taiwanese singer Yu Tien and wife etc.

Superstar, Andy Lau had even posed with Cheow Chin’s son in a photo-taking session then. It was a pity that hecould not retrieve the photo.

The Soh brothers, though married with kids, share a close tie through brisk walking. During such walks, they foster close bond, just like the soil withholding the roots of the trees in the reservoir area.