Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Major Breakthrough for me !

Original Title "Ue o Muite Arukoo"
(Hachidai Nakamura / Rokusuke Ei)
Kyu Sakamoto - 1961
Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen - 1963
Ue o muite arukoo
Namida ga kobore nai yoo ni
Omoidasu haru no hi
Hitoribotchi no yoru
Ue o muite arukoo
Nijinda hoshi o kazoete
Omoidasu natsu no hi
Hitoribotchi no yoru
Shiawase wa kumo no ue ni
Shiawase wa sora no ue ni
Ue o muite arukoo
Namida ga kobore nai yoo ni
Nakinagara aruku
Hitoribotchi no yoru
Omoidasu aki no hi
Hitoribotchi no yoru But tonight
Kanashimi wa hoshi no kage ni
Kanashimi wa tsuki no kage ni
Ue o muite arukoo
Namida ga kobore nai yoo ni
Nakinagara aruku
Hitoribotchi no yoru

Over the last several months,I have been struggling on my own to try loading a video from youtube to this website of mine. Tried and tried countless times but failed again and again, even with the online notes from Blogger Help Center. Resorted to typing out my
questions on the Blogger Share Groups for help, many months ago. But the replies were rather unhelpful and ambiguous at best.
So, back to square one.
I could have asked for help if I had really wanted to.
But something inside me tells me that I can do it someday except I don't really know
when that day or moment will come.
THAT MOMENT of breakthrough happened about 30 minutes ago, after I was struggling for 5 hours.
I managed to download, upload and load a video on the Yippee Blogsite ( closed family website) for the very 1st time, on my own!
So, before I forget how I managed this so far impossible feat...I thought I better try out another one on this site just to make certain ( Reinforcement of Learning).
I have chosen the singer and especially the song that HAD A GREAT IMPACT on my LOVE for good music as I was growing from a teenager to adulthood.
This is one song that always raise my goose pimples especially when I hear the original voice of Kyu SAKAMOTO. It is that great! It was the #1 song on the American Billboard in 1963!!!
No other Japanese song sung wholly in Japanese has ever achieved such Fame.
This song SUKIYAKI will forever be a BIG part of my deepest and fond memories of JAPAN especially when sung by the late KYU SAKAMOTO.
There is another thing that even my 2 grown-up daughters may not know about their old man.And what is that?
In 1972,as part of the 2nd Asian Youth Voyage Programme,my Japanese hosts from the Tokyo Chapter of the Jaycees, were superb hosts. They truly wanted us...the youth delegates, to remember our visit and be immersed in their culture. They brought us to the famous GINZA area in downtown Tokyo...into one of the biggest nightclubs.The Japanese love their drinking, eating and singing accompanied by animated clappings. When we were well feted and relaxed, out of nowhere, I heard my name and Singapore being announced over the loud PA system...in Japanese. I understood only my name being called," DICKO-SAN! DICKO-SAN! ".
The lady interpreter attached to us told me I was expected to go up on the grand stage to sing them a song or two. As I said...that was one of the biggest clubs around then...seating well over 800 people.
The loud clappings of encouragement meant only one thing...I had no choice but to boldly strike forth. Walking up to the stage, I asked the live band if they knew the song " Danny Boy". They shook their heads in a "NO" gesture. But I hummed the tune to them and some of that registered with a member or two. So, working on the key..they played (tentatively, can't blame them) and I sang that song. During the singing the assembly did not clap. They did so after. But I knew it was a song not known to them...that was exactly why I chose that song. WHY?
Because I knew they would ask for a 2nd song !
And so they did.
Imagine the electrifying atmosphere inside that club when the MC announced in Japanese " and now DICKO-SAN will entertain us with KYU SAKAMOTO'S SUKIYAKI! "
The band was obviously very happy I chose that song as it was simply the most Famous Song from Japan, outside Japan. All the patrons were happy too.
And they started clapping as I sang...the ENGLISH version.
I have never forgotten the Raw power of this song!
It made me quite a hit with my large band of Japanese Jaycee friends...back then.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Magnificent images of the F1 Grand Prix

These photos appeared in the Daily Mail public Gallery. They came with high praises for the sheer beauty and magical effects of the night scene during the F1 Grand Prix.
I believe these pictures and more have impressed millions of people from all over the world about how nice Singapore really is.
The city skyline beautifully lighted up and our colonial buildings of bygone days seem to add a new aura to the city's nocturnal splendour .

Most visitors were lavish in their praises and comments both when interviewed in the media and on TV.
One said that this venue and the entire experience were many times far better than Monaco.
Another couple said they are regulars on the F1 racing circuit and have been to most of the F1 destinations but for them Singapore is by far the BEST experience so far.

Most gave the highest marks to the top organisational ability of our country.
A pretty lady visitor on this evening's news said,
" Only SINGAPORE can do it ! "
I guess that statement pretty much sums up the sentiments out there among the foreign visitors.
But for me...these are the images that make me proud to call Singapore my home.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


At 8 pm Singapore time today, the inaugural Night Race of the Formula One Grand Prix kicked off. More than 100,000 fans were in the Marina Bay race Circuit area. These were paying fans of which more than 40,000 were foreign visitors. Many thousands more had surveyed the surrounding areas of the race and scrambled for their own"pole" positions and vantage points...FOC, of course. Many were also resourceful and had made bookings for the best views in hotels and other commercial buildings.

Can't really blame them as Grand Prix Fever had descended upon Singapore over the last fortnight.
The government had splashed out some $150 million to put Singapore on the world map. The figure is much higher as big corporate sponsors are also involved.
With so much invested and at stake, how can Wise Owl here afford to miss any of the action.
So we, all in the extended family, had our own" paddocks" in front of the TV screen. Drinks, good food and even a Birthday cake was supplied as all eyes focussed on the cars with names like Ferrari, McLaren,BMW, Williams, Toyota,Honda, Renault, Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Force India.

The impressive-looking cars lined up according to their qualifying positions yesterday. In pole position was Felipe Massa [Ferrari], then Lewis Hamilton,the current Leader in the F1 circuit[McLaren] and next was Kimi Raikkonen [Ferrari]. Nico Rosberg [Williams] was in 9th place while Fernando Alonso [Renault] was in 15th. There were 20 finalists in all.
The Flag was soon raised and off they zoomed ! The historic 1st Night Race in the world of Formula 1 racing had started.
It was very important to listen to the LIVE commentary and the LIVE update on screen to make out who were actually leading and who disappeared and why. There was big drama a-plenty throughout the 61 lap race. A couple of crashes that led to the safety cars being introduced and that altered the course of events happily for some, disappointing for others. Some drama were self-inflicted.

F Massa was leading all the way until he made a pit stop in Lap 17 that went so awry it was incredible to believe. But we saw it all with our own eyes.... LIVE !
He drove of with the refuelling pipe still attached to his car! The pipe broke and hit one of the Ferrari mechanic spewing petrol all over. Massa realised after a few seconds and stopped. It was comical to see the Ferrari crew running up to his car and struggling to free the trailing fuel pipe that was still attached to it.
But that caused him the race. I discovered later that Massa was not at fault as he had been given the green light to go.

The 3.2 mile circuit has 23 turns which is about 8 more than the average F1 circuit making this one of the most challenging of all race tracks.
In the end, Fernando Alonso [ Renault] crossed the Finish Line in 1st place followed by Nick Rosberg[ Williams] and 3rd was Lewis Hamilton [Mclaren].
It was truly an unforgetable spectacle for Singapore and for those who caught it LIVE...such as simple folks like us.

ps: All race photos taken direct from my TV screen. Pic of me taken by my 7 year old grandson J.

Friday, September 26, 2008

WISE OLD OWL.....1st Birthday !

Haha! It almost slipped my mind. The WISE OLD OWL ...is older and wiser by one year !
I started this blogsite on 21 September last year ( 2007 ) with the main purpose of sharing my quite extensive travel experiences and some of the most incredible but TRUE personal life stories that came my way.
Since then, I have posted a total of 275 posts which is quite phenomenal for a complete newbie like me.
That's not all...I have another Blogsite called THE YIPPEES which is not opened for public viewing yet as it is for the extended family members.
The total posts here is 213 since January 2007. I may open the site to the public one day when the time is ripe.
So far...it has been one exciting journey of discovery for me in Blogoland. For my regular visitors to this blog, I can tell you this...there is much, much more interesting stuff to come.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Face to face with the Legendary Princess of Gunung Ledang

These pages shown here are of small leaves which I collected from my 1974 Mt Ophir climb.
I have kept them, still as they were 34 years ago, in an exercise book. The front cover of the original exercise book of those years is displayed below. The school in Koon Seng Road, off Joo Chiat, does not exist anymore with that past name.
Today, the offshoot is called KCPS....Kuo Chuan Presbyterian School, a merger of the former PBS and KCGS.
In my previous story, I mentioned that I brought back some special leaves ( based on some simple drawings made by the requester Mrs Lee Geow Hai ). She was my colleague then and was suffering from a potential blindness-related ailment. So, she was delighted when she got those special leaves from me. If my memory serves me right...her condition improved a great deal after using the leaves....and also the Ophir water.

I also mentioned that I collected dripping drops of water that came from a rock outcrop near the top. The
special water was at the request of Mr Hassan Selamat, also my colleague then, who had a very chronic back problem. I gave him some of the leaves too.
His condition improved to some degree.

Recently, I did a Google search to check if there are any documented accounts of anyone confirming a face to face encounter with the Legendary Princess of Gunung Ledang ( Mt Ophir ) or even reports, if any, to that effect.
The Result? There is NONE at all.
It does appear that I MAY BE THE ONLY PERSON, AS FAR AS CAN BE CONFIRMED, TO HAVE MET THE PUTERI OF GUNUNG LEDANG FACE TO FACE....and spoken with her back in 1974 February.
My good friend, Ibrahim Othman told me that according to Malay legends, the beautiful Princess was able to transform herself into an older or old woman and manifest herself if she so chooses.
Legends say that she is still residing deep within the confines of G Ledang.
What do I make of all this?
The world is filled with many mysteries still as yet unsolved. But unsolved does not mean untrue.
And as for me, there is NO DOUBT in my mind, NO DEBATE, NO UNCERTAINTY that on that unforgetable day in February 1974....I came face to face with the legendary Puteri in the form of an old lady.
One of the Major reasons why I started this Blog is to document, archive and share my many, many TRUE life experiences with my family, friends, and now everyone.
There are many more unforgetable and astounding TRUE stories I have yet to talk or write about!

More stories will, in time, unfold on this Blogsite.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mt Ophir 1974...The True Encounter with Princess Gunung Ledang Part 3

Photo top: Me at Ibrahims's house for Hari Raya celebrations on March 4th 1995.

This post is a continuation of the previous story. While we were preparing our first meal up on the mountain, I requested that all our canned food be brought out from our packs so that we can organise our food properly. Before the trip, while meeting up with the members at my home, I had briefed them on what kind of tinned food to carry along. Pork was to be avoided as it is considered taboo on Gunung Ledang.

[Photo: Main Executive Council of COMEX S'pore 1977-1978
Othman is 2nd from right.]
So you can imagine my huge surprise and disappointment when a tin of that popular Yeo Hiap Seng canned pork cubes appeared among the canned food on the poncho. I did ask who brought it along but no one seemed to recall bringing that particular YHS can.
Immediately, I wrapped it up and put it away in our pack saying that it must not be opened until we arrive back in Singapore.
Before we drove off from Tangkak, we donated our ponchos and other unused stuff to the personnel at the reservoir. They had kept an eye on our vehicle while we were climbing.
We drove straight to my home to unpack. My daughter who was then 2 and half years old and my wife was home. It was still the Chinese New Year period and we gathered round my kitchen to have some refreshments and to update my wife D2 about our adventures.
It was there and then that I remembered the YHS can of pork cubes still in my pack.
We told the story about this tin, took it out and had a closer look.
The label clearly stated YHS pork cubes.
Since no one could recall bringing this mysterious tin from their home I said let's open it up.
Using a tin opener, it was soon opened.
There were no pork cubes when we poured the contents out on a bowl.
It was all sambal udang !!! ( spicy small prawns )
Remember, the label wrapped round the tin stated "YHS pork cubes"!
It was as if by some unknown magical process that the contents within were altered
so that it no longer became "taboo"...up on the mountain.
By the way, this was and still remains the ONLY time such an occurence ever happened to us.
As I've also said, I never taken much notice of all these mysterious happenings not until the years 1977 and 1978. That was when I was elected as President of COMEX Singapore, a leading adventure and travel club then. And one of those serving with me in the Main Executive Council was Ibrahim Othman, who held the post of Director, Sports and Recreation. Ibrahim was then in the Education service as I was. He taught ML2 and was most knowledgeable about the history, tradition, beliefs and culture of the local Malays.
We became firm and close friends.
During a Comex organised trip to Maxwell Hill, we were seated together and we were comparing our travel experiences. It was then, that the subject of Mt Ophir 1974 came out. Urged on by him, I related all that happened as I've described here. He was all eyes and ears, literally!!!
When I finished my account...he asked me," Do you realise WHO YOU HAVE MET IN PERSON? "
I said, " No."
Ibrahim: " You have met the LEGENDARY PUTERI GUNUNG LEDANG !!! ( Princess of G Ledang ).
Me: " But it was an old lady I met up there."
Ibrahim: " DICK, ask yourself how can an old lady of 80+ years old be found at such a high
altitude and you said she was carrying a basket with flowers and eggs ( things found on low land ). Moreover, what was she doing up there? She is regarded as a guardian of the mountain and that's why she asked you whether you knew the" undang-undang" of the place.
No lady of such an age is fit to climb so high up this mountain. Dick, consider yourself very LUCKY for a few centuries many local Malays and others have gone to Mt Ophir in search of or hoping to meet/see/experience WHAT YOU HAVE PERSONALLY EXPERIENCED in 1974.
Even in recent times, many "holy men and mystics" have gone there...all hoping.
Me: " I'm stunned ! Why do you think I have been so fortunate to have met with this Puteri Gunung Ledang since so many have tried and have failed? "
Ibrahim: " I think you are quite different from the others. For a Chinese to climb during CNY is unheard of. You may not know it but fate and your good heart may have played a major part."
The above revealations by Ibrahim to me were the first inkling I had of the Significance of my trip up there. I have, since 1974 never written a word about this whole EXPERIENCE. This is a first person story here.
Ps: Ibrahim Othman was later elected as a PAP member of Parliament for 3 terms starting in
1984. He was also appointed as the President of FAS ( Football Association of S'pore ).
We are still close and firm friends today.
Next....the concluding episode!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mt Ophir 1974...The True Encounter with Princess Gunung Ledang Part 2

This is the continuation of my TRUE ACCOUNT on meeting the legendary PRINCESS of GUNUNG LEDANG in 1974 ( pl see my earlier post of same title dated June 11 2008 ).

To summarise briefly, I was at that time leading a group of just 5 of us to summit Mt Ophir.
We went during the 3 day Chinese New Year holiday period ,presuming we would meet no one during our climb... as no sane person person would want to do such a thing during CNY of all things. Correct? Right and wrong!
We made the trip and we were all sober and sane.
And we met 2 mysterious individuals and 1 mysterious group during the climb.
As I was the only one who had been up there previously in 1969, I more or less knew the route. Orienteering , map reading and topography is an area I'm particularly strong in, even today. Back then, we were not using maps at all for Mt Ophir. As our climbing party was just 5, we kept close together within vision and earshot. No danger of anyone getting astray.
Yet, about 2 and half hours after we started our trek upwards...I knew we had taken a wrong turn at a fork. There was sign that pointed Mt Ophir " This way " with an indicator arrow drawn. It pointed to the right of the fork....all of us simply followed the trail for nearly 2 hours!
That path eventually led us to a very hilly terrain in deep jungle and before us was a cave with quite a big opening. I immediately realised we had taken the wrong track as this was all "new" to me. Nevertheless, since we were at the mouth of a cave I ventured to step in just to have a look-see. It was quite dark within.
Before I could even proceed further, a booming voice came from within.
I was startled. I could make out the shape of a Malay man who was alone and sat cross-legged.
He was dressed in all dark attire much like the those who practise Silat.
He had a kerchief tied to his hair too.
This mystic asked me in Malay, " Apa di-buat sini ?" ( What are you doing here? )
I politely replied," Kita nak jalan ke-atas Gunung ". ( We are heading for the Mt top )
The mystic: " Sini tak boleh jalan ke-atas. Pusing balik!" ( From here, no way to the top. Go back! )
On behalf of my party, I apologised profusely for having intruded into his solitary meditations,
turned around and backtrack....the way we came.
Soon, we were back at the original fork junction and examining the signboard which was easily shifted, I realised someone must have repositioned it wrongly.
So, that was the meeting of the 1st mysterious person on this trip.
Back to the meeting of the old lady right near the summit [ reputedly the Princess of Gunung Ledang ]
She had seemingly appeared from nowhere as there was an outcrop just slightly ahead of me to my right. It was the narrowest part of the path to the top. To my right was the rock face and it was curving. Then this old lady appeared from slightly above me as I was moving upwards....she downwards. We both stopped and looked at each other, face to face.
Then she spoke in simple Malay to me, in words I can understand. Remember...this is almost at the summit which is 4187 feet high!
She: " Apa buat di-sini? " ( What are you all doing here ? )
Me: " Kita akan naik atas Gunung, makchik " ( We intend to get to the top, makchik ).
[ps: makchik is a very polite term to use for an elderly malay lady ]
She: " Tau undang-undang di Gunung ini dan apa boleh buat, apa tak boleh buat?"
( Know the do's and don'ts of this mountain? )
Me: " Ya makchik...undang-undang dan lain-lain saya sudah tau dan memang ikut.
( Yes,makchik...I know the do's and don'ts and will observe them )
She: " Baik-lah, ingat baik-baik, jangan lupa ya! "
( Very well, do not forget ok! )
Me: " Baik makchik.Terima Kasih ."
( Very good makchik. Thank you. )

The conversation I had with her lasted about maybe 2 minutes. I could hear the other 4 of my friends just coming up behind me along this narrow trail. The old lady then walked past me moving downwards also along this same trail. I removed my haversack and sat down on a rock. The other 4 members of my group were soon with me in seconds...also removing their packs and having a rest. I then decided to get their full attention and brief them properly about the do's and don'ts of this magical mountain.
I said," We are just metres away from the summit. And do not forget the do's and don'ts I have briefed you on much earlier. Whether you believe in them or not, please remember to respect the beliefs for this place. It is regarded in some quarters as a supernatural and holy mountain to the locals. And by the way....I was just clearly REMINDED by that" old lady" you saw just now."
All of them, in one surprised voice...." WHAT OLD LADY ???"
Me: " That old makchik I was talking to carrying a basket in her hand. You can't have missed her. She was walking towards all of you ! "
They: " No, we did not see any old lady at all ! "
Me: " Didn't any of you hear me talking in Malay with her ? I could hear you all coming upwards."
They: " No...we did not hear anything at all . "
I gave them a description of the lady but none saw or even heard her !!!
I was then wondering how did they fail to see her as she moved past me towards them on the trail.
She seemed to have VANISHED into thin air !
In all honesty, even back then in 1974 when this incident took place, none of us myself included, ever thought about the great significance of my meeting with this "special lady". I carried out my briefing as per normal.
The climb to the summit was very successful.
Before we left the summit area, I used an aluminium water bottle to collect water that issued from an overhead outcrop of rock. This was reputed to be "holy" water with special curative powers. On the way down, the next day, I also collected some plants ...one particular variety of leaves that were said to be " special". Both the water and the leaves were not for myself but for 2 then colleagues of mine who were suffering from different ailments...and who had specifically requested for my help.
I mentioned a mysterious group that we met. It was where we were bathing near the waterfalls. We heard singing from way above us, high up on the ridge of the mountain. Looking up, I saw a few characters dressed in military fatigues. They were Chinese and were singing in Mandarin and waving a few red flags. Who were they?
My Goodness, I thought...they were most likely the remnants of the Malayan communists who we all thought had melted away!
I told our small party to wave back as hard as we could! ( To show we are not unfriendly for our own safety! The commies had weapons and arms if you recall. )
Those chaps way above us continued their waving to us.

( Story to be continued tomorrow...)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Teaching Ukulele to kids

Sometime in May this year, GSPS Vp got in touch with me wondering if I could teach the Ukulele to her school pupils as part of their post-exam enrichment programme.
She was very pleased and most delighted when I said," No problem". The kids from Primary 4 and 5 mostly were under my tutelage for about 3 or 4 sessions in that short span of 3 weeks. There were more than 10 different classes with class size averaging about 40 pupils.
We met in the comfort of the air-conditioned Music room which came with a host of percussion instruments...bongo drums, maraccas, castinets, tinker bells etc.

The sessions were full of fun.
None of the kids I've asked even knew what a ukulele is let alone play on one. And here they were all strumming away on the "chicken" chords I taught them.
But first thing first...they were boisterious, active and playful as most kids given half a chance should be.
How did I control and manage them without having to resort to harshness nor threats nor punishments?
Well after 4 decades of teaching kids from the Primary to Junior College level...that should be the 1st thing that any decent hopeful teacher should master.

It is no big secret really. Observe them as a class and use simple strategies to engage them which may vary a little from class to class.
If there should be a few playful characters in the midst ...bring them closer to you rather than send them out or away or standing in a corner.
By the way, in all my years of teaching, I had never subscribed to the nonsense as such. Readers of this blog will get to learn of my approach to classroom disipline in and outside the classroom which never fails....when I go into my extensive experience in teaching later on.

Using the OHP, I had diagrams of a typical ukulele on the screen with the 4 main strings named G C E A shown.
Playing each string I said, " this is G and this is C and so on".
To help the kids memorise and remember better the 4 named strings I used mnemonics....telling them GCEA means "Girls Can Eat Alot !"
This drew much laughter from the boys. Then a clever girl raised her hand up to speak and said," No,no...Guys Can Eat Alot !!"
There was a roar of support from the girls now and groans from the little guys!
That was the kind of atmosphere and classroom ambience that carried me through these sweet, musical sessions. The Vp and other key staff dropped in, perhaps worried that this old man could be swamped by all the GSPS kids. Haha. Some of them enjoyed the sessions so much they stayed and joined in!
Ps: By the end of the 1st session they could play and sing 2 songs as I had promised them.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The 3rd Age

There is an organisation in Singapore known as the Council for Third Age. It is a voluntary body headed by Mr Gerard Ee as Chairman of the Council. Located at the Tower Block in Bishan Junction 8, it has a very nice and cosy office on the 10th floor and manned by a small but very pleasant staff of ladies.
So, what does this council do?
What do they look after?
Basically, I believe they are looking after the needs of the ageing seniors in our population. In addition, they are promoting an active ageing lifestyle for retirees and other seniors by coming out with a host of events and activities with major corporate sponsors and partnerships.
How am I involved with this C3A ( Council for 3rd Age )?
Well...not directly.

Out of the blue, on Tuesday 9th Sept 2008, I received a phone call from them informing me that I was one of those nominated for the" Active Agers Infocomm Champion Award "

and checking if I could come for an interview on Tuesday 16th Sept at 3.30 pm.
During the conversation, I genuinely sounded surprised and taken aback.
Top: Logo of the Council
Bottom: To my right are 2 staff and to my left are fellow nominees.

I was asked if I knew anything about this earlier. My answer was, " No, I had no knowledge at all...that I was nominated nor even about the awards." I had absolutely no idea what to make of it or who had nominated me. They didn't tell either. I left it at that after confirming my ok to attend the interview as stipulated.
They even told me they have visited my Blogsite and found it very interesting !
Then on Monday 15th Sept, after a family swim at my club with my daughter D4 and hubby DT and Maree ( DT's mom ) , we were having afternoon tea and chit-chatting away.

I told them about the C3A interview scheduled for the next day.
That was when the cat came out of the bag !
D4 was going" whoopie ! Yeah! "
And I was like saying ..."huh, what's all this whooping about? "
D4 , my beloved daughter said she was the one who send in her nomination of me.
She had to write a "mini-essay"about me to support her nomination.
A well-kept secret indeed until the eve of the day and even then it was pure chance it has happened.
Why the term " Third Age"? What's the significance ?
I did not ask them ,unfortunately. But I venture a guess.
The Awards cater to those who are 60 and above.
So, I presume that if you are 60 years or older you have entered your "3rd Age ".
By this same reckoning, the 4th Age should start at 90 and the 5th at 120 years old.
I do hope that someone will remember to nominate me when I enter the 4th Age!
I plan to be around for a long time still...with God's help, as I have lots of unfinished business.

What business?
Let's see...I have tons of actual photographs from since the 60's till today. Many are still wrapped in the original envelopes kept in carton boxes. They cover everything from kampong days, family home, schools, working life, scenes of S'pore, scouting days, hiking,climbing, camping, diving,fishing,
travels, island exploring, expeditions, marriage,birth, life and death, historic moments in our history, childhood friends, school friends and a host of other myraid happenings big and small.
I will need to re-organise all these, many of which have turned yellow through ages, and patiently sort them out and re-label each individually. My guess is there could be about 6 to 8 thousand pictures in my "karang-guni" store.
Just imagine the amount of time to be devoted to just sorting and re-labelling alone!
And if I were to use the resources I have to blog about them regularly, it will likely keep me busy till
I enter the 4th Age...in 30 years time!!!
Any volunteers to help me out? Haha.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

An unforgettable Ukulele duet with a VIP !

Recently, Gongshang Primary School celebrated its 88th Anniversary in a most unique style.
The school opted to move away from the usually formal setting"demanded" of such events...that is, to put on a formal display on the school stage, formal parade and then a formal dinner to round off the night.
Well, as I've said that's usually how it is done in most schools. That's what I've been through too, over 4 decades of involvement in education.
But GSPS decided to do it differently.
And what a DIFFERENCE that turned out to be!

The Guest -of- Honour for the night was none other than the Senior Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Home Affairs.... Mr Masagos Zulkifli.

He is also the MP for Tampines GRC.

The last event of the night was a garden party dinner for guests and visitors which was held in the schools'
eco garden.

Music flowed through the various performances by the pupils on piano, guzheng, horns and bells, choir etc...

To round off the beautiful night of celebration, we had the GSPS Ukulele, Percussion and Singing group consisting of Primary 4 and 5 pupils. I have been coaching the group together with Richard Chee since a month ago.

And they performed admirably!
Even though they only could play 3 or at most 4 simple Ukulele chords.

Then we heard that the VIP wanted

to sing a song with us, towards the end of the dinner.

He came to the performing dais and told me he would like to try the song Burong Kaka Tua.

No problem, I said.
Playing C chord...he felt it was too high for him.
So, I opted for a lower chord.
He went into the song with spirit and gusto and everyone else joined in.

The music that we played that night was in the style of the old kampong...with a keronchong tempo and sung most beautifully by the kids.

Songs like...
Chan Mali Chan
Di Tanjong Katong
Gelang Si-Paku Gelang
Dayung sampan
Rasa Sayang

and for variety, we had others like..
Yellow Bird
The More We are together
What a night! The feedback I got was that everyone thoroughly enjoyed the occasion and especially the music that we provided that night. It was one night they would long remember!