April Drinks with UQAAS at 1 Altitude !

On a Friday 13th April 2012, an evening of gathering, networking, making new & more friends from the University of Queensland (UQ) community in Singapore. Organised by University of Queensland Alumni Association of Singapore (UQAAS), it was a night to beat the Friday the 13th blues and join fellow UQ buddies for April drinks! It was held at 1-Altitude which is the world’s highest al fresco bar, the view was awesome and it was a great time to chill out, catch up and make new friends from UQ !

The response was great, with many new faces joining the UQ community in Singapore, a good mix of graduates from the new graduates to those with years of working experience, awesome opportunities for networking and sharing, from industry knowledge sharing to mesmerizing good old UQ Uni days in Brisbane! UQAAS is led by Tammie, the President of the UQAAS Ex-Co and well supported by enthusiastic members Shawn, Chrissy, Paul, David, Sara and new upcoming young faces into the UQAAS Ex-Co.

If you are a UQ Graduate, do keep in touch here with the UQAAS, do check out them on Facebook, subscribe to the emailing list and updates on Facebook.

University of Queensland Alumni Association of Singapore (UQAAS) Facebook Page

UQ Graduates in Singapore Facebook Group 

There will be lots of interesting activities, organised by UQAAS and we also support our bigger alumni body, Australian Association Singapore (AAS) activities and events too, by joining and participating in their events and activities too! Do check out some of our past UQAAS activities here on my Flickr collection ! Here’s some of the photos taken at 1-Altitude on my Facebook photos collection!

Regenerating Communities – Dang Anum : A Bangsawan Performance

In the third series of Regenerating Communities @ Empress Place, on 13th and 14th April 2012, we were treated to two nights of rich heritage and cultural performances at ACM Green (Asian Civilisations Museum) by Sri Anggerik Bangsawan, one of the few surviving Bangsawan troupes in Singapore. Regenerating Communities at Empress Place is a special 3 part arts and culture initiative featuring artists, art forms and programmes that draws Singapore’s rich heritage and culture, to bring it back to Empress Place, revitalise and reaffirm Empress Place as a heritage place.

This is my second time at Regenerating Communities @ Empresss Place, my first time was on Regenerating Puppetry in Singapore by Sin Hoe Ping Puppet Troupe and I was happy to be back again at ACM Green, to photograph, document, write and share on  a heritage and cultural performance by Sri Anggerik Bangsawan, for Dang Anum : A Bangsawan Performance. The glamour of Bangsawan, it was a very popular form of entertainment in Singapore during the 20s and 30s. Today, Bangsawan, this rich heritage and culture, is facing an uncertain future ahead.

Dang Anum is about the telling tale of Dang Anum, daughter of Sang Rajuna Tapa – a faithful Minister of Sultan Iskandar Shah, ruler of Singapore from 1399 to 1402. Their dressing were bright and colourful, enchanting and mesmerising musical performance that goes along with their marvelous performance, dancing and engaging with the spectators, very heartwarming and friendly. This Malay Opera performance is also a tribute to the troupe’s founder, the late Haji Hamid Ahmad.

While I was photographing this wonderful performance, I can feel the passion and fire in the performers, to spread the love for Bangsawan. I am thankful that I was able to document it down and help share it with my friends and readers locally and internationally, doing a small part to help Pay-It-Forward, letting more people know about our heritage and culture of Bangsawan in Singapore. Along with a group of fellow heritage buffs/photographers/social media enthusiasts, each of us is doing a small part to bring back our culture and heritage to her glory days in Singapore. Do check out the photographs taken at Dang Anum : A Bangsawan Performance.

With this story written, shared and added to my list of projects covered, I am bringing my photojournalism into another field – heritage, cultural, preservation and conservation.

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Official Launch of NHB “Our Void Decks, Our Shared Spaces”

In my earlier post, titled “Void Deck – Our Cultural Communal Space“, this was written, documented and photographed of different void decks in Singapore, this is written in support of NHB’s third community heritage exhibition on void decks entitled “Our Void Decks, Our Shared Spaces.” 

The void decks hold many different memories and adventures for Singaporeans, organised by the National Heritage Board entitled “Our Void Decks, Our Shared Spaces”, visitors can experience the wonders, history, culture, leisure and recreational components of the void decks, out common Singapore shared spaces. The third in a series of travelling exhibitions focusing on community heritage, “Our Void Decks, Our Shared Spaces” highlights the history and development of void decks in the Housing Development Board (HDB) heartlands, their common features and uses, and their role in providing shelter, building community, and promoting racial integration.

On 12th April 2012, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, and Advisor for Kolam Ayer, offiically launched and opened the traveling exhibition “Our Void Decks, Our Shared Spaces” at Blk 2, Saint George’s Road. Along with fellow heritage buffs/bloggers Uncle James Seah, Jerome Lim and Belinda Tan, we were there together to support the launch and opening along with our posts on our thoughts, memories and feelings on the different essence and stories of the void decks from our different timelines. Through our posts, sharing via the social media channels and platforms, we were all very happy to share and pass it on, to Pay It Forward, sharing with fellow Singaporeans and friends around the world. At the official opening, the 4 of us were interviewed by Razor TV and we all got a bit of air time, Uncle James and Belinda were interviewed by the press too!

The exhibition highlights the history and development of void decks in the HDB heartlands, their common features and uses, and their role in providing shelter, building community and promoting racial integration. The exhibition is currently on display at the void deck of Blk 2, Saint George’s Road for the month of April before travelling to Marine Parade and over void decks around Singapore. Check out more photographs of Void Decks here on Flickr & 500px !

Do check out fellow heritage buffs/bloggers posts on void decks

– “Voids that have filled our lives” by Jerome Lim

– “Childhood memories of void decks” by Uncle James Seah

The void decks have always been a part of our life in Singapore, the bonding is special and unique, of fun, play, leisure, recreation and they are of significant importance to different groups of people. When you are at your void deck, why not pause, take a look around and reflect on your memories of your void decks, your shared spaces.

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Void Deck – Our Cultural Communal Space

A population size of 5 million, in a land size of 710 square kilometer, Singapore is one of the most densely populated country in the world and 4 out of 5 Singaporeans live in subsidised high rise public housing apartments known as HDB (Housing and Development Board) flats.

From the various HDB designs, starting from the 1960s till the modern public housing designs today, there were many changes from the floor size, facade and designs. However, there is a common element among the HDB blocks, a space for communal, leisure, recreational and cultural activities, that is commonly known as here as void deck, found under the HDB block on the ground level while the apartments start from the second level. Our beloved void deck is of historical and heritage significance that holds many different types of memories, thoughts, happenings for different Singaporeans.

Old concrete tables and stools of Dover Close Estate

Do you recall you memories at the void deck? Childhood memories? Teenager/schooling memories? How was it like? Close your eyes, recall and reflect, what comes to your mind when you were a young child? Playing with your friends? My memories of the void deck were a lot on playing, lots of fun without the hassles and pressures of the modern society.

  • Playing football with friends and kicking the football against the wall, staining the walls with football prints was our trademark!

  • Running around playing Police and Thief, jumping around on hop-scotch.

  • Playing Chinese Chess or checkers at the round stone table

  • Sitting and chatting with friends after school, before returning home to do our homework

  • Cycling under the void deck and towards other friend’s block to meet them at their void deck

  • Buying freshly baked loaf of bread at a regular timing of 5pm daily, from the uncle with his ratten basket at the void deck opposite my block.

  • Buying sweets, tidbits, ice cream, frozen ice dessert etc etc from our favourite mamak (local provision) store

Residents bringing down their pet birds to the communal space at void deck, at Blk 430 Clementi Avenue 3

The void deck did not just serve my childhood memories only, it was a common communal space for all Singaporeans.

Communal Use

  • Residents Committee gatherings, events, chit chat corners, leisure corner with television, bringing down their pet birds for gatherings

  • Kindergartens

  • Police Post

  • Study corner

Private Use

  • Weddings

  • Funerals

  • Provision shops

Only in photos & memories – void deck at Blk 39a Margaret Drive, Queenstown Estate

All these memories of the void deck held on deeply to me, I grew up there, with lots of fun and happy moments. There were of course, sad moments too, having to attend funerals. The void deck was and still is today, a great space and location for community, friendship and bonding activities. Embarking on a personal mission, my personal project to cover Old Places and void deck, I asked friends this question “What are your memories of void decks?”

Here’s a few quotes

I’ve always found it funny that we called our void decks, “Void Decks”, What does “Void Deck” even mean? Who coined such a term? In any case, “Void Deck” is something to me that is “Uniquely Singapore” (hi STB’s old tagline), because no where else in the world is the ground floor of a block of flats called a “Void Deck”.

To me, a memory of our HDB Void Decks are the old checker stone tables in the middle of the Void Deck, where the elderly hang out to play a game of checkers. Come to think of it, I actually have not seen anyone actually play checkers, but rather have only seen these elderly, with one leg propped on the stone bench, the other on the ground, sitting there eating gua zi, drinking a kopi-gao, and conversing in a dialect I don’t dare say I comprehend completely.

Another memory of our HDB Void Decks are the bird cages that adorn the “ceilings” of our void decks, where bird-lovers young and old bring their birds on a Sunday morning to share in the joy of a bird’s melodic song, or simply to say “my bird is nicer than yours”.

Daphne, early 20s

Void decks can be a reflection of happiness, or even the other extreme: the loss of a life. This is what makes our void decks special, a common space for Singaporeans alike to hold celebrations or to mourn for their deceased loved ones.

Charmaine, late teens

My memories of void decks are that it used to be more vibrant; it being the playground for kids, chatter zones for aunties and rendezvous for major festivities involving the HDB.

Andrew, early 20s

Different individuals with different backgrounds, they each have their own fond and interesting memories of the common void deck in Singapore’s landscape. Their thoughts and words showed what void deck meant to them, that I believe will resonate with you too! As economy and society progressed at such a fast pace, there were many changes to the lifestyle and activities from the past as compared to the current society today. The newer and modern HDB flats are differently designed and constructed, this the void deck below is a lot smaller than before. While those void deck at existing HDB estates, what was part of our childhood memories may not be there anymore. The bustling life of the void deck today is not like before in the older days.

Soon to be gone – Leisure corner at Blk 1, Rochor Centre Void Deck

Nevertheless, the void deck, it is uniquely Singapore, something that we can be proud of, an identity, space, icon that we created for ourselves. The void deck is not doubt a common space that encompasses historical, cultural, recreational, heritage and communal space for all Singaporeans from all walks of life. My memories of the void deck will remain in my heart forever, through the sharing of my void deck memories and thoughts, I am able to pass it on, the stories of our void deck in Singapore, to the present and future generations, and friends around the world too!

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

This blog entry is written in support of NHB’s third community heritage exhibition on void decks entitled “Our Void Decks, Our Shared Spaces.” The exhibition highlights the history and development of void decks in the HDB heartlands, their common features and uses, and their role in providing shelter, building community and promoting racial integration. The exhibition is currently on display at the void deck of Blk 2, Saint George’s Road for the month of April before travelling to Marine Parade and over void decks around Singapore.

Ultimate Ultrabook Mythbusters experience and HP Folio13 Giveaway

Have you watched Mythbusters on Discovery Channel ? Would you like to be part of this intriguing Mythbusters adventure on Discovery Channel ? Discovery Channel together with HP will be bringing the MYTHBUSTERS experience to you at a special roadshow, at Marina Square, Central Atrium. HP joins Discovery Channel in this myth-busting adventure through a series of exciting roadshows – to challenge pre-conceived notions about Ultrabooks. HP’s own Ultrabook, the HP Folio13.

There is a very exciting time to present this unique opportunity to get you up-close and personal with the HP’s business ultrabook – HP Folio13 – at Marina Square, Central Atrium, on 14 and 15 April 2012. You can expect an interactive, exciting and enthralling time at the roadshow, to have a feel and touch of the HP Folio13. –

  • Test the “myths” surrounding the features associated with laptops
  • Discover the unique features of the new HP Folio13 in a whole new way: challenge the product’s outstanding battery life, thin and light design and CoolSense technology

While you are testing the HP Folio13 at the roadshow, you MUST remember to take photographs of yourself, posing with the HP Folio13 !!

There is a HP Folio13 Giveaway !!

It’s really very simple, here’s what you have to do :

– Take a photo of yourself posing with the HP Folio13 at the roadshow, at any of the HP booths there

– Tweet the photo with the following format <caption> @tangenghui #HPDiscovery <image>

For example:
“Longest battery life for an Ultrabook! 9.5hours! @tangenghui #HPDiscovery <Image of Reader at HP Booth>”

YOU might just be the winner of this powerful, sleek and dazzling HP Folio13 !! Head down this Saturday and Sunday 14th and 15th April 2012 at the Marina Square, Central Atrium, start posing with the HP Folio13, snap photos & tweet it, share it and spread the word !! 

Dragon Scout Group Investiture 2012

90 years old and they are one of the oldest Scout Groups in Singapore Scouting history, this is my alumni mata, the Gan Eng Seng Dragon Scout Group, of strong and rich history and traditions, constantly and consistently growing and maintaining strong in the richness of Scouting.

Returning back after a period of absence (from work/business commitments) to watch their Investiture Ceremony 2012, welcoming the new boys and girls to the Dragon Scout Group family. It was the day for Group photography taking, from the extended Big Family to the various patrols, Ventures, Rovers, Leaders and Teachers-in-Charge. This was also the day for me to catch up with my juniors and I realised that I still have a lot to catch up with them and would like to mentor them there is an opportunity since I am busy with my business/work commitments.

Looking forward to the Dragon Scout Group activities for the Year 2012, I hope to be more active and come back a bit more often, let’s hope that fellow Old Boys a.k.a Dragon Chapter would be back too in more numbers and strength too. Do check out some photographs taken on Facebook here, our Facebook Group for Dragon Scout Group and Dragon Chapter. Here’s some other photographs taken during Dragon Scout Group Investiture 2012 on Flickr.

Wishing Dragon Scout Group all the best in 2012 !! Onward Dragon Scout Group !! 

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

The Search For Singapore’s Next Social Travel Star

On the evening of 23rd March 2012, I was invited to an evening of great fun, food and pampering, fitting of a leisure relaxing holiday trip overseas, the host was AsiaRooms.com and it was held at the Klapsons Hotel, a beautiful boutique hotel in the Central Business District of Singapore. While we ate, enjoyed, relaxed and being pampered, this was a great and fun time to catch up with friends from the social media circle, friendly hosts from AsiaRooms.com and PR folks from XPR. This event was also AsiaRooms launch of their Search for Singapore’s Next Social Travel Star!

Do you love to travel ? Are you active on the various social media channels ? How would you like the idea of YOU, being Singapore’s Next Social Travel Star ?

Look no further, there is something great coming up for you, the social media savvy active traveler!! AsiaRooms.com, a leading accommodation site, has launched a competition to look for Singapore’s next social travel stars – a pair of travel hosts – who will travel and review twelve unique hotels across four countries!! You might be asking, what do I need to do to be Singapore’s next social travel stars ? Here’s a short video to tell you more !

Here’s some quick notes for you readers !

– Winners of the competition will debut on AsiaRooms.com’s brand new YouTube channel with their very own series of room review videos. They also get to win up to $10,000 worth of cash and prizes.

– Participants must pair up to create and submit a video no longer than three minutes of their very own room review. The video needs to demonstrate their passion for travelling and eye for details that make a holiday and hotel room stay fun and memorable

– Deadline for the submission of videos is on 11 April 2012

For more information and updates, do visit Asia Rooms on their Facebook!!

With my original background in the tourism, travel, hospitality, leisure and recreation industries, I am still in touch with these industries and armed with the power and outreach of social media networks, platforms and channels. The role and honour of being Singapore’s Next Social Travel Star is going to be an exciting and fun adventure of travel and holidays, just like being a travel host on travel channels!

I look forward to YOU, being the next Singapore’s Social Travel Star !