Thursday, February 26, 2009

I ask for a favour

The NUS Symphony Orchestra Presents
A New Season

(part of the NUS Arts Festival 2009)
Saturday, 14 March 2009, 8pm,
University Cultural Centre Concert Hall
Tickets at $15 and $18 (includes Sistic charge)


A New Season is the concert that celebrates the 30th anniversary of the NUS Symphony Orchestra, the orchestra which yours truly is currently playing in. The exciting thing is that the orchestra will premiere Emily Koh's About E.C.O, a composition wholly inspired by man's relationship with our environment.

The Guest-of-Honour for the event is Mr. Paul Abisheganaden, founder and first conductor of the NUS Symphony Orchestra, then known as the NUS Concert Orchestra.

It is just a fornight away from the concert, and it is greatly hoped that friends, ex-members, well-wishers of supporters of the NUS Symphony Orchestra could join us to celebrate the special occasion.

Here is a favour to ask. It will be amazing to experience the power of the blogging world. I ask of you that wherever you are, whether or not you could attend this concert, please help spread the word of the concert on your blog so that more friends, ex-members, well-wishers of supporters of the NUS Symphony Orchestra would get to know about the concert, and perhaps some may join us for this special occasion.

Tickets to this concert is available from SISTIC.

SMETANA The Moldau from "My Fatherland"
VIVALDI Selections from "The Four Season"
1. Autumn
2. Winter
SCHUMANN Symphony No. 1 in B-flat Major, Op. 38, "Spring"

I look forward to play for you.

Learning about Thaipusam in the year 2009

Sri Thendayuthapani Temple

I write this post to share with anyone of my friends who wish to get a glimpse of Thaipusam. This post is specially written for you.

I have lived in Singapore for close to three decades. I have heard about the festival of Thaipusam ever since I was in Primary School. I have caught glimpses of a Thaipusam procession taking place just once in my life, on a bus. However, for the past years, I have never made time to participate in the Thaipusam festival so as to experience it. I am glad that I have made time to observe the festival, and even walked the 4 kilometres walk that devotees would make from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple (along Serangoon Road) to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple (at Tank Road).

As mentioned in one of my earlier posts, the Thaipusam festival is dedicated to Lord Subramaniam, also known as Lord Murugan. It "commemorates the feats of the Hindu God, Lord Subramaniam, son of Lord Siva. It also acknowledges Subramaniam's triumph over the evil forces." (Source: Singapore Infopedia).

I am glad that this year Thaipusam was celebrated on the weekends. This made it much more convenient for me to make time to learn about it. The most challenging part was to figure out when would be a good time to experience the Thaipusam. I have, admittedly, very limited knowledge of the festival. I am just starting to learn about it.

Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple

How did I get myself started? First of all, I used the online search engines to find out about the festival. Then I asked a friend of mine who's an Indian and she kindly directed me to the website of the Hindu Endowments Board and I found out more about the schedules for Thaipusam 2009. The next step was to make time to observe the festival.

Tents for dismantle of kavadi

On 7 Feb 2009, I visited the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple and the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in the mid afternoon when there was no crowd yet. There was a sense of peace as people in the temple attempted to prepare for the festival.

I realised that there were Chinese who had volunteered to prepare free flow of food for the devotees. Preparations for the food had started way before the event started.

Food preparations at Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple

Nearby Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple was a Thaipusam Heritage Corner that was set up just opposite the Serangoon Plaza. The exhibits there gave visitors a better appreciation of the festival. I was grateful that a youth volunteer took time to explain the exhibits to me, and to enlighten me with the significance of the heritage.

The Heritage Corner.

An exhibit featuring the Vel.

At the exhibition, I learnt about Lord Murugan's Vel. It is a divine spear that symbolises "Gnana Sakthi" (Power of Knowledge) and is considered "one of the most powerful weapons against ills and negative characteristics such as ignorance, lust, anger etc. Interestingly, the various parts of the Vel symbolises different values and virtues. For example, "the point of the Vel symbolises the need to sharpen our minds so as to differentiate between good and evil".

The exhibition also showed photos that depicted how Thaipusam was celebrated decades ago. In those days, the chariot in the procession was pulled by animals such as the bull. Today, it is moved using machinery. Whatever it is, my sense of Thaipusam is that faith is always alive in the hearts of the devotees no matter how Thaipusam is being celebrated over the years.

After viewing the Thaipusam Heritage Corner, my next destination was Chinatown. I was planning to witness the Silver Chariot Procession that would start at 6 p.m. from the Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple along Keong Saik Road.

Meantime, please stay tuned for my next post on Thaipusam 2009.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I am thankful for good luck

I am feeling thankful today. This morning I was listening to my favourite radio station, possibly the only radio station that I now listen to, Symphony 92.4 FM. There was a live call-in contest to win a pair of tickets to the Singapore Symphony Orchestra's upcoming concert. I have a friend of mine who had wanted to catch a concert at the Esplanade Concert Hall. With my friend in mine, I made a couple of attempts to call in the radio station. I was about to give up because I simply could not dial through after several attempts, but when I decided to make one final attempt, the line actually connected!

As such, I was the lucky winner for today to win a pair of tickets to the concert Fantasies and Confessions. The deejay was very friendly over the phone. Singapore Symphony Orchestra will perform the following this coming Saturday:

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS - Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
SHOSTAKOVICH - Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor, Op. 35
MUSSORGSKY - Night on a Bald Mountain
MACMILLAN - The Confession of Isobel Gowdie

Maybe the lessons to learn from this call-in contest are: Stay hopeful and count one's blessings?

As I end this post, I wish you good luck too.

I'm here for you

Sail and find your dreams
I shall be your customised port
Here for you
To anchor and restock
And to shield you from the storms and waves
When you decided that it's time to return

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Upcoming concert

Your support will be most appreciated for the following concert. There will be a premiere of About E.C.O. composed by one of my friends, Emily. Yours truly will be playing in this concert.

The NUS Symphony Orchestra Presents
A New Season

(part of the NUS Arts Festival 2009)
Saturday, 14 March 2009, 8pm,
University Cultural Centre Concert Hall
Tickets at $15 and $18 (includes Sistic charge)

Join the NUS Symphony Orchestra for an evening stroll through the seasons, with a perfectly-themed repertoire inspired by nature, as we celebrate 30 years of touching lives with music!

Bringing the orchestra to new heights is the premiere of a composition by homegrown talent Emily Koh, wholly inspired by man's relationship with our environment. Infusing interactive digital media into symphonic music, this newly commissioned work is guaranteed to stimulate the senses and elevate the audience experience.

More familiar are Smetana's Die Moldau and excerpts from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, which will feature the virtuosity of two young and gifted soloists from the School of the Arts Singapore, Helena Dawn Yah and Ryce Lee.

It is, however, Schumann's "Spring" Symphony No. 1 that promises to be the highlight of this milestone concert – its fanfare signifying spring-awakening, with its longing for a lush springtime and the preparation for the new season.

The Guest-of-Honour for the event is Mr. Paul Abisheganaden, founder and first conductor of the NUS Symphony Orchestra, then known as the NUS Concert Orchestra.

SMETANA The Moldau from "My Fatherland"
VIVALDI Selections from "The Four Season"
1. Autumn
2. Winter
SCHUMANN Symphony No. 1 in B-flat Major, Op. 38, "Spring"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The historic Fort Canning on HTV

View Source.

HTV stands for Heritage TV.

There is a new episode of HTV, and it features Fort Canning, a place which I used to visit fairly often during my undergraduate days. I used to go there to look at sculptures that were on display at Fort Canning back in those years. The next reason why I had visited Fort Canning Hill was that I needed to find ways to while my time constructively, on the pretext of visiting Fort Canning Hill to sketch.

Anyway, in short, Fort Canning Hill holds some fond memories for me. It therefore brings me great pleasure to share with you the latest episode of HTV.

What makes Fort Canning Hill an important place in the history of Singapore? Who was the last king of Singapore? How does it look like? Find out more in this episode of HTV titled On the Historic Fort Canning trail.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk

UCC in the early morning.

I am pleased with myself for waking up at 4.30 a.m. in the morning on 14 Feb 2009 so that I could reach the National University of Singapore, University Cultural Centre (UCC), by 7 a.m. What was I doing there so early in the morning?

About a week ago, Kenneth sent me and the an email to inform us of the The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk that would take place on 14 Feb 2009, 7 a.m. - 12 p.m. I have been wanting to attend this walk for the past few years but the walk in previous years were held on Sundays when I usually have rehearsals. When I realised that this year's The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk were to fall on a day when I was free, I readily signed myself up for the walk.

Initially, I was wondering if I could indeed wake up early enough to reach the starting point in time. It was actually a challenge. I was still half-asleep when I got myself out of bed at 4.30 a.m. Anyway, I managed to catch up on a few winks on my journey to the National University of Singapore (NUS). I am glad that I have made it for the walk. It was an enriching walk that opened me to many new things that I was unaware of.

Firstly, I did not know that the area of land in the photo right above was actually the start of the Battle of Pasir Panjang (year 1942). The area of land in the photo is near Reformatory Road which is known today as "Clementi Road". The Malay Regiment had fought a heroic battle against the Japanese right from this part of Singapore in Feb 1942. I do hope that I have heard the guides of the walk clearly enough to get my facts as correct as possible. Meantime, Wikipedia may shed a bit more light on the subject of the Battle of Pasir Panjang.

During the walk, the guides pointed us to various heritage-trail boards like the one right above. Many of these boards were rather new to me. I do not remember seeing them when I was an undergraduate taking lessons at the National University of Singapore. I thank the sponsors who have made these heritage-trail boards possible.

The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk is not merely about history. I was enlightened with some geography knowledge during the walk. I learnt what a ridge is. In addition, many of the guides of the walk were biology enthuasiasts and graduates. While I was on the walk, I was enriched with knowledge of the flora and fauna along the Southern Ridges. Like all other participants who took part in the walk, I had the pleasure to look for and identify plants such as the Dillenia Suffruticosa (commonly known as Simpoh Air). Chun See of Good Morning Yesterday has wrote a post titled Traditional Food Packaging that shares how the leaf of this plant was used to wrap and pack rojak.

Simpoh Air.

During the walk, participants also learnt how the figs are being pollinated by wasps. We also had the chance to look at the molt of a cicada.

For me, the most interesting part of the walk was that I get to know of places in NUS that I have never been to before in my entire life. The Commemorative Walk took us to what used to be a military outpost observation-post that was nearby Point 270 of Kent Ridge. I think I would never know of the location of the outpost if I had not gone for the commemorative walk.

The walk also brought us to an important marker that marks the change of the name of Pasir Panjang Ridge to Kent Ridge. It is fascinating how the few lines of words can tell so much of history.

What was enlightening was that the guides also shared about how we can be more mindful of conserving and respecting our environment. Simple thing like bringing along our own water bottles when we attend outdoor events and not relying on getting water contained in disposable plastic bottle can go an extra mile to reduce waste. I have also learnt how the delicate balance of the ecology system can be affected by excessive fogging and use of insecticide that kills insects indiscrimately when the target was mosquitoes that cause dengue fever.

Taken at Reflections At Bukit Chandu.
Malay Regiment. Officer's Uniform.

Eventually, before I knew it, five hours had passed and we reached the destination of the walk, the gallery: Reflections at Bukit Chandu. Since I was at the gallery, I gladly got myself an admission ticket to the gallery. Afterall, even though I was exhausted from the 5-hours-walk, it would be efficient if I could visit the gallery while I was already in the vicinity than to make another trip to the gallery on another day. For visitors who want to have a thorough visit of the gallery, it may not be a good idea to visit the gallery immediately after the walk especially if one is exhausted. Yet, it would be quite a worthwhile experience to end the walk by browsing quickly through the various exhibits at the gallery after the walk.

Last but not the least, I would like to thank all the guides of The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk for their dedication and enthusiasm. Thanks for the excellent walk. I won't mind paying a nominal fee for the walk but the organisers of this walk pleasantly surprised me by providing the walk free.

If you should find yourself missing out on a number of things because you did not attend this walk, do consider checking if you could attend this same walk next year. It was worth waking up early in the morning to catch a walk if you are at least interested in history, geography, biology, or just spend a weekend doing something different.

Reflections at Bukit Chandu.

Related posts:
Last weekend’s Battle of Pasir Panjang walk
Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk 2009 Review

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I visited 5 museums at 6 different locations in one day

Singapore Art Museum.

On the last day of last month, I visited five museums at six different locations in one single day. What are the latest exhibitions at some of the museums? What are some exhibitions that I have found worthwhile at the museums?

Find out the answers in my post on Five museums, six locations, in one day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Videos of Thaipusam

After my introductory post on Thaipusam, I figured that it would probably take a while before I sit down to compose another post on Thaipusam, and my experiences observing this festival for the first time in my life on 7 - 8 Feb 2009.

If it does help to lend you some ideas about the Hindu festival of Thaipusam, I shall point you to a couple of videos that were taken during Thaipusam. Some were taken by others (whom I do not know), while the simply plain one was taken by yours truly. I shall share them here with all my friends who are keen to find out more about Thaipusam.

Do also read The Spirit of Thaipusam, found on

: Posted by market2garden.

: Posted by shantishanti17.

Source: Posted by Goforthehole.

The Chariot Procession by yours truly.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Read: Paulo Coelho's LIFE

If reading a book of quotations is considered a form of reading, I would have just finished reading Paulo Coelho's book titled LIFE. This book contains selected quotations from the writings by Paulo Coelho.

This book contains quite a lot of deep and thought-provoking thoughts. I wish I could have more wisdom to better appreciate them.

Monday, February 09, 2009


If you are wondering what festival the devotee in the photo above is celebrating, the answer is that he is celebrating the Hindu festival known as Thaipusam. According to Singapore Infopedia, "Thaipusam is actually derived from the word 'Thai' which means '10th', and 'pusam' meaning'when the moon is at its brightest'". This festival is dedicated to Lord Subramaniam, also known as Lord Murugan.

As best as I can make out from various sources and from speaking with a few of the devotees, Thaipusam is a day for thanksgiving, a day for the Hindus to show sincerity of their faith, a time to demonstrate repentence, and a time for making and fulfilling vows.

This year, Thaipusam was celebrated on 8 Feb 2009.

I managed to catch a part of the Chariot procession that took place on 7 Feb 2009, from 6 - 9 p.m., and a part of the Thaipusam procession that took place on 8 Feb 2009.

This year marks the very first year in my life when I was physically present to observe a Thaipusam celebration. While I take my time to work on writing out my experiences of observing the Thaipusam festival, please do visit Eastcoastlife's blog for her latest blog-entry on this subject of Thaipusam. The post is titled Thaipusam Festival 2009 - WS. Happy reading.

Thaipusam Singapore in Little India - A Festival for the Brave (e-tour Singapore)
Thaipusam - Singapore Infopedia, by Tan, Bonny.
Hindu Endowment Board - Thaipusam 2009

Sunday, February 08, 2009



I very much like this video when I first saw it on 6 Feb 2009.

YEAH! stands for "Young Envoys for Arts and Heritage". If you are, or you know of someone who is, between 18 to 29 years old, and have a genuine interest in the arts, heritage, culture and museums, check out how one can get involved as one of the Young Envoys for Arts and Heritage here:

Friday, February 06, 2009

A brand new


6 Feb 2009 marks the launch of Heritage TV, Singapores first heritage vodcast. I have embedded one of the episodes of Heritage TV on this post for your convenience. Enjoy it.

In addition, undergoes a major transformation to become a one-stop social media platform for citizen-centric heritage and museum content. Do check out's new look here:

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

I am feeling thankful

I am feeling thankful tonight. I have been in the mood to sing for the past few days. It is as if there is something pent up within me eager to be released. On my way to orchestra rehearsal in the evening, I was feeling in need of a good recharge. Orchestra rehearsal earlier tonight had provided a very therapeutic outlet for my strong need to express and to recharge. It is humbling to realise how powerful Music is.

More importantly, I am thankful for the privilege and opportunity to have dinner with one of my good friends earlier this evening. Time with treasured friends are precious to me. I thank her for making the time to have dinner with me.

Now I shall end this post by wishing everyone a restful night. I realised I need to catch up on my rest. Good night.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Mexican Delight with Emily

Free-flow of nachos and salsa.

A couple of weeks ago, Emily was craving for burrito. The least I could do as a friend would be to find a place for good burrito to share the joy of eating burrito with her. We checked the various reviews of Mexican restuarants in Singapore and eventually chose El Patio Mexican Restaurant and Wine Bar.

El Patio Mexican Restaurant and Wine Bar.
34 Lorong Mambong
Holland Village
Tel:6468 1520

Emily is usually only free on Thursday evenings but usually I will be occupied with lessons and lessons. When I realised that I had a Thursday evening free on 29 Jan 2009, I seized the opportunity to ask her out for dinner at El Patio.

El Patio Mexican Restaurant and Wine Bar is located just next to Cha Cha Cha Mexican Restuarant and Bar. After reading the reviews of the Mexican restuarants in Singapore, our final choice was the former. To be honest, I prefer the atmosphere and set-up of the former too.

One thing that I appreciate about the El Patio is that there is free-flow of nachos and salsa. I love the salsa. It was fresh and yummy. When we wanted refills for the nachos and salsa, our requests were promptly acceded to. The nachos were average but it was a very thoughtful gesture to have free-flow appetisers for the guests while the guests were waiting for their orders to be served. Such simple yet thoughtful gesture can easily earn a lot of compliments from me.



We ordered burrito of course. According to what I have found from Wikipedia, burrito "consists of a flour tortilla wrapped or folded around a filling". Emily told me that the burrito that we had ordered was served in a fancy way. Whatever it was, I was pleased when she told me that the burrito from El Patio were up to standards. I tried it and it was good. Yummy.

We also ordered Fajita because the waitress who served us told us that it was one of the recommended dishes to have at El Patio. I later learnt from Wikipedia that Fajita refers to grilled meatserved on a flour or corn tortilla. If I had remembered correctly, we ordered the Mexican Grilled Fajita which consists of various kinds of meat, prawns and salmon. It was served with guacamole. Guacamole was a foreign term to me until I learnt about it while having dinner with Emily at El Patio. In essence, guacamole is an avocado-based relish or dip.

For our drinks, we eventually went along with the waitress' suggestion to get ourselves margarita. Since both Emily and myself did not want alcoholic drinks, we got ourselves non-alcoholic strawberry margarita. It tasted good! I like the interesting and cute jam jars that the drink was served in.

Non-alcoholic margarita.

Enjoying good food was not the sole agenda for the night. I have had a great time catching up with Emily. I felt it was ages ever since I have had a proper time to catch up with her. Here's to wish her all the best in her endeavours. May her dreams be realised!

We ended our meal with a dessert treat to Churros. It was an interesting dessert and was my first time eating it. I was enjoying the novelty that came with eating Churros.


Many thanks to Emily for her wonderful company over dinner. I wish her a fruitful and fulfilling year of 2009.

By the way, our orchestra will be performing one of Emily's compositions, About E.C.O, in our upcoming concert held on 14 Mar 2009. This work is "wholly inspired by Man’s relationship with our environment". The work infuses interactive digital media into symphonic music, and "is guaranteed to stimulate the senses and elevate the audience experience".

Emily will also be having her Senior Recital (graduation recital) on 19 Mar 2009. Do support Emily.