Friday, October 31, 2008

Out of Africa!

It's a Friday! And what a FULL Friday it was for us! We started the morning talking about sex. *grin* Did that grab your attention? Good. Well, more specifically, we had counsellors Glenn Graves and Martine Hill come in to talk about "talking to your children about sex". What I learnt: It's not about The Conversation, but many little ones ~ seizing teachable moments.

Then, it was time to be teleported to the great expanse of Africa through the stories of Poh Yu Seung & Rosalind Ng who just completed Enduro Africa (18-25 Oct), an 8-day motorcycle ride across South Africa to raise funds for children suffering from HIV/Aids.

Stanley and I found out that the husband & wife team rode to Caldecott on their motorbikes (actually Ros came in her black Vespa!) so we couldn't resist it ~ we had to take some pics with their hot wheels.

We had lunch together after the interview and it was fun finding out more about their adventures in Africa. Prince William and Prince Harry were part of Enduro Africa too and Ros & Yu Seung even got to take a picture with The Boys! *gasp*

Read all about their trip at

Then at 5pm, Stanley had to do 6 roving reports at the new Marina Barrage, so I tagged along (or "trailed" him) to learn the ropes. Basically, what he does is to call back to our studio where our colleagues, Michelle Martin and William Xavier, put him on air. He then updates listeners on what's happening at the event 'live'.
I was told today I have to do my first solo roving report on 22 Nov, so better faster learn lor! *wry smile*

The Marina Barrage is quite awesome because it's a reservoir in the city! From the Barrage, we had a wonderful view of the sea and the Singapore skyline, including the Singapore Flyer.

And as the sun sets........ I tell you, it's breathtaking. It's one of those places you just wanna stroll hand-in-hand with your loved one. *sigh*

It's at Marina South, if you are keen. *wink*

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Carriage & Pumpkin

(clockwise frm bottom left: Daniel who hosts Body & Soul, Pam, myself, and Melanie from F-Cube)
The last time all of MediaCorp got together for a ball was 13 years ago. With about 3000 staff, it would have been a herculean task to get everyone together under one roof to party. But it happened this year at Swissotel The Stamford.

All of 938LIVE's presenters and staff got together with about half of the total company staff strength last Tuesday evening for the Caldecott Ball (named after the hill our station sits on off Thomson and Lornie Rds).

Here were some groupie moments where we posed in all our glamour. We rarely dress to the nines on our talkshow. Afterall, no one sees us but our studio guests and colleagues. If you think we still look decent on a regular work day, wait till I post a shot of myself on a Saturday early morning shift when I come in to read the news. It'll add a new meaning to the word 'sloppy'.

But hey, we're Radio and we love our jobs of hardly ever being seen and recognised!

(1st row l-r: Evelyn, me, Melanie, Daniel; 2nd row l-r: Pam, Eugene, Mag and Gerry - our boss!)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pam in the Hot Seat

Today is a milestone ~ I survived my first week on air. It was perhaps the single, most stressful week of my life (second only to going into labour with my twins).

After playing "interviewer" as a print journalist for 5 years, and being on the "safe side" of the radio console in The Living Room this week, I find myself in an unfamiliar, slightly uncomfortable position.

Yes, my buddy Stan has yet another brainwave: Why not shove Pam onto The Living Room couch, turn the microphone her way, and put Pam on the hot seat?!

So here I am sitting on the couch of The Living Room (blog), and facing a barrage of questions from my *ahem* buddy. But since he has been so Zen towards me all week - despite my countless boo boos - I shall oblige. So *inhale* here goes:

Q: So Pam, I hear that you didn't know talking could be so difficult until you made your debut on air this past week. What do you mean by talking not being an easy thing to do?
First of all, I learnt after the first 5 minutes on air that "talking" in everyday life is different from "talking" on air. Normally, words flow naturally for me (punctuated of course by the "erms" and "aahs", "lors" and "lahs"). But on air.... every #@!* word counts. I can't ramble like an airhead, rephrase sentences countless times, nor even pause to think. I'm warned "dead air" is the worst sin in radio! So I find myself like a baby learning to talk. It's really hard! Listening to myself on playback, I cringe because I sound so hesitant and unprofessional. *shudder*

Q: You were previously working with a magazine where words flowed easily onto a page. Isn’t it easy to just convert that to the spoken form and let it flow on air just as seamlessly?

Er, no. With the written word, there is such a thing as "editing". I came over to radio from being Deputy Editor of Vanilla magazine. Writing is the most natural form of self-expression for me ~ it still is. Speaking, on the other hand, is not. So, I have to tell you that I do sometimes wonder what on earth I'm doing in radio! *sheepish grin* When I write a cover story, for example, I have the luxury of 2-3 days to write and rewrite, to choose and unchoose words. On average: 7 drafts. With radio, it's LIVE and real-time. I don't have that luxury to be anal over words. It's say something or die.

Q: What have you learnt about being a radio talkshow host and news presenter in the first week you’ve been on air?
Hang on, I have not started being a news presenter what! But being a radio talkshow host, you have to hold intelligent and engaging conversations with experts, so you need to know your stuff because seriously there are topics Stanley and I know nothing about. Like this week: We discussed airline merchandising, trends in the marketing and communications industry, picky eaters, hair loss etc. It's a constant pressure to be on your toes, to pay attention to the flow of the conversation, and to ask questions that count. It's draining!

Also, it helps if you are witty and funny. Stanley is such a natural at that! *grin* I can be, off-air, but I guess I'm still not relaxed enough to show that side of my personality. But I'm sure it will shine through soon, once I get the hang of switching my headset mic on & off... presenting the traffic news... and not sounding like I'm "reading" a script!

Being co-hosts, we have to be "in sync" with each other. If not, our individual questions can take the interview off at different tangents. So, I've learnt that co-hosting entails having one "lead" interviewer (whoever is producing that segment) who steers that conversation, and one who "supports". But of course, both are 100% involved and equally engaged. It's a fine balance.

Q: Any boo-boos so far that you’d like to ‘fess up to?
Well, I messed up on traffic news 3 times on Wednesday morning! I listened to the playback of those reports and I wanted to crawl under a rock and die. What's more. I forgot to immediately switch off my headset's mic after one traffic report. As I slapped my forehead with my palm and uttered a "shit" under my breath, I saw Stanley desperately gesturing to me to press the "OFF" button on my panel. I fumbled to tap "OFF" (to the amusement of our studio guests, I'm sure), praying all the while that no one heard my swear word on air!

Q: We hear Stanley had an identity crisis at mid-week. What happened?
YES! Stanley was hilarious! Just when we were seconds from finally going off-air, Stanley signs off chirpily, "... and this is Pamela..." My jaw dropped. After an incredulous pause, the whole roomful of us burst into laughter! Yes, yes... it was all captured on air. But Stanley pleaded for me to edit it from our repeat telecast, so those who caught the repeat show at 11.10pm didn't hear his boo-boo. I've decided though that the next time Stan decides to be Pamela Ho, I shall chime in breezily, "... and this is Stanley Leong, on The Living Room."

Q: This blog’s the next big thing that’s happened for The Living Room and you are one half of the contributors. How would you describe how the blog’s been shaping up so far just two weeks in?
I think what's great is that Stanley and I believe this blog is a great way to reach out to our listeners in a more personal way, so naturally, we tell people about it ~ be it personal friends, listeners we meet at events (like the Coffee Appreciation workshop last Saturday), our studio guests etc. It hardly seems a chore or extra work for us because we have so much to share at the end of each day. And we both diligently bring our cameras into the studio everyday to take pics and blog. What helps is that we operate like a tag team: Stan writes, then I write, then he writes. So it's all good! *beams*

Q: What secrets can you leak about your co-host on air that you can reveal without being at risk of losing your microphone on Monday?
Well, most of you may already know by now that Stanley plays with Smurfs. His favourite is Jokey Smurf who, for some warped reason, gives others presents that explode in their faces. As a qualified psychologist (I am, seriously), I think Stanley lives vicariously through Jokey Smurf, because he's usually so nice. Stan owns like almost 200 Smurfs, including mushroom houses that can hold like 5-6 Smurfs inside, "standing-room only". I found out from his Facebook wall that as a kid, he didn't allow his cousins to touch his precious blue buddies; he'd only agree to let them play with ONE at a time. *slap wrist*

Stanley is usually very quiet after he goes off-air... for about 20 minutes. He sits at his desk, poking away at his keyboard. I think it's because he has verbal diarrhoea for 2 hours, so he needs time to replenish. Then after that 20 minutes, *Ping!* Good ole' Stan snaps back and he says, "Shall we tabao lunch from the canteen?"

I don't think Stanley has any deep, dark secrets. He's quite Mr Squeaky Clean. But I shall reveal that his desk looks like a war zone, and he is a tad embarrassed about it. He once had only a small, small space to move his computer mouse around. He can't even eat at his desk after tabao-ing lunch back from canteen cos he doesn't know where to put his packet of rice! *gasp* It's better now, I must admit. For now, at least. *wink*

If you don't believe me, take a look:

Spicy Salsa anyone?!

Salsa is just such a hot sizzling dance and I was further convinced after chatting with Tito & Tamara (from Puerto Rico) and Singapore's very own June & Jackson on yesterday's show. I just thought it was totally amazing how two individual dancers found each other, gave up biology of which they'd studied at university, to pursue dance fulltime. Tito and Tamara are probably among the most envied among dancers. And with them having tied the knot and having baby Triam (who's being looked after by grandpa while they're away from home), chemistry doesn't get any better than this! Oh and when they're not playing parents and travelling the world, they run several programmes and also own a dance studio back home.
We also hosted June & Jackson from JJSalsaRengue on the the programme and they are truly passionate champions of salsa in Singapore. I forgot to ask them if they needed more guys in their troupe since they did say that women outnumbered the men 10 to 2 in the early days when salsa was finding its feet in our city.

Monday, October 20, 2008

And So It Begins.....

What a blast! To have energiser bunnies Irene Ang and Chua En Lai in the house on a Monday morning! It was seriously a better booster than the Red Bull I was gulping down man.

They were down to talk about their new project 'Return of the V', which plays 5-9 Nov at Movida @ St James Power Station. It's cool cos hey, it's held in a club. And also your $48 ticket comes with a drink... *grin*

Seriously, Irene looks super fit and toned in person. Makes me want to get off my butt and exercise too! We would show you the picture... but can you believe Stan and I didn't take any pictures with Irene & En Lai?! :(

I guess there were other things on our minds that morning ~ like making sure Pam doesn't screw up on her first day on air. It was unnerving to say the least... thank God Stanley is such a Zen person. I didn't realise "talking" was so hard.

Anyway, here's a picture of Stan & Pam on our first day of being on-air partners. It's taken by Melissa Bun (She's quite a photographer, isn't she? And you thought she only had a GOOD VOICE).

Our second guest on the show was none other than the winner of the Young Artist Award, Aidli Mosbit ~ or "Alin" as she's called by friends and compatriots. Not only was she warm, bubbly and open, she was the sweetest thing ever, to join us in the studio on her birthday!

We just had to celebrate her and her generosity of spirit! But since we didn't dare light no candles in the studio (lest it sets off the fire alarm & sprinklers ~ and we both lose our jobs), we bought her a donut instead. A chocolate donut! *grin*

Happy birthday, Alin! The Living Room team wishes you all the very best in this exciting new year!!!

PS. Catch Aidli Mosbit again on Wed 22 Oct, 10am as she tells us more about her new play, "Gemuk Girls"...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Coffee Talk

About fifty people on this island are now better able to appreciate coffee. They've been educated and tuned to pick out the tones, tastes and aroma, telling apart the Sumatran from a Colombian (not the people!). Thanks to our partner, Gloria Jeans Coffees, for making today's event an aromatic success with our listeners.

The Coffee Appreciation Workshop was over-subscribed, and many who tried to sign up late had the misfortunate of being turned away. If you were one of those who didn't get a place, we hope you think of the 'early bird catching the worm' analogy' the next time. ;o) Coffee is evidently a hit with our listeners. Our youngest attendee being all of just three with his parents; our oldest clawing seventy.

James Donald who's MD of Gloria Jeans Coffees Singapore conducted the talk, followed by a tasting session where each participant sniffed and slurped the different varieties of coffee served. I liked James' jelly bean illustration. It proved how our sense of smell completes the overall satisfaction of a cup of coffee, and it's not just about what we taste.

The Jelly Bean Example
If you want to try out what we did, just get two different flavours of jelly beans. Then pinch your nose and toss it into your mouth and suck it, all this time with your nose pinched. You don't get very of an experience right? Now, give your nose a break and start breathing through it while tasting the jelly beans. Ahhh... Suddenly your sense of the full flavour of the bean is heightened. It's the same with coffee. Let your sense and smell come together like a waltzing couple arm-in-arm the next time you order your cuppa.

Things then got more hands-on and many got to try their hand at creating mugfuls of latte art with the froth. It sure looked easy when the baristas did it. I believe we'll also be more appreciative the next time we're served a pretty piece of art over piping hot coffee.

Thanks to all who came today - the regulars and first-timers! It was beans of fun and the 938LIVE crew were happy to have come around to say hello! Until our next event, keep on enjoying that cuppa!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hello Radio!

Stanley is so brilliant to start a blog for The Living Room! I'm so itching to write again - after leaving publishing and joining 938LIVE on 29 Sep. Stan's got editorial background too, so it's only natural that we're launching Scribbles. *grin*

So far, I've just been "sitting in" in this fish bowl studio, observing Mr Octopus and being totally overwhelmed by the airplane-cockpit panel before me.

But more so, I'm meeting so many interesting people who come in and out of our studio, learning so many things from them, and bursting to share my experiences and reflections.

Coming from an editorial background (I was previously Deputy Editor of Vanilla magazine), I express myself best and most naturally through writing. So this BLOG! Wow, wow, wow.

Anyway, this is the LAST day I'm able to sit in here and shake legs. Come next week, I'll be going on air with Mr Octopus. Eek. Still trying to get used to the sound of my own voice... *shudder*

But you know what? I love meeting people, and I always have a squillion questions to ask (So far, I've been scribbling them down on paper and pushing them over to Stanley, who humours me and reads them out!) so I'm just gonna look forward to this new experience of on-air interviews vs written interviews.

Stay tuned! Mr Octopus and er ... Ms Octopussy (?)... will have lots of interesting stories to share with you once we explode on air together next week! *wink*

Who's That Girl?

From next Monday, I won't be the swinging single that I have been the last few months!

Someone will be putting me out of my misery from next week and I'm sure that together, we'll bring the show to greater heights. This blog is in fact inspired by her. I won't say too much about her other than the fact that she loves to write and hails from the land of publishing.

So who'll be the new voice alongside me from Monday? Sit tight and stay tuned to find out.

To Diana who emailed to us signing off as the 'ardent listener of 938LIVE', thanks for the encouragement. We're thrilled to know you enjoy the show and we're only challenged to serve up more great conversations.

Talking about conversations, we hosted renowned hairstylist Kim Robinson on the show yesterday. His quick wit and say-it-as-it-is manner was freshing; I'm sure you detected it on the airwaves. I'm still wondering if he really thought I need to get my hair re-styled.

I can't wait for tomorrow. If you've signed up for the Living Room's Coffee Appreciation Workshop, see you at 10am and Gloria Jeans Coffees (Orchard Cineleisure branch). Nothing like a caffeine fix to get us off to a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Living Room Blog

Welcome to The Living Room online! You're reading the first ever post on our blog and we're over the moon you stopped by!

We've finally branched out to create another intimate way of connecting with you, our precious listener (and now reader), and vice versa.

Where instead of just bringing to you the weekday interviews across the airwaves into your own living room, offices, cabins and other spaces you work and live in, we're going to be even more personal and in your face. We hope you don't mind.

Stay fixated on this site for more exciting news, gossips and personal thoughts as we translate the power of the spoken word into the 'written' form via this blog.

[Disclaimer: You may be addicted to this blog. If you develop an addiction, please contact the Addictions Counselling Service Centre at cantstopreading@all. ]