Songs Our Parents Love 那些年我们一起听的歌


I felt nostalgic last night, after feasting my ears from songs of yesteryears.  The Philharmonic Youth Winds & its Resident Conductor Adrian Chiang presented a homage to all parents & grandparents by celebrating the classic songs of yesterday.  I did the reverse instead. I wanted to go & I brought AJ along.  The father was game for it too.  Hey, those were songs I once loved & I would definitely want AJ to know them too!

I grew up listening to those Mandarin & Hokkien songs that my mother, my nanny & my neighbour auntie played through Rediffusion, radio & television. I grew up learning to sing them by heart.  Much of my Chinese ability was built from listening & singing those songs.  When I was in teens & young adults, I started listening to English pop.  So when there was a chance for me to reminisce, how could I give it a miss?

The Esplanade Concert Hall turned retro overnight by dressing itself up with disco lights & mirror ball (yup, that's right) & every audience was given a glowing stick (imagine the fun awaited).



The concert started with its 1st song上海滩, which wow-ed the audience, of course. Bengawansolo & Country Road were the next. These 3 songs were conducted by Adrian Chiang, its resident conductor.

Then Marcus Wong, the President of Philharmonic Youth Winds took over the medley consist of 12 songs. With the help of the father, we managed to dot down 11 song titles but could not recall the last one: Chariots of Fire theme song, Final Countdown, Kitaro, Music Box Dancer, Ballade Pour Adeline by Richard Clayderman, Jasmine Flower by Kenny G, The Swan, Speak Softly Love, Gabriel's Oboe, Dancers with Wolves & Jaws theme song (I hope we were right with these 11 songs).  Yea, I wonder why there wasn't any programme sheet too.

Some other songs played included Sukiyaki, Top of the World, Yesterday Once More, Close to You & Sing a Song. Oh boy, you got what I meant? How could one not sing along?  

Just before the intermission, George Chan (田伟鸿) sang 当爱以成往事, 偏偏喜欢你 (in Cantonese) & 情人的眼泪.  This guy just pressed the right button!

The concert was brought to a higher height after the intermission with the homegrown singer Lindy Chia (谢苓莉, daughter of  谢金石), who was also the emcee for the concert, singing 橄榄树, 鲁冰花, 酒矸倘賣嘸, 爱神, 香蕉船 (banana boat song in Mandarin), 惜別的海岸 (in Hokkien), 家后 (in Hokkien) & 一人一半 (in Hokkien). I think the fact that the youth were willing to play these Hokkien oldies was quite an achievement itself for The Philharmonic Youth Winds.  Bravo to them!

Lindy continued singing 月亮代表我的心, with George coming in in 明天会更好 & 潇洒走一回.  The audience were invited to join in, & by then, we were already quite high in spirit.  :)

潇洒走一回 was supposed to be the last song but we encored & they obliged with another medley.  The last song in the medley, "我的热情, 好像一把火, 燃烧了整个沙漠 ... ...", was still ringing in my ears even when we had reached home.  Oh, such enjoyable night!


Sports Hub Open House


Finally, 13 years after the idea of a new National Stadium was mooted, Singapore Sports Hub has opened its door.  The old National Stadium was closed in 2007 & was demolished in 2010.  Construction was halted in 2011 & resumed in 2012.  I have fond memories of the old National Stadium because I lived nearby then (still), & when I was in secondary school, we participated in the National Day Parade & had our combined schools (Chung Cheng High (Main), Chung Cheng High (Branch), Duman High & Yu Ying) sports day there too (no prize for guessing which secondary school I was from).  I could still remember how it was like until today.

Photo Credit

So when I learnt that there was an Open House, I told myself I have to go.  AJ & I went on 27 June (Fri).


Certainly, the icon of the stadium is its retractable dome-shaped roof, the world's largest free-spanning dome roof of diameter of 312m. It is able to close in about 20 minutes to allow a match to go on in event of bad weather. The stadium is the only 1 in the world which can host 4 different sports, namely, rugby, cricket, football & athletics, as its seating can be reconfigured easily in 2 days.


The 55,000 red & white seats are designed to trick the eyes into seeing a crowd when there is none. There is also a ventilation system fuelled by solar energy that pipes cool air to every seat. Compared to the exclusive shelter at the old National Stadium where only VIPs could sit, now all spectators can watch a match under a shade with cool breeze.

Next Tuesday onwards, you could book for a 1 1/2-hour guided tour. Booking is required & a fee will be charged from August.  More information will be revealed later by the Sports Hub. 


There are 2 sand courts where one can play beach volleyball or other sports such as futsal, rugby & netball. They are free for use even after next month, but booking is required (very nice of them!).

Even if you are not in the mood for sports, you can take a stroll along the Stadium Riverside Walk, a walkway by the river that offers a great view of the city skyline.  It is a very romantic scene, trust me.


There is also a retail mall named Kallang Wave.  It is 41,000 sq m big & has key tenants like FairPrice Xtra (very important to me as it gives me another avenue to shop for grocery), H&M (already opened) & Foodfare.  As there are still minor works here & there in the Sports Hub, more shops will be open in time to come.

The highlight of the Open House on 27 June has got to be the fireworks.  For the 1st time in our lives, AJ & I got to witness it happening so close to us.  It was indeed spectacular & the 3D effect was so real.

video

The Sports Hub is open free for admission from now till 31 July.  The facilities are free to use till 31 July too.  Booking, however, is required.  Please refer to its website www.sportshub.com.sg or call 6653-8900. 

More photos of the Sports Hub can be viewed in my Facebook Fanpage.

[Media Invite] Human Body Experience & Nature's Design Exhibition @ Singapore Science Centre


This is a monthly post on 'Educational Places'. Every 4th week of the month I will post on local educational places we have brought AJ to.

Jan - The Coins & Notes Museum
Feb - The NEWater Plant
Mar - Gardens By The Bay - The Cloud Forest
Apr - Gardens By The Bay - The Flower Dome
May - The Changi Museum


AJ went for Sound Explorer workshop organised by Singapore Science Centre on 6 June & had a whale of a time.  Incidentally, he came out of the workshop & told me he wanted to go & see Human Body Experience Exhibition, a temporary exhibition inside Science Centre which requires separate purchase of ticket.  Apparently, the facilitator had brought them around Science Centre so the children chanced into the exhibition.  We didn't have time to visit the exhibition so we gave it a miss.

Thankfully the kind folks in Science Centre & their lovely PR agency invited us to explore Human Body Experience (HBX) & Nature's Design Exhibition, so on 14 June we went.

Human Body Experience (HBX) Exhibition
As mentioned earlier, to visit this exhibition, a separate ticket would be needed but that includes entrance to Science Centre.

Human Body Experience (HBX)  is an edutainment exhibition that takes us inside the human anatomy through organs, muscles & systems, allowing us to interact & play with the amazing functions of the human body.  Combining strobe lighting, mist spray, confined spaces, unsteady surfaces, tactile sculptures, optical illusions, holograms, audio, 3D video & touch pads, we are able to get a unique multisensory experience.  Audio-visual narration will also engage us as we go through the exhibition.



Check out this youtube video on the making of this exhibition before you visit.  It is the best way to appreciate what you & your child(ren) are going to learn.




To start the journey, we 1st stepped into the mouth of a 6m tall “human face” & went through 5 main systems of the human body, namely the circulatory, digestive, immune, nervous & respiratory systems. 


As we went along, we got to feel the soft texture of the stomach lining, rush of air approaching the lungs, hear the heart beating over sonic sub speakers & experience what it felt like to be swallowed as we squeezed 
through the throat.

The journey starts from the mouth


Part of the lung

The veins area is lit with black light (UV light) to give models of alveoli & veins a unique glow.
Veins are intertwined to create a labyrinth for us to navigate through.

The hardworking pumping heart


Simulating how food is swallowed & then travel through the oesophagus, inflated fabric is lined inside a tunnel, through which we navigate from 1 end to the other.
Lighting effects provide another dimension to the experience.

Getting out of the intestine which is also the exit of the fun Human Body Experience

The Human Body Experience exhibition is really worth going, in my opinion.  Here are some tips for you before you start this internal adventure:

1) Wear long pants because you need to climb (literally)
2) Wear flat fitting covered shoes else you risk your shoes dropping off after you have passed through the 'tunnels'
3) Visit the washroom to wash your hands thoroughly after the HBX visitation because there are times you need to be on all 4 while inside.  :)

Exploring Nature's Design Exhibition
To promote understanding & appreciation of natural wonders, Science Centre Singapore (SCS) is giving nature enthusiasts an opportunity to delve deep at its new exhibition titled, Exploring Nature’s Design. This exhibition is designed to be educational &creative, to foster a sense of curiosity among nature lovers, & promote deep appreciation for the natural  world. The exhibition consists of Robot Zoo, Tinkering Space & Seed Carving. The exhibition is also part of this year’s upcoming Singapore Science Festival.



Robot Zoo
Biggest of the 3 sections (7,000 sqft), Robot Zoo explores the ingenuity of nature as a master engineer using robotics. 8 giant, mechanical animals are on display to mirror & simulate the biological makeup of their real-life counterparts.  Muscles become pistons, intestines transform into filtering pipes & brains into computers, demonstrating how animals function in their natural environment. Animals on display at the exhibit include a chameleon,  a rhinoceros, a grasshopper & a giraffe among others.










A hands-on experience to feel how a housefly moves


Try to see if you can shoot as accurate as a Chameleon's tongue
A fun way to challenge yourself to see if you can out-run a cheetah.
I can assure you, even an athlete could be a problem.


Click link here if you have problem viewing the embedded video.


Tinkering Space
This exhibit is a demonstration in self-assembled electronics, a variety of paper-based & other crafts, & robotics. AJ got the chance to tinker with easily available household materials to show off his creativity by making DIY luminescent giraffe.  Other DIY items include rhinos, microscopes, LED charm bracelets among others.








Seed Carving
The science of seed carving has been in practice in China for many centuries turning useless seeds into valuable works of art of all shape & size.  The Seed Carving exhibit gives us a detailed journey, from the stages of carving to the types of seeds used, as well as, the stories & anecdotes behind the carvings on display.



Exploring Nature's Design exhibition is suitable for children who are interested in Robots or upper Primary kids.  No separate purchase of tickets is required.  There are many activities lining up for your children in the annual Singapore Science Festival which will start on 18 July.  You may also want to 'like' Singapore Science Festival on Facebook to get updated feed.


The Nights Turn Magical With Philips Disney Imaginative Night Lights

As I have been brought up in Singapore, I have never slept in total darkness because my bedroom windows are usually open (unless it rains). One immediately realises how bright Singapore is when dusk descends upon the Singapore skyline, with street lamps beaming from 7pm to 7am & plenty of lights shining out from neighbouring highrise HDB flats & condominiums.  The only time that I had experienced complete darkness was when I was studying in Melbourne.  In a sense, I have developed an immunity to the fear of sleeping alone since young, because it was never completely dark in Singapore at night.

Unfortunately, AJ did not inherit this gutsiness from me.  He is most reluctant to sleep alone.  I read that sleeping in complete darkness is good as it will trigger the brain to release melatonin, a key sleep hormone (link). So, even though he is already 7+, we are still in the sleep battle field.  Apparently, he is not alone (see the newspaper article below).




Together with some mommies from the Singapore Mom Bloggers group, I attended the pyjama party (no, I was not in my pyjamas) organised by Philips Singapore for the event launch of their new series of the Disney night lights sometime in April.



It was the 1st time I heard from the experts speaking about sleep, although I have previously read some books & some on-line articles on the subject. 


We were gifted a motion-sensor Mickey Mouse LED night light & I immediately put it to use.  AJ was quite thrilled with the gift as it is in his favourite cartoon character.


Minnie for girls; Mickey for boys

Left: taken in darkness with flash; Right: taken in darkness without flash


video
(video taken with flash on)

The motion-sensor Mickey Mouse night light is battery-operated, thus portable.  We placed it on the shelf on top of AJ’s bed, giving him the assurance that when he wants light, there will be light (soothing one, that is).  I prohibit him to switch on the bright toilet light when he goes for a pee in the middle of the night as I believe it will affect his sleep thereafter.  So one night, AJ decided to take the night light with him for a pee. It was easy since it was portable.  I thought that was a brilliant idea!


We were also gifted with a Winnie-the-Pooh LED torch light & it instantly became a toy for AJ.  He is ever so eager to dim the lights to play with this new toy (such a contradiction!).  Lately we have also come up with another game with this torch light. Watch the video below or click the youtube link here.



I think this range of night lights by Philips will be a big hit among the children as they sport some of their all-time favourite Disney characters.  They are also perfect birthday/Christmas presents if you want to break away from the usual commodity birthday gifts.

The Philips Disney Imaginative night lights are available at www.shopled.philips.com.sg/disney.html & selected departmental stores. I am tempted to get the projector table lamp. What about you?




* This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

It's Singing Too!

When AJ was young, we asked him, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“I want to be a teacher.”
A standard answer, I would reckon, because he was a preschooler, & teachers were probably 1 of those few people in his circle of interaction.

When he was older, after he attended the role play at ‘A Doctor for A Day’ event, we asked him the same question.
“I want to be a doctor.”
Ah! So there’s a change.  The career ambition changes with the kind of profession he was recently exposed to.



Not too long ago we asked him again.
“I want to be a writer.”
Oh, changed again huh.  Why writer?
You see, AJ has been religiously reading Sherlock Sam series & Danger Dan series (yea, we support local authors).  He will be amongst the 1st few (hundreds) readers to get hold of the books when they are launched.  When he is in good mood, he will pen a decent book review of the book he has just finished reading.



Photo credit

3 months on, his ambition remains as a writer.  We shall see what happens a year later.

As parents, we also harbour some hope of what we would like him to be when he grows up (don't you?) although we would like to disguise it with ‘we are happy if he could pursue his passion, whatever it may be’. 

I am not too concern with what he would be in the secular world, I am more concern about how he could serve more effectively in church.  As his mom, I have a good idea what are his gifts/talents, but whether he has the passion to pursue things that he is gifted with/talented in is a different issue altogether.

Although AJ is pretty good with piano, & one may think he can serve as a pianist in church, I can assure you the church that we worship in has no lack of pianists.  I reckon that this phenomenon is common in many established churches.  Although he could serve in church as a pianist in the future, I do not see a pressing need as there is no lack.

What I see lacking in my church is a qualified & fully committed conductor.  Don't get me wrong.  We do have 1 qualified & fully committed conductor now, but this conductor's 1st & foremost calling is being a preacher.  He has to pastor his flock. Thus, to be efficient in his primary calling, there should be someone taking over his conducting ministry.  So far, no one has been moved by the Lord yet.

AJ is currently singing in the church children's choir.  This is 1 way he serves in the church at young age.  Because he is musically trained, he picked up singing skills pretty fast.

Over time the thought of him serving in this area more efficiently started to harbour in my mind.  I have been talking to him about this too but we haven't had any idea how to go about doing it.

Then we went to this concert 3 weekends ago & saw the call for audition.  I nudged him to go, he submitted.  2 weeks later we received news that he is accepted.

We hope that with proper & professional training in singing, AJ would be able to serve in church more efficiently.  We are not sure where this will lead him in the future, but we are committing this to the Lord & pray that this is the direction He wants him to tread.


君伟上小学

This is a monthly post on 'Book or Web/Mobile Application for Children'. Every 3rd week of the month I will post on a review on books that AJ has read or web/mobile application that he has tried on.

Jan - Sherlock Sam & the Missing Heirloom in Katong
Feb - UpToTen (Boowa & Koala) Online Educational Website for Pre-Schoolers
Mar - Sherlock Sam & the Vanished Robot in Penang
Apr - How To Think Like A Scientist
May - The Rock & The Bird


Not sure if you would agree with me, I find that there is a serious lack of good & appropriate Chinese books for our children to read here in Singapore.  By that, I meant books that could help our children to improve their comprehension & writing skills, yet interesting enough to keep them entertained.


I came across this series from National Library Board (NLB) recently.  After looking through the table of content & flipping through some pages, I reckoned that AJ might like it, but I wasn't too confident.  Nonetheless, I borrowed << 君伟上小学:1年级鲜事多>> although he is now in primary 2.  Since this is the 1st book of the series, I thought it should set the foundation of the storyline so it would be easier for him to read preceding books should he find it interesting.

As it turned out, he liked this book. Hooray! I could now safely borrow book no. 2 for him!

The author who wrote this series is quite a renowned author in Taiwan Children Literature.  As a mom herself, she wrote this series from the perspective of her son.  The books record incidents that happen in school, often hilarious events.  A child who reads them can easily associate with the stories because the incidents would have either happened to him/her before or his/her friends.  I hope this book series could spur some interest in your children to read Chinese books too.

You can find this series in NLB or dangdang.com


Trading Master, My Mentor - Robin Ho

This is a monthly post on 'Inspiring Individual'. Every 2nd week of the month I will post on individual who has crossed our path & how we were inspired by him/her.

Jan - The Music Conductor, Adrian Tan
Feb - Investor, Entrepreneur, Author, Success Coach - Ismail Gafoor
Mar - 儿子的华文老师 - 颜清碹老师
Apr - Man of God - Rev. (Dr.) Prabhudas Koshy
May - 新加坡教育界的杰出华人 - 张美香校长


If you have read 'About Me' on my blog, you would have known that I do trade stocks.  Most people who have not traded stocks before or have been burnt by the stock market before would think trading in stock market depends very much on 'luck' & it is very much like gambling.

Fortunately I didn't think so.  When I joined the industry as a Remiser in 2007, I was eager to master the skills of trading in the stock market because I know that without the necessary skills, one would simply 'donate' money to the other players in the market.  I see trading stocks very much like running a business.  One needs to have the necessary skill sets & of course, the general rule of business applies, buy low sell high.

I went to many talks & seminars to determine which 'Masters' in the market were worthy of my course fees because there are many con men in this industry.  I was fortunate to come across a few of them, & 1 of them is now my mentor - Robin Ho.


Robin has been through bankruptcy twice to arrive at where he is today.  He is 1 of the top-tier Remisers & Traders in Phillip Capital.

Robin has been guiding his students & clients in this arena, sharing whatever he knows without reservation.  I have been his students for close to 6 years & I am thankfully to him in helping me acquiring the necessary skills.  Whenever he has any talk/workshop/seminar, I will make it a point to go because there are always new things to learn from him.

Can you spot me?

I cannot thank him enough, so since tomorrow is Fathers' Day, I take this opportunity to wish him a 'Blessed Fathers' Day, Robin'!