Just how French is Hossan Leong? “Depends on how much champagne I drink,” quips the patron of French culture for Voilah! French Festival 2018, an arts and culture celebration of all things French. “If I go to France, I can live there and be part of society, it’s not a problem. So I think I’m about a seven.”
He’s not kidding. Hossan, who’s fluent in French, first fell in love with the French culture when he was about 21, even before he began acting, when he took French lessons on the side while he was pursuing an electronics diploma. “I won a French singing contest and the prize was a summer course in the south of France,” he recalls. We don’t need to tell you what happened with his, er, pursuit of a career in electronics, but Hossan continued honing his French prowess at Alliance Française, has done some business French translation, and in 2010, was the first actor in Singapore to be conferred the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (The Order of Arts and Literature), the French equivalent of a knighthood.
#1: Understanding Innovation
“This is a talk about innovation by a friend of mine, Xavier [Pavie], who’s a lecturer at ESSEC Business School. He came up with something called Imagination Week for his MBA students, which is interesting because they have to learn something outside of their field of work. So he brings in neuroscientists, wine specialists and even me to give talks to the students, to expand their horizons. I go there to teach voice.”
May 5, Alliance Francaise de Singapour, 5.45pm. Free, but reservations required.
#2: So French cooking classes
“The chef at [French bistro So France] is going to teach people how to make French butter, and [Bordeaux’s] caneles and how to shuck oysters.”
Apr 22, 23, and 28 at So France, #01-51 DUO Galleria, 7 Fraser St. Free admission.
#3: Angkor: Exploring Cambodia’s Sacred City. Masterpieces of the Musee national des arts asiatiques-Guimet
“It’s going to feature the art of Angkor Wat, brought here by the Guimet Museum in Paris. The French empire encompassed Indochine and Cambodia is very influenced by French culture as well.”
Apr 8 to Jul 22, at Asians Civilisations Museum.
For more info, go to www.voilah.sg.
Photo: Aik Chen