Teng Mah Seng
Teng Mah Seng（丁马成; 1915﹘1992) was a musician, lyricist and composer. A father of eight, Teng was born in December 1915 in Fujian Province, China and came to Singapore in 1935. In 1945, he started an import-export business.
Teng’s first song was called The Spring Light. In the 1970s, he organised the first Asian International Nanyin Conference, which sparked a revival of interest in nanyin. He was later apointed the president of the Siong Leng Musical Association.
Teng was hailed as the saviour of nanyin music, an ancient form of Chinese opera music that dates back to the 7th-century Tang Dynasty. Teng is credited not only for reviving nanyin, but also for taking it to greater heights by injecting fresh elements to make it more attractive to contemporary audiences, as well as introducing it to the international arts scene. For his artistic contributions, Teng was awarded the Cultural Medallion for Music in 1988.
Teng passed away in 1992 but left behind a rich legacy. The beautiful tunes of his nanyin songs continue to mesmerise many in Singapore and around the world.
- 丁马成. [Ding, M. C.] (2012). 丁马成作品精选集 [sound recording]. 新加坡：湘灵音乐社.
Call no.: Chinese RSING 782.42162951 DMC
This album was recorded at the Siong Leng Musical Association in 2012.
Selected books on Teng Mah Seng
王碧玉, 邓旨云 & 韩川元（编委）. [Wang, B. Y., Deng, Z. Y. & Han, C. Y. (Eds.)]. （1995）. 《南音大功臣丁马成南音作品评论》 新加坡 : 新加坡湘灵音乐社.
Call no.: Chinese RSING Chinese RSING 781.62951 NYD
This publication traces Teng Mah Seng’s invaluable experience in promoting and developing nanyin in Singapore, and features many inscriptions, photographs and articles.
丁马成 & 卓圣翔. [Ding, M. C. & Zhuo S. X.]. (198_). 《南管精华大全》
Call no.: Chinese RCLOS 781.6200951 DMC
Co-authored by Teng Mah Seng, president of the Xiangling Music Society, and Zhuo Shengxiang, a musician from the south, this book examines both new and traditional nanyin.
Selected newspaper articles on Teng Mah Seng
[Untitled]. (1992, December 6). The Straits Times, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
An English-language obituary of Teng Mah Seng, who passed away on 5 December 1992.
Low, A. (1988, January 17). Saviour of Nanyin music. The Straits Times, p.15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
In 1978, nanyin music was on the brink of vanishing. However, with Teng Mah Seng as its champion, it gradually experienced a revival, and found itself, 10 years later, gracing occasions as MRT openings as well as weddings.
Fujian song to go on the air. (1984, July 10). The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
This article reports that Song of Dragon Boat Races, a traditional Fujian tune written by Teng Mah Seng, was to be aired on Radio Four on 18 July 1984.