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。
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.