I Want To Be A Musician


My Little Flying Fish


The Little Mathematician


Lionel Messi Wannabe


Bend It Like Beckham


Frends Forever


09 May, 2012

A Mini Concert

When Teacher Matthias asked if Jayden would like to perform in his mid year mini concert, we happily obliged.  I'm always happy to have Jayden perform at any opportunity available.  Not that I want him to show off his ability to play the violin, but to let him get used to perform for the public.

The mini concert was a very suitable occasion for Jayden to perform and to gain confidence in playing in front of audience because the audience consist only a small number of people that consists of fellow students of Teacher Matthias and their parents.  It's not as scary as playing in front of a big group of strangers.

But this time round we had a pleasant surprise.  As we waited for the concert to start, we were told to wait for awhile more for a special audience.  And the special audience was a little girl who we were told, is inspired to play the violin.  This little girl's mom suggested that she learn to play the piano instead, but she insisted wanting to try out the violin.  

And when the little girl and her mom arrived, we recognized her as Jayden's schoolmate from the K1 class, little S.

Her mom was equally surprised to see Jayden and I!  We were told that Little S wanted to learn the violin because she was inspired by Jayden's performance during last Christmas where he played "Jingle Bells" during the school's celebration.  Little S' mommy said Little S will always mimic the way the violin is played whenever she hears any music that resembles the sound of the violin!

Jayden performing 3 pieces from ABRSM Grade 3 syllabus
1.  March by Mr Handel   2.  Londonderry Air   3.  Mango Walk.

I am glad to know that Jayden has inspired Little S.  

To inspire and to be inspired, that should be the learning spirit.

19 April, 2012

My New Toys & An Old Feud

My new toys, all acquired over a span of 2 weeks.

Toy Number 1 ~ The Oven

Bought this Iona brand oven at the recent Megatex Electrical and IT fair at Expo.  Got it at a real good deal, $85 and it's a 28 litre oven.

Toy Number 2 ~ The Electrical Mixer

Also bought it at Megatex at $36.  What a steal!  Haven't really try it out, but looks good enough to make my chiffon cake, butter cake, swiss roll and all other cakes that I fancy!

Toy Number 3 ~ The breadmaker

The most costly toy among the 3 and so far the most utilize one.  Three times I have attempted to bake the bread with it.  But three times I was disappointed.  Not with the machine, not with the bread but with myself.

I remembered when I was in my secondary school days, especially during my secondary 4 and 5 days, we made bread and 包 a couple of times in our Food & Nutrition practical lessons.  Each time, during the proving of the dough, I will be put off by the smell that the fermenting yeast emits.  So all the bread and/or 包 that I've made will usually be given out to my family members or friends.  I could not swallow them no matter how hard I tried.

21 years passed.  And for the pass 21 years I haven't bake one single loaf of bread or made one single 包.  And yes, I have totally forgotten how the fermenting yeast smells like.  I thought I could overcome it,  I thought the breadmaker will help me forget about it.  After all, we are just supposed to dump all the ingredients into the breadmaker and viola!  A loaf of sweet smelling, hot and fluffy bread I will get!

But no.  I could still smell it.  And it made me remember the days again, where me and my classmates, all in the school kitchen, rolling out the smelly dough and joking away that we were a group of palace maids, locked in the kitchen and do nothing but roll dough and make 包 all day long!  Haha!

The breadmaker did produce a loaf of sweet smelling, hot and fluffy bread, with nice golden crunchy crust.  "Delicious bread!"  I told myself.  我在骗谁啊!  No matter how hard I tell myself NOT to get too paranoid with the smell of the yeast, it's there!

I still remember there was once, when Jayden's violin lesson just ended and at that time Teacher Matthias' studio was still in the apartment that comes with a kitchen, there was a aroma of wholemeal bread floating in the whole living room area!  And Jayden boldly said "Wah, smell so delicious!  Can I have some of your bread?!"

And after I so painstakingly carried this 5kg little fella back all the way from OG, I told Daddy "I too, can make delicious smelling bread for Jayden!"

How come my bread don't smell like that?! @#$%^&*!!!!!!  What did I do wrong?! 难道是隔壁阿婆的饭比较香 theory?! 

Ok lah, I admit.  I shouldn't buy this breadmaker on impulse.  Daddy always tell me "If you have the urge to get something that's expensive, think about it for 3 days, and if after the third day, you still have the strong urge of getting it, then go get it."  I only thought about it for 2 nights.  And for that 2 nights I read everything about it on the web that I could find.  It's 99% positive and 1% negative.  So my decision should be right, right?

Anyway, it's nobody's fault.  Not the machine, not the 99% positive feedback from the users, not the sudden trend of everybody's baking your own bread, not Teacher Matthias' and not Jayden's fault.

It's the yeast and me.  I wonder if anyone out there has the same reaction to the yeast as me.  Or is it just me?

So for now, it's still bread from Sunshine and Breadtalk.  The cute little bread machine will have to sit there and wait for me to work out the feud between the yeast and me :,(

17 April, 2012

So Close By

Whenever Jayden is near finishing his music books, he gets very excited and keep reminding his teacher that he should be given a new book soon.

In another 1 or 2 weeks' time, Jayden will be done with his Fiddle Time Runners violin book and from there he will proceed to Fiddle Time Sprinters.  Not just Jayden is excited, I'm excited too whenever anyone one of us advances or be needing any new violin / music related book.  New book, new pieces, new techniques!

And we are lucky to be residing near 2 very well stocked and well equipped music stores that carries majority of the music books and instruments.  Synwin main branch is just 7mins' walk away and Gramercy is also about the same distance away.  It's just that they are both in opposite directions from our place.

But which one would I usually check out first? 

I personally like to visit Gramercy whenever we need new books.  I like the way the store looks and the feel it gives me.  Whenever I push through the doors of Gramercy, I'm always greeted with the ringing of the bell that's attached to the door, signaling to the staff that a customer has entered the store.  With a soothing classical music playing in the background, it makes me feel as if I've stepped into another world, totally forgetting that the store is just located on the busy street of Tanjong Katong.
The books are arranged in category of different instruments and then according to composer's name and etc etc. Books can be quite easily located and I am always free to browse through the books without a salesperson breathing down my neck.  That is why I've signed up for their membership and I get a 10% discount for all purchases.

Not that I don't like Synwin.  In actual fact, both Jayden's and my violin are from Synwin and they provide professional and good service whenever we bring our violins back for minor maintenance like changing of strings, clamps and cleaning.  Be it how simple and trival the problems may be with our violins, the service people at Synwin always solve them with a smile.

But the layout of Synwin's store at the East is in such a way that it would be impossible to browse through the books as all the books are shelved in a corner that seems like only staff are permitted to step in.  Not browsing-friendly.  Haha!  So everytime I go there, it's like ~ step into the store, ask for the item I need, pay for it and leave.  The only time I'll spend more than 30mins there is when we are fixing our violins, or when we are getting a new violin.  But I must say Synwin has a good stock of books because what I didn't find in Gramercy, I got it at Synwin.

15 April, 2012

Back From London

Finally, after a month back from our London trip, I'm able to sit down and sort through the pictures, create some collages and type on the post.

As Daddy travels to London for a major conference and exhibition once every 2 years, this year we managed to work out a schedule to tag along! Jayden had to skipped school for a week but thinking that he's still in Kindergarten 2, skipping a week's class should be alright and since for that week it's a school holiday, his school will not be having any academic lessons, just art & crafts, and cookery lessons. What's more, next year Jayden will be starting primary school, it would be impossible to travel during school weeks.

It has not been an easy trip for me as I was down with a sore throat and a bad cough on the fifth day after arriving in London. The weather was cold and the constant commuting on the crowded underground tube and walking in the cold took a toll on my already-not-so-feeling-well body. But nevertheless, Jayden and I had a really good time with Daddy and the rest of our family members who joined us later on the 3rd day.

Picture says a thousand words, so I'll let the pictures do the...e~hem, writing.

Most of the pictures above this collage were taken by Jayden (except the two pictures of Jayden, which was taken by my elder sister)

Taken at St. James park. The park was lovely and we really enjoyed walking through it after visiting Buckingham Palace. Jayden loves to take pictures of the pigeons, squirrels and ducks.

This was taken at Marylebone Underground Train station. We were on our way to Bicester Village, a premium outlet village where Prada, Burberry, Crabtree & Evelyn and many other prestige labels are made a little more affordable.

Arriving at Bicester Village.

Taking our lunch at the Villandry restaurant.

We did quite a bit of shopping. A Prada bag and wallet for me. A few wallets for our friends, a pair of Prada work shoes for Daddy, a few Burberry work shirts and some toiletries from Crabtree & Evelyn. Nothing much for kids sad to say, although there is a Polo Ralph Lauren kids boutique in the village. But prices are not as attractive as they are in USA.

Edited to add:
How can I forget to mentioned that we also had a traditional afternoon tea at the Kesington Hotel!  Look at the lovely afternoon tea spread!  The sandwiches were delicious!  The scones.... kept warm in the nice napkins, served with clotted cream, strawberry jam and passion fruit curd.  Tasted heavenly!  Last but not least, the delicate 2-tier sweet pastries that include passion fruit panna cotta, chocolate mousse, strawberry cake and some lemon curd tarts.

When we apologized that we couldn't finish the delicious spread, especially the scones, the service staff actually suggested that they could pack it up nicely in a box and we could bring it back to our hotel and keep them as supper!  So thoughtful, aren't they?!

On the sixth day, we left London and head towards Dorchester-On-Thames, Oxfordshire. Daddy had to attend another conference and we had to spend 3 days and 2 nights in this quiet little town. It was quite out of the way, even the chauffeur from the land transport service asked us why did we go so far for our holiday! Little did he know that we didn't choose to come here...

The hotel that we were putting up, Old Hart Hotel is a nice and cosy inn. I wouldn't want to call it a hotel because it was nothing like those hotel that we saw in London. Old Hart is like an inn, with nice square white border windows, little courtyard just right outside the little building where our room is at (the second floor). The staff of Old Hart were very friendly and they went all out to make our stay a very comfortable and memorable one. The food serve in their restaurant which is just adjacent to the inn, serves wonder home-cooked fare and whatever you fancy they will try their best to accommodate to your request even if it's not listed on their menu. How sweet!

While Daddy was at the meeting held right at the Old Hart itself, Jayden and I took a cab (which cost us a whopping GBP25, one way!) to Oxford main town where we did some shopping, had lunch and a bit of sighting. Oxford town is very different compared to London. The people walk on a slower pace, the air is fresher and the atmosphere is more relaxed. The architectural is beautiful with the old churches and schools. We even walk pass Oxford University! Everything in Oxfordshire is very picturesque.... and very Harry Potter-ish!

From Oxfordshire, we travel on to Windsor. Finally Daddy is done with all his official business and it's time for us to rest and relax and spend the entire 3 days with Jayden at Legoland! Legoland was specially planned to celebrate Jayden's birthday, it's like a belated birthday present for him. To make it extra special, we even booked a Pirate themed room for our 3 days stay! And right on the day that we checked-in, it was also the first day that the resort started its operation! We were officially the very first guests to stay in room 329 at the Legoland Resort at Windsor! Super cool isn't it?!

Daddy and Jayden :)

Jayden loved driving the Lego cars at the Lego driving school. He would request to go again and again. And each time he goes for the ride, his "driving" skills improved. He also loved the excavator ride where he gets to control the excavator, scooping stuff from container A to B. He also overcome his fear for the mini roller coaster.

Pictures taken in the Legoland Park and at the premises of the resort.

If you want to know more about Legoland Resort, just pop by Tripadvisor.com and you will see the pictures loaded up in the review page. I've submitted my review and loaded quite a few good pictures of the Pirate themed room.

It was really a good trip. If not for my cough and sore throat, it would be perfect. I would love to go back to London again and maybe travel further to Paris and other parts of Europe.
We initially wanted to take a train up to Paris, but knowing that Jayden won't be able to appreciate all the sight-seeing involved, we decided to wait till either he's older, knowing how to appreciate the beautiful art and architectural, or till he's old enough to take care of himself and Daddy and me will travel Europe without him :P

For now, it's back to Singapore. Back to our usual routine. Back to school for Jayden. Back to work for Daddy. And back to being me, for me :)

20 February, 2012

Fear To Fold

I have a love-hate relationship with origami. In fact I'm lousy with art and craft. And I believe Jayden takes after me.

Why? Because in his last year's progress report, one of the comments that his Teacher made was "can have further improvement in Art & Crafts". I am aware of his unwillingness in getting his hand dirty with paints and glue, folding the wrong corners of papers, etc etc etc. I'm actually ok with him for not being enthusiastic in this area as compared to his crazy passion for soccer. But Teacher says "I hope Jayden can be an all-rounder!" *Roll eyes*.

And for last Christmas, the same the teacher who made the remark, gave Jayden a box of easy-to-do origami gift box for kids. Such a devoted teacher!

So came one week Jayden had to stay off school as he was down with viral fever. We were trying to figure how to pass time and then I suddenly remembered the box of origami papers.

Hid my fear, mustered up my courage and I managed to convince myself and Jayden to try to follow the instructions and fold up some easy origami mask.
The origami pack has many interesting animal masks with dotted lines readily printed for easy folding. It wasn't that bad after all! And we managed to do fold quite a number of masks, from very easy to a little more... erm... complicated. Complicated for the both of us, but I guess it's fairly easy for an other adults.

We had a good one hour of folding, arguing (which part to fold first!) and bonding. Not too bad for 2 beginners! Maybe, just maybe, we'll try the more complicated, more intricate origamis next time.

17 February, 2012

A Good Performer Doesn't Equals To A Good Teacher

I was picking Jayden up from school as usual and met the 姑姑 of YY.

YY has been Jay's classmate since Day 1. They actually started out at Zee Junior together. They went through the tough transition period from Zee Junior's original management team to Cherie Heart's managment taking over the school. Initially YY's father didn't had much confidence in the Cheri Heart mangement team and instigated us to pull Jayden out together with YY. We didn't want to and decided to give the new management team a chance. In the end YY stayed on and they were happy with the performance of the new team, the new teachers and the progress the YY made. Until recently.

Anyway to cut the story short, I met the 姑姑 at the school gate and we made small talk. And the 姑姑 said he heard Jayden is learning the violin. So I gave her a quick recap on how and where Jayden started on his violin lessons, so on and so forth. And also from where and who Jayden is now taking his lessons from.

"Oh is his violin teacher from SSO?" asked YY's 姑姑.

"No he's not." I said.

"Oh..." said YY's 姑姑.

I wanted to say more but out came the kids together, all set to run out from the school and set off to home. I gave the 姑姑 a smile and left together with my very chatty son.

Does it matter to me if the teacher is not from SSO?

No. As I have come to understand that a good music performer does not mean he/she's a good teacher. But of course, a music teacher has to be good with the music instrument that he/she's teacher or else he/she will not be able to inspire the students.

Take my previous experience with my ex-teacher as a lesson. By the way, I fired my teacher. Finally. Haha! He's a wonderful violinist, performs with so much passion and fire that he almost jumped off his seat! He played the violin with much intensity that my friend said she's got goosebumps on her arm when watching him perform with his quartet. By the way, he's the first violinist. And his list of credential goes on and on. Mind you, he is not a Diploma holder but has 1st class honours in Music Performance warded by NAFA.

Impressive eh? But if you ask me, is he a good teacher. I would say no. He was impatient, pushy and lack of interpersonal skills. He would yelled at me when I play a note wrongly more than twice and make sarcastic remarks when I couldn't memorise my key signatures fast enough. The only time we could talk amicably is via sms. Everytime I try to talk to him face to face, he would avoid eye contact with me and brush my questions aside. So what's good of a fantastic performer when he can't even hold a decent conversation with his student?

So next time, don't come to the conclusion that great performers are good teachers. Some music teachers, even though don't belong to famous quartets, SSO.. etc etc etc. can be as good, or even better.