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November 11, 2010

Shadow puppets and wayang kulit in modern Singapore

Listening to Malaysia Aifm 104.9FM DJ Ji An's program who was talking about the oldest shadow puppet troupe in Taiwan, I was prompted to find out more about the history of shadow puppets and wayang kulit in Singapore but I apologize for not being able to find much information for now.

First, talking about wayang kulit and according to Infopedia:

One of Singapore's last Dalangs (dhalang in Javanese means puppeteer) was Wak Taslim Harjosanajo who passed away in 1985. Does it mean that wayang kulit had disappeared from the Singapore scene for 25 years?! I tried searching for more information on Wak Taslim Harjosanajo on the web but to no avail. A little disappointing indeed but I will try to fill this blank when I come across any related information.

As for whether Chinese shadow puppet ever exist in Singapore, I am afraid I do not have a definite answer for now.

Shadow puppet, Messenger from Hell dating from the 19th Century
Picture taken from Asian Theatre Puppets: creativity, culture and craftsmanship (from the collection of Paul Lin)


  1. According to Kaori, a Japanese scholar researching on Balinese gamelan, a group of Malays in Singapore still have some connections with the dhalangs in Yogyakarta. Someone working in the village told Kaori that there was also a movement to preserve wayang kulit. I will verify the information with her again and keep you guys posted soon.

  2. wayang kulit is a typical Indonesian culture, as an Indonesian citizen I am proud of wayang kulit,

  3. Shandy, it will be great if you can share with us more about wayang kulit in Indonesia.

  4. These guys still perform it in Singapore.

    - Terence

  5. I'm curious about the question raised too, whether Dalang Wak Taslim Harjosanajo was the last of the original 'true' dalangs in Singapore and the history of Wayang Kulit culture in Singapore?
    Also to add, there is another troupe performing Wayang Kulit Siam (Kelantan) here.