Lee Dai Sor (李大傻or 李福鸿; 1913 – 1989), or Lee Dai Soh, Li Da Sha, Lee Fook Hai or Lee Fook Hong, was a renowned Cantonese storyteller. His legacy began in 1938 when he joined Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM), a Malaysian public broadcaster. He hosted a Cantonese programme, Tam Tin Shuit Tei, which ran for more than 30 years. Lee’s career took off when Rediffusion began operations in Singapore in 1949. He was, however, affected when the Malaysian Radio and Television Corporation decided that he could not continue hosting their programmes because he was not a Malaysian citizen. The launch of the Speak Mandarin Campaign in 1979 dealt a further blow to his career when Rediffusion and the other local Singapore radio stations were directed to cease all dialect programmes by the end of 1982. Lee left broadcasting on 30 December 1982. He continued to entertain audiences with his storytelling performances at clan associations and public events. Lee passed away on 23 March 1989 at the age of 76.
Selected books on Lee Dai Sor
李大傻 [Li, D. S.]. (1984). 《讲古的一生 : 李大傻自传》 [His life as a storyteller: Lee Dai Sor autobiography]. 新加坡: 联邦出版社.
Call no.: Chinese RSING 790.20924 LDS
This autobiography of Lee Dai Sor was recorded and compiled through interviews conducted by Chen Huixian, a staff of Times Jurong and a fan of Lee’s storytelling. The book chronicles Lee’s life and experiences as a storyteller, with some mention of his family life.
Lo-Ang, S. G., & Chua, C. H. (1992). Vanishing trades of Singapore. Singapore: Oral History Department, p. 49-51.
Call no.: RSING 338.642095957 VAN
This book features occupations that have vanished or are disappearing due to modernisation and changes in society. Lee Dai Sor is featured in the chapter “Master Storytellers” along with fellow veteran storyteller Lee Yong Khern. The chapter explains the demise of the storytelling trade, which had been normally conducted in dialect, with the promotion of the Speak Mandarin Campaign.
柯木林. (主编). [Ke, M. L. (Ed.).] (1995). 《新华历史人物列传》 [Who’s who in the Chinese community in Singapore]. 新加坡：教育出版公司, p. 41.
Call no.: RSING 959.570092 WHO-[HIS].
The book contains the biographies of 1,175 Chinese personalities in Singapore, covering the period from 1819 to 1990. Each biography contains information on the birth and death dates, dialect group, occupation and affiliated organisations of the Chinese personality. Lee Dai Sor’s biography is also included.
Selected articles on Lee Dai Sor
- National Library Board. (2007). Lee Dai Sor written by Chia, Joshua. Retrieved August 30, 2018, from Singapore Infopedia.
This article traces the early life of Lee Dai Sor, his family and growing up years as well as his career as a storyteller in Singapore.
Selected newspaper articles on Lee Dai Sor
Liew, S. C. (1978, May 9). The storyteller. New Nation, pp. 10-11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
This article traces Lee’s life and his career as a storyteller. It notes that Lee changed his name from Lee Fook Hong to Lee Dai Sor so that it could be remembered and easily distinguished by his listeners. Dai Sor is translated as “Big Fool” in English.
Obituary. (1989, March 24). The Straits Times, p. 38. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
This was an obituary of Lee Dai Sor, who passed away on 23 March 1989 at age 76. He was cremated at Mount Vernon Crematorium.
《悼念李大傻》 [Remembering Lee Dai Sor]. (1989, April 2).《联合早报》[Lianhe Zaobao], p. 37. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
An eulogy to Lee Dai Sor written by an acquaintance. The writer described Lee as a humorous storyteller and regarded him as the best in the trade in Southeast Asia.
Selected oral history interview on Lee Dai Sor
- Lye, S. C. (Interviewer). (2004, June 24). Oral history interview with Lee Swee Har @ Hong Wa 李瑞霞 [Accession No. 002851, reels 8-9, 12-14 of 17]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
An interview with Lee Swee Har @ Hong Wa 李瑞霞, a disciple of Lee Dai Sor. In her interview, she spoke about Lee Dai Sor’s life, character, career and his popularity as a storyteller in Singapore.