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A "recycled teenager" learning to blog.

Jul 29, 2012

My Way, Your Way, Our Way

After watching the Som Sabadell flashmob in the public square at Placa de Sant Roc on YouTube video at "The Stuff That Memories Are Made Of" blog , I found another YouTube video of "My Way" by Andre Rieu on his violin in New York. This magnificient performance at Radio City Music Hall, New York.

Please watch it. Its awesome!

"My Way" is a song popularized by Frank Sinatra. Its lyrics were written by Paul Anka and set to music based on the French song "Comme d'habitude" composed in 1967 by Claude Francois and Jacques Revaux, with lyrics by Claude Francois and Gilles Thibault.

"My Way" is often quoted as the most covered song in history.

The lyrics of "My Way" tell the story of a man who, having grown old, reflects on his life as death approaches. He is comfortable with his mortality and takes responsibility for how he dealt with all the challenges of life while maintaining a respectable degree of integrity.

American immigration history can be viewed in four epochs: the colonial period, the mid-nineteenth century, the turn of the twentieth century, and post-1965. Each period brought distinct national groups, races and ethnicities to the United States. During the seventeenth century, approximately 175,000 Englishmen migrated to Colonial America..

Over half of all European immigrants to Colonial America during the 17th and 18th centuries arrived as indentured servants.

The mid-nineteenth century saw mainly an influx from northern Europe; the early twentieth-century mainly from Southern and Eastern Europe; post-1965 mostly from Latin America and Asia.

Most of the European refugees fleeing the Nazis and World War II, similar to the immigrants from China during the civil war to Singapore and South-east Asia in the 1940s.

Throughout its history, America has served as the destination point for a steady flow of immigrants. During the colonial era most migrants came from northern European countries. Their numbers declined with the onset of the Revolutionary War during the 1770s, but immigration later picked up strongly again during the 1840s and 1850s.

New arrivals came from several European countries during this period, but most came from Ireland and Germany, where devastating crop failures forced many residents to leave their homelands. Many settled in New York City, where the population increased from 200,000 residents in 1830 to 515,000 in 1850. By 1860, New York was home to over one million residents. More than half of the city's population at that time were immigrants and their American-born children.

Albeit a country many times bigger than Singapore, the United States of America is also a country of immigrants.

Like Singapore, the United States of America is a One Nation, Many Peoples.

There is a scene in this video of early immigrants to USA looking at the Statue of Liberty in New York.

Imagine that of the early immigrants to Singapore in a boat on the Singapore River and looking at the statue of Merlion (but built in Singapore many decades later).

Every country in the world, big or small, is lived by every individual for centuries, generations with the life of my way, your way and our way together. 

Frank Sinatra's own way to grow up in America as his immigrant father from Italy is very different from every Singaporean to live it his way and the way of the forefathers to migrate to Singapore in the early days.

We are Singaporeans.  We are the "Singapore Way" based on the way of the "Singapore Pledge", different from the ways of other countries in the world.

Happy 47th National Day Singapore!  Majullah Singapore!

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Jul 27, 2012

The Stuff That Memories Are Made Of

"Memories Are Made of This", an evergreen song (1955) by my favorite singer Dean Martin.

"Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose." ~From the television show The Wonder Years.

Although not quite in the December of my years I now understand the quote "God gave us memories that we might have roses in December." ~J.M. Barrie, Courage, 1922

"Memories are funny things... I remember once when we all got together that at the end of the evening, the quote was "Those things that never happened... they sure were a lot of fun!!"

"Do you remember those lazy summer days of the 1950's when all was right with the world..."

"Memory... is the diary that we all carry about with us. ~Oscar Wilde, "The Importance of Being Earnest"

"Pleasure is the flower that passes; remembrance, the lasting perfume". ~Jean de Boufflers

"I have memories - but only a fool stores his past in the future". ~David Gerrold

"It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life". ~P.D. James

 "A happy childhood can't be cured. Mine'll hang around my neck like a rainbow, that's all, instead of a noose". ~Hortense Calisher, Queenie, 1971

"Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door". ~Saul Bellow

"A childhood is what anyone wants to remember of it. It leaves behind no fossils, except perhaps in fiction". ~Carol Shields

"When I Was Young Dirt Was Still Clean" ~ Anonymous

“Memories are made of peculiar stuff, elusive and yet compelling, powerful and fleet. You cannot trust your reminiscences, and yet there is no reality except the one we remember......” ~ Klaus Mann

"The most precious things we have, which, sadly, also can be the most awful, are our memories. I guess that’s why we do everything we can to save the ones we cherish, any way we can. We snap photos, shoot videos, author diaries and talk about old times. When we don’t have any of these, we just remember".

"Memories are 100% when it comes down to the end of our days what we hold tight. The idea of a ‘memory tower’ is enchanting and a bit tear jerking too. Would that woman who made it be shocked as to it’s value to someone else?" ~ Deborah Milne

Memories live forever, but nobody else could remember them except "stuff that memories are made of" are shared with others these reminiscenes, their joy and their sorrow, their strength, their encouragements and inspirations ...

I found "Our Memories of Days Past"  here .

This is not a Singaporean website, not the Singapore memory of everyone who lived in Singapore. Memories of all humankind is universal though.

I asked my senior citizen neighbour what the stuff that memories are made of and she said: "The Hong Kong movie stars of the 1960s when she was young. She was a "geeked" Cantonese movie fan and these movie stars whom she will never forget...that's the stuff that memories are made of for her.

The "seven princesses" of Hongkong movie actresses of 1960s
Nancy Sit Kar Yin
Hongkong actress Yam Kim Fei and Pak Suet Sin

Hongkong actor and comedian Leong Sin Por
Some memories of movies stars in the 1960s in Singapore for the fans to recognise them.

The arrival of film created many images, film scenes, news scenes, photographs, quotes, and songs, which became very familiar to regular moviegoers and remained in their collective memory.

Images of particular movie stars became part of collective memory. During cinema visits, people could watch newsreels of news stories from around the world. For the first time in history a mass audience was able to view certain stories, events, and scenes, all at the same time.

Collective memory can be shared, passed on and remembered by everyone with same place, different times, different journeys throughout our lifetime. Its like an orchestra to share our collective memory with the same theme.

An orchestra is a large instrumental ensemble that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments.

The arrival of film created many images, film scenes, news scenes, photographs, quotes, and songs, which became very familiar to regular moviegoers and remained in their collective memory. Images of particular movie stars became part of collective memory. During cinema visits, people could watch newsreels of news stories from around the world. For the first time in history a mass audience was able to view certain stories, events, and scenes, all at the same time.


Flashmob of Som Sabadell performing the "Joy of Ode" shared here on YouTube. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord. (Ps 19:14). "berniesbargreece" said:
This makes me so so proud to be German, even though I am English. We are not defined by our skin, our nationality, our job, our friends or the lines on our hands. It is in this moment that we either connect our selves to all things by letting go or we lose our connection by holding on to the past and useless emotions like Hate, anger and jealousy. Music like this was made for every being in the universe.
"Ode to Joy" (German: "Ode an die Freude", first line: "Freude, schöner Götterfunken") is an ode written in 1785 by the German poet, playwright and historian Friedrich Schiller, enthusiastically celebrating the brotherhood and unity of all mankind. The ode is best known for its musical setting in D major by Ludwig van Beethoven in the final movement of his Ninth Symphony (completed in 1824).


Jul 24, 2012

Festival of Hari Raya Puasa in Singapore

Jubiliant youths at Istana Negara on Hari Raya Puasa 1978
Festival of Hari Raya Puasa in Singapore
The festival of Eid, known in Singapore as Hari Raya Aidilfitri or Hari Raya Puasa, falls on the first day of Syawal, the 10th month of the Hijrah (Islamic) calendar. It is a celebratory occasion following a month of fasting, which is known as Ramadan. Hari Raya is Malay for "grand day of rejoicing". In Singapore, it is the most prominent of all Muslim festivals.

According to the Hijrah calendar, Hari Raya Puasa falls on the first day of the 10th month of Syawal. The Hijrah calendar is a lunar calendar and therefore the dates on which Hari Raya Puasa falls varies each year.

Hari Raya Puasa should not be mistaken for the first day of the Islamic New Year.

Hari Raya Puasa marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. It is a time of forgiveness within the Muslim community and a time for strengthening of bonds amongst relatives and friends. New clothes, decorated houses and exchange of invitations between friends and relatives commemorate Hari Raya Puasa.

The first day after Ramadan is a busy one. A visit is made to the mosque and the recitation of special prayers is a practice that Muslims observe on the morning of Hari Raya Puasa to celebrate the end of the month-long fast. Other practices include asking forgiveness from elders and visiting relatives and friends. Visitations usually begin with the parents' home as the first destination. It is a custom among many Muslims to ask forgiveness from their parents for the wrongs they have committed in the past year. Although it is not required for Muslims to visit the cemetery during Hari Raya, many do so as a remembrance of those who have left them.

On this day Muslims in Singapore have a lavish spread of food on their dining table. They would have specialties such as beef rendang (a spicy dish of beef that is like a dry curry), ketupat (rice cake wrapped in coconut leaf) and lontong (rice cake immersed in coconut gravy). Along with these would be cookies, cakes and pineapple tarts.

In the past, homes were lit with lampu colok, a small kerosene lamp that was usually homemade. The trend now is to use decorative, flickering lights.

Source: Singapore Infopedia
Authors: Mazelan Anuar & Heirwin Mohd Nasir

The Malays are usually decked out in their best traditional outfit to mark the special occasion. The men usually wear Baju Melayu (loose shirt with trousers) with kain samping ( short over-sarong of rich material ) , while the Baju Kurung (tunic top) is the quintessential Malay attire for females. Married families dress in the same colour to represent unity.

In the afternoon, everyone gathers with their families and close friends for a grand feast of thanksgiving. It is also customary to seek forgiveness from family and friends, and to renew your sense of community. The younger generations seek forgiveness and blessings from their parents, which is very essential .

When visiting, the guests and the hosts exchange salaams' and greetings of Selamat Hari Raya, which means "Wishing you a joyous day of celebration".


There are a wide variety of delicious spicy dishes and traditional delicacies to eat throughout the first three days of Eidil Fitri. The spicy dishes are ketupat (rice dumpling wrapped in coconut leaves), lontong (rice and vegetable soup ) , satay (grilled meat on a skewer), sambal sotong (chilly squid) and beef rendang (beef cooked with spices and coconut milk). Other festive delicacies include lemang (glutinous rice cooked in bamboo tubes), serunding (desiccated fried coconut with chillies ) and sambal goreng (fried meat and vegetables with chillies ).

Green Gifts

The Muslims also give duit raya ' (gifts/ packets of money) to children and old folks when they go visiting. The packets are usually green in colour and children look forward to getting these money tokens on Hari Raya Puasa.

Although the first three days are celebrated on a grand scale, many Muslims in most Asian countries celebrate Eidil Fitri throughout the whole month. One explanation they give is that Muslims fast for an entire month in Ramadan and therefore their reward is a month of celebrating Eidil Fitri too! Another reason to extend the celebration is so that non-Muslim friends and neighbours can also join in.

Hari Raya Puasa is gazetted as a public holday in Singapore.  However, not every country where Muslims are located have a public holiday to celebrate Hari Raya Puasa.

 For decades after decades, years after years, Hari Raya Puasa is celebrated according to tradition, customs and practices are kept alive for generations for everyone to understand the values and meaningful festival in multi-cultural Singapore.

In modern cosmopolitan Singapore, the lifestyles, fashions of the younger generations may have changed and modified over times.

Lets watch the "Hari Raya In The City 2010" video presented by Munah Bagharib & Hirzi Zulkiflie on YouTube to share for us to enjoy.

There are many personal blogs or those posted by organisations, community, commercial enterprises blogs about  Hari Raya Puasa festival in Singapore in the past and present.

One of them by YesterdaySG  here .

The Hari Raya Puasa blogs posted by individuals' experiences and fond nostalgic collective memories in new media. It is a myth that " "Once you've seen one, you've seen them all". 

It is for this reason that Facebook today is so popular.

Every Facebook profile is unique, no two persons are the same.

We have discovered the popularity at the Singapore Memory portal launched by the Singapore Memory Project for everyone to share our Singapore memories.

On this blog topic for our selective memories, the archived treasured photos with credit of the National Archives of Singapore which would otherwise the "memory aids" not be available to jog our memories.

Everyone with appropriate photos and stories are invited to share them at the Singapore Memory portal.

Flood during Hari Raya Puasa on 1 December, 1970

For the third year running, Muslims celebrated Hari Raya Puasa in the rain.  But the festival mood was by no means dampened. Rain or shine, brightly dressed, umbrella wielding Muslims could be seen wading through puddles (described as "ponding" as a new lingo) to visit friends and relatives. Children left their new clothing at home and splashed merrily in the water.  Gaiety prevailed in every kampong.  (Description source by NAS).

Sunny Days during Hari Raya Puasa

Crowded buses on Hari Raya Puasa in 1961
Satay at a portable stall near National Museum in 1962

Games and food at Minto Community Centre in 1960s

"Selamat Hari Raya Adilfitri" to all my Muslim friends.


Jul 21, 2012

Yang di-Pertuan Negara Hari Raya Puasa Reception

Yang di-Pertuan Negara  Inche Yusof bin Ishak and First Lady Puan Nor Aishah welcome Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and Mrs Lee to the Hari Raya Puasa reception at Istana Negara on 4 February, 1965

Long time ago before Facebook blasted the photos of faces of every friends in public to be seen by everyone for everyone on the Internet and to say how they like this. Non-friends on Facebook would just ignore.
This blog is posted with the acknowledgement and thanks to the National Archives of Singapore for archived photo credit to all the contributors.  These photos are curated on this blog from past Hari Raya Puasa receptions hosted by Yang di-Pertuan Negara (Head of State) of Singapore, Inche Yusof bin Ishak and the First Lady Puan Nor Aisha over the decades.

Hari Raya Puasa reception at Istana Negara on 26 November, 1966

Hari Raya Puasa recetpion at Istana Negara on 17 January, 1967

Hari Raya Puasa recetpion at Istana Negara with photos of Distinguished Guests, Ambassador, Ministers, Cabinet members, Community Leaders, Civil Servants and Businessmen

Deputy Prime Minister Dr Toh Chin Chye and Mrs Toh

Minister of Culture, Mr S Rajaratnam and his wife
Minister of Finance, Dr Goh Keng Swee
Minister of National Development, Mr Lim Kim San and his wife
Chief Justice Wee Chong Jin and his wife
Justice Tan Ah Tah and his wife


Ways Done in the Past - Hari Raya Puasa

Food stalls at Bussoroh Street, Singapore during Ramadan 1974

Today on 20 July, 2012 marks the beginning of Ramadhan. I would like to wish all my Muslim friends a  blessed Ramadhan during the fasting month for Hari Raya Puasa 2012 everywhere in the world.

The Joy of Fasting  (Source: YourSingapore )
After 30 days of dawn-to-dusk fasting during Ramadan, the first three days of Hari Raya Aidilfitri are celebrated on a grand scale. While Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations are colourful and fascinating, you should take note that the fasting month leading up to the holiday is probably the best time to experience the Malay culture and heritage.

For Muslims, the month of Ramadan is devoted to worship, charitable deeds and acts of compassion. To purify one’s body and soul, they practice abstinence from food and drink during the day. When the sun sets, families and friends often gather to break the fast with evening prayers and meals, and the streets of Geylang Serai and Kampong Glam come alive with performances and street bazaars. If you’re in Singapore during Ramadan, this is the best times to soak in the festivities. Head to the Malay Village in Geylang Serai or make your way to Kampong Glam, an area that was once home to Singapore’s Malay royalty. Both ethnic enclaves attract Singaporeans of all races, and wherever you’re from, you’re welcome to take part in the celebrations.

Besides the glittering street light-ups and traditional decorations, you’ll find street stalls that open from early afternoon till late into the night, selling a wide variety of traditional food, fashion, textiles and handicrafts. From tailor-made traditional dresses known as ‘baju kurung’ to hand-woven cushion covers, from affordable Persian carpets to delightful flower arrangements, you’re bound to find a keepsake of the festivities. In Geylang Serai, you’ll also find stalls that personalise key chains and door signs for the home, all engraved and painted by hand on finely-crafted wood.

The main attraction of the bazaars is, of course, the food. A trip to the bazaars is simply not complete without sampling the variety of traditional Malay cakes and pastries called ‘kueh-kueh’. Take your pick from sweet snacks like pineapple tarts, ‘ondeh-ondeh’ made with palm sugar filled centres, and ‘putu piring’, a steamed dessert served with grated coconut.

When Hari Raya Aidilfitri arrives, Muslim families often dress in the same colour to signify their unity. The men wear a loose shirt with trousers known as ‘baju Melayu’ and the women wear the quintessential ‘baju kurung’. If you’re lucky enough, you might get an invite to a home-cooked Hari Raya Aidilfitri feast. A wide variety of spicy dishes are traditionally served during the three-day celebration, including spicy beef ‘rendang’, vegetable curry ‘sayur lodeh’ and Malay rice cakes called ‘ketupat’.

If you’re in Singapore during Ramadan, don’t miss the opportunity to experience the rich Malay heritage, and when Hari Raya Aidilfitri comes around, greet everyone with a joyous “Selamat Hari Raya”.

Future Shock is a book written by the futurist Alvin Toffler in 1970. In the book, Toffler defines the term "future shock" as a certain psychological state of individuals and entire societies. His shortest definition for the term is a personal perception of "too much change in too short a period of time".

As a home-bred Singaporean born in Singapore and lived in this country for over sixty years, I have not been "culturally shocked" in my homeland. As a multi-cultural society with fellow Singaporeans of multi-ethnic groups, multi-religions, multi-languages in school, during National Service, same workplaces for many years who could live, work and play together as a community harmoniously.  Singapore is a place of different peoples with one nation.

People is created in one human world internationally with different races, different skin colour but all are red-blooded all the same.  Same, same but different.  The buzzword is "integration"; not "segregation" to highlight the differences of human characteristic to create hatred and conflicts.

Look for common denominators, not differences to promote harmony as one.

Culturally distinct for every individual is born differently as designed by God Creator of every religion. To each their own spiritual practices according to their own mainstream religion in freedom of religion in Singapore.  The love for human beings and charity, compassion for mankind promoted by all religions.

During Ramadan every year,  Bussoroh Street, Singapore is lined with food stalls with the best kueh kueh and other Malay food stalls in the evening.

Our fellow Muslim Singaporeans attend the Masjid Sultan (Jawi مسجد سلطان ; Malay for Sultan Mosque) built in the 1900s is located at Muscat Street and North Bridge Road for prayers daily during Ramadan to break their fasting periods.  The food stalls and push-carts are opened for the convenience of the faithful Muslims who are the disciplined and religious Singaporeans at Masjid Sultan.

There are over 20 mosques in various parts of Singapore for Islam prayers during Ramadam, some of which are specially arranged at void decks and community centres.  Singaporeans from other communities are invited to take meals together after fasting break. Besides the traditional kueh kueh, nasi lemak, satay and mee rebus, there is a wide variety of choices this Ramadan, including a selection of non-traditional halal food - from Thai to Turkish fare.

Bussoroh Street Food Stalls - Then and Now

Buying of cakes at Bussoroh Street during the month of Ramadan.  The girls were busy selling cakes, every year, you will witness the same during the Muslim month of Famadan. It was held at teh Bussoroh Street behind the Sultan Mosque. Date: 07/02/1963

Favorite "kachang puteh" for the kids.

 Preparation for Hari Raya Puasa Celebrations

Home-baked "kueh lapis" to present to friends. Did you notice the child sleeping in the "sarong hammock"?

Everyone help in the family to sew new clothings and pillows for Hari Raya Puasa.

To prepare food for everyone after prayers during Ramadan

Mother and daughter helping to sew new curtains.

The family helping to weave "ketupats" for Hari Raya Puasa festival

Grand-daughter watching Grandma weaving "ketupats"

Hari Raya Puasa Shopping in the 1960s 

The loving father measures a new shirt for his son for Hari Raya
"Pasar Malam" stalls for Hari Raya shopping
Roadside stalls near Changi Market  c 1966
Customers buying new jewellery for Hari Raya
Latest designs for these young ladies for new shoes
New bags of the latest design for Hari Raya Puasa
Ketupat casings for sale if home-made ones are not available
New "songkok" for the young gentlemen
Flowers for decoration at home
"I love this new dress for Hari Raya, Bapa..."
The loving mother fitting new shoes for her daughter's Hari Raya Puasa
The roadside stalls beside the "longkang" at Geylang Serai