Blog To Express

A blogosphere learning experience to express with blog

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Location: Singapore, Singapore

A "recycled teenager" learning to blog.

Aug 30, 2010

"New Look" versus "Old Look"

A group of "Hair for Hope" shavees posing before the event.

My previous blog on "Going Bald...Just to Blog" written in a somewhat flippant and light and humorous style to share my personal experience as "in praise of the bald".

Take a LOOK...isn't it KOOL! Read that word backwards. Cool ;)

One year later, I volunteered to expose my naked scalp boldly in public for a good cause for the "Hair for Hope".

The mission of the "Hair for Hope"to "Stand in solidarity with children impacted by cancer. Shave with us. Donate to the cause. SUPPORT HAIR FOR HOPE!" for "Children's Cancer Foundation" . More information about CCF here and the shavees' thoughts, messages and stories here .

On 29 August, 2010, Changi Simei Citizens' Consultative Committee (CCC) was supporting the Children’s Cancer Foundation and the first time, the Children's Cancer Foundation (CCF) was working with a grassroots organisation in the "Hair for Hope" event.

This photo shows me on stage to expertly shaved my head by a volunteer students from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE).

Quite a challenge for my ITE friend though. My hair was the shortest among the shavees within the shortest time job done. Fortunately, I had a pledge donation card completed to get a free haircut :)

Mr Jason Ong, a regular veteran "Hair for Hope" supporter for several years to donate hair and cash (in the form of donation pledge). This year, Jason encouraged his young son and daughter to shave their heads for the first time.

Jason's both children were initially hesitant and shy, naturally. Which modern schooldays kids would do that today?

How many students in Singapore know that "Yang Zheng School" formerly located at Chinatown in the early days, it was compulsory for the students to be bald-headed as part of the school uniform?

Nonetheless, Jason had given his children the moral support for the "Hair for Hope"; brave to join other shavees to help the children who are suffering from cancer and illness. This is to inculcate a sense of compassion and kindness of the less fortunate in the community.

Jason and his children with their photo taken before the event.

Jason and his children with their photo taken after the event.

More photo gallery slideshow of the "Hair for Hope" @ Changi Simei here .

Shavees with certificates of appreciation with the Changi Simei CCC officials.

Here goes with the "New Look" versus "Old Look" blog below:

Well, one year after my "new look" tonsorial journey to experience my shaved head style. To cut a long story short, or rather a hair short, its been a year now and really my "old look" loves it! No regrets.

Some history about hairstyle:

The Manchu Dynasty upon conquering China in 1644 the following year demanded that Chinese men adopt the Manchu pigtail as an act of submission. Chinese boys and men until the Revolution were famous for wearing plaited pigtails. Chinese men shaved the front of their head, then combed the back hair into braids. They used not only their own natural hair, but also horsehair or black silk. The Chinese came to see their braided pigtails a sign of dignity and manhood. For the Chinese, to pull on another's pigtails was a great insult. Unmarried Chinese girls also often wore their hair in pigtails. It was a pervasive style in the 19th century. Most Chinese immigrants that came to America in the 19th century had these plaited pigtails.

Without Dr. Sun Yat-sen, everyone should imagine ourselves to be wearing pigtail this modern time.

Closer home, the former Foreign Minister Mr S Rajaratnam eloquently explained "Why we declared on long hairs - by Raja" as excerpted in The Straits Times, 16 January, 1972. That of course, was Singapore many yesterday history during the "hippies culture" and the influence of young Americans protesting againt the Vietnam wars. World history is the lessons to learn today though.

[...Turning to critics of the Government's action, he said: "The Government is not concerned with whether men have long hair, short hair or no hair at all. It is not so stupid as to believe that the future of Singapore will be determined by the length of the dead cells its citizens sprout.

Predictably, alarmist cries have been raised that the current campaign against the shaggy-doggy look is a prelude to the death of democracy: to the establishment of dictatorship by the short-haired.

He said: "Now let me say that not all who sport long hair are apostles of hippie cults".]

Next on to my favorite Western movie hero, Yul Brynner of "The King and I" fame.

Yul was famed as much his completely bald head as for his performances. I didn't know whether there were any photos of him with wigs or to remain publicly shown as part of his movies contracts.

Hair is a crown of glory. Not many young bald-headed fans of Yul Brynner to go hairless for what I had known.

Here's good looking Yul Brynner without hair. Anyone would like to photoshop Yul Brynner with any hairstyle you like?

It doesn't matter for fun around this image editing application software. Its virtual.


Incidentally, I had omitted the 10th reason to go bald.

If ever I were young once more and a TV celebrity and need to look for talented David Gan . Please find out why!

Just kidding!

To all my friends, neighbors, and everyone who helped to sponsor me for my "Hair for Hope" pledge card, I thank you for your generosity for the Children’s Cancer Foundation. God Bless!


Aug 22, 2010

No Two Stories Are Alike

The Prudential ad slogan on the bus.

The bus ad slogan, click on images to enlarge.

This blog topic is quoted from the latest Prudential insurance campaign ad slogan:

"We listen. And we know that no two stories are alike".

Sounds nice.

Apparently we are talking about people. Not things though.

It has never amused me as an "ad slogan fan". The ad copywriters are very creative people and these ad slogans know how to KISS (Keep It Sweet and Short) which attracts the attention of the target audience. Simple wordcrafted short phrases in a candid ad with easy to remember at a glance.

Please check out my previous blog on a related blog topic about ad slogans at: "Creative Ad Slogans of 1960s" .

Another one from NTUC Income: "Same, same...but different". Lots of different meanings in them. This is funky, don't you think so ;)

No two stories are alike with people, special is everyone as humans. Not Martians!

Remembered "Dolly" the cloned sheep many years ago?

Cloned "Dolly the Sheep" on the TIME cover.

People cannot be cloned with experiment in the science labs. God forbid! Please create all creatures big and small, not cloned. Each individual is born special.

Although cloned sheep may look alike in similar appearance, they are never the same. No two stories are alike for all the cloned "Dollies".

So...same, same...but different! No two stories are alike!

A friend forwarded me the following link to share here:

What Happened in My Birth Year .... a nostalgia look back

This is really slick based on western history. However, it would be a good idea to modify it as "What Happened in My Birth Date/Year/Country". Any takers to work on a similar concept for this project? It would be interesting.

Just type in your year of birth and watch!

You'll enjoy this. . . (as a test for my own birth year in 1948) below:

Try it out for yourself: "What happend in my birth year" .

I hope to have a version on the history and news reports on Singapore in 1948.

In 1948, the world was a different place.

There was no Google yet. Or Yahoo. Or, for that matter.

In 1948, the year of your birth, the top selling movie was Easter Parade. People buying the popcorn in the cinema lobby had glazing eyes when looking at the poster.

Remember, that was before there were DVDs. Heck, even before there was VHS. People were indeed watching movies in the cinema, and not downloading them online. Imagine the packed seats, the laughter, the excitement, the novelty. And mostly all of that without 3D computer effects.

Do you know who won the Oscars that year? The academy award for the best movie went to Hamlet. The Oscar for best foreign movie that year went to Monsieur Vincent. The top actor was Laurence Olivier for his role as Hamlet, Prince of Denmark in Hamlet. The top actress was Jane Wyman for her role as Belinda McDonald in Johnny Belinda. The best director? John Huston for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

In the year 1948, the time when you arrived on this planet, books were still popularly read on paper, not on digital devices. Trees were felled to get the word out. The number one US bestseller of the time was The Big Fisherman by Lloyd C. Douglas. Oh, that's many years ago. Have you read that book? Have you heard of it?

In 1948... Mahatma Gandhi begins his fast-unto-death in Delhi, to stop the communal violence during the Partition of India. The Italian republican constitution goes into effect. Scientists Ralph Alpher and George Gamow publish the Alpher-Bethe-Gamow paper about the big bang. The World Health Organization is established by the United Nations. Chaim Weizmann is elected as the first President of Israel. Killer smog settles into Donora, Pennsylvania. The world's first Air Car-ferry service is flown by a Bristol Freighter of Silver City Airways from Lympne to Le Touquet. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands abdicates for health reasons.

That was the world you were born into. Since then, you and others have changed it.

The Nobel prize for Literature that year went to T. S. Eliot. The Nobel prize for physics went to Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett from the United Kingdom for his development of the Wilson cloud chamber method, and his discoveries therewith in the fields of nuclear physics and cosmic radiation.

The sensation this created was big. But it didn't stop the planets from spinning, on and on, year by year.

Years in which you would grow bigger, older, smarter, and, if you were lucky, sometimes wiser. Years in which you also lost some things. Possessions got misplaced. Memories faded. Friends parted ways.

The best friends, you tried to hold on. This is what counts in life, isn't it?

The 1940s were indeed a special decade. World War II continued, affecting people in Europe, Asia and elsewhere. The post war world encouraged decolonization, new states and governments emerged, while others declared independence, often not without bloodshed. The dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four is published, picturing a totalitarian Big Brother regime controllings its citizens. The NATO gets established.

Iceland declares independence Denmark. Mao Zedong's Chinese Communist Party is victorious in the Chinese Civil War. Mathematics sees the invention of cryptography. Ballistic missiles are created.

Do you remember the movie that was all the rage when you were 15? 55 Days at Peking. Do you still remember the songs playing on the radio when you were 15? Maybe it was Walk Like a Man by The Four Seasons. Were you in love? Who were you in love with, do you remember?

In 1948, 15 years earlier, a long time ago, the year when you were born, the song I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover by Art Mooney topped the US charts. Do you know the lyrics? Do you know the tune? Sing along.

I'm looking over a four-leaf clover
That I overlooked before
One leaf is sunshine, the second is rain
Third is the roses that grow in the lane

There's a kid outside, shouting, playing. It doesn't care about time. It doesn't know about time. It shouts and it plays and thinks time is forever. You were once that kid.

When you were 9, the movie The Pied Piper of Hamelin was playing. When you were 8, there was Around the World in Eighty Days.

Progress, year after year. Do you wonder where the world is heading towards? The technology available today would have blown your mind in 1948. Do you know what was invented in the year you were born?

The Long Playing Record. Holography.

It's a photograph taken in Paris at the end of the honeymoon
In 1948, late in the month of June
Your parents smile for the camera in the sienna shades of light
Now you're older than they were then that summer night

That's from the song Come on Come On by Mary Chapin Carpenter.

In 1948, a new character entered the world of comic books: The Mad Hatter. Bang! Boom! But that's just fiction, right? In the real world, in 1948, Al Gore was born. And Alice Cooper. James Taylor, too. And you, of course. Everyone an individual. Everyone special. Everyone taking a different path through life.

It's 2010.

The world is a different place.

What path have you taken?

*This site was created by Philipp Lenssen in 2010. Please email me at for feedback. Some content of this site is from Creative Commons licensed Wikipedia with credit to its individual authors. This site is also CC licensed. Covers are reproduced here under fair use and copyright to their individual publishers. Here's another site I hope you enjoy: Bomomo.
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"ReTRIeVIA" blog on "1948 Nobel Prize for Literature" this postage stamp information.


Aug 11, 2010

45th National Day Parade at Padang

Singapore 45th National Day on 9th August, 2010 at "The Padang".

Singapore 1st National Day on 9th August, 1966 at "The Padang".

The venue of 45th National Day Parade 2010 is at the historical grounds of the Padang, where the declaration of Singapore's independence was held on 9th August, 1965.

None of the replays that we saw from the perspective of 45 years at the wink of an eye, from the first National Day birthday on 9th August, 1966 to the 45th on 9th August, 2010. So much has changed...from the unknown National Day theme to this year's theme 'Live Our Dreams And Fly Our Flags'.

There are many blogs about the Singapore 45th National Day celebration and the National Day Parade at the Padang and the various neighbourhood NDP venues. Please check them out.

Laokokok's "1st National Day Parade at the Padang" on his "Times of My Life" blog posted with many memorable photos of the event.

Uncle Dick Yip, the Wise Old Owl, at his "THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND...and MINE TOO" which he penned his thoughts on this eve of our 45th National Day, "I wonder if we as a people, fully realise how fortunate and blessed we are as a nation. 9 August 1965 remains to be a day and date our people of Singapore will never, ever forget".

"The Exodus Song" ("This Land Is Mine" patriotic song are found several versions on YouTube).

My personal favorite is by Andy Williams here .

Unfortunately, the YouTube message: "This video contains content from Sony Music Entertainment, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds".

The lyrics below:
This land is mine, God gave this land to me
This brave and ancient land to me
And when the morning sun reveals her hills and plain
Then I see a land where children can run free

So take my hand and walk this land with me
And walk this lovely land with me
Though I am just a man, when you are by my side
With the help of God, I know I can be strong

Though I am just a man, when you are by my side
With the help of God, I know I can be strong

To make this land our home
If I must fight, I'll fight to make this land our own
Until I die, this land is mine
This brave and ancient land to me, to every people of every country.

Including our country and our nation. From that day 9th August, 1965, the Republic of Singapore was proclaimed and the birthday of a country of our people regardless of race, language and religion as declared in our nation's Pledge. An emphasis of an unique country no different from other countries.

In the same manner, every person is an individual born on a special date, time, place. Even twins could not be born exactly at the same time. Each with one's life of his or her own to lead a different lifestyle, personality or characteristic.

On Internet, "real estate" is virtual and not really a physical place.

"This land is mine, God gave this land to me". God bless the custodians of our people to take good care in the hands of the people of Singapore for 45 years and beyond. Keep up the country's peace and prosperity forever more.

After 45 years, Singapore has governed and inherited the various historical landmarks from the colonial British since 1819 founded by Stamford Raffles on this island.

Despite the vanishing of old places and buildings (a classic example of which was the red brick building of National Library at Stamford Road) in Singapore, it reminds me the precious Padang and Singapore River located at central Downtown Singapore. These two bundle of land in Singapore are the national treasure which have been built and developed since the days of Stamford Raffles.

Please find more information about the Padang, Singapore and our Singapore River at Wikipedia and other Internet resources.

Here's a quiz:

What is the size and area of the original Padang (excluding the location of the Singapore Cricket Club and the Singapore Recreation Club?

Another quiz:

Are the Padang and Singapore River gazetted as heritage conservation land and river in Singapore?

Many years ago before my late father walked down Singapore River and along the Boat Quay and Amoy Street where he had worked since he immigrated from China in a tongkang to Singapore where he landed at Boat Quay. He used to tell me stories of this place.

On Singapore River in the olden days.

Boat Quay then and now...

A Chinese translator/story teller at Boat Quay (Circa 1950)
Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

After work in the evening for a simple recreation pre-TV and Internet days, my father and his other friends migrated from Quemoy village would regularly to chitchat in Hokkien and talk about old days and exchange notes with "newbies" arrival in Singapore. Moreover, the cramped wooden rooms rented in Chinatown spend the evening away at the Padang for a wide-open field space to cool themselves.

A photo taken in July, 1985 at the Padang with 1-year-old Wei.

Another photo taken with Wei at the Padang, with City Hall in the background.

How did the Singaporeans have their Singapore Memories to share about the Padang from generation to generation?

From childhood to adulthood...from kids to parents, grandparents, great grandparents to remember?

The Padang in front of City Hall, Singapore in the 1960s.

The Padang in front of City Hall, Singapore in the 1980s.

A bird's eye view of the Padang and the Singapore River.
Photo Credit: Paul Edwick

On this personal blog to express my remembrance for the Padang, my wishes for the 100th birthday of Singapore's National Day to be celebrated at the same Padang on 9th August, 2066. For sure I wouldn't then be there to participate our Singapore First Century National Day. Majullah Singapore! Long Live Singapore to strive on together for the unity and prosperity of our forefathers who built this land.

Happy National Day!


Aug 7, 2010

Community Volunteerism

Ms Jessica Tan Soon Neo, Member of Parliament for East Coast GRC, and Adviser to East Coast GRC Grassroots Organisations presented People's Association Community Long Service Awards 2010.

The Community Long Service 10-Years Award by People's Association.

An honour as a volunteer to serve the community in a modest contribution with low profile. For this personal blog, it appears that I am blowing my trumpet to have a ten minute fame and the chance once in awhile to show-off and taking an ego trip...just kidding ;)

At the Changi Simei National Day Dinner 2010 on Friday, 6 August, 2010 at 7:00 pm at the Changkat Changi Secondary School, the PA community long service is awarded annually during National Day Dinner and presented in multiple of 5-years for each PA community long service. There were several volunteers with 35 years service at this year's long service awardees and I salute them.

The purpose of community volunteerism according to the People's Association publicity banner is:

[PA volunteers are people who want to make a difference in the community and enrich the lives of others around them. When you join us as a volunteer, not only will you contribute to your community, but also become part of a strong network of friends and neighbours who help each other in times of need. Give yourself the satisfaction of being a respected and valued contributor to your community. Let us build a great home and caring community together.]

Visit your nearest Community Club or Residents" Committee Centre or sign up at People's Association as a volunteer.

It is heartening to note that more Singaporeans, regardless of young or old, all walks of life are coming forward to contribute their parts, big or small, to volunteer whatever their ways to help our community in Singapore.

When I was in secondary three in school, I was a Junior Red Cross member.

The motto of the Red Cross is "Serve One Another". (Translated as "益人益他" in Chinese).

Besides learning first-aid and march drill training, the Junior Red Cross activities include visits to Old Aged Home, Orphanage and Disabled Chidren's Homes to accompany the inmates to entertain and play games with them.

On every Tuesday afternoon after school, my three other member volunteers as a Library Service at the Singapore General Hospital at Outram Road, Singapore to distribute books and magazines in English, Chinese, Tamil on a trolley to the various patients at the hospital wards.

On each assignment at the voluntary Library Service, the Officers-in-Charge were rostered by two English ladies who were Red Cross HQ members, the wives of the British servicemen stationed in Singapore at that time.

"When the British announced its plans to withdraw its troops from Singapore by the mid-1970, the volunteer British housewives would also leave Singapore".

The British housewives once asked me why very few Singaporean housewives volunteer community service (e.g. Red Cross Library Service) at that time. "What would happen to the Singaporean volunteers when a vacuum was left after the British forces withdrew?"

Fortunately, the People's Association then launched an active campaign to recruit Singaporeans of all ages to volunteer our community, at all constituencies island-wide. This issue on community volunteerism in Singapore was addressed to the British lady's concern over forty years ago. At the back of their mind, community volunteerism expect our people to look after ourselves to be self-reliant as an independent nation. We are grateful to our British volunteers and appreciate their generous assistance while they were still in Singapore before the pullout of the forces.

In the 1980s when I joined community volunteerism as a member of the West Coast Zone 3 Residents Committee, to organise a
National Library Book Exhibition at the HDB void deck.

While my children were schooling, they have benefitted in the community centres and the residents' committees to learn, play, making friends in the neighbourhood and involved in the heartland community. Home is where we live and interact with the community neighbourhood, not just a house to stay.

Community volunteerism is evolving and need to adapt the needs of every generation, every Singaporean young and old to serve the community.

As Winston Churchill said: "You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give".