Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

2 more days to cast your votes

There's two more days to cast votes for the Singapore Blog Awards. Voting for the Singapore Blog Awards is opened from 30 Jun 2008 to 31 Jul 2008. Everyone is entitled to cast ONE vote in EACH category EVERYDAY!

If you would think the following bloggers are deserving, please visit their blogs and cast your votes for them daily. Voting ends on 31 Jul 2008.

Best Youth Blog Finalist: Lion City. Jaymes 007
Most Entertaining Blog Finalist: Eastcoastlife
Most Insightful Blog Finalist: ieatishootipost
Best Design Blog Finalist:
Best Individual Blog Finalist: Good Morning Yesterday

May the above-mentioned finalists score well with the judges and the voters.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

CozyCot's Blog Shop Weekend

One of my friends, My Trinket Trove, shared with me that she will be setting a stall on 2 Jun 2008 at Cotters Blog Shop Weekend from 12 - 6 p.m. If you like to support her works and check out other products on sale at the event, do make a visit to Level 3 Parkview Square that day.

Here are more details about this event:

The Cotters Blog Shop Weekend
2nd August 2008 (Sat) 12pm - 6pm
3rd August 2008 (Sun) 12pm - 6pm

600 North Bridge Road
Level 3 Parkview Square
Singapore 188778
(Near Bugis Junction, opposite Raffles Hospital. Take exit B from Bugis MRT Station)

New Venue
10 Eunos Road 8
Singapore Post Centre
Singapore 408600

Bus Services:
Alight at Singpost Centre or opposite Paya Lebar MRT
24, 28, 43, 70, 76, 135, 154 or 155

Nearest MRT:
Paya Lebar Station (EW 8)

(Note: This is definitely not a paid post.)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Finding nostalgia in National Day Parade songs

National Day is coming and strangely, in my mind for the past few days, a couple of the past National Day Parade songs have been ringing in my mind. My personal favourites are: Stephanie Sun's 一起走到, and Kit Chan's . I like the lyrics in these and the tunes too. I also quite like the song Will You for its uplifting tune. Generally, I like the Mandarin National Day songs that are sung by Stephanie Sun and Kit Chan. I can't say why, there's a particular quality that I like about their voice and their way of singing National Day songs.

I recall that when I was in Primary School, assembly time and the time when the teachers were having their so-called Staff's meeting was the time for the students to practise singing National Day Parade songs especially when National Day drew near. Did you have such experience singing National Day songs during assembly time in your school days?

It is strange how my experiences towards National Day songs could differ with time. When I was in Lower Primary, I vaguely recall that I would still sing the National Day songs with lots of interest. I would even try to remember every words in the lyrics because back then, thanks to my mother, I was given a cassette tape that contains an album of National Day songs. If I remember correctly, one of the songs that was in the album was Stand Up for Singapore. Interestingly, when it was time to practise singing National Day songs when I was lower Primary, I would eagerly stand up whenever it was time to sing the chorus "Stand Up for Singapore..."

Strangely, perhaps it was the time when self-consciousness had set in, my attitude towards National Day songs became different when I was in Upper Primary. Somehow, most of my classmates when I was in Upper Primary would not singing National Day songs even if the teacher-in-charge urged the assembly to do so. If I had sang, I would then be the odd-one-out among an entire group of Upper Primary students who won't sing the National Day songs. I would also prefer not to sing with a group of people for I can't seem to figure out how my voice would harmonise with the rest of the crowd. When the rest of the school was singing Stand Up for Singapore, it was rather clear that the Upper Primary students preferred a nonchalant approach. There was hardly any Upper Primary School students who had eagerly stood up when it was time to sing the chorus!

Even during the times when I was in Secondary school and in Junior College, I did not have much inclination to sing National Day song in public. If I did hum a bit of them, it was because those had good lyrics and good melodies, but I would sing in the comfort of my own private space. Admittedly, being not in favour of being in the crowd, I tend to stay low-key during the school's National Day functions.

Strangely, was it nostalgia, after I had just graduated from the University, I found myself starting to hum Stephanie Sun's 一起走到. It was the National Day Parade song for the year. I think it was the inspiring lyrics and the cheerful tune that attracted me to the song. I found myself singing it to lift my moods up when I was on my way to work. I didn't sing on the MRT train but I would sing it while walking that path from the MRT station to my then workplace.

In my current job, I realised I have been having a tendency to play National Day songs during certain events for children. I was hoping that at the very least, the children might be familiar with some of the National Day songs, as compared to any of the classical tunes that I would personally fancy more. Furthermore, National Day songs seem to have qualities of being motivating and inspiring, which I hope may somehow encourage the children to bring out their best in their everyday lives.

What are your experiences with National Day songs?

Anyway, I chanced upon this official URL with National Day songs from the past:

Enjoy the songs.
12 days to Singapore's National Day.

Happy National Day Singapore.
National Day, I suppose, it would be very different without the National Day songs.

What are some of your favourite National Day songs?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Onboard the tour 'The Other Side of Geylang'

Yesterday, I participated in yet another trail of the Expedition 'H' that is held in conjunction with the Singapore Heritage Fest. This tour titled The Other Side of Geylang indeed brings me to a different side of Geylang. It is not a food tour, neither does it cover anything about Geylang which is known for being a red-light district. Nevertheless, it was quite an interesting tour because I get to hear about the stories of ordinary individuals who have in some ways been heroes because of their deeds and contributions.

The first part of the tour brought us to a museum which I have never been before. The museum, the Kong Hiap Museum, is located at 8 Geylang East Avenue 1. It houses the collection of the late Venerable Kong Hiap (广洽法师). Our group had the privilege to get a guided tour specially by Cultural Medallion winner, Tan Swie Hian!

This museum houses a very good collection of original works by Feng Zikai. The museum also has many good calligraphy pieces by several masters. It is worth a visit for anyone who likes Feng Zikai's works and for those who likes calligraphy works. I remember that there was one piece of calligraphy that was written using the blood of Venerable Kong Hiap. In order to have his blood used as a medium for the work, he had to go through a no-sodium diet for a period of time. By the end of the tour, I have learnt a bit more about Chinese calligraphy and the life of Venerable Kong Hiap and his art collections. Many thanks to Tan Swie Hian for his insightful guided tour.

For those who wishes to visit Kong Hiap Memorial Museum, it is opened on Saturday, Sunday and every 1st and 8th of the Lunar Month, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The next stop was Masjid Khadijah at 583 Geylang Road. I learnt about the history of Masjid Khadijah. The mosque is named after the late Mdm Katijah Binte Mohamed. In my opinion, the heroes behind the mosque are not only the late Katijah Binte Mohamed and the many donors who have contributed to the mosque. The people who forms the congregation that makes up the mosque who have dedicated their time and devotion to sustain the running of the mosque are also the heroes.

I am very impressed by the way the mosque is being runned. I heard that the nasi beriani cooked by the ladies of the mosque for the Nasi Beriani Amal programme is a well-known brand in the Muslim community. The mosque has raised much funds through the Nasi Beriani Amal programme whereby nasi beriani is being sold. It is not the amount of funds raised that is important, it is the devotion that the people who serve the mosque has that truly matters. I can sense that they take pride in what they do.

The mosque is a beautiful mosque. During the tour, personnel from the mosque gave us a very interesting overview to the history of the mosque and even explained to us about set-up of the prayer hall. The mihrab will indicate the direction of Mecca, where the Kaaba is located. Many thanks to the mosque for its graciousness in hosting us.

After the visit to the mosque, the tour bus led us to the oldest Chinese temple in Geylang, the Chong Teck Tong Temple. I learnt about the history behind the temple. Somehow, while I can't quite hear clearly the name of the founder of this temple, I felt touched by her compassion towards the less fortunate. She was a heroine in her simple way.

At the temple, we were given a short briefing about the wooden-fish (mu-yu) and other tools that were used in prayer rites. We were also given a demonstration on how to offer incense to the gods. Many thanks to the temple for hosting us, and so generously serving us vegetarian meals at the end of the tour.

The final part of the tour took us to a part of the Geylang which I won't have been able to visit if not for the tour. It took us to the private studio of local artist, Wong Keen. I realised it was situated in an area where many 'ladies of the night' would stand about when night falls to wait for potential customers. At the studio, we had the privilege to speak with Wong Keen, and even see some of his latest works. Right below is a glimpse of one of his works which was inspired by scenes from Geylang.

On the whole, the tour might have been more educational if it could cover some aspects of the history of Geylang. Nevertheless, it was still worth my time as I've managed to come face-to-face with two local artists, and visited places which I have never been before. I realised that there is still so much I have to learn about Singapore, the country that I grow up in.

By the end of the tour, I realised that Geylang's night-life is not just about food and vices. There's another side of Geylang which we may have not noticed: the art, the devotion and the dedication towards the community. It is the ordinary heroes that make these other sides of Geylang thrive.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Week 30 of year 2008 on the double bass

20 Jul 2008, Sun: I practised Dragonetti's Concerto in A major and managed to be better at the first page. I had difficulties knowing where the harmonics should be when I worked on the second page. Was it a lack of confidence or lack of understanding of my instrument?

Anyway, I subsequently worked on a couple of bars from Osbourne's Gargoyles.

21 Jul 2008, Mon: I practised selected passages from Rossini's "The Barber of Seville" Overture. My focus was on increasing the speed that I play the passages, while ensuring adequate intonation and maintaining a good rhythm.

23 Jul 2008, Wed: I practised selected passages from Rossini's The Thieving Magpie Overture focusing on producing a clear sound, while ensuring a good intonation. I also practised the first movement of Dragonetti's Concerto in A major and Dittersdorf's Second Double Bass Concerto. Strangely, my double bass seemed to require more effort to stop the strings for the day's practice.

24 Jul 2008, Thu: During double bass lesson, my tutor helped gave me pointers to the fingerings to the first movement of Dragonetti's Concerto in A major. It was challenging, but actually the fingerings aren't as difficult as I had imagined. My tutor passed me my purchase of a new rosin: Samuel Kolstein Ultra Bass Rosin. It felt sticky initially but after a while of playing, the rosin helped me achieve a full, clear and bright sound. Cool rosin.

I then spent time working on the second movement of Dittersdorf's Second Double Bass Concerto. I need to have steady tempo and woprk on my sense of rhythm.

25 Jul 2008, Fri: Perhaps inspired by my tutor's demonstration the day before, I worked on selected bars from the first movement of Dragonetti's Concerto in A major. Hopefully I could master this movement in time to come.

More good practice is needed.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mustering all strength

I am wishing for strength and patience
Today I find myself not as effective at work
I was slower at making judgement
The awfully fast pace of work has worn me out

Mustering all strength
To stay focused
And to keep my cool
Even though there were times I felt out of focus

Could I last these trials?
And emerge stronger?

At the same time
So many questions now go on my mind
Is this the life where I can best contribute?
Or is it time to change focus?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I'm exhausted

I'm exhausted
A day when things did not go as planned
Worn out
But things aren't really that bad actually

Cast your votes for Singapore Blog Awards

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the blogs that I have been reading regularly, and which have been nominated for the Singapore Blog Awards. Here's a short post to lobby for support for the deserving bloggers who have written those blogs.

Voting for the Singapore Blog Awards is opened from 30 Jun 2008 to 31 Jul 2008. Everyone is entitled to cast ONE vote in EACH category EVERYDAY!

If you would think the following bloggers are deserving, please visit their blogs and cast your votes for them daily. Voting ends on 31 Jul 2008.

Best Youth Blog Finalist: Lion City. Jaymes 007
Most Entertaining Blog Finalist: Eastcoastlife
Most Insightful Blog Finalist: ieatishootipost
Best Design Blog Finalist:
Best Individual Blog Finalist: Good Morning Yesterday

All the best to the above-mentioned finalists!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Unconditional Love

During a meeting today, the concept of "Unconditional Love" was brought up briefly. This concept has been often brought up during professional meetings held at my workplace. Today, I felt like sharing this concept with readers reading this blog.

Upon reflecting upon my practice with people from all walks of life, I wonder: Would unconditional love, starting with loving oneself unconditionally, be one of the answers that could help people heal from very painful or bitter life experiences?

I don't have the answer.

Anyway, here's sharing Unconditional Love (starting with you) by Kathy Brandt. It is quite an insightful read.

As I reflected, I could at least say that I have been practising the use of unconditional love when interacting with people close to me, particularly on friends and family members that I hold dear in my heart. Then again, possibly, my unconditional love for my parents may not be able to match the love that they probably have for me.

On the side, here's wishing my Mum safety and all the best for the day surgery that she will be going for tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The hope that keeps me going

There have been times when I had felt that life feels dead empty
Thank goodness I have hanged on
And that hope comes soon enough
To keep me going forward

Wishing you hope.


By the way, do read on Karl Blog, a post titled Hope for Happy Ending.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Week 29 of year 2008 on the double bass

13 Jul 2008, Sun: I practised the first 19 bars from Dragonetti's Concerto in A so that I could play these bars at tempo that is closer to the original tempo.

Afterwhich, I attempt to practise a couple of bars from Osborne's Gargoyles. I realised that I prefer playing works that are melodic and tonal rather than rhythmic in nature. I was simply struggling to play those few bars during my practice, but I was slightly better at the practice than a few days ago.

Dittersdorf's Second Double Bass Concerto remains to be a favourite for me. I practised the second movement to refine my playing.

14 Jul 2008, Mon: I felt awfully tired after work, but needed some playing so to rid the stress and toxic-feeling out of my system. I focused on practising selected parts from Rossini's The Thieving Magpie Overture. The parts required some working-out technically, yet they were comparatively more straight-forward than the concertos by Dragonetti and Dittersdorf since most of these parts are written in sequences. I am glad that I did, at least I felt a little better after the practice.

16 Jul 2008, Wed: Double bass lesson was brought forward to a Wednesday. I played the first couple of bars from Dragonetti's Concerto in A. My tutor realising that I needed more practice suggested that I play it during lesson on another day.

I also asked to work on Osborne's Gargoyles. While it was considered a difficult work for myself, I nevertheless decided to take up the challenge to work on it. My tutor guided me to work through a couple of bars. I played badly yet I have learnt a lot. I learnt how to better approach Osborne's Gargoyles.

The last work that I worked on was the second movement from Dittersdorf's Second Double Bass Concerto. My tutor gave me pointers on how to approach a few particular bars whereby I have to keep crossing between the "D" and the "G" strings.

17 Jul 2008, Thu: I practised Dragonetti's Concerto in A major. Finally, I have went past the first 19 bars. The fingerings that my tutor had suggested has helped.

19 Jul 2008, Sat: I practised Dragonetti's Concerto in A major. It sounded a little bit better than when I first started out practising it.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Meeting up with Trinket Addict

This afternoon, I met up with Trinket Addict. Other than learning from her about the processes involved in choosing the materials and the making of the jewelleries on display on her blog, time was spent catching up with each other. Time flies, it has been more than a decade since we first knew each other. She has been a kind and supportive friend these years.

Trinket Addict also passed me an order that I had specially requested from her sometime ago. I don't wear jewellery in general, except for the necklace and pendant from my maternal grandmother. The order is meant for one of my friends, J. I hope she would like it.

If any one of you is interested in accessories with original designs, you may wish to visit Trinket Addict's blog to see if any of the items that she creates catches your eyes:

Here's one of her recent creations for your viewing pleasure:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Onboard Expedition 'H': From Coconuts to Kaya!

This afternoon, I went onboard my first Expedition 'H' trail. Realising that it could be Journeys Pte Ltd that are in charge of guiding most of the trails, I decided to choose the trail that would take me to a place where I have not been onboard with Journeys Pte Ltd.

I was right, except for Trail 5, all the other trails are done by Journeys Pte Ltd. Since I have never attended any tours by Journey Pte Ltd that takes me to Katong, the choice was clearly the trail From Coconuts to Kaya!: A Cultural and Culinary Adventure of Katong™. In some way, it goes to show how I have enjoyed the tours by Journeys Pte Ltd so much that I have already been to almost all of its existing tours.

Our first stop was the Eurasian Community House at 139 Ceylon Rd. It was my first time stepping into the Eurasian Community House, and I was delighted to know that it houses a museum. Here we had the chance to sample some delightful and interesting Eurasian food at the Quentin's. I like the sugee cake especially. Yummy and nutty. Other than these, we also tried Curry's Devil and learnt about the story behind the dish. The chef also shared some interesting personal anecdotes with us while we were dining at Quentin's. I am impressed and touched by his passion to keep the art of Eurasian cooking alive. By the way, I learnt that Quentin's offers a Sunday Buffet Brunch at a pretty affordable price. The ambience is rather cosy. Do consider checking it out if you are nearby Ceylon Road.

Inside the museum located at the Eurasian Community House.

After a delightful sampling of Eurasian food, the group then board the coach and headed to the next stop. While we were on the coach, the guide also shared with us the origins of the word Katong. The next stop brought us to Kway Guan Huat at 95 Joo Chiat Rd. This establishment is perhaps best known for its hand-made popiah skin. We were lucky that the establishment gave us a demonstration of the making of the popiah skin. It is certainly an art that needs years to master.

The making popiah skins at Kway Guan Huat.

The making of popiah at Kway Guan Huat. Available from 95 Joo Chiat Rd.

We also were treated to a demonstration of the making of popiah. Afterwhich, everyone in the tour group gets to sample the popiah. Interesting, at Kway Guan Huat, the tasks of making popiah skin and making the popiah ingredients were divided according to gender. The popiah tasted fresh. I intend to bring friends from overseas here if I get the chance.

One of the stops of the trail was Masjid Khalid. I particularly like the part where a personnel from the mosque shared with us about the term halal. Many thanks to the mosque for hosting us and treating us to kuehs and pastries.

The trail also brought us to the 328 Katong Laksa stall at 51/53 East Coast Rd. The best part of this part of the tour was that our group had the privilege to hear directly from the boss of the stall, Ms Nancy Lim, some interesting anecdotes including what makes the 328 Katong Laksa different from other laksa that are sold in the Katong area. At this tour, the group learnt from the boss the meaning behind the name of "328 Katong Laksa". We each sampled the 328 Katong Laksa too.

Sampling 328 Katong Laksa.

At the final stop, Kim Choo Kueh Chang at 109/111 East Coast Road, we learnt more about the art of making dumplings the Peranakan Chinese way. I tasted one of the Kim Choo Kueh Changs. It was good.

The making of Kim Choo Kueh Chang.

This is not simply a tour that only brings people to sample food. It is a tour that helps us better understand the history of Katong and the heritage behind many of the well-known food establishments there. At the end of the tour, it struck me that the people who have built and/or operated the various food establishments on this trail deserve credit for their passion and diligence. It probably takes a lot of passion and diligence to make those delicious food. They are heroes in their own right.

There was a lot more that I have learnt at the trail, but I suppose it is best that one checks these out by joining one of the trails. If not, do check out any of the tours by Journeys Pte Ltd. More information can be found here:

Friday, July 18, 2008

It's Singapore Heritage Fest 08

From 12 - 27 Jul 2008, members of the public would be able to participate in a series of heritage-related activities held in conjunction with the Singapore Heritage Fest 08.

There is a Who's Your Hero? exhibition that is held at Suntec City, Tropics Atrium. For the families with young children, they could check out the Kids' Zone that is held at Suntec City, Galleria Foyer.

I was at the Who's Your Hero? exhibition today. There is quite a number of interesting exhibits at the exhibition. Having such an exhibition in an accessible place like Suntec City is certainly a good way to reach out to the members of the general public and share heritage-related topics with them. On the personal level however, I would personally prefer to catch the exhibition in a more quiet environment. While Suntec City is not extremely noisy, but when there's performances going on at the nearby stage, I find that the noise level is still beyond the limits of yours truly who prefers a generally peaceful environment.

Even though the exhibition did not particularly win my favour, I am looking forward to Expedition ‘H'. I have already signed myself up for two of the Expedition 'H' tours.

For the adventurous, there is a Fun on Foot Heritage Marathon. I could considered this event but I do not like the fact that each participating group has to be a team of four. Pardon me, perhaps it is due to the individualistic part in me, that I have preference to do many things alone. Furthermore, I cannot think of three other person who's company I won't mind who would be willing to form a team to join the marathon.

Anyway, if you happen to be at Suntec City, Singapore during the above-mentioned period, it is worth checking out the various Singapore Heritage Fest 08 related activities. For more information, please visit:

Checking out: Legal Legacies

Current Supreme Court

Thanks to one of Eastcoastlife's posts, I got to know that to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Singapore Academy of Law, a multi-dimensional legal history exhibition, Legal Legacies: The Story of Singapore Law, is now currently being held from 4 Jul to 1 Aug 2008.

Initially, I learnt that registration to the guided tour is closed. When I learnt that registration was close, the news disappointed me for I had taken leave from work sometime ago hoping to join the tour. Anyway, JY encouraged me to walk-in during my day off from work, and lucky me, there was vacancy for one more person to the tour.

The tour started from the new Supreme Court. I learnt about the milestones in Singapore Legal history, and how the legal attire has changed over time. There were a lot more to learn about at the exhibition. For example: the various buildings that had served as court-houses, the famous legal cases and so forth.

Previous Supreme Court

The more interesting part of the tour, and the most anticipated part by yours truly, was the tour about the previous Supreme Court of Singapore. We entered the so-called "Old Supreme Court" via the route that the accused would take when the Old Supreme Court was in operation. This route brought us to the lock-up rooms that the accused in the court premises would be locked up in prior to their appearances in the courtrooms. We even had the chance to take the seemingly 'underground' walkway that led the accused from the lock-up rooms to the courtrooms.

We were led to the Court of Appeal of the old Supreme Court. It was grand looking. After our visit to the Court of Appeal, we were led to the Chief Justice's Chambers.

By the way, I understand from the tour guide that the old Supreme Court was built between 1937 and 1939, nearing the end of the Great Depression. As such, budget was a major construction in the building of the old Supreme Court. I did not realise, until the tour guide pointed it out, that the tiles of the old Supreme Court's public corridors were made from rubber. The columns were made of artificial stonework.

Come to think of it, the old Supreme Court's facade was what gave it a very grandeur look. Internally, it has a solemn and fairly look look yet it was pretty modest in terms of the building materials that were used.

One of the docents gave us a quick overview to the architectural features of the old Supreme Court. It is quite interesting what the various figures in the tympanum represents. I read from the exhibition held at the current Supreme Court that the tympanum sculpture, the Corinthian and Ionic columns of the old Supreme Court were the work of Cavalieri Rudolfo Nolli, a Milanese sculptor.

We also got to see the foundation stone of the old Supreme Court. It was laid by Sir Shenton Thomas on 1 April 1937. While I was looking at the foundation stone, I vaguely recalled that I had walked into the old Supreme Court one fine day in the year 2002 just to see how it looked like inside. It was still in operation back then. Thankfully, I have this possibly last chance to see the internal of the old supreme Court before it undergoes major changes to become an art gallery.

Overall, Legal Legacies is a tour worth catching.

My apologies that I did not take any photo during the tour for I had intentionally not bring along my camera so that I can simply focus on looking at the old Supreme Court than taking photos.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

To ask or not to ask

Pardon me
I have been ignorant
Such that I don't know how
To make sense of things

I can't read minds
There are questions I wish to clarify
Yet to ask
Or not to ask
I don't know where to start

Do my questions matter?
Actually I have been living without the answers
Each reconciliation, if this is the word, seems to come so naturally
I don't know whether questions would matter

The essential statement that I have at the core is:
I treasure our friendship.

If there is any way I have done badly as a friend,
Please let me know, so that I can be a better friend.

My arm is hurting

During work today, I tried to restrain two boys on separate occasions from fighting with other boys. I wonder if it was because of this, my left arm is hurting now. Actually, I felt it was trembling so moments after I let go of the boys. I can only hope that one day soon, these boys would learn that resorting to fighting does not help solve a lot of problems. I hope that one day they would be able to use the inherent talents that they already have to do something meaningful for the world.

It has been a tiring week. Thankfully, I have had the insight to take a day of leave from work tomorrow. While workload has been very heavy and I now need a short break to recharge.

Meantime, I wish for good health. This morning, I woke up with my throat feeling sore. Thankfully, it went away by the afternoon

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Learning from others

During double bass lesson today, my tutor asked if I have heard the recordings of Dragonetti's Concerto in A. In my efforts to learn from others, and since it would take time to find good recordings and to purchase them online, I approached YouTube and found the above recording performed by: "Ben Harris, Student of Eugene Levinson at the Juilliard School, performs with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Xalapa conducted by Eugene Kohn in Mexico."

I like the clarity of the harmonics played by Ben Harris. I have a lot to learn from him in terms of playing those passages with running notes. My left-hand shifts need more refinement.

Personally, I would prefer the second movement and third movement of this concerto to the first movement. Somehow the first movement looks technically challenging yet felt not as interesting to me. Anyway, this would be a work that I would be working on for the next couple of weeks at least. Hopefully one day I could play better.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Week 28 of year 2008 on the double bass

6 Jul 2008, Sun: I tried to work out how to play a couple of bars from Osbourne's Gargoyles. I would like a better, clearer, more resonating tone on the double bass and yet have achieved so. I suppose one thing about playing music is that it trains me to learn how to deal with feelings of self-doubts when I could yet to achieve the kind of sound-scape that I would like to hear.

It was rather dishearting that my practice of Osborne's Gargoyles did not work out as well as I would like. I decided to take a break from it and to practise the first movement from Dittersdorf's Second Double Bass Concerto.

7 Jul 2008, Mon: I practised the second movement from Dittersdorf's Second Double Bass Concerto.

9 Jul 2008, Wed: I was feeling very tired for the day. Anyway, I decided to play less demanding studies to focus on improving on articulation and to achieve a warmer tone on the double bass.

10 Jul 2008, Thu: My dear double bass tutor was very kind and brought the scores for Dragonetti's Concerto in A major so that I could sight-read it. It was a challenging sight-reading piece for it! I could barely manage the first page. Honestly speaking, Dragonetti's music did not appeal to me as much as Bottesini's. Nevertheless, my tutor shared that audience may enjoy Dragonetti's music because it appeared to be so difficult.

For the remaining part of the lesson, I worked on the second movement from Dittersdorf's Second Double Bass Concerto. I am glad my tutor helped corrected some errors I have rhythmically.

11 Jul 2008, Fri: I practised selected passages from Rossini's "The Barber of Seville" Overture.

Afterwhich, time was spent practising the first movement of Dragonetti's Concerto in A. I specifically focused on practising the first 20 bars. It was satisfying that I have managed to get the notes correct after about an hour of practice.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Greetings and objects from the past

Joo Chiat Place, Singapore. I put this photo here for it looked nostalgic.

Spring-cleaning is something I don't do often. Anyway, on the afternoon of 12 Jul 2008, I decided that it is time to start doing a bit of spring cleaning to throw away those of my belongings that are no longer of use to me. I started doing spring cleaning in the hope that I could make way for more positive things into come to my life.

I realised that I have tonnes of lecture notes from my university days which I did not even touch for the past five years. Using the library and resources from the internet has allowed me not to even have to refer to those notes. I have kept them thinking I might use them, but I had not. I threw away quite a lot of old brochures too. As I was looking through them, I was reminded of the times in the past.

By the time I decided to call it a day, I was left with four bags full of items to be disposed of. I still have to find time to do some spring cleaning of the things that are kept inside the cabinets of my room another day.

Perhaps I was in the mood for nostalgia, I took time in the evening to reorganise my collection of cards. This is a collection that I have started since I was about 13 years old. Whenever someone sends me a card or postcard, I would keep it in this collection. I have a place in one of my cabinets for these. Admittedly, I did threw away a few of the cards which were mainly sent by commercial companies and did not have much aesthetic value. As I reorganise part of the collection, I looked through the greetings and words written on some of the cards. I am thankful that the senders have taken time and care to pen down their words of concern and greetings in the cards.

This affair of reorganising my collection of cards made me realise that JY has sent me quite a lot of postcards over the years since I knew her. Many thanks to JY for remembering me on the many occasions when she goes overseas. Thanks to her, I have an idea of the sights of many countries outside Singapore. It feels like as if I have had travelled to these places and witnessed those sights for myself.

I saw one of Mystic's cards to me during the process. She does not write many cards but I suppose she does make effort to pen down each and every words in the cards that she had sent. While writing this post, I was reminded of a card that she had wrote for me, but I had lost it in Shenzhen because I was robbed when I was there. I am thankful for Mystic's friendship because in many ways, I have learnt how to be a better friend thanks to her.

There was cards from T, one of my Orientation-group mates. Looking back, I am glad that I have remained in touch with him after more than a decade. After both of us graduated from junior college, I realised that from time-to-time, we would send each other Christmas cards at the end of the year. That perhaps kept our friendship alive over the years.

While reorganising my collection, I also had a read at a few of the notes that XS had given me over the years. There was a note which she had drew the bamboo plant, and another which she put a photo of one of her dogs. I hope that she would discover that she has many strengths in her. She has earned my respect with her care towards animals, matured and insightful outlook, witty sense of humour and her resilience. I treasure and am thankful for her friendship for it has enriched me in many ways.

ML has also sent me a great number of cards over the years. It has been at least 16 years since we knew each other. Both of us visited Brisbane about 16 years old and were hosted by the same family during the home-stay segment. It is worth celebrating that both of us could remain in touch over the years! One thing I look up to her is her positive outlook of life. This has a rub-on effect on me whenever I am with her.

I have also received many cards from a number of my ex-junior-college school-mates and many others over the years. My junior college days were perhaps the time when I receive quite a handful of cards.

Perhaps I was spending quite a fair bit of time reading through the cards that I did not get to look through my entire collection. Anyway, as a process of reorganising the cards, I realise how much my friends have helped me gain a broader perspective of life itself, and have lend me support when it was needed. My words of thank you to my friends.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Those days after school

During my junior college years, when I was about 18 years old, the Chinese orchestra that I was then participating in had its rehearsing venue along Waterloo Street. The rehearsals were at times held in the weekday evening.

If there was still some time between my last lesson at college and the start of the rehearsal, Stamford Road would be where I would usually go to. The MPH Building back then was an inviting place for folks like myself who enjoy quiet places filled with books. Nearby, the once National Library at Stamford Road offered more spaces to read lots of books. In those times, music scores were available at the then National Library (and library@esplanade did not even exist). If I needed some fresh air, I could climb up the stairs near the back of the substation to proceed to Fort Canning Park.

Today, many of the above-mentioned places have changed. Stamford Road has changed dramatically from how it used to be many years ago. The MPH Building was renamed and no longer function as a mega bookstore. Gone was National Library at Stamford Road. Nevertheless, memories still stay. Everytime when I pass by that part of Singapore, it would bring me some nostalgic feelings of the days when I was a student looking for quiet ways to spend my time.

How did you spend your free time when you were a student?

Mending the broken pieces

Was it due to stresses and misfit in job? I haven't been my usual self of late.

Just this evening, I realised I could have lost my camera during a work-related event. I didn't even realised so until two days later. Usually, I would have been fairly careful to keep my camera properly by me. I wonder if the camera would be lost and found? Whatever it is, I am preparing for the worst.

I realised that performing too many activities that require a lot of extroverting from my end takes a lot of energy from me. It is in the world of introspection, reflection, analysing and deliberation which recharges me. Perhaps this is why I am drawn to the world of writing. The activity in itself recharges and soothes me.

Broken pieces of my life, waiting to be mend. I am urging myself to think of the possibility of brighter days so that I could hang on and move on despite feeling fragile of late.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Problems Are Really Opportunities

At Karl Blog, there is a post titled Problems are really opportunities.

Let's say problems really are opportunities for positive change, I hope that the problems that I am facing are simply opportunities that would lead me to positive changes.

As such, I shall learn to welcome the problem and face it. This may help me open the door to allow opportunity to come in. Wish me luck meantime.

The problem that I would face after this post would be how to play Dragonetti's Concerto in A.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Out of the system

If writing is therapeutic,
Then writing I shall do
Get things out of my system
So that they don't become the burden in me

Feelings of
Being torned
Breaking down
And the noisy world
Now irks me

The consolation
I have been through darker moments
And have managed to survive

There are still other things to be treasured
Hanging on to see brighter moments

Monday, July 07, 2008

Week 27 of year 2008 on the double bass

29 Jun 2008, Sun: I started with playing the first movement from Dittersdorf's Second Double Bass Concerto. The focus was on playing short yet clearly articulated strokes.

Afterwhich, I worked on just a couple of bars from the cadenza of the second movement from Dittersdorf's Second Double Bass Concerto. There was a G-major arpeggio in this couple of bars and I had to spend more than 20 minutes just practising the arpeggio that consists of 14 notes. The aim was to achieve a warm tone with accurate intonation. I got a bit closer to aim by the end of the practice but I reckon I would need more practice.

30 Jun 2008, Mon: I played Faure's Sicilienne and the first and second movements from Dittersdorf's Second Double Bass Concerto. My concentration level did not seem to be optimal perhaps due to a sense of tiredness from the work day. I wish I had better intonation.

3 Jul 2008, Thu: During double bass lesson, MJ demonstrated Osborne's Gargoyles. He gave me advice on the fingerings to some of the more difficult parts. This would helped me get started faster on this work. I was impressed how he knows every note on the double bass at the back of his fingertips. It was inspiring for me.

After a pretty long time working on Osborne's Gargoyles, I played the cadenza from the second movement of Dittersdorf's Second Double Bass Concerto. I still need more work to get a fine legato line.

MJ said that I could sit for Diploma exams in double bass (music performance) by November 2008, though I was not sure if I could master the works to an appropriate standard by then. Was I being critical? I just wanted to play confidently, with musicality.

5 Jul 2008, Sat: On 4 Jul 2008, I had intentionally excuse myself early from the gathering for Friends of to practise. However, by the time that I reached home and settled down, it was close to 11 p.m. and I was too tired to practise. Anyway, on 5 Jul 2008, I practised the second movement of Dittersdorf's Second Double Bass Concerto. I badly needed a more fuller tone on my double bass.

I did not have the energy to work on Osborne's Gargoyles. Hopefully, I could work on it soon.

It had been a rather vexing practising week. I am feeling uncertain if I would be competent enough to register to take a diploma exams in music performance in double bass. I wanted a sound that I am still trying to figure how to achieve on my double bass. What kept me going was the faith that somehow the time spent practising would help me somehow improve my playing even though I don't know how.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The battle with darkness

The doubts, the despair and a sense of being lost
The battle with darkness
Comes every now and then
Is that the test of growing up?

Groping through the darkness
Heading for the light
How to head towards it?
And how to hang on till I find it?

This battle
Its ups and downs
I have won earlier battles
May I continue to triumph.

Back to Mozart's time

This afternoon, I experienced the privilege of being a member of the National Museum of Singapore. I was at the counter to purchase a ticket to the exhibition, Mozart: A Child Prodigy, and I was pleasantly told that members of the National Museum of Singapore could enter the exhibition free simply by showing the staff at the exhibition the membership card.

Today's the last day of the exhibition. As such, I decided to check it out on my own. I simply hope that the exhibition could shed me more light about Mozart and the society that he had lived in. At the start of the exhibition, all participants were treated to an introduction that outlines what we would get to see at the exhibition. I learnt that Mozart's full name is a very long one. I can't remember what it should be, but according to wikipedia, it should be "Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart".

After the introduction, participants like myself could view the exhibits at our own pace. There were several sections. From this exhibition, I learnt a bit more about how the nobility of Mozart's lifetime dress themselves up. I also learnt that in those days, people would go to the barber not just to have their hair cut. They could go to barber-surgeons to have their teeth pulled out.

Mozart: A Child Prodigy could be deemed as an exhibition whereby visitors learn through hands-on activities. Visitors could have the chance to make white paper wigs for themselves, write calligraphy using a quill pen, and dress themselves up like people of the 18th century.

It was a challenge to write with a quill as I was not used to writing with it.

Wigs galore.

There was a horse carriage that visitors could ride on. I did not go up the carriage for fear that my built as an adult might cause it to collapse. Nevertheless, it was interesting to see children having fun sitting inside the carriage. I was told by the explanatory notes that it wasn't that fun being in such carriages because it could be rather uncomfortable being in it for long hours. I wonder how Mozart had ever withstand the long hours travelling about in such carriages.

There was a section on herbs and remedies. I learnt that in those days, people use tooth powder to clean their teeth instead of the toothpaste that we use today. The ingredients in the tooth powder of those days were baking soda, anise and cloves, if I remember correctly.

Tooth Powder in the making.

The children who were at the exhibition looked as if they have great fun learning and trying out the various activities. My favourite part of the exhibition was that for the entire duration while I was at the exhibition, I get to hear music composed by Mozart. Classical music appeals to my ears way better than pop-music of my time.

The exhibition, Mozart: A Child Prodigy, was organised by the ZOOM Kindermuseum and DA PONTE Institute, in cooperation with the ARTEX Art Services, Vienna, Austria.

I personally think that an exhibition like this is an interesting way to get children interested about heritage and the museums. I think that it is a great audience-creation strategy to engage children to visit the museums when they are young. Looking back, my interest in museum probably started because I had pretty positive experiences visiting museums when I was a child. Hopefully there would be more similar exhibitions in the future.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Ulu Pandan Heritage Trail - The Bridge

In a recent post on, there is a link to Lam Chun See's post about the railway bridge that crosses over Sungei Ulu Pandan. Check the post out here: Ulu Pandan Heritage Trail - The Bridge.

Even though I don't live nearby this bridge, I had got to see it from afar for at least over a period four years every time when I am on the bus on my way to NUS Kent Ridge campus, and on my way home from the campus. I have a few friends who live nearby the bridge as well. I hope that this post would bring them some fond memories.

Friday, July 04, 2008

An exhausting week

After an extremely stressful work-week last week, this work-week had been an exhausting one. I am thankful that there are colleagues who have rendered their words and acts of concern. It comforts me to know that there are people who care. I think their concern have helped me cope better. At least, I am feeling a little less anxious even though workload continues to be pretty challenging, if not more than last week.

On the side, I shall be thankful that I have a chance to work so hard. There are people who yearn very much for a chance to work and to contribute to society, but still did not get a job. I hope they would somehow clear the obstacles and the prejudice, and perhaps overcome their own emotional disappointments with how things have turned out.

July and August would be months that I won't be able to take long breaks from work due to some prior work commitments. At the same time, as I needed very much a long break from work, I shall start looking for a tour agency to make flight and hotel reservations for a trip to Sydney, Australia. The plan is to visit Australia in mid September. Hopefully, I could make a one-day stay at Melbourne too. This would be a trip to meet up with a few of my friends and to take a breather.

Mystic suggested that I enquire with SA Tours. I shall see what it could offer to someone like me who prefers to go free-and-easy, and travels most likely alone. Travelling solo could be a confidence building experience which my trip to London (in year 2005) has proved to be.

Meantime, I just wish I could effectively live the next few weeks with ease and stride.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Treats to music on 5 Jul 2008

Enjoya free concert tomorrow on 5 Jul 2008 (i.e. tomorrow!) performed by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra at 1:00pm, at the Esplanade Concert Hall. Free admission on a first-come-first-served basis. This concert is conducted by Lim Yau.

For more information on the programme for this concert, please visit:

If I could attend this concert, I would listen out particularly for Satie's Gymnopédie No.3 orchestrated by Debussy. Somehow, I like its sense of melancholy and simplicity. Anyway, I already have work commitments tomorrow and couldn't be there. It is times like this that I wish for greater flexibility with my working hours. Anyway, I shall be thankful. I could be here posting this post because of time-off-in-lieu.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The transformation of a piece of land

It brings me pleasure to share with reads of this blog one of my latest posts on Growing up in Ang Mo Kio: From bus interchange to AMK Hub

Hear snippets about what the land which AMK Hub now sits on used to be, and witness snapshots of how that piece of land transformed from a barren piece of land to AMK Hub.

I won't promise an information post. Afterall, I had intended the photos to bring readers to a world of nostalgis, that is if readers happen to be familiar with that part of Ang Mo Kio.