Behind the persona of every artist lies a human being, just like you and I. The Human Diaries series thus explores the multifaceted lives of our musicians, which gained popularity during Season 1 last year. Expect the unexpected in Season 2 as we step into the homes and favourite places of our musicians, conductors and Composer-in-Residence, discovering stories untold.



The bass instruments are often the most underrated and least noticed in the orchestra, however it is also the unsung heroes to the orchestra, bringing depths to the music. Take a look at how our diyin sheng musician Lim Kiong Pin shed light on his thoughts of being a bass player, as well as his interests in conducting, arranging music and counselling.

Text: Sean Goh & Oh Hui Yin

Photo: Singapore Chinese Orchestra

An unexpected discovery: The Sheng  

Lim Kiong Pin first got exposed to the Chinese Orchestra during his secondary school days, hoping to learn the erhu (二胡). However, he was being told that his hands were too small for that instrument and was being recommended to learn the dizi (笛子) instead.

Sometimes in life, the best efforts do not necessarily produce the results that one desire, and Lim Kiong Pin had a taste of it. He tried practicing hard on his skills but could not seem to master it, and he began to lose confidence.

“I decided to give up and not attend the CCA,” he shared.

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(Screenshot from Human Diaries video)

Thankfully, his CCA teacher noticed the situation and corrected his attitude towards learning, and even encouraged him on trying out the sheng (). And that’s how he met the instrument of his life. 

Yielding results 

Lim Kiong Pin eventually fell in love with sheng and he brought the interest closer to himself as he started to practise harder outside of CCA. 

Back in the days where he was picking up the skills, there weren’t platforms like YouTube and Google, so he learned his skills through watching tape recordings and interacting with other sheng players from various places. They would practice and learn together as a group. 

Such practice methods help in “building up my interest with the instrument”. 

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(Screenshot from Human Diaries video)

Efforts to shed light on bass instruments 

Apart from having a deep interest in playing the sheng, Lim Kiong Pin also developed an interest in music arrangement and has even received guidance from local renowned composer Phoon Yew Tien. 

One of the reasons why he started exploring music arrangement is to let more people notice the bass instruments in the orchestra.

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(Screenshot from Human Diaries video)

He revealed: “Most people would recognise the beauty of erhu and the graceful sound of the dizi, but not the bass instruments.” 

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(Screenshot from Human Diaries video)

To Lim Kiong Pin, the bass instruments are the unsung heroes of the orchestra. Without these instruments, the music lacks depth.

With that in mind, using his experience and talent, Lim Kiong Pin combined and arranged three popular scores together into one piece called Basically Bass, placing emphasis on the mellow, earthy note. 

These three pieces are widely known to the public, including the theme song from James BondPink Panther, and one of the soundtracks from the movie Star Wars.

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(Screenshot from Human Diaries video)

In order to allow audiences to hear and appreciate the bass instruments, only tenor and bass instruments were used.

Double Diploma in Counselling 

Just like being an unsung hero in the orchestra, Lim Kiong Pin is also an unsung hero outside of the orchestra.Apart from being a professional musician, Lim Kiong Pin is also a certified counsellor, with a double diploma in counselling. To Lim Kiong Pin, the counselling courses helped him to apply what he has learned in lesson to his daily life and also his teaching. 

He shared that “We could have neglected some details and blamed others when things go wrong.” 

Even though he does not provide official counselling sessions, he is still able to provide help through various platforms.After attending the courses, whenever such situation happens, he will try to figure out what is the cause of the mistake and also the reason behind it.

“At least, I am able to support those who needs it on the side.” 


If you haven't caught Lim Kiong Pin's Human Diaries episode, click here.


Thank you for following through the article thus far. Here, we share some bonus behind-the-scenes moments:

An adorable picture of his dog

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Lim Kiong Pin in his zone of creativity

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Thank you for your kind attention, stay tuned to the next episode of Human Diaries season 2. 😊

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