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Posts Tagged ‘Singapore’

I’m one day late for Friday but never too late to thank God and be grateful for:

NationalDay

Thank God for Singapore

As we celebrated Singapore’s 54th birthday yesterday, I’m reminded of how blessed we are as Singaporeans. As a tiny nation amidst choppy waters, we truly have so much to be grateful for.

 

Thank God for Family

Having witnessed my mum live out her final three weeks in hospital earlier this year, I came away with many life lessons. One key takeaway is that it is priceless to live and die with loved ones around you till your last breath.

 

Thank God for Friends

A new but very dear friend recently reminded me of what I wrote in my book Finding My Voice. On page 40, I had written about the many fears that came over me when I was going through my darkest period with Spasmodic Dysphonia, a crippling voice disorder. One big fear was that I would never form any new friendships because people had so much difficulty making out what I was trying to say.

In the past 10 years since I started my new life as an author, I have been amazed by so many new and deep friendships. I thank God for precious old friends and new friends who have left indelible fingerprints in my life.

 

And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray to the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall you have peace.

– Jeremiah 29:7

 

Related Links:

God Knows Leh #29- Black Friday met Good through the shadow of Death

God Knows Leh #9- Strong Bugs, Choppy Waters & Friendship Packages

 

 

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Thank you to Gabloverq and Hweezbooks for posting and sharing this with me! Encouragement like this lightens cloudy days like today.

Hweezbooks1Hweezbooks2

And a big-feathered Mystery Reader reading Little Godwit Finds His Wings to a classroom of kids is very uplifting too. Thanks to my dear, dear friend Arlene who sent this photo of her Significant Other all geared up for the big read!

Related Links:

Little Godwit’s Solo Flight & Finding Wind beneath His Wings

Celebrating my 10 writing years with Prince Bear & Pauper Bear

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Today, I’m joining author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Fridays blog column – where book lovers contribute a picture book review. Susanna archives these reviews into categories which provide a great resource to educators, readers and writers.

Inuka book cover

Author: Alan John, Illustrator: Quek Hong Shin

Publisher: Straits Times Press, Published: 2018

Ages: 3-6 years old

Themes: Polar bears

Opening:  

When Inuka was born, so many people came to see him….Inuka was no ordinary baby bear. He was the first polar bear born in the tropics!

Inuka spread 1

Inuka spread 2

Inuka spread4

Why I like this book:

Inuka is a one-of-a-kind Singapore born and bred polar bear. There will never be another and that makes this a special story.

Read how the story came about in my interview with author Alan John here.

Activities/Resources:

  1. Find out more about polar bears

https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/11-facts-you-didnt-know-about-polar-bears

  1. Make a polar bear birthday cake! Yes, Inuka really ate this!

Inuka cake

Check out other great picture book reads at Susanna’s Perfect Picture Book Fridays!

Related Link:

Picturing a Book #1: Inuka, world’s 1st Polar Bear born in the Tropics

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2018 has been a year of very little writing for me. But as I pause for my yearly look-back, I’m thankful for many moments along the way that have encouraged me and lightened my heart through a difficult year on the family front.

1. Find Your Story Workshop (Jan-Feb)

I led my first memoir writing workshop over 6 Saturdays in January and February for National Library Board. It was oversubscribed and an intensive period of working with mostly first-time writers through their writing and my editing 17 essays. It was a hugely personal experience for me as participants and I shared some of our deepest stories with each other through the 6 sessions.

NLB MemoirWorkshop

Final Find Your Story workshop session

 

2. Finding My Stories (March/April)

I found myself sharing my personal testimonies with Salt & Light and Asian Beacon publications. This year wasn’t a season to write but a season to reflect and share on my episodes with voice disorder, cancer and my writing journey.

 

3.  Bunny Finds the Right Stuff on stage again (May)

Esplanade re-staged my Bunny Finds the Right Stuff theatre show as part of its 10th anniversary show offerings. The script was re-tweaked and even funnier than the first show-run two years back. It brought a bounce and a spring to my steps.

BunnyShow2018 with Arlene

With Caleb, dear friend Arlene and family & the Bunny cast

4. Our Daily Bread 100 Prayers for Mums (June)

I was one of 7 writers for Our Daily Bread’s 100 Prayers book for Mother’s Day. It was my first time writing for Our Daily Bread. On top of writing 11 prayers, I also wrote an essay on my parenting journey through cancer.

 

 

6. Judging the top Singapore’s children’s literature prize (June-July)

I was invited to judge the $10,000 Hedwig Anuar children’s book award for top Singapore children’s books for the Book Council’s 50th year together with fellow author David Seow and editor Sarah Odedina. I was most curious to hear Sarah Odedina’s views on our local books, given she has been editor to superstar authors JK Rowling and Neil Gaiman. I was pleased to find that we were unanimous on our choice on the top 2 books and came to a quick consensus on the remaining 3 books for the shortlist.

Having ploughed through 65 books which the Book Council sent us, I was very heartened by how far our local children’s books have come. I was but a handful of local children’s books authors when the Book Council ran the First Time Writers Initiative 10+ years back. This year, we could take pride in our quality shortlist comprising 1 board book, 1 picture book, 1 junior chapter book, 1 novel and 1 middle grade/young adult book.

 

 

Left: Hedwig Anuar Book Award 2018 Shorlist, Right: With fellow judges David Seow and Sarah Odedina

 

7. Tibby in Tamil Translation (September)

It’s always a thrill to have my books in another language and thrice the delight to see my 3-book Tibby picture book series in Tamil translation.

TibbyTamil

7. Little Otter, Litter Trouble (October)

Following the positive response from schools to Why did the Pangolin Cross the Road?, I wrote book 2 in the local wildlife series for Wildlife Reserves Singapore. Little Otter, Litter Trouble was out in October and distributed to all preschools across Singapore in November.

Otter team

With Assistant Director of Education Florence Chang & Illustrator PK Cheng

8. Kueh Tutus & Just Teddy’s dance story (November)

I had the pleasure of seeing a dance interpretation of my book Just Teddy at the Singapore Writers Festival this year. It brought a different perspective to a story that is very personal to me.

KuehTuTus1

With dance collective Kueh Tutus who performed an interactive children’s dance act

9. Littworld 2018 (end Oct-early November)

I spent a large part of the past one year organizing stuff on the organizing team for Littworld 2018, the only global Christian publishing training conference of its kind. The run-up to the conference was a lot of work. But I was refreshed at the conference after a two-year hiatus from writing picture books (and almost giving up on it entirely). I found fresh manna and vision for a new writing season ahead.

LW13-Host Comm

With the local organizing team for Littworld 2018

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

 

Related Posts:

Write Reflections – Closing the chapter on my 10th writing year

2016: Fairytale launches, Off-the-chest blogs & other Write moments

 

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I’m a child of 80’s music. I grew up on a diet of Duran Duran, Madonna and Wham. During college orientation, we mass-danced to Bananarama’s songs. When I started work, I cooled my jets with jazz. After I became mum to a preschooler who loved strong drumbeats, I listened to Caleb’s favorite Christian rock song 100 times. And mealtimes were about singing silly songs with Larry the Cucumber from Veggie Tales.

When Caleb started drums classes in June this year, it did not occur to me that I would get a new music education alongside.

I learnt that the gazelle character who belted Try Everything in the animation movie Zootopia was actually Shakira. That Ed Sheeran had a Galway Girl and Charlie Puth was easily One Call Away from 594 million views on Youtube. And Rachel Platten and her Fight Song somehow reminded me of my favourite 80’s “fight” movies St Elmo’s Fire and Pretty in Pink.

And what just got cooler is the new teacher assigned to Caleb. From his teaching bio pasted on Caleb’s class door, I learnt that teacher Sano Shimano is an active musician and performer who has done music tours around the world. It definitely spoke through his very hands-on approach of teaching and I have seen Caleb rapidly progress in his drum skills. That is very much in Aureus Academy’s DNA, given that this Singapore-based company was founded by concert artists. And it’s interesting to note that Aureus’ teachers are full-time and all possess at least a Bachelor Degree in Music.

Teacher Sano

Jamming together during drums class

As Caleb continues to drum up on his repertoire of songs, I asked Aureus Academy a couple of questions about how it stays on top as Singapore’s leading music school.

Mummum: How does Aureus Academy keep its lessons personalised with 5,000 students now enrolled in 10 locations?

Aureus: Our specialty is in providing individually tailored 1-on-1 piano lessons, violin lessons, guitar lessons, and vocal lessons to students of all ages and abilities. We also offer Home lessons “Aureus at Home”, allowing our students the convenience of having music lessons conducted in the comfort of their own home, and the elimination of travel time.

Mummum: I notice from your school posters that Aureus also has a concert arm?

Aureus: Yes, other than the music lessons, Aureus Group has other business units such as musical instruments rental and a concert production unit to bring in international acts to create an eco-system for all-round music education.

A music school of a new age. Cool…

On that cool note, I end with Zootopia’s gazelle belting out Shakira’s Try Everything.

 

Note: Thank you Aureus Academy for continuing to provide Caleb’s complimentary music lessons.

Related Link:
My kid drums with Aureus Academy’s golden beat (+Exclusive Offer!)

 

 

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My entire Tibby picture book series has now been translated into the Tamil language for the Singapore market by Crimson Earth! I had the pleasure of collecting my author copies at AFCC 2018 and, as always, it was a thrill to see my books in another language.

I hope my Tibby books will continue to hop to new places and more bookshelves.

TibbyTamil

 

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I was delighted to attend the opening weekend of my Bunny Finds The Right Stuff show, to find out that the shows have sold out!

I was doubly happy to have watched the theatre show with one of my favourite people Arlene, and her family. Arlene was my biggest cheerleader when I went through chemotherapy in 2016, sending all sorts of creative videos and messages to cheer me up. She’s also been an amazing supporter of my books and writing and a super-dear friend.

Bunny found the right stuff in knowing that he was deeply loved by his Maker and his floppiness wasn’t from lack, but from love and countless hugs. He also realized that the right stuff was the stuff of friendship.

Likewise, I rest in the knowledge that I am loved by my Maker and built up by the stuff of precious friendships.

BunnyShow2018 with Arlene

With the fabulous cast of Bunny Finds the Right Stuff theatre show

 

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