Monday, April 27, 2009
That was when I was suddenly called upon to the stage "to entertain our assembled guests with some songs".
As there were many in the hall, I later invited anyone who love to sing to join me on stage.
Now you know, there are many who love singing as seen in the bottom picture!
Friday, April 24, 2009
For those of you born and growing up in a world filled with the music of Nat King Cole, Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, the Platters etc...there is among all these great singers one man with such a smooth voice and style, and with a face that a thousand women will die for...yes the one and only one DEAN MARTIN aka Deano to his loyal fans.
The other day, there was a dinner given by our newly promoted full minister Mrs Lim Hwee Hua to the grassroot leaders of Serangoon Gardens at the Serangoon. Music was provided by a live band. Towards the later part of the dinner, after all the speeches and thank you's were said, I heard my name being called out over the system. "There is a request for Mr Dicko-san to come on to the stage to sing us some songs.!"
I was then eating some desserts, put them down and walked on over. Took the mic and joked a little with the assembly. "So you want me to sing? Yeah! Yeah!" I asked the band if they knew this and that...alamak, they did not or never heard of the songs I named. Then, I flipped through their song file and spotted Dean Martin's " SWAY". " OK," I said," Play it!" I invited others from the floor to join me if they like.
This is one song that only Dean Martin's way of singing can bring on "the magic technique". As soon as I started singing it, I could see people pulling their partners or friends to sway, gyrate and dance! That's the magic and magnetism of this song. You younger readers will not fail to catch the mood too. Play it and listen...then start SWAYING!
Don't forget to stop the Jukebox music first.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
This video has the Merlion in the background.
The one who is playing is Shigeto Takahashi...one of the best Ukulele players in Japan.
He was here in Singapore recently and met up with me, a fellow ukulele player myself.
Before you click on the video to listen...remember to click pause button on my Jango Jukebox at
righthand side...to shut down the auto playing at Jango.
This is Shigeto's latest video posted on Youtube. In it he plays one of his
signature tune on the ukulele which I loaned him. Frankly, he is such a great
ukulele player that any ukulele would sound good in his gifted fingers.
See my previous posts about " our" recent meeting , here in Singapore.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The owner of the stall that cheated tourists by
grossly overcharging the food had the temerity and cheek to even attempt an appeal against her 3 month suspension! It is indeed in the public's interest that NEA has turned down the appeal. Hopefully, the other stalls will toe the line and walk the path of "honesty is our best policy". But I seriously doubt it will be so, at least going by the previous history of Newton Hawker Centre's chequered past. You can read my earlier post here.
ST Breaking News Report
THE Newton hawker stall which fleeced a group of American tourists last month has had its appeal against its suspension turned down.
Tanglin Best BBQ Seafood will be closed for three months until July 14. Its suspension began last Wednesday.
The stall assistant who had overcharged the visitors, Mr Ng Boon Eng, has been barred from working there for a year.
The National Environment Agency (NEA), in a statement dated last Wednesday on its website, said the licence for the hawker stall issued in the name of Madam Tan Lei Twri had been suspended because she had allowed her employee to overcharge customers.
'This is a breach of NEA's licensing conditions,' said the statement.
Following the incident, which made newspaper headlines here and became a talking point among food-loving Singaporeans, Madam Tan's stall was dealt a three-month suspension that was to start on April 1.
She appealed against the decision.
Pending the NEA's consideration of her appeal, her stall was allowed to continue operating.
Since her appeal failed, the three-month suspension was re-scheduled to begin last Wednesday.
This is not the first time she has run afoul of NEA regulations. Last August, her licence was suspended for two weeks when she was caught hiring stall assistants without first registering them with NEA.
[ STimes Breaking News online - 21 April 09, Photo source: ST Desmond Wee ]
Sunday, April 19, 2009
I drove up to T3 and the carpark at B1 and B2 were full. B3 had ample lots as I parked and took the lift to the Departure floor.
I played some songs from Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore as well...as he had not heard of then before.
The most important question that I asked him was this: " How many hours of practice do you put in daily?"
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
While I was working, I never could find the time to pour over them let alone scrutinise what I had collected and accumulated over nearly half a century!
Most of the stuff, though yellowed by age, are still in mint condition.
Unk Dicko has clippings on almost every topic and subject of the day.
They include politics, wars, natural disasters, governments, countries, history, geography, science, philosophy, art, music, sports, education, industry, travel, tourism, crime, discoveries, obituaries,entertainment, people, personalities etc...etc...etc... .
Most of my clippings came from the Straits Times, Sunday Times, the Asia Magazine and other newspapers... some of which are no longer existing.
Here are 3 samples of my clippings...picked at random from the thousands in my archives.
1.Straits Times - Sat March 4 1989
This was a brief news story of a friend of mine Mr Leong Chee Kong who was blind. He was an avid "fan" of parliament sittings. He used to visit me in the 70's and we would chat about politics, the economy, religion and jokes. We would converse in English and Cantonese as well. Though Chee Kong was blind, he never ever depended on charity for his survival and upkeep. He was one of the happiest and most independent people I have known. Over the years, we have lost touch with one another. I have no idea what has become of him or his whereabouts today. Between he and I, we both had another very close friend Jeffery Lee Yew Choon. Unfortunately and most sadly, Jeffery died an untimely death in the Silk Air crash in Palembang, Indonesia in 1997.
2. Sunday Times - October 5 1986
A news report on the linking up of our historic bridges through underpasses and walkways.
Most of us would have heard of some of the names of these bridges. But honestly have you heard of " Ord bridge " and " Read bridge" ? Know where they are located?
3. Straits Times - Friday October 26 1962
The year 1962..Unk Dicko was still a schoolboy at Victoria School, next to Jalan Besar Football stadium. I looked at my 1962 diary and my writings were startling and frightening. Many of us, including poor me, thought that the 3rd World War would break out that year! Why?
China and India was at war.
The Russians had placed missiles aimed at the USA at Cuba.
President John F Kennedy had given Khrushchev...the Soviet leader an ultimatum.
Remove the missiles within 24 hours or we will launch an all out attack.
It was really scary. We thought the world was coming to an abrupt end.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Somewhere along our leisurely drive, D2 pointed to a lighted up poster, requested me to pull over to the kerbside and asked Shigeto to take a closer look.
When we arrived at his hotel, he thanked us profusely for everything and for the night. Before we left, I took my ukulele and handed it to him...to keep him company since he did not bring any.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
When I came back with the drinks I recounted briefly the incident to D2 and Shigeto. They lightened up. Shigeto wanted to know what I used to teach. Mainly sports as well as other subjects too.
He told us his company in Japan has sent him here to conduct some productivity training for an industrial company here and in JB.
Before we took off for the Esplanade, I brought out my ukuleles from the car and handed the Kamaka to Shigeto. Here we were...fine tuning the ukes before we strummed around. He told me he like the sounds of the Kamaka.
This is a very good example of two perfectly total strangers from two perfectly different countries starting a friendship that is bonded strongly by our common passion for the simple ukulele....and for music.
This Youtube video shows Shigeto Takahashi playing the ukulele at Mt Fuji, Japan. Shigeto happens to be one of the very Top Ukulele player from Japan currently. He has taken part in Ukulele Festivals in Portland,USA and elsewhere. Unk Dicko is honoured to have met up with him on Sunday 12th April 2009...here in Singapore. How did it happen?
On 23 March 2009, Shigeto visited this blogsite and left a comment at the end of my post dated 18 Oct 2008, titled" My Ukuleles and me ". He located me from Ukuleles Players Worldwide com... a registry of ukulele players worldwide. He and unk Dicko are members. I am the only ukulele player from Singapore listed in this site. Click here to see my page listing. You can read his comments and the post here. He included as his contact a link to his Youtube homepage. I visited the page and the video above and many others are posted there. He is a truly gifted and excellent ukulele player with a style of his own. He has produced his own CDs too.
In the 3 weeks that followed we corresponded by email. He told me he would be coming to Singapore on 12 April 09 on a work assignment for about a week. He's an engineer by profession. Originally, he wanted some recommendation of where to look for good Peranakan (Nonya) food. He has never been to Singapore before. And we have both never met, of course. I told him to call me as soon as he has checked into his hotel and I would be his Singapore host. On Sunday, he flew into Changi Airport safely on S'pore Airlines and was accomodated at Pasir Panjang Inn. D2 accompanied me as I drove up to meet him at the Inn.
Shigeto-san is a most unassuming "young" man. He's 32 and still single. We introduced ourselves warmly in the foyer and he gave me his personal CD as a gift. D2 asked if he had eaten and he was frank...not only no, but he was famished! I suggested we leave right away for the bright lights and good food. Just before entering my car, I opened the boot and showed him my Kamaka Ukulele. Handing it over to him, I said, " let's go...I drive and you play!" He did not bring along his ukulele as it was a working trip. So...he was really happy to be strumming on my Kamaka. Within the confines of the car the sounds of his playing was heavenly. We cruised along the highway towards the Esplanade, parked and proceeded to a well-known Peranakan restaurant there. " Sorry sir, we are closing" said the doorman. It was about 9.30 pm. At a nearby Thai Restaurant it was the same thing.
No problem. In Singapore there will always be food open 24 hours... like the Esplanade Waterfront Food Centre. We were very fortunate as although the place was crowded we managed to find an empty table. Shigeto enjoyed the big prawn Hokkien mee, Oyster Omelette( Or-luak) and satay I ordered. Over this late dinner, we ate and chatted and shared our work and music experience. He related how he started on the ukulele at age 16 and was taught by a lady teacher. He was curious about how I was hooked too. When I said 1963 was the year I began playing...he responded..."long before I was born!"
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Unk Dicko first learn about it the next day, that was Saturday March 28.
Now, as most of you know, this newspaper is free. However, it is not easily available in the sense that only selected places and locations have them. I got my previous copies from the 7 Eleven stores. Someone told me it is also found in the MRT stations.
So, on that Saturday, I happened to be at a neighbourhood 7 Eleven store. There was, as usual, a lady behind the counter. I approached her and spoke chirpily like this.. .
" Hi! Good afternoon! Do you happen to have a copy of yesterday's TODAY?"
She: " Hello sir, TODAY is today. Yesterday is yesterday and Tomorrow is tomorrow. Cannot mix up lah! Banyak susah if we mix up." ( She answered in a jovial manner ).
Me: " I understand lah. I'm looking for a spare copy just in case you have one lying around."
I thought our short exchange was over but she suddenly responded...
She: " Yesterday Today I got yesterday...today I got no yesterday today! "
Haha... I laughed, she laughed, we both ended up tickled by this short exchange.
And I wasn't able to get any copy of that edition until a blogging disciple E Y handed me a copy a few days ago.
Domo Arigato Gozaimasu.... E !
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
In two months time, I will be headed for Hokkaido, Japan with my dear wife D2 for a short one week break. The last time unk Dicko was there was a long, long time ago...to be precise 37 heart-breaking years ago! WHY so painful? No, nothing of the romantic sort definitely. Because of dear FRIENDS I left behind in 1972 after my official 2nd Asian Youth Voyage homestay visit and programme ended. It was very emotional to say SAYONARA to some of the finest Japanese friends I had made while on board the Cruise ship....ss Coral Princess. We were all in our 20's mostly back then. Some should still be living in Hokkaido...though I know not where now or anything about their present life. Will I be able to trace anyone and meet up again in the short one week span?
Most unlikely...but again, who knows.
Meanwhile my heart is a-fluttering again. The Cherry Blossoms should be in full bloom. A sight to behold for anyone who has seen them.
And if I should meet my 1972 friends again, I will sing them this song on my Ukulele!
YOU WILL NEVER GROW OLD
D A D D7
You will never grow old
While there's love in your heart.
G D Bm
Time may silver your golden hair
E E7 A A7
As you dream in an old rocking-chair,
D A D D7
So keep my love in your heart,
G D D7
Remember the love-tales we told
G D Bm
For with my love in your heart, my darling,
Em A D
You will never grow old.
Don't be fretful, or regretful
G D A
That you will grow old much too soon.
With a love, dear, to dream of, dear,
You'll stay like a rosebud in June.
You will never...
never grow old.
1st 2 lines instrumental....
You will never...
never grow old.
For with my love in your heart, my darling,
You will never grow old.
For all those of you who have been looking high and low for the Free complete Mp3
of this song as sung by Nat King Cole....just click on the link highlighted. It will open up
to my senior Blogger HK friend Eddie's very good music site...and directly to the Mp3 of the song.
Yesterday's session on learning how to set up a blog and how to start posting wasn't really a "talk". It was a "hands-on" coaching session for the new aspiring bloggers.
As a preliminary and after welcoming all to this free workshop...I showed them blogs that can be seen at the Nav bar on the browser. All kinds and all sorts of blogs from around the world in different languages. Such is the power and long arms of the internet today.
Certainly, they saw my blog with the automatic jukebox playing nice sentimental music in the background.
Photo: With me in this picture are Henry Tio ( featured in the MCYS book "Adding Life to Years " ). Behind him is William and his wife Jessie (orange attire), Janet, Jo,Theresa & Irene from Kembangan Singing Group and Claire.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
We met up at the Serangoon North Contact 123 I T Centre at around 3 pm. These are all people who have indicated to me they would like to learn about "How to start a Blog" and also about the process of blogging itself.
Having conducted my earlier learn to blog sessions in November last year, I knew precisely what initial problems they would encounter and face.
This time around, all had existing email or internet accounts except for one....dear Irene.
So you would be forgiven if you thought it must have been a breeze for them. Answer is both Yes and No!
We must remember that having an email account is just the beginning only. Practically, all required help to create a new Blogger account from the word "Go".
Once that is done and accomplished, and I was impressed that all succeeded in the 3 steps to seeing the words...."You have just created your BLOG!" appearing on their screen, their faces literally SPARKLED ! Yes, that's what will happen for seniors who have NOT A CLUE about what blogging is and about the intricacy of the computer.
You have all done well...my disciples.
Unk Dicko is proud of you.
All started immediate blogging at their very own blog which carry their selected titles.
In 2 days time, I will meet up with them for further consolidation of their learning and to have more FUN!
You can read about my 1st coaching sessions on Blogging in Nov 2008, by clicking here.
Another post on this same blogging session appeared in Ageless Voice Blogsite. Click here to read.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
That site is JANGO Music Com.
How it works is simply fantastic. You can create your very own radio station by choosing the artists you like. Whether one or add as many as you like. Then click" Create station" and you automatically get the songs of your favourite crooner played on your computer!
You can even create more than one station or special stations for selected singers of your choice!
Moments ago, I discovered more things.
See the top right corner of my homepage. I have a newly installed " Unk Dicko's Jukebox! ".
Turn on your computer speakers and the beautiful songs of my selected 15 singers/groups will PLAY automatically while you browse through my blogposts. Amazing! Truly making reading the blog an enjoyable, pleasant experience.
You the reader or visitor can even advance the singer or the song by clicking on the >> arrow within the jukebox itself. Or you can just click on the photo of the rolling stars to listen to that singer! You can also control the volume. There are too many songs to name.
But here are my initial selections for MY JUKEBOX....
Songs from these singing greats are for your and my listening pleasure. Enjoy!
1. Perry Como
2. The Platters
3. Roy Orbison
4. Ray Charles
5. Tony Bennet
6. Elvis Presley
7. Dean Martin
8. The Everly Brothers
9. Harry Belafonte
10. Frank Sinatra
11. Andy Williams
12. The Drifters
13. Fats Domino
14. Louis Armstrong
15. Nat King Cole
Friday, April 3, 2009
We have printed songsheets for all the tables and so it was easy for everyone to join in. There was never any rehearsal for such entertainment and most of the evening's singing or sing-along was pretty much left to unk Dicko's song leading, jazzing-up things, creativity and enthusiasm.
Photo: From left
Thoo Yang, Charlie, wwHum,unk Dicko....1993.
I have no doubts at all that keeping himself active by not only organising and leading this Kg Kembangan Singing Group but imagine this....laboriously compiling a 7 volume/file of songs, must have contributed to his sprightly image and outlook at a "young" 85!
Before the session began today, some members went into the CC office to get the free copies of the MCYS Guidebook " Adding Life to Years!"
The news must have spread. Today, we had another 5 new faces and I noticed they brought along a nice songbook from the Peranakan Association. I leafed through it and it looks like a good one.
Before we began, I spoke off the cuff and from the heart....of my hopes for them as a group. I was frank and open. I know they enjoy the music I provide immensely and appreciate it deeply. They don't have to tell me [ although some did]. The Wise Owl knows.
However, there will be certain times and periods that I may not be able to accompany them. I told them such a time is already here, as Unk Dicko's expertise and experience has been requested for by the AYG [ Asian Youth Games] Org Com.
So, if you are reading this, do remember what I said today. Keep together and continue as you have been doing under the "Grand Owl!"He has not failed you and you should not fail him.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Grand senior Tan Thoo Yang, the 85 year old i/c told me he had not been able to get anything on that song.
It is such a beautiful song with lovely lyrics. I promised him I will do some research and see what I can find on the net.
From my surfing, I discovered that most of the websites are linked to online websites that do have some of these forgotten old songs on record labels for sale. Some offered the lyrics and music sheet for sale too.
One or two had streaming MP3 which last for half a minute! That's unfortunately usually the case. You don't get to hear the whole song as they want to entice you to purchase the whole package online.
But for unk Dicko...it was enough to trigger my memory rewind clock.
Soon, many other lovely tunes I used to know from NAT KING COLE came flooding back.
So....thanks, Thoo Yang for this. I went back, way back to the good ole' days.
It made me reflect too...on the title of the song. How the years have passed and just flown by like the wind. I was young once. Somehow, I did not notice the decades passing me by...being fully immersed in family, friends, work and just living. The 40's turned into the 50's, then the turbulent 60's, the touch and go years of the 70's, my midlife 80's, the incredible 90's and now
the new millenium of the 2000's....which threatens to be like the 30's all over again.
So, have I grown old? We know we all grow older day by day. But that's not the same as growing "old"...which has other connotations, perhaps like slowly ebbing away, discarded, useless, junk, rust, rot, etc.... .
I have grown older but not "old " as in the sense I've described. In fact, older persons who have a wealth of experience and kept themselves upto date...are a rare commodity today. Because of their wide experience and maturity, they are much sought after for consultancy and advisory work.
As for unk Dicko, well I have worked long and hard, both in my professional work area and in serving the community at large in various capacities. I am still being eagerly sought after even though I've "retired" from full time committments. I'll do the needful when it matters.
Time to indulge myself more with my grandchildren. The responsibility of bringing them up rest with their parents. Me and my wife as grandparents...we indulge in them. No,not spoiling them! Haha....although there is a very interesting poster that my daughter D3 put up at my dining room. D2 and I always have a good Laugh looking at it! We enjoy the hidden wit behind it.
The words on the poster hit right to the point!
It says, " I CAN AT GRANDMA's ! "
No wonder our cute little ones call us up frequently and say, " Can you come to fetch us to your house? ". No prize if you guess our answer correctly!
The Nat King Cole song......
"You will never grow old,
While there is love in your heart,
Time may silver your golden hair
As you dream in your old rocking chair
So keep my love in your heart, my darling
Remember the love tales we told.
For with my love in your heart, my darling
You will never grow old!"
Latest update! ( 1st March 2010 )
To hear or download the full and original song please click on the link
below. It is the website of my friend from Hong Kong, Eddie.