Blog To Express

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Location: Singapore, Singapore

A "recycled teenager" learning to blog.

Jan 25, 2019

Sing. Chase Away The Blues!

Maybe over 25 years ago, karaoke came on the scene in Singapore.  Soon it was all the rage.  Everyone was into the "singing" saga.   Some thought that it was a passing fad and it wouldn't last. Something that would die off just as soon as Singapore's wannabe crooners realised that it was easier getting a driving licence than putting two notes together.

It's years down the road and karaoke is still a hot item on the local entertainment menu.  A must at almost every other pub and lounge.  No karaoke.  No go.

Yes, from Tanjong Pagar to Tampines.  From Siglap to Serangoon Garden, pubs and lounges have been installing "that" machine on their premises and business has boomed.

Sales of laser discs have also soared.  Not just English.  But Chinese, Tamil and even Hindi.  There are also Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese and other dialects.  'Why? Simple.  Everyone wants to sing.  Have you heard about your neighbors singing in the bathroom?
And rather than doing it in their bathrooms they can now - for the price of a beer - do it in front of an audience.

By the looks of things, karaoke appears to be here to stay, hence the argument: If you can't beat it, why fight it?

In the last several decades, live entertainment has managed to maintain its niche in the market. There's enough to go around.  No need to rush.  No need to travel far.  No need to burn a hole in your pocket.  That's the Singapore entertainment scene as it is today.  There's everything for everyone, be it karaoke, live music, cabaret or just basic drinking holes.  Brian Miller reported in the New Paper on 27 August, 1994.

 Karaoke is Japanese for "empty orchestra". 

A karaoke lounge is where patrons sing to music emptied of vocals.  In the lounge, a karaoke machine dominates the scene.  It's a combination of a player, an amplifier set, a television monitor, or projector and screen, as well as a key controller.

Karaoke lounges were introduced in Japan about 40 years ago and proved the rage among Japanese businessmen.

It caught on quickly in Taiwan and was fast gaining popularity even in London.  There are now karaoke fast-food joints, karaoke home sets and karaoke coaches for long-distance travelling for tourists in a group and almost every community centre in Singapore.

In 1986, the government has lifted its 3-year ban on karoke, a Japanese-style sing-along, in restaurants and nightclubs.  The Home Affairs Ministry approved the licence if satisfied that there will be no excessive noise or unruly behaviour.

Karaoke is fun and so physical exercises for sports and health.

A Chinese school principal has introduced a daily 30-minute shuffle dance routine for his students and staff.

The principal introduced the dance to replace the daily callisthenics - based workout which is compulsory in Chinese school.  Please watch this video here .


Jan 7, 2019

Childhood Memories of Fireworks Display

In Singapore, the Marina Bay area ushered in the New Year 2019 with a dazzling fireworks display over the island's skyline and other festivities in the vicinity.

Landmarks including The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, the ArtScience Museum and the Merlion also lent their facades for light projection shows throughout the night.

The countdown for the last 10 minutes of Year 2018 was screened on the digital clock on The Fullerton Hotel and everyone joined together and shouted with excitement from 10 to 0 to welcome a Happy New Year 2019. The sky was blazed with colourful spectacular fireworks and I captured a video clip here .

The Singapore waterfront was calm and quiet before the fireworks started at 11:00 pm on 31 December, 2018.  Earlier in the afternoon and earlier evening, the intermittent heavy rainfall
which later drizzled; unexpectedly the blessed "greatest event of the year" completed successfully when the rain stopped.

The musical events at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre was open to the public free of charge at 7 pm.

As a "Kiasu Singaporean", I 'chopped' my favorite spot (as always in the past years of the Countdown fireworks displays) beside the ArtScience Musuem at Marina Bay Singapore. Please read about this here .

The crowd grew bigger and bigger as the time for the countdown at midnight.  The visitors were mostly Singaporean and their family, guest workers from China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Blanglalash, India and a few visitors whom I met from Japan, Mongolia, Russia and England.

The wait for the countdown fireworks display for 9 to 10 hours is worthwhile for everyone.  Many were prepared with umbrellas, ponchos, mats, food and drinks to picnic everywhere at the Marina Bay areas.   The waiting periods helped them to occupy the time with their smartphones to play games or watch YouTube with their favorite videos.

Childhood Memories of Fireworks Display

At the "Senior Talkshop" course in Mandarin organised by The TSAO Foundation, I spoke about my childhood memories of fireworks display when my mother brought me to the Clifford Pier at the Singapore waterfront in 1953 here .

I hope the parents in Singapore will help their young ones to watch fireworks display every chance they have - to create their fond childhood memories and remember the happy memories of Singapore.

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