2009/03/12

The Quest To Be The Best

The original duo who formed The Quests -the first local group to record an LP - Jap Chong, the rhythm guitarist, continues to rock the house down with gigs, while Raymond Leong, who played the lead guitar, is now a successful engineer.

"It was our passion and love for music that helped us succeed. Our main aim was to entertain. Also, without the Talentime at Queenstown Technical School all those years ago, there would not be The Quests" - Jap & Raymond.

7 comments:

Andy Young* said...

Hi Vernon,
I am not only enjoying your blog but am learning much from it. Meetings with Dennis Tan, image collector extraordinaire, have revealed that you are as passionate as the blogs you post.
Cheers,
Andy

JoeWuSeattleWaUSA said...

I love to read, and biographies have always fascinated me. I love learning about the early days of people who have made their marks in their lives and in mine.

Today whenever I read about events in the 1960's pertaining to Singapore Pop Music, I cannot help but try to recall what I was doing in Singapore while those events were happening.

While Jap Chong and Raymond Leong were learning to harmonize like The Everly Brothers and The Blue Diamonds, circa 1960, I was in my early primary school days.

Unfortunately for me, I don't have the opportunity (like some of you lucky Singaporean folks do today) to spend any face-to-face time with Jap and Raymond, and to hear them talk over coffee or noodle soup about the good old days, so I have to satisfy myself from reading Henry Chua's very enjoyable book, "Call It Shanty!"

Thank goodness that The Quests were able to persevere through the early days of the band. Knowing how pragmatic and traditional Asian cultures could be in Singapore in the 1960's, I can just imagine the parents of the Quests boys admonishing them repeatedly. Like this...

"What? Playing your guitars again and wasting your time again? Why don't you study hard in school, pass your Cambridge, go find a real job someday so you can make money and make something with your lives? What are your children going to eat? Records?"

(I apologize I can't write this in Singlish. Would make you laugh out more, I'm sure.)

Anyway, long life to The Quests. Thank you, Jap and Raymond, for starting the ball rolling. A good time was had by all in Singapore. And all because you two boys first got together at Queenstown Technical School and started playing your guitars and singing in harmony.

Anonymous said...

Hi Vernon,

Thanks for reminding us on the history of the Quests. I am not sure how many fans will remember Raymond Leong ? My childhood memories vividly recalls a very handsome young Raymond appearing on black and white TV during those glorious 60s with the Quests.

At that time, I believe they have not made any record as yet but those innocent years were a prelude to better things to come for the group. Its heartening to learn that these two school mates are still in touch with each other through the years.

Raymond is probably one of the greatest unsung heros in the local entertainment scene. Without Raymond & Jap, there may not have been The Quests.

Enjoy surfing your blog whenever its time to reminisce and shed some tears of contentment over those adolescent years. Keep up the fine work ! Thanks.

LiMay

Michelle said...

Hi Veron,

Fascinating!!! Would you know what is the name of their first single and what are the songs in them for the Quest?

Thanks
Michelle

Vernon Cheong said...

Michelle,

The Quests released their 1st SP in 1964 with two original instrumentals - Shanty and Gallopin', composed by Henry Chua and Reggie Verghese respectively.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Vernon,

Been made aware of your blog by a guitarist friend with whom we have a few jams together trying to bring back our youth when the Quests and the like were around.Thank you for the blog and webside for us to share.
Met Jap Chong some time ago in Singapore when he was performing with a band Penny Lane.
Thanks again.

Wilting (once a budding) guitarist.

ian said...

Its amazing to know the musicians I grew up listening to are doing well :)

Thanks to my dad who introduced me to them otherwise I never knew Singapore had actual talent. Cheers to these articles :)

Thank you.