To most Singaporeans, Bai Yan, who passed away this morning, is loved for being that genial grandpa in Ch 8 dramas in the ’80s and ’90s. But he had a whole other life before becoming a TV actor at the ripe old age of 65.

In April this year, CNA ran a documentary series called Love In A Time of Change and one of the episodes illustrated the super sweet love story between Bai Yan and his wife, former actress Ye Qing. Titled Love is a Stage: Bai Yan & Ye Qing, the doc, which featured an interview done with the couple at their home in 2006, uncovered a treasure trove of never-before-seen pics of Bai Yan as a young man.

Having arrived in Singapore from China just before the outbreak of World War II, Bai Yan was first a gewutuan (song and dance troupe) performer — which was where he met and fell in love with Ye Qing — before adapting his craft to suit the ever-changing entertainment landscape in Singapore. And he continued to do so throughout his 60-year career.

Bai Yan-shu was a man who dedicated his whole life to entertaining Singaporeans and for that we are eternally grateful.

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