Friday, January 30, 2009

Our 2nd Day Ukulele Performance, 50+ Expo

Our Ukulele performance and Singalong on the 2nd Day of the 50+ Expo started at 2.30 pm at the same venue and location as the day before...the Living Pavillion.

Knowing how well we had gone down with the crowd the previous day, with the songs and music we provided...made it even more exciting this time round.

The emcee announcing us to the gathering crowd while we got ready.


One section of the crowd waiting patiently for the swinging to begin.
Some members of the Elvis Fan Club were already there before us.

A professional reporter cum videographer were among the those that I saw that day. She captured much of the action at our performance.
But till today, I have no clear idea what organisation she was from. I heard someone saying she was from the media or press.

Some kids were also present.


I spoke to the crowd just before we began telling them we will be playing a selection and mixture of local songs, oldies, contemporary, folk, calypso, country and popular requests.


I encourage them to re-live their early years by singing along with us if they know the lyrics of the song, or clap along, or hum along or just groove along.

They did more than you shall soon see in more updated pics and posts!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Youtube,Ukulele Entertainment...OH CAROL, at 50+ EXPO

This is the 2nd videoclip that was uploaded on Youtube by a friend's son.It is less than 3 minutes in duration.

It captured the mood and the response of the crowd during our Ukulele Performance and Singalong at the 50+ Singapore Expo at the Suntec City on Sunday, 11 January 2009. The song we were playing here was ," OH CAROL! "....the result of one of the numerous requests by the crowd. Before this song, we had already done other requests...DIANA, SUSIE Darling, CINDY oh CINDY, MARRIANE etc... all songs from the late 50's and 60's.So when I got that request for "OH CAROL" by a lady, I went to the Mic and ad-libbed.

Unk Dicko:" Anyone name Carol here?"

Someone pointing to her friend: " Yes...this one here!" ( who responded,"You don't anyhow say ah !" pointing in jest to her friend ).

Then I did something that was so spontaneous ( absolutely unplanned for ), at the spur of the moment thing, that afterwards, many who were present told me they were literally surprised and mesmerised by it all ! That included a few P R people and D2 herself.

What did I do that raised the crowd's cresendo and got them screaming in support?

There were quite a few people filming the scene at that moment. However, I have no idea who they were. If they should share the clip on Youtube then you will be able to get the whole picture of what transpired. Describing what I did cannot capture the actual essence of that most memorable moment when the crowd went yelling and screaming in complete agreement and response to my questions and adlibs. Just believe me when I say the crowd went ..."Yeah, yeah, yeah!!!" shall remain Unk Dicko's trade secret....for now or until someone upload the video of that segment.

Let's wait and see.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Youtube,Ukulele Entertainment...Burong Kaka at 50+ EXPO

This Youtube video clip was uploaded recently by a friend's son. The sound quality of the recording is expected as he was standing quite a distance away.

Unk Dicko and his 2 other fellow ukelelists Rchard C and Ronald L were entertaining the crowd

at the 50+ Suntec City Expo on Sunday 11 January 2009.

On that day, we performed for more than 3 hours ! Unbelievable! So responsive was the crowd and so numerous were the requests that we tried our best to make everyone happy.

That singalong was truly memorable, both for the visitors and for us.

More photos of the 2nd Day's performance coming out was really groovy and swinging all the way.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chinese Orchestra at 50+ Expo

After giving my TALK at Room B, Suntec City Convention Centre from 12 noon to about 12.45 pm, I was free till about 2.30 pm.
In the interim, there was a group performance by the Chinese Orchestra led by my fellow Active Ager Award Winner Mr Goh Seok Hiong. He was playing the Guzheng.
They entertained with some traditional Teochew melodies and other Chinese pieces as well.
It was a pity that the most of the crowd were not of that kind of background. The nearby loud music from the Line Dancing section also drowned out the beautiful music they were making.
Nevertheless, the members played on in the right spirit of the occasion of such a huge Expo.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Our Heritage, Our Home

The Aljunied Town Council must be commended for coming out with a new calendar that essentially captures the nostalgic past of the Upper Serangoon Road area through some rare black and white photos. The calendar titled, " Our Heritage, Our Home" also carries a byline on the cover...." Take a nostalgic walk down memory lane as we travel back in time...and take a peek into Upper Serangoon Road's colourful past." I will be showcasing all the pages of the calendar at my other blogsite "Serangoon our Kampong". You can see the 1st post about the calendar here.

Two more pages from the Aljunied Heritage calendar 2009.

February page:

Typical scene of kampong houses built very close to one another. Today, in our sprawling housing estates many people hardly talk to their neighbours.Back then, every kampong folk knew even if a stranger wandered into the kampong. People had time for conversations, innocent gossip or just chit-chat after dinner. Children ran around barefooted and played with other kampong kids without a worry and care in the I'm surprised this old photo has such a sharp focus and good resolution. Even the motor-bike number can be seen clearly...SAJ 2381.
March page:
These are two wonderful photos that told so much about our past, not only in Upper Serangoon Road but in old Singapore as a whole.
Bullock carts were carts pulled by a single bull or two bulls. They were used to carry heavy goods, people and stuff. Some from the older generation may remember that Chinatown used to have a " Bullock Cart Water" street.
The local Cantonese equivalent is "Ngau Cheh Sui" and in Hokkien "Goo Char Chui ". However, over the years, this term generally refers to Chinatown in South Bridge Road area as a whole and not to any particular street anymore.
Rickshaws were common all over our island in the 50's, 60's and 70's.
Once a week, Unk Dicko's late mother will " book" her regular rickshaw for the weekly visit to
the wet market at Lorong 25, Geylang. Then she will make the journey home in the same way.
Sometimes, one of us kids would tag along.
It was not easy at all for the rider. Much hardwork, muscle power and stamina was required and all for a few cents....not even dollars!
Yet, I seem to recall them never complaining at all about their fate but even smiling gleefully.

Those were the days!
Unk Dicko

Thursday, January 22, 2009

IT and's easy, says Unk Dicko!

At my Talk at the 50+ Singapore Expo, Suntec City Convention Centre on Sunday 11 January, I had internet access. With the help of the assistants from the Talk organisers, I was able to speak and convey my points across while facing the audience. This is far, far better than when I stood by the laptop and had to move the mouse over the browser and with the other hand holding onto the speak. I started by doing that a minute or two into my talk.

Then I realised I could actually ask one of the few assistants to play a useful part. They were all conversant with IT and were merely watching my presentation.

So, one of the guys controlled the mouse and I gave the instructions to locate this or that.

This photo showed me using INFOCOMM 123 portal as an example of where to go to for help on

IT matters, queries or questions.
I shared some of my personal discoveries of the internet and some truly superb websites which has enhanced my life and lifestyle as well.

Unk Dicko observed that many took pen and notebook and noted one particular website details when I opened the site for their viewing, listening and enjoyable experience. None of them has ever seen that site before! was a new discovery for them!

As I said, it was not a talk about blogging but about useful, practical tips and discoveries found on the internet, much of which I have blogged about...especially in the month of October 2008.

50+ Singapore Handbook...Unk Dicko's story

Every visitor to the recent 50+ Expo were given all sorts of handouts, flyers and brochures. The thickest giveaway was this 50+ Singapore Handbook which was 80 pages thick. It is written in both English and Chinese and has 5 main sub-headings namely:-

Health, Money and You, Connections, Lifestyle and Resources.

On Page 26 to 28, there is an article and story about myself and my I T learning. The story was written by Verlaine S Ramos. There is an equivalent version within in Chinese. The title of the article is " It's EASY. A Basic Guide to I T Know-how. "

The full article is appended here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

OBAMA's 44th President

Unk Dicko watched the whole inauguration ceremony "Live" on BBC and CNN channels, a short while ago. It was exactly noon in Washington DC and 1.00 am in Singapore. It was exciting to be able to witness history in the making right in my living room. America is not only a great nation but arguably the greatest in modern history. However, the financial crisis which was self-induced in America, has led to a critical meltdown in not only the American economy but those of most nations as well.
In such a troubling time, I think Obama brings new hope and a new vigour to lead America out of the woods. I paid close attention to not only what he said but his voice and convictions as well. He is serious about leading America as President.
My wish is that he gets the maximum cooperation of Congress for the much needed reforms that must be made to stabilise the world system and for him to bring the world closer together.
[ photos: Times ]

Here is an Extract of the most Important points he made in his Inaugural Address which was about 20 minutes long.

Every so often, the oath of office is taken amidst gathering clouds, and raging storms. That we are in the midst of a crisis is now well understood.Homes have been lost, jobs have been shed.These are the indicators of crisis.
No less profound is the sapping of confidence … a nagging feeling that America is in decline.
We gather because we have chosen hope over fear.
The time has come to set aside childish things.All are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
We understand that greatness is never a given, it must be earned.
Our workers are no less productive, our minds are no less inventive.
Our capacity remains undiminished.
Starting today we must pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and begin again the work of remaking America.The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift.
We will restore science ot its rightful place.We will harness the sun, the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.
All this we can do and all this we can do.
What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.
The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.
This crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control.
We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.
To all the other peoples and governments who are watching today … know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity.
And we are ready to lead once more.
Our power alone cannot protect us nor does it entitle us to do as we please.
We will not apologise for our way of life nor will be waiver in its defence.
Our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken.
You cannot outlast us and we will defeat you.
We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and non-believers. We cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass.
To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward based on … mutual respect.
To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you.
The world has changed and we must change with it.
What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility. A recognition by every American that we have duties.This is the price and the promise of citizenship.
God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.
As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains.
They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves.
And yet, at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed.
Why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The 44th President of the USA !

In slightly less than 2 hours from right now, the whole wide world will be watching the inauguration of Barack Obama, the 1st African-American to be elected to their nation's highest office. For us in Singapore, the time will be around 1 am local time ( 21 Jan ) but it will still be morning of January 20 in Washington. Unk Dicko will be sitting comfortably in his favourite armchair to take in the whole ceremony "Live" on CNN and other news channel on TV.
I have also watched other Presidents being inaugurated. There was never a dull moment in the proceedings. Here, I append the latest report by the IHT for the latest update.

The United States awaits its 44th president
By Carl Hulse
Published: January 20, 2009

WASHINGTON: Tens of thousands thronged to the Capitol this morning preparing to witness the midday inauguration of Barack Obama of Illinois as the 44th president of the United States and the first African American to hold the nation's highest elected office.
Even before the sun rose, people streamed from all directions to the West Front of the Capitol, making their way on foot and by mass transit since traffic was barred from a wide area around the grounds and the National Mall for security and to prevent gridlock due to the multitude expected to attend.
Given the historic nature of Obama's election, black Americans appeared to be much more prevalent in the gathering crowd than at inaugurals of the recent past.
Obama and his wife, Michelle, were scheduled to meet the outgoing president, George W. Bush, and his wife, Laura, at the White House for a coffee at 10 a.m. before driving to the Capitol for a carefully choreographed ceremony that will climax with a peaceful transfer of executive authority to Obama shortly before noon. His inaugural address will follow.
Aides said Obama was expected to emphasize personal responsibility in his speech.

The Caucus: The New York Times politics blog»
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"He is going to be counting on the American people to come together," Colin Powell, the former military leader and secretary of state, said in an appearance on MSNBC on Tuesday morning. "We all have to do something to help the country move forward under the leadership of this new president."
As a black American who grew up in a segregated nation, Powell said the inauguration was looming as a powerful and emotional moment for African Americans. "You almost start tearing up," he said.

The crowd that stretched down the mall was festive and enthusiastic, bundled against the cold, with the temperature just below 20 degrees at 8 a.m., and the forecast calling for it to remain in the low 30s. Obama's assumption of the presidency caps a remarkable rise for a man first elected to national office in 2004, winning a Senate seat in a year when he also delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

To win the presidency, he defeated Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who will become his secretary of state, in a pitched presidential primary battle and then beat Senator John McCain of Arizona in a general election conducted against the backdrop of a national economic collapse.

Though Obama did not emphasize his African American heritage as a candidate, the symbolism was evident and was reinforced by the fact that the swearing in was taking place the day following the national holiday to mark the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King. He will take office less than a month before the bicentennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, another Illinoisan who took the office at a time of national turmoil and a man whom Obama clearly looks to as an inspiration for his own presidency.

"Today is about validation of the dream Dr. King annunciated 45 years ago on the steps on the Lincoln Memorial," Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 Democrat in the House and the highest ranking black lawmaker in Congress, said on Tuesday morning.
Responding to warnings that the huge crowd could cause long waits and security screen checkpoints, Washington's subway trains were packed by 5:30 a.m. Around the Capitol, ticket gates opened at 8 a.m. to begin handling the lines that had already formed.

Shortly after 7 a.m., as the sun rose above the Capitol dome, there was a glittering burst of flash-bulbs as the teeming crowd collectively snapped thousands of photos of the dramatic moment. Already the Mall was packed with people for as far as the eye could see. Large crowds continued to stream in on foot from many blocks away, and subway stations and trains coming from the outer suburbs were jammed, with parking lots there long full.

On the East Front, where the swearing in of the president used to occur, Marine One was parked in the plaza, ready to be re-designated for the flight taking President George W. Bush and Mrs. Bush to the airport.

Inside the Capitol, staffers were scurrying about putting the final touches on the Inaugural Luncheon in Statuary Hall. The corridor leading to the House chamber had been transformed into staging grounds for the caterers, with huge serving tins of beets and green vegetables. Outside the House chamber, were dozens of cases of Korbel Champagne.

The tables were set with large centerpieces of red roses. And a lectern, fashioned from a brass statue of a bald eagle, was positioned behind the dais. Decorators were making final adjustments to the lighting of "View of Yosemite Valley" an 1885 painting by Thomas Hill that was positioned directly behind the President Obama's seat at the center of the dais.

End of Day 1 Ukulele Performance

During our performance, I did notice some friends and familiar faces of mine among the crowd. But being thus engaged could not stop and say " Hi or Hello " to them.
If you are one of those I just described, do forgive me if I did not stop in the midst of performing to say "hi" to you.
In fact, I want to thank you for being there.

Towards the end of our stint, fellow Award Winner Tang Wing Kee dropped in on rollerblades to sing with us.

If any reader here is interested in learning how to rollerblade, my friend Wing Kee can teach you. He is teach and does so at the ECP.

At the end of our Performance on the 1st Day, we received all kinds of positive feedback from different people.
Many asked if we will be there again the next day.

The Elvis Presley Fan Club

Who would have thought that active members of the Elvis Fan club are not some giggly teenagers but "mamas and papas"! Yes, they made their presence felt with their unmistakable black attire and their passion for all things Elvis.
Whenever we did an Elvis number they would be the most groovy and swooning group of supporters among the crowd.

During the break, I learnt something about them. Apparently, they meet up weekly somewhere in a CC at or near Kallang.
Some members told me they have Badminton sessions followed by Karaoke type singing of Elvis songs.

Requests, Requests and more Requests!

These photos showed the action during our 2nd Performance which was memorable for one thing....the numerous requests for songs either by title or by song artist. Some enthusiastic ones simply called out a song they remember from the past. A couple of people wrote them down on small notes and handed them over.
We entertained most of the requests as we knew those songs too. When we did not have the lyrics in our song file..I fall back on my 4 decade old hand-written songbook...which is quite comprehensive for the different kinds of songs.

There certainly was spontaniety a-plenty. Members of the Line Dance Group and others like the Elvis Group made it a point to join us at the Mic when we played their "requests".

This group in dark attire spotting images of the King of Rock and Roll are members of the Elvis Fan Club.
They had a booth to attract members!

Monday, January 19, 2009

My TALK at the 50+ Expo

This is printed out from the one page foldable Map of activities and other important details given to all visitors at the 50+ EXpo.
The Talk I gave took place at 12 noon, the 1st for the day ( Sunday 11 Jan ).
I covered quite a number of things in the 45 minute public Talk.
It wasn't about blogging itself but more on how we seniors and retirees can use the internet and many of the available resources to enhance our life.
I provided enough time for questions but most people are shy to ask. Some did. Quite a few saw me after the talk to chat and ask personally.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

C3A Active Ageing Ambassadors...Expo!

For this 50+ Singapore Expo which was organised by the Council For Third Age ( C3A ) , there were about 150 registered organisations and companies involved. Many Government bodies, Stat boards, the private sector and other organisations were actively engaged in the huge fair.
We, the seven Active Ager Award Winners came directly under the auspices and umbrella of C3A...the Main Organiser. We were each presented with a special personalised magnectic name plate which we pinned to our attire.
All of us had slightly different roles over those 2 days...but all with the same message and objective encourage and motivate seniors and retirees to lead an active ageing lifestyle that is filled with fun, enthusiasm, passion for learning and helping others.

For example, Madam Khrishnavani led her Golden Gals in an Indian Dance workshop. Mr Daniel Koh gave a Talk on his travels to places off the Beaten Track. Mona Yeo conducted sessions on the art of good story telling. Mr Tang Wing Kee demonstrated his prowess on rollerblades. Mr Goh Seok Hiong led his Chinese Music Ensemble to perform traditional Chinese music. Mr Chua Chye Hong, an avid gardening enthusiast, gave a Talk on " Overcoming Barriers to Learning". As for Unk Dicko...I led the special Ukulele

Performace at the Living Pavillion on both days.

Before the actual Expo, I had given some thought to whether I should give a Performance on Ukulele or excite the crowd by engaging them and get them to sing along with me and the others.
It did not take me long to decide that the better option is for a Sing Along. Solo Performance can only be done in a place devoid of other distractions and noise. That will be for another place, another time.
By all accounts, the Ukulele Sessions we performed were immensely popular and hugely successful on both days., over the 4 separate performances.
Unk Dicko has performed for over 4 decades and I must say the terrific and spontaneous response from the crowd, at our pavillion ,was overwhelming. One of the best I'd experienced. It was indeed a revealation and a nice surprise! We had to battle the very loud noises that came from everywhere. But in the end and no doubt about was the sweet sounds coming from our UKULELES coupled with our singing style, that drew the crowd.
The other attraction was we were singing songs familiar to the oldies! Some of these songs they have not heard or sung in ages!
My other role was to give a TALK under Innovation and Learning.

That talk was on the 2nd day ( separate post about this ).

Saturday, January 17, 2009

IDA..Infocomm Devt Authority of S'pore

During the break from my performance, I had some time to have a look at the nearby booths.

One very bright and impressive-looking booth was the SILVER INFOCOMM 123 counter. This is directly under the IDA umbrella.

They attracted many visitors who wanted to find out more about the internet, computer, IT and programmes and resources available.

Just when this hardworking lady D Ho finished explaining to this visitor, she looked up and saw me taking this snapshot.

I spent some time there with a her and other visitors. Since I was there, she pointed me out to other retirees, quoting me as a good example of someone who once was an IT blur king and now an Active Ager IT Champion. I saw the looks on the faces of some of these seniors and retirees registering surprise and respect. But I made them comfortable by confirming what D Ho had said...that the internet and IT is not really difficult for

seniors or retirees like us.

It is a myth that it is only for the young and that older folks have passed their COE date for learning or acquiring some skills or knowledge in this IT area.

After the Indian Dance, we had two ladies conducting an Egyptian-type belly dance workshop.

Many were looking. Some men were staring! But no men took the bait to join in and learn the sinewy moves.

Probably too shy or their wives were present! Haha.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Celebrity Suhaimi Yusof..dropped in!

At our "Living Pavillion" performing area, while the 2nd segment of the Indian Dance was about to begin...we were visited by local celebrity actor, artist and comedienne....SUHAIMI YUSOF.

He was one of the stars of the local TV Sitcom " Police and Thief " and has appeared in many other serials and movies.

He is a regular favourite in the malay "SURIA" programme.

Suhaimi's presence pulled in the crowd quite suddenly.

Another one who was truly enjoying herself was an overseas visitor/participant of the preceding Ageing Conference a day before that.
She was dressed in a white shirt.

D2 enjoyed his antics very much!

Indian Stick Dance

This was part 2 of the Indian the audience present a chance to try out and learn something.

D2 and I responded. So did Richard L in uniform. There were others.

We followed the Indian Dance performer, accompanied by the music from a CD.

Was it too difficult to learn? fact it was quite fun!

Indian Dance..Mdm K & G Gals

Everyone of the Active Ager Winner was involved in this C3A 50+ Expo.

After our Ukulele session, Mdm K and her Golden Gals came on to perform their Indian Cultural Dance.

They did it in two parts. First...they performed to music. Then they invited those watching to give it a try.

These 4 photos showed the first part of their performance.

The next post will show the audience participating.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

We are 2nd in the world for IT kicks!

I guess many Singaporeans must have been pleasantly surprised by the results of a Nielsen survey done recently to gauge the use of Technology products and the use of the internet.
We have been ranked 2nd out of a 52 country survey thumping nations like the USA, Japan and Australia!
Only the Philippines was ahead of us. That too may have surprised many of us. Were you one of them?
For this story in My Paper which appeared on Thursday 8 January, Unk Dicko was interviewed by reporter Kenny Chee.
What was not mentioned in the article owing to space?
Unk Dicko has set up a webcam for video communication between family members and friends. I have also bought a full Wii game system as a present for my grandkids and set it up myself in my home. We have since then been having lots of superb FUN, SCREAMS, CHEERINGS and YELLS whoever is playing and whoever is watching. Even my little 3 year old grandson can't wait for his turn to "Bowl". He has had a couple of "STRIKES ...amazing! "
Those of you who has Wii can fully understand my excitement ( underrated ).
Those who have not tried have truly missed something spectacular and unique.
Wait for my more detailed post about Wii and what I think from my specialised background as a Sports teacher and coach.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jamming with GURMIT !

Here are 2 more memorable pictures of us with the latest Ukulele player in Singapore....GURMIT Singh.