Sunday, November 13, 2011

Performance at The Esplanade - 14 Nov 2011

The Performing Stage at the Concourse
 How time flies again !  It was only last year in late August that I decided on something I had never seriously done before...forming a musical group mainly of seniors and retirees for musical singalongs and get togethers. To be sure of continuity and to attract more and new faces the happening must be regular, must provide a platform for others to come together to simply enjoy crooning together, play a musical instrument, share and learn. The main thing is that everyone must have FUN and enjoy what they are there for.

Audience area - front of Stage

That was how it began. Once a week on a Wednesday, we'll meet at the Serangoon North Community Club soundproofed music room for our regular gig. Unk Dicko had to do practically everything from planning the sessions, sourcing the song lyrics and musical tabs, chords and notes. Getting them printed out so that files of songs are made...with the help of cc staff etc. Lots of stuff needed to be done.
It took a lot of my time and effort. But it was always a labour of love to me especially when I see how happy and passionate some who first came turned out to be.

Concourse Performing Stage at Esplanade
Within a month or so, I had been approached to get my "group" to entertain and perform at a number of public functions and events.
Most of the regular members had never performed on stage before a live audience. So it was a challenge for me to prepare them for this next hurdle in their changing life.

Since then, my Minstrels have performed big time as you can read in my earlier blogposts.
Unk Dicko and Esplanade Programmes Officer Desmond C
 On Monday 14 November 2011, my performing group known as " Dick Yip &The Minstrels " have been specially invited to perform at the opening of " A Date with Friends" which is a music festival under the Esplanade auspices.
We will be the first to kick off the series with " Nostalgic Moods "- entertaining at the Concourse.
Time 7.15pm and 8.15 pm .
 Free for all public.

The Beautiful River scene by the Esplanade

The grounds beside the Esplanade is so scenic and relaxing. It's a good setting to enjoy an early dinner with many restaurants and cafes there and simply stroll into the Concourse for relaxing music!

If you do that on Monday 14 Nov, come and say hello to me and my Minstrels. I'll be most happy if you do that!
Dick Yip & The Minstrels

The Esplanade - picture source official website of the Esplanade

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ukulele Uncle Dick sings a 50s tune

PM Speech highlights James Seah's memory of Bukit Ho Swee

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Why no blogpost for over 3 months - Unk Dicko

Hi all visitors, friends and readers of this blog,
More than 3 months have passed since my last blogpost in late April. I'm certain many must have wondered if I had gone on a long leave of absence or had been in poor health or simply was living in the 7th heaven somewhere or worse.. that I may have absconded from ever blogging again.
Touch wood, it's none of these things. The reason was due to something more down to earth. Let me explain.

From the time I started on my IT journey of self-discovery which included my initial adventure into the world of blogging, I had always depended on my generally reliable desk-top computer system. It has served me well for the last 5 plus years. But I did not know that many of the parts making up the systems, the hardware may have only a shelf life of about 2 years, 3 if you are lucky. From time to time, breakdown will occur not necessary due to virus attacks or other malware.

The trouble is as a layman, you and I have no precise knowledge about such things as there are literally hundreds of parts, wires, cables that are part of a computer...which as I've said we know nuts about...especially when do these parts start "expiring ".
That's what I've been facing these past part expiring after another. I changed the internal fan ( cooling system ) yet within days something else breaks down. A condenser got heated and melted. Had to change that whole segment/piece.
My computer engineer chap suggested that I buy a new set up.
But it was not just the costs that made me wary.

My present system have ALL the stored info and data that I've patiently accumulated for over 5 years of often painstaking research and effort, things I need for my future Blog posts and future talks etc. They are all in the hard disk and I'm not prepared to lose all that precious stuff.
Don't get me wrong..I'm not afraid someone hacks into my harddisk or anything like that. There is NOTHING of MONETARY or FINANCIAL value inside. I AVOID  all internet banking/financial/transfer of money totally.

 So my suggestion was to set up a 2nd Desk top system which was done. This new system is a Dell Office system with the latest Windows 7 Ultimate with High Definition resolution. I connected it to my all my previous external applications...printer, scanner, etc..
 My existing Acer computer desktop with Windows 7 system ( older system) was set up at another location in my living room... with no attachments.

 Then came the problem. Big problem.
When I wanted to blog again, I found that most of my "saved" resources were not in the new Dell system. It has a new hard disk which did not completely transfer my old stuff in the Acer system. Many files were there but not the stuff I needed for blogging. Sigh !
Worse, my printer and scanner were not properly configured to work in sync with the new Dell system.
My computer engineer chap conveniently neglected to do it properly..thus requiring me to call on his services again ( at his convenience of course ).
This to and froing went on until 2 days ago when he came to complete the job. But there are still some problems left hanging as I've discovered but will wait until a more opportune time to discuss this.

At least, I can now resume my usual blogging life, at least 80 % of it.
So much has happened in the last couple of months aorund us at home and abroad. For those past few months I have been more active on Facebook as an alternative...if any of you had noticed.

Thanks for all your PATIENCE !

Duty calls. Service will resume as from today !

Unk Dicko

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Grandpa Uke entertaining "Live" at Nex Serangoon, Sunday 24 April 2011

Unk Dicko and his partner R C will again be entertaining at NTUC Hypermart
at Nex Serangoon on Sunday 24 April 2011 from 2 pm to 5 pm.
Yes...3 solid hours of good ole' ukulele music that is guaranteed to bring back fond memories of the yesteryears.
Grandpa Uke are in reality 2 real grandpas who have been performing publicly and privately for many years since the 90's.

We have a wide repertoire of songs in our extensive collection. We'll be playing and singing a wide cross-section of songs that will include hits of the 50's, 60's, 70's , popular favourites, kiddie songs, funny songs, songs from movies, some jazz pieces, calypso hits, keroncong tunes...and more.

Many members of the public have asked Unk Dicko when and where the next performance is going to be.
Well, if you're free, do come on down to NTUC Hypermart at Level 3 Nex Serangoon.
I understand there is much that is happening there on Sunday being the Easter weekend.

Our last performance there was on the night of Tuesday 29 March as shown in the photos below.
The next day, the store management  told me that many of their customers and visitors gave very positive feedback about our stint. They wanted to know if we're coming back!
So...yes,  we'll certainly be there again on Sunday !
If you are interested in the ukulele, don't miss this.
If you are a ukulele player and want to pick up some tips for come.
If you like those songs of the good ole days...think no more, just come!


Seranding a sweet old lady in wheelchair

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Unk Dicko and Minstrels entertaining today at Suntec City.

The Active Ageing Carnival 2011 was officially launched yesterday, Saturday April 2nd at Suntec City Convention Centre by Minister Lim Boon Heng. I was at the official Opening together with several past Active Ager Winners.
From my estimate the number of people who came has certainly increased over the previous years. It was jam-packed with not only the older folks but also younger people.

My Minstrels and I entertained the visitors with a selection of songs from 1.10 - 1.40 pm.

Today we will make our 2nd appearance at 2.20 pm at Level 3 with another super selection of songs.
Quite a few people have been requesting for Unk Dicko to do a solo of IZ Kamakawiwo'ole 's version of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow".
I did a tiny portion of it on the FM 90.5 programme on Friday night with the Richmonds.

If there's time, I will do a full SOLO version ( my own version following the style of the great IZ ) at the Carnival this afternoon during our scheduled performance.
Time: 2: 20 pm - 2. 55pm
Venue:  Demo Performing area at Level 3.
Don't miss it.  Bring along your video camera if you wish to.

Ps:  At 10 am sharp, at the Main Stage at level 4...I shall be modelling some sports attire together with my 4 year old darling grandson 'baby T'.
Never done one before. This is the first time I'm actually doing a routine to music. Same for baby's absolutely terrifying for him!
No idea whether he might just go on strike at the very last minute....still.
He's only doing so because of me. Love him!

My Minstrels and I making some music- 2 April 2011

Unk Dicko and the Minstrels entertaining the crowd

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Unk Dicko and his Ukulele on FM 90.5 Gold "live".

Last night I was the special guest of Radio station Gold 90.5 FM hosted by father and son team of Brian and Mark Richmond. Brian received me at MediaCorp's reception area at about 7.30 pm and drove me to another building which housed the Radio section.

As we entered the soundproof studio of Gold 90.5, Mark was at the controls "live". As soon as the music came on, he stood up and came over to shake my hands warmly. I have known Brian previously and I can say for certain that they both have great chemistry as father and son to jointly co-host the programmes they are doing. It was infectious as they were jibing each other...and that makes three of us. I have a similar propensity.

Though it wasn't the first time I've been on Radio, still there should be some apprehension when that was going out truly "live". Glad to say I was not one bit nervous...just acting and being my normal self.
And that made it easy to go with the flow of that live segment as managed by Brian and Mark.
The theme and subject matter was about the Ukulele., the impact it had on my life and the surge in interest today.
The feedback I'd received from those who caught the 1 hour programme aired live was absolutely positive and inspiring.
Special Thanks to Brian and Mark!
You have helped give more life to that little fella ( the ukulele ).
Keep the music going and the good times rolling!
The ukulele community out there will appreciate this too.

Unk Dicko
They are truly a super, fabulous pair ...Brian and Mark

Unk Dicko with the Radio host legend himself...Brian Richmond

Wow, Mark has really grown real tall !
Unk Dicko with Brian and Mark inside Gold 90.5 FM studio

Thursday, March 31, 2011

MediaCorp FM 90.5 invites Unk Dicko for "live" Ukulele performance tomorrow night.

My favourite local radio station is Gold 90.5 and that goes for my wifey too. We simply love to be surprised by the fabulous songs of the good old days that come over the airwave from this station mostly hosted by the incomparable Brian Richmond himself. Recently, his son Mark joined him in a father and son thing and it's definitely a first of sorts in radio folklore.

Yesterday ( Wednesday 30 march ) I received a pleasant surprise...a phone call from Brian himself.
We chatted like old friends for awhile before he sprang the surprise.
He wanted me to be his "Special Guest" on Friday,s programme segment called the "HOT SEAT".
Friday happens to be tomorrow April 1 2011...but this is no April Fools' joke I can assure you!
Apparently there are reports of a surge in ukulele interest among people in Singapore. On Tuesday the New Paper carried a double page write-up about the current ukulele interest level. And on that very night the "Grandpa Uke" duo ( R Chee and Unk Dicko ) were entertaining the shoppers "live" at Fairprice Hypermart at Nex Serangoon.
The topic for tomorrow night: We'll be discussing  the UKULELE and its impact on my life from the early years to the present. That will not be the only thing....there's much more.
Brian has requested me to provide him with a couple of songs that will feature in my personal all time favourites list.
Sigh...I have so many and it will not do justice to leave out the rest !
Nevertheless, the songs I had narrowed down to are the ones that have most emotional impact and meaning whenever they are played or sung.
So which are the songs?

I won't let the cat out of the bag fact, I think I'll leave all that to Mr Gold  90.5 himself to reveal the mystery.
So whereever you may be...tune in to FM 90.5 tomorrow starting from 8 pm sharp.
It's going out "live".
Those of you who missed my earlier ukulele performances on radio a few years ago will get a chance
to hear solid, pure ukulele sounds and songs.

Friday April 1  from 8 - 9 pm. Don't miss it!


Weekdays: 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
TIME : 5pm to 9pm
SMS Keyword : HOME
DJ: Brian and Mark Richmond

Gold 90FM makes radio history with the first-ever Father and Son pairing of Brian and Mark Richmond on the evening drive show the Homestretch. Mark makes a return to radio to helm the Homestretch from 5pm to 9pm Monday to Fridays.

You'll be Riding with the Richmonds with great songs and tongue-in-cheek humour spiced with interesting segments to captivate and entertain the senses. With both father and son having credible sports casting experience, you can expect a healthy debate on the English football league and such like. There will also be interactive elements to engage the listeners.

A 'Celebration Surprise call' segment will enable listeners to get the duo to call on a loved one or friend celebrating a special day.

The Playback in the 8 o'clock hour will feature the Top Ten songs in the UK and the US for that particular day for a specific year interspersed with interesting historical events. And once a week on a Friday, Mark and Brian will entertain a special guest in the Hot Seat. They will share their favourite songs and give us an insight into their world.

There will be lots of surprises coming your way as you Ride Home with the Richmonds on the Homestretch. Catch it on Gold 90FM, Monday to Fridays 5pm - 9pm.

Send your SMS to 72346
*Each SMS costs 30 cents. This SMS service is provided by MediaCorp Technologies Pte Ltd, customer service hotline 68777132.
Reach the Richmonds by email:
(  The above is from MediaCorp Gold 90.5 FM website )

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Grandpa Uke ...entertaining LIVE tonight at Nex Hypermart, Serangoon.

The last 2 months or so I have spent much of my time going through all my collection of song books, song files, music CDs, music albums for the purpose of re-organising the many resources for easy retrieval based on song index, song type and other such things.

 In doing so, I found it was necessary to look at many of the song lyrics to correct obvious mistakes. Many of these songs did not come with music notes or even chord tabs. So, I had to source for them on the internet. When that produced nothing, I play the song out myself and write down the chord tabs.
It was a time-consuming labour of love.
In doing so, there were many bright moments like when I found better chord arrangements for a previously popular song...with good intro and a good ending as well.

My work is not finished yet. Will require many more months of hardwork.
Tonight,  Tuesday 29 March 2011...something interesting is happening at NTUC Fairprice Hypermart at Nex Serangoon Central. The Hypermart is located on level 3. Nex Mall is above the Serangoon MRT station.

From 7 - 9 pm,  Unk Dicko and Richard Chee my close ukulele partner, will be entertaining "live" within the premises of the Hypermart. Grandpa Uke is what we will call ourselves. Some members of my Minstrel Performing group may also be coming.
NTUC Fairprice has engaged us to provide "live" songs and music within the store.
Why Tuesday ?
I think it's because Tuesday is the day seniors aged 60 + get more discount than other days of shopping.

So come on down to shop and join in the night of music and fun.
We will be playing a very good selection of songs. And if you have a personal favourite just shout it out and we will oblige.

See you there!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Watch. Dream. Be Inspired!

I was browsing at my favourite bloglinks when I saw this video clip highlighted on Ageless Voice, a website belonging to my good friend Eleanor. Apparently she attended an informal meet up of some members of the club SILVER TSUNAMI ASIA ( the East Coast area a few days ago. This clip was highlighted in their discussion.

Based on a true story of these elderly men, average age 81 years, who decided to return to doing what they had done as a group of close buddies in their young days....riding motorcycles! There were 6 of them originally but unfortunately one had passed away.

Unk Dicko knows and understand what they must have felt when their situation, circumstances and their bodies 'prevented' them from enjoying life to the fullest, especially that of their first love - riding their motorcycles again.
I am still the only one among my peers enjoying the freedom of riding today and everyday. The rest of my riding friends have given up donkey years ago.

As long as I am alive...I will continue to ride the freeways, safely.
This videoclip produced by Ogilvy Taiwan is truly one of the most inspirational clips I've seen.
It has garnered some 1.8 million hits already.

If you are like most seniors and elderly folks leading a sedentary and mundane lifestyle, watching this clip will make you want to jump up and do things. Perhaps even radicalise your
thoughts and actions.

Watch. Dream. Be Inspired!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Orangutan and the Hound

Orangutan and the Hound

I received this clip today from a close friend. It's such an incredible love of sharing and bonding between a stray hound dog and an orangutan.
It must be shared here.

How we poor humans can learn so much from just these 2 animals !

Click on the red link above and watch.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

New Shaw Theatre at Nex experience.

On Tuesday 15 February 2011 unk Dicko was invited to the private and exclusive pre-opening sampling of what the latest in cinematic luxury.. theatres can offer. It comes as no surprise that Shaw Theatres Pte Ltd, a household name for enjoying movies, has taken things to a higher level.

The invitation I had received came with a request...that I would hopefully blog about the experience of watching a movie at the Shaw Theatre Premier Hall which seats only 48 patrons plus 2 handicapped seats. They have 2 such luxury halls named simply Premier Hall 1 and Hall 2...both similar in structure.

This is my response to that request from which invited me.

That night, my wifey D2 came along for the experience. Nex at Serangoon is conveniently situated right where Serangoon MRT station is. So, we decided to park our car and take the MRT down. The trains were as usual fully packed around 6.35 pm. This was my first ever visit to Nex. D2 had been there before and reminded me not to drive there if possible as parking lots are very limited. We had hoped to have some dinner within the gigantic new mall. But the crowds here were just like those at Vivo City.
Many eating places were packed.

There is a certain hugeness about this mall and the escalators are strung further apart...making sure you have to navigate and walk pass all the shops. Maybe it's intentional huh !
We decided to skip dinner and headed straight for the Theatre on Level 4. There, Alvin from OMY met me and handed me 2 premium tickets. There were some other invitees too...mostly fellow bloggers much, much younger than Unk Dicko.

We presented our tickets and were led into the exclusive Lounge where Premium patrons can have their wine, drinks and dine in comfort before a show. The set up is sleek and really classy with a bevy of smart-looking uniformed staff waiting to serve you well. I had my camera with me and asked if I could snap some pictures. " Certainly sir", one staff said. They were all polite to a perfect "T".

The Premier Lounge is the place where you could have some pre-screening drinks or meals, have a chat or just prepare for the movie. It is not open to patrons of the other halls. There is a substantial Food and Beverage list and comes with some discounts for patrons. D2 and I decided to head straight in to check out the interior of the Premier Hall.
As soon as we stepped inside and looked around, the first thing that impressed is the spaciousness...lots of space between each row and aisle, unlike the usual cinemas. No wonder, it will accomodate only about 50 people in all.

There is plenty of legroom for everyone. The super deluxe seats are made of the softest leather which adds to the comfort. Each pair of seat comes with a small oval mini table on which a F and B menu list is placed. A tiny table-lamp is attached for your convenience of reading in the dark.

This is Shaw's news release which I got when doing some checks.

[ Above: The interior of Premier Hall and the yummy F and B list food ]

The seats come with full adjustable reclining button. Press the button fully and it almost becomes a bed. A high quality blanket is provided for each seat. It is a sheer class act I must say.
Many cinemas are too cold for comfort and patrons without a jacket suffer.
New, fresh blankets will be used for each showtime.
What's our verdict about the seats?
Absolutely worth the money for the ticket price.
It's taking luxury to another level.

These are our 2 ticket foils. They are actually silver in background.

We were there for the new movie Rabbit Hole starring Nicole Kidman.

At the entrance of the Premier Lounge.

The bar of the Lounge.

We decided to try out their Lounge menu. Even though it was dark, the service was still excellent with the waiters even kneeling down on one knee to attend to your needs.
The food?
No complaints....very well done !

The movie we watched was not one we would normally have gone to. It is not "my kind" of movie and is the same for my wifey.
But it was an enjoyable and memorable outing for us. We had never eaten a meal like we did in a cinema before.
So, that was a 1st !
And we won't forget in a long while yet.
All in all, this was a memorable experience for me and D2.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Must listen..Hokkien local food song !

All food lovers whether from Singapore, Malaysia or even Indonesia will love this video-clip.
It is almost like a running commentary of all the top local hawker food we have come to love.
And singing it in Hokkien dialect somehow makes it seems tastier !
Don't believe me?
Play the video, watch and listen.
Me...I'm going for my 'prata' or 'char kway teow' break right now !

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Great World...recapturing the fun of childhood !

At the opening night of the recreated Great World Amusement park at Sengkang, I made it a point that my 3 older grandkids will get some exposure of the heady excitement of those days, 50 odd years ago.
I am referring to the tikam stalls and the stalls offering games that required some " skill " to carry out the challenge. Yes, it's actually a challenge of sorts but always tilted heavily in favour of the stall operator nevertheless.
Despite the not so obvious disadvantages known or unknown to the potential participants, many simply could not resist the " it looks so easy, mum...I want to try it! " attraction.
So, many doting dads and mums and grandmums like my wifey queued up flashing shiny $ 50 notes to buy more than the required number of tokens. Each token cost $3 which is the minimum for any game or tikam stall.

One of the popular 'skill' stall is the shooting gallery. There are 3 air-pop guns that shoot the bottlecork out of the muzzle. The targets are any of the 3 pingpong balls placed on a bottle each.
It look pretty easy and straight forward before trying. The distance is slighty 2.5 metres only.
This white-haired gentleman was the first to have a go. He looked every inch an ex-SAF trained commando. Taking proper careful aim...remembering all the shooting cues, he readied, steadied, aimed and fired. Three times...pop, pop and pop. He missed all 3 times !
The ping pong balls never shifted an inch.

The guy looked at the gun examining it closely and decided to change for another. His earlier failures goaded him.
He tried taking even better aim but I was sorry to see him miss all 3 shots again.

Meanwhile, my grandsons were watching all this and one of them was hooked.
He wanted very much to have a go probably encouraged by all his playing with the recent fad of
"nerf" guns.
We encouraged him.
Though Unk Dicko was once a classified sharpshooter, I left him alone preferring for him to enjoy the experience on his own.

Unk Dicko carrying the younger grandkid who seemed mesmerised by everything there...the sights, the sounds and the ambience of wonderland.
Probably the most popular attraction in the park is the Bumper Car rides.
Queues started forming as soon as it was opened. Even adults got into the act!
Each car seats 2 persons and cost $ 6 each person. They are controlled electronically. As soon as it starts, an old-time song will be played like "papa loves mambo, mama loves mambo" over the system. The duration of the ride lasts as long as the song lasts.

The fun and thrill in Bumper car rides is to move your car in ways to bump into other cars.
That's why they are called bumper cars.
Much enjoyment, laughter and yells result.
Be prepared that your kids will ask for several repeats like mine did!

This is definitely one activity that reminded me so much of the fun we used to have in those bygone worlds of old.
Now the kids and also older adults get a chance to live or relive those days.

Unk Ringo had come out with this interesting water attraction...a self-powered boat ride.
This is only for kids and is very safe.
Very shallow inflated pool that provides another super dimension of fun for kids.
There are many other attractions in the park. Those who have not been there should make it a point to visit and relive your golden past again.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Great World Amusement Revival at Sengkang

It has been decades since all the 3 famous 'Worlds' in Singapore had totally disappeared from our landscape leaving only nostalgic memories of an age and time that have altogether vanished. Even then, only the oldtimers among our people would have better recollections of those wonderful times they had spent in any of the 3 separate 'Worlds'....Happy World, New World and Great World.
After their eventual closure, there was no attempt made by any businessman or anyone for that matter to rebuild and resurrect any of the previous Amusement parks. Not until the latest movie
"The Great Great Great World ", a locally produced movie by MediaCorp set for public screening on 27 January in our cinemas...did someone come up with the brave idea of remaking part of that iconic Park.
That someone is a local maverick for fairs and carnivals....Unk Ringo. He has been in this business for 3 decades.
For the filming of the movie they had to recreate "Great World" with all infrastructure as we knew from the past. Unk Ringo had a big hand in this as he had all those big items for thrills and rides plus all kinds of "tikam" and Game stalls paraphernalia.
After the movie was completed, he was encouraged to recreate on a smaller scale the "fun" part of Great World in the heartlands.
He chose to set it up at Sengkang as there was a ready-made hardcourt and with good location to attract many visitors.

[DPM Teo Chee Hean being greeted by the cast of the movie ]

Great World Amusement Park at Sengkang was opened at 7.30 pm sharp on Saturday 22 January 2011. The Guest of Honour was DPM Teo Chee Hean accompanied by the other MPs of the GRC.
I was there with my grandkids and wifey to lend moral, heritage and blogger support for this laudable effort. Some of the members of my Performing group...the Minstrels were present too.
No we were not there to entertain anyone...just being there to see if the past can be reconnected in some ways.

[He and his party was were welcomed by Lion Dancers ]

[The official Ribbon -cutting ceremony ]

[ Balloons were released into the night sky ]

[ The movie cast took turns to speak to the crowd ]

[ Some of those in the movie..elaborating ]

[ The VIPs at the 'tikam' stall - Horse Racing ]

[ They tried their or not I don't know ]

[ Joget Tanjong...DPM can certainly "joget"! ]