Friday, April 1, 2011

Yesterday when we were young........and rocking !

Last week an old classmate wrote an excellent article on the music scene in Kuching during the days of our youth.....the late fifties, the sixties and  the seventies. He wrote particularly about "The Blue Rebels" and "The Tornadoes".( The article is entitled "The Blue Rebels and "The Tornadoes" rocked Kuching.

I have decided to steal his idea and write something similar but will focus more on the Brunei scene.

During the late fifties a new genre of music was evolving in America from the sound of the big bands who were whetting the appetites of the young generation then with Swing and Jazz, music to which they could jive. Then Elvis Presley, Bill Haley and his Comets, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Fats Domino introduced their individual styles to it. These personalities were so exciting that they started the transformation of music, dance, fashion ...everything all over the world.  Rock and Roll was born.  Local musicians were inspired by this phenomenon and bands, both amateurs and professionals, began appearing everywhere.

Brunei was no exception.  Seria, the Oil Town, was where Brunei Shell Petroleum Company was based so a large percentage of it's population were expatriates. Brunei Shell ensured their staff get enough R and R by building and operating a number of clubs where social functions such as parties and dances were organised. Bands were formed for this purpose.

One of the first teenage bands to become popular then was "Les Wanderers" who hailed from Seria. They provided all the dance music for Christmas, New Year Dances and every other function at the SRC - Seria Recreation Club. Anyone who has ever lived in Seria in the sixties will have fond memories of this place. Another popular band who played here were the "Spinning Crystals" but at the time of writing I do not have enough material on them for posting.

"Les Wanderers" (The Original Members)
Top to Bottom : Johnson Pang ....Drums
Nelson Pang ........Lead Guitar
Ronnie Ng.......Bass
George Clark......Rythym Guitar/Vocals
The Pangs brothers now live in Vancouver, Canada. I am not sure where Ronnie has gone. George remains in Seria, still rocking the house down with a new band of his own, sometimes joined by brothers Reggie and Chris. Another "transition member" was the unforgetable Kris Jansen who continues to thrill music lovers with his renditions of all things John Lennon and The Beatles. He played Bass.

(Photo : Courtesy of Mr. David Chai)
Les Wanderers : Left to right : Johnson Pang (Drums), Nelson Pang (Lead Guitar). The late and great Paul Clark (Bass), Frankie Ong (Rhythm Guitar)

The Pang brothers now live in Vancouver, Canada. Frankie Ong continues to make sweet music in Brunei and Sarawak. He has the stamina of the "ENERGIZER" Bunny. He keeps going on and on and on.....and he still has time and energy for Church work, Golf and even Facebook. We shall always have fond memories of Paul Clark who left us when he was living in Canada.

Please treat this posting as "work-in-progress" subject to editing  over the next few weeks  as some facts might not be accurate. I shall be featuring other bands as and when I collect enough information and photos of them and I welcome contributions and corrections from all who have seen this blog and wish to provide more stories and pictures of  "yesterday when we were young .......and rocking" !


  1. More please!! I love stories about when you guys were younger. :D

  2. Thank you for sharing this photo and wonderful memory of my late father Paul Clark.