THE JOHOR SOCIETY FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS (J.S.P.A.) PERTUBUHAN PERSEMBAHAN KESENIAN NEGERI JOHOR
The Johor Society for the Performing
Arts (J.S.P.A.) is a non-commercial voluntary society registered
in February 2000 under the Societies Act 1968.
The objectives of the J.S.P.A.
are to advance, promote and develop the performing arts in Johor.
Any income or profits generated from programmes and activities
organised by the J.S.P.A. are ploughed back to further the aims
and objectives of the J.S.P.A..
In line with its objectives, the J.S.P.A. has since its inception
in 2000 organised no less than thirty-five concerts, performances,
workshops, seminars and masterclasses in Johor. J.S.P.A
When did it all begin? Well, a convenient point to begin would
be 8th February 2000 , a date which marked the official birth
of The Johor Society for the Performing Arts when it was formally
registered with the Registrar of Societies.
However, the ground work which laid the basis for the J.S.P.A.
began much, much earlier. A passion for the arts; a passion to
transform Johor Bahru and a drive to succeed were all necessary
ingredients for success. That passion for the arts and that vision
was supplied by the Founder President, Yap Siong Cheng, whose
love of music started from an early age and that passion was further
fuelled during his six and a half years spent in London
reading his Law degree. London's West End was a mecca of the performing
arts and he took full opportunity during his time in London to
attend as many performances as possible.
It was not easy to come from London to the barren performing arts
landscape that was JB - to Year Zero. There was the usual moaning
and groaning of a dearth of performing arts programmes in Johor
Bahru. The usual envy felt of Kuala Lumpur and Singapore . The
of boredom - of nothing to do in JB.
From the boredom, the complaints however soon began to transform
into a desire to do something about the situation; into a feeling
that JB should not be left behind and the excitement of the possibility
of turning a vision into reality.
If the vision and passion came from Yap , the drive to turn things
into a reality is certainly owed to his wife, Suzie. Yap readily
concedes that Suzie was the push factor without which possibly
the J.S.P.A. would not have come about.
Yap and Suzie quickly realized that what was needed was an organisation
dedicated to the advancement and promotion of the performing arts.
They spent the next year or two discussing their ideas with friends
and the general response was a negative one. Most people felt
that JB was not ready for what they had in mind. Many also felt
that JB was not like KL or Singapore and the idea would not work
Determined to make a go of it and notwithstanding the negative
responses, they rounded up about 10 friends whom they thought
would share their dreams. And one evening after work in August
1998, the friends met at the Eden Garden Hotel. Not everyone was
enthusiastic about the idea but at the end of that meeting, a
decision was made to meet every last Friday of the month and to
invite friends and everyone else who were interested in the performing
arts to turn up and have fun. Through the auspices of Desmond
and Liz Ng, the monthly meetings were held at the Grand
Bluewave Hotel. By word of mouth, friends came along with their
other friends, relatives and children and showed off their talents
on the piano or the violin or guitar. There were singing and performances
of little drama skits. There were lectures on the music of Bob
Dylan (by Yeo Yang Poh) to the Bharatanatyam (by Ajit Baskaran
The monthly meetings proved to be very enjoyable and much looked
forward to. At that time, the loose grouping of friends called
themselves 'Friends of the Performing Arts' or in short, the rather
gaseous and self-deprecatory - F-ARTS! The number of people attending
the monthly get together began to grow reaching 50, 60 and on
one occasion, more than seventy.
Buoyed by the success and enthusiasm shown at the monthly meetings,
Yap and Suzie then decided to form a pro-tem committee with a
view to eventually getting a society formally registered.
In June 1999, formal application was submitted to the Registrar
of Societies for the registration of a society, and eight months
later on 8th February 2000 , the Johor Societyfor the Performing
Arts (J.S.P.A.) was born.
Now the J.S.P.A. is in its seventh year. However Yap and Suzie
are under no delusions as to where the J.S.P.A. is headed for
in the future. A lot more has to be done. A lot more can be done.
A lot more must be done. At least Year Zero has passed for Johor