Hubert Burda Media

FESTIVE REFLECTIONS: Dick Lee and his annual Christmas affairs (3OF4)

Everywhere is a stage for this Singaporean singer and composer. Yearly Christmas performances as a child at home were what fueled Dick Lee’s creativity.

The talented Dick Lee is a busy man. His plate is overflowing from now till well into the end of next year. In addition to a new multimedia animation showcase for the newly refurbished Ion Sky, there’s a sequel to his Peranakan Love Story video installation at Changi Airport Terminal 4 for next May too. Come August, he will perform in SingaPOPera, which features works from his musicals. This is followed by Mulan, a musical to be staged at the Esplanade in November.

But there will always be time for a special year-end party.

“Christmas is a huge celebration for my family, where the main event for me is the family dinner on Christmas Eve. We invite a few friends and relatives for mulled wine (my responsibility), and a traditional home-cooked dinner. Dinner always has a leg of ham — our favourite is from Mandarin Orchard Singapore — which is usually a gift from our favourite aunt. Table-setting is formal, using our fine French porcelain by Bernardaud.  Stockings are filled on Christmas Eve, and nativity displays were erected in the living room when we were kids and put on a show for the adults. That was how I honed my music-writing skills. I remember my first musical was Hilary Rabbit. Then it’s over to the living room to gather around the (real) Christmas tree where we sing carols before distributing presents. I’ve continued the tradition at my home with full-on decorations like a big (fake) tree and wreaths. We used to wait till midnight before we opened presents but now everything is over by 11pm! Everybody’s sleepy by then!” Lee says.

SEE ALSO: Catching up with Dick Lee

What one gift has been particularly meaningful for him then? Dick answers without hesitation, “One of my favourites was a set of three monkeys from Lalique given to me by my brother, Peter. He gave it to me for my 60th birthday as it reflected my Chinese horoscope!”

Like the fabulous parties that he produces at home or anywhere else, he loves to apply his ‘producer’ skill to charity as well. Take for example the recent successful run of the Singapore Press Holdings’ annual ChildAid charity concert held at Resorts World Sentosa, which featured a cast of 190 talented children. This was in support of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, which provides children and youths from low-income families with pocket money to help them through school, and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund, which provides them with structured arts training and the opportunity to develop their artistic talents.