I’d Like To Know: Pam Oei

What’s the one thing she won’t eat before performing? Whom would she invite to dinner? What’s her favourite song? Find out here!
Image by Kelly Fan @ www.studiokel.com

What’s the one thing you must do before you set foot on stage?

If I am in a musical, I warm up my voice, and I always stretch before a performance.

Other than that, there is one superstition that Ashley Lim, theatre hair designer extraordinaire, infected me with many years ago. He told me never to eat a bao (char siew or any other variety) before a show, otherwise I’ll forget my words. For a theatre actor, forgetting one’s words is the ultimate nightmare! So I never eat bao before a show anymore! Ever.

What keeps you up at night?

Many things, anything. I am a night owl and used to be a hopeless insomniac. Becoming a mother has kinda solved that. But I am still a night owl though – I just require less sleep than most people. Five hours is usually what I get by on. In terms of sleepless nights, having an unresolved argument or fight with someone will usually keep me up till the sun rises.

You’re throwing a dinner party for five guests – dead or alive, real or fictional. Whom would you invite?

This is easy! I’ve often dreamt up this scenario before, although I’d really have to push for six dinner guests: my late father and mother, my husband and son, my brother and his wife. Apart from my brother, all have never met my parents before and it would be so wonderful if they could meet their daughter-in-law, son-in-law and grandson for the first time over dinner. Better still if it was my mum who cooked it. She was a legendary cook and baker.

What’s one of your pet peeves?

Pee on the toilet seat of women’s toilets. I can see how men would not bother to aim and pee all over the place but for women? Seriously. What do you have to do to get pee all over the seat? Why do you have to squat on the seat? What is wrong with these people? Arghhhh!

If you were entertaining a visitor from overseas, what’s the one place in Singapore you’d take them to?

Little India! Everything there is still organic and fluid – vegetable stalls spilling out into the streets, the smell of jasmine, curry, spices and incense mixed in the air. There, the streets aren’t sanitised and spotless like the rest of Singapore. And there’s the shopping – Tekka Market, Mustafa Centre and so much food, glorious food!

What’s your favourite song?

My favourite song is one without lyrics – Barry White’s Love’s Theme. Every time I am feeling down, this song is sure to pick me up. There is something about an electric guitar on the wah pedal, accompanied by a full orchestra, in full 1970s glory. Unbeatable.

Tell us about the theatrical experience that changed your life.

Performing Animal Farm for the first time in 2002 with W!LD RICE. It made me more politically and socially aware; it made me question governance, power, money and greed. I think it made me a better artist.

If you could import something that you can’t get in Singapore, what would it be?

Equality for the LGBT community.

Catch Pam on stage during the Singapore Theatre Festival! She’ll be performing in HOTEL, which runs from 30 June to 24 July at the Singapore Airlines Theatre; and jamming with her band, Ugly In The Morning, at Songs of Protest on 16 July! Find out more at www.singaporetheatrefestival.com!

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