Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sorry for Being M-I-A!

First of all, if you are a follower of the Living Room blog, I want to apologise for being missing in action for a while. A few people have asked me how come we haven't been blogging lately, and although I feel terribly guilty about it, I smile inside because it means there are people reading our blog! *beams*

Wow. So much has happened in The Living Room! Where do I begin?

First of all, as you all know, Stanley has left us. He is now with the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), helming the New Media department there. So yes, he is still generating content, but as a new media journalist. We have pretty much switched roles in that respect, as I used to be the print journalist & Deputy Editor! *LOL*

Stan and I are still very much "in tune", I have to tell you! *LOL* Despite the (physical) distance between us, we are still scheduling pretty much the same interviews and approaching the same people to feature. Such is the connection I have with my buddy! *beams*

But joining me in The Living Room now is a good friend nonetheless, and my "new buddy" if you will. You would have heard him previous on Body & Soul (938LIVE, 3pm-5pm).

That's right, he's the very swave, man-with-the-voice-of-God, and the very bald, JOEL CHUA!!!

It's been good so far, and Joel has settled down very well as the new host of The Living Room. You can get to know us better on our brand new Facebook page. And that is another reason we've been MIA -- we are building up our little community there.

I guess Facebook is just so much faster & immediate, especially with Joel & I owning iPhones. We just snap pics of our guests on our iPhones and it's immediate uploads... with weblinks for listeners! How do you beat that, right?

So, if you are not yet a follower of our Facebook page, please go to Facebook now and search "938LIVE The Living Room" and join us there! For a direct link (oh, you lazy ones!), click here.

Our Living Room blog is still ALIVE, so don't disappear. We'll be trying to get more active here now that our Facebook page is up. Thanks for your support, guys!!!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Seasons of Love

Welcome to a new season in The Living Room!

Regeneration is important. As a recent guest on the show shared, fire is crucial in helping certain plant species germinate, hence changes are critical for survival, growth and development.

To me, The Living Room's never been about the host. Since being thrust to host the programme in 2002, I'd always wanted for the show to benefit the listener. Listeners were and continue to be THE stakeholders and they deserve the best in being kept informed, entertained and engaged - nothing more nothing less.

The Living Room's stood the test of time (and station rebranding) because of the value that's inherent in the conversations she hosts. It is within her that guests are made to feel like this was their own living room, and unless and until they felt that way, they weren't going to speak candidly and let their guard down like they have.

I've been asked who's been the most memorable or significant guest I've spoken with on the show, and as hard as I try, everyone has held his or her own. Not everyone's been easy to talk to, but the consolation is that everyone has a story to tell...even you. Yes you reading this blog entry. The Living Room has been where titles and trophies are set aside and humanity prevails - the unifying factor for host, guest and listener.

I'll miss the adrenalin rush of turning on the mike at 10.10am on weekdays and saying "Good morning!". I'll miss the interaction with those in public relations and corporate communications in arranging for interviews. I will miss connecting with our listeners and identifying with you on so many levels, your questions and concerns.

I will miss 'Pamster' (my nickname for dear Pamela). Since she began co-hosting with me, Pam's called me 'buddy' - a label I find difficult reciprocating because I find it inappropriate to call a lady 'buddy' although she probably can refer to a male colleague that way. But she truly has been a fabulous friend and....okay 'buddy'. Pam's so easy to excite and so personable to befriend that I ought to make it known that she's been a blessing to work with. It was Pam whose sharing of her own life experiences on air unlocked more of me to reveal more of the person I am.

How quickly the sands of time have emptied itself into the lower half of the hour glass. Change is eminent, though in all irony, change is the only constant.

'The Living Room' will always be a very special season for me. I hope it has been for you. Thanks for tuning in and it's been a joy, privilege and pleasure producing and hosting the programme these many years.

Returning to the plant analogy, taking root with Pam in The Living Room from 4th October will be Joel Chua from 938LIVE's only other weekday talkshow, 'Body & Soul'.

Sending you blessings and wishes that you will continue to learn, laugh and love lots!

Farewell and welcome to the start of a new season in The Living Room come next Monday!

God bless!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Go Fly A Kite!

Meet kite master Mikio Toki-san. He came into our studio in traditional Japanese kiting gear. Ooh, I love his wooden clogs!

Kite Master Mikio Toki.

Mikio-san is a kite maker and carries on the tradition of Edo kite making. "Edo" is the old name for Tokyo, and these kites are rectangular in shape, made of bamboo and washi paper, and all hand-painted.

This gentleman - who learnt the art from his master Katsuhisa Ota from observation - creates about 300 to 400 kites a year. Each kite is handmade & painted from scratch. His drawings are inspired by ancient Japanese tales.

Edo kites inspired by ancient Japanese tales.

These kites can go up to 2- to 6-metres high in size, and require up to 20 people to fly. Some of Mikio-san's Edo kites will be taking the skies at the Kite Festival Singapore 2010, which happens this weekend at The Promontory @ Marina Bay, 4pm to 8pm.

Aside from making Edo kites, Mikio-san also makes origami kites! In fact, he has even written an instructional book on how to fold origami kites. Mind you, these origami kites can fly!

The origami kite book & origami kite Mikio-san made. It's supposed to fly!

Here is Mikio Toki demonstrating how an origami kite is folded. He will be conducting workshops for kids at the Kite Festival Singapore this weekend, so watch out for him. Apparently, it takes just 10 mins to make one!

While Mikio-san teaches kids to make simple kites in his workshops, he often plays the Japanese flute ~ Kabuki style. We could not pass up on the opportunity to have him play for us in The Living Room. Check it out!

And of course, we had to put his origami kite to the test.

Well, MediaCorp isn't exactly Marina Bay or the beach where there's a natural breeze. We're pretty wind-less. But Mikio-san was game, and so we headed down to the basement carpark with him and his kite.

The moment of truth...

Kite Festival Singapore 2010
18 - 19 Sep
4pm - 8pm
The Promontory @ Marina Bay
FREE Admission

For more info, click here.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

In This Moment (in honour of TEACHERS!)

Years on from being a bespectacled boy in navy blue shorts with my imported school badge nicely aligned and pinned above my right shirt pocket, I still celebrate this day. Yes, teacher's day! I used to take advantage of my florist mum and get free stalks of roses to give away to all my teachers. Even my Chinese teacher (who didn't have much hope in me) had a stalk - it must have made her smile!

But I truly appreciate all my teachers who have tirelessly moulded and shaped me, taught me and trained me, challenged and disciplined me, praised me and spurred me. Among the dedicated that made an indelible mark in my life: Mrs Ponniah, Mrs Gladys Chia, Ms Chia Bee Teck, Mrs Lee Gek Kim, Ms Marianne Chong and Ms Caroline Rajaiah,

This Teacher's Day, I join many in honouring educators past and present for your dedication!

Composer of 'In This Moment', KC Gan and educator Ng Yeow Ling.

Our guests in The Living Room today Ng Yeow Ling (Principal of North View Primary School) and Creative Director KC Gan paid tribute to the contribution of teachers in Singapore. KC who's also composer, music arranger and musician, shared with listeners a song he'd written and composed in appreciation of teachers. It's titled "In This Moment". The lyrics go like this:

No matter where I go
Every time I look back on this road
You’ll always be a part of who I am
Everything I’ve known
Every seed of greatness you have sown
Through good and bad
Your love has watched me grow

You teach me right from wrong
Inspire me to be strong
You care in every way
In my heart you will always stay

In this moment let me say
How I’m grateful everyday,
You are here to guide my way
When I’m lost, beside me stay
In this moment let me say
You turn my little into great
There’s no fear, my dreams awake with you

All that I can be
Mean so much ‘coz you believe in me
You show me how to live with dignity
When the lessons end
I can share with you just like a friend
Your loving smiles and frowns keep me safe

In this moment let me say how I’m grateful
Everyday, you are here to guide my way
When I’m lost, beside me stay
In this moment let me say you turn my little into great
There’s no fear, my dreams awake with you
And I really want to say “Thank You”

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Interviews from Horqin Desert, Inner Mongolia!

I learnt so much from this trip from the conversations I had, things I witnessed, and the hands-on hard work to plant, water and prune plants in the desert. It's an experience I will never forget!

Here are the FACES behind the VOICES you hear on my Greening of the Horqin Desert series of interviews on 938LIVE.

Yoshio Kitaura, Executive Director of Green Network, a Japanese environment NGO that has been working to green the Horqin Desert for a decade.

Kitaura-san could not speak a word of English! But because I wanted the interview so badly, I got an interpreter from the Japanese team to help translate!

What has the local community witnessed? 52-year-old chief of Maninchu Village shares how he has seen the Horqin Grassland become desert.

Steward Whitney is the VP & MD of Timberland Asia Pacific but what a down-to-earth & funny man! He shares about Timberland's Earthkeepers Movement.


Me & Janet Hsieh, host of Discovery Travel & Living's 'Fun Taiwan' and 'Fun Asia'!

Catch that interview on 938LIVE this coming Friday 27 Aug, 10am-11am, with a repeat broadcast at 10pm-midnight, as well as on Channel NewsAsia, 2am-3am.

You can also listen to us online at,
or on your iPhone by downloading the free app, MeRadio!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Back from Horqin Desert!

For the past four days, I was away in Inner Mongolia to help green the Horqin Desert. This area, which covers 400,000 sq km (the size of Switzerland!) used to be a grassland - the way you'd imagine a Mongolian grassland to be - but due to climate change, over-cultivation, and over-grazing, Desertification has taken place. Today, the Horqin Desert is expanding at 6 million hectares a year - that's 1,900 sq km per second!

I studied Desertification as a Geography student for 6 years, but that was only a concept I understood in theory. Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine myself witnessing this process first-hand... and better yet, to do something within my capacity (albeit small) to help reverse it.

I feel really privileged to have the opportunity to join Green Network (Japanese environmental NGO) and Timberland's Earthkeepers movement to head to Horqin Desert to plant 1,400 trees over 2 days, to water them and prune them. Here's some background to the Earthkeepers initiative, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year:

And I have many stories to share now that I'm back, as well as four interviews to air on The Living Room in the coming week! Stay tuned to find out when we'll be airing this Greening of Horqin Desert series on 938LIVE!

For fast & regular updates, join us on our Facebook page. I'll be uploading lots of photos & videos there in the coming days! *wink*

But first, here's a vid to whet your appetite: Here we are arriving at Horqin Desert in "cattle transporter" vehicles, and the girl you see reporting is Discovery Travel & Living's Janet Hsieh, whom you will also hear me profile on our show this week! *grin*

Monday, August 09, 2010

At 45, Singapore You're Fabulous!

It's so easy to take Singapore for granted. Sometimes, I complain about our rules being too stringent, too many fines (carpark, speeding, littering), the standard of living being too high... the weather too hot, the education system too tough for our kids...

But at the end of the day, I am thankful that I live in such a safe, clean, peaceful & corruption-free country. Think about it, how many countries in the world are there like Singapore?

Pam's sheep Baaabara is originally from Hong Kong, but she considers herself whoolly Singaporean and is bent on celebrating National Day today.

So celebrate with Stan & me (and Baaabara!) today as Singapore turns 45! And don't forget to catch the National Day Parade this evening... Our colleague Bharati Jagdish will be commentating on TV!

At 45, Singapore you're fabulous!!!