My Wish for You in 2019

“I wish for you to become RICH. To be the example for others.

I wish for you to become a shining example.

I wish for you to discover your reason why…”

It’s been two weeks since we hit 2019, I hope it has treated you well so far.

A friend who is currently based in Winnipeg sent me this inspiring New Year greeting. Feeling blessed each year to receive New Year greetings from people near and far for I am in their thoughts. So blessed to have friends sharing inspirational quotes, anecdotes and videos – sometimes that little boost makes my day.

This video resonates with me in so many ways and hope it does to you too.

2018 has its ups and downs but a blessing nevertheless and that 2019 has just begun…

Video: Fearless Soul on YouTube

Wrapping Up 2018 – Takeaways

2018 – will be gone in few hours.  I am one who don’t believe in setting new year resolutions/goals for I am a believer that every year is a new chapter and that one need goals (either short-term or long-term) as a sense of direction.  Each year to begin with a new, blank slate and the past year not only serve as a memory but lessons learnt and takeaways as self-development.

Despite the unknown, fears and uncharted territories being a full-time freelance in 2018, I had been blessed with the projects/work that I did and the people that I had met.  I admit that not all are rosy – there were disappointments, frustrations, feeling overwhelmed and “what did I get myself into” moments.

I still have no regrets leaving the corporate world after more than 15 years.  The journey of being a freelance has been both fulfilling and challenging.  It gave me a different appreciation and perspective.  No job is superior than another.  No one is superior than another.  Regardless of the nature of a job or how much you are being paid, teamwork, responsibility, accountability and most importantly mutual respect need to be understood and internalised.  Title is not an entitlement, bait in power play or abused authority.  That last statement applies to everyone everywhere – either as a freelance or working in the corporate world.

These are my highlights and takeaways for 2018 projects:

Glam Theatre Musical – Where My Heart and Guts Has Never Been Tested So Much
1 – 4 Feb, Gateway Theatre Blackbox
Stage Manager

Murphy came and never left since the day we started rehearsals in 2017, bumped-in till the day we strike out.  Without fail, every day (and at each show) there was an incident – from technical to performers and crew welfare.

Despite the challenges throughout the whole process (on the toes was an understatement for this one), blessed to be part of this and have a team that supports each other.  This production tested my knowledge, patience and capability not only as a Stage Manager but also as a Production Manager (the unofficial title).

picsart_12-31-034512455019180237946.png

True Colours Festival – Where I Stood in Awe
19 Feb – 29 Mar
Project Coordinator

One of my most fulfilling and humbling project, thus far.  The three-day True Colours Festival concert at Singapore Indoor Stadium and outdoor Festival Village from 23 – 25 Mar is truly inspiring.  These are the days where I stood in awe, lost for words on the feast of talents right before my teary eyes.  These talented artistes with disabilities proved that nothing is impossible.

No words could describe the learning process/journey working with new and familiar faces.  Unfortunately, this was the project that I had one of my disappointments (managing childish dramas and power play was mentally exhausting) while working with familiar faces and also proved the importance of team work and mutual respect.  This was also the project that I did a lot of reflections and keep asking myself if I could handle some situations differently.

The True Colours Team

Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) – Where I Worked with Legends
29 Apr – 10 May
Artist Liaison Officer (ALO) – Toshi Reagon

For the past 12 years as an ALO, this is the longest stint with a single artiste.  Learnt so much (plus interesting conversations) not only from Toshi but also with Michelle Dorrance as well as from the cast, musicians and crew from both Parable of the Sower and The Blues Project.  Both shows were awesome and all the casts are so cool and talented.

These two legends are humble and passionate in their works which is rather lacking in some of those who had just started out.

img_20181231_1619261588552162128562174.jpg

Project Coordinator – Where I Did Everything And Anything
15 Jun – 3 Dec

This was with a creative agency and easily explained in point form (non-exhaustive):
1) Installation/set-up of booth, windows display at wee hours
2) Client brand activation roadshow
3) Provide secretarial service for client at trade event
4) Numerous online search for various items – from blue coloured candies/wrappers, to nuts, to balloons, to sequins, baubles, etc
5) Numerous trips to Arab Street, Chinatown, DIY shops, SKP, Art Friend etc
6) Submission of various and numerous forms for permit to work (PTW) at various shopping malls
7) People management
8) Time management

This 7 months contract work was really an eye opener.  It gave me access to various types of work that happens in the wee hours that we don’t get to see.  It gave me a different appreciation and a lot of hand-on experience to various types of set-ups and window display work (both in the planning and installation).  I had done corporate events during my full-time stints but I was on the client side.  Being on vendor side, well, gave me a balanced perspective.  Clients need to understand that vendors do have a life and regardless how much the contract is worth, vendors should not be mistreated or available 24/7.  And vendors, need to learn to say ‘no’ and/or manage expectations.

One of the things I enjoyed doing is the research and recce – both online and in person.  Brought me to places that I never knew and been before.  There are things and places that you don’t know that you don’t know.

The challenges that I continue to grapple with is the time and people management.  I always believe in respecting one’s time (either own or others).  It takes a lot to manage external client but it takes a lot more to manage internal client.  No one should be taken for granted.  Age or lack of experience is not an excuse to shrug off accountability.  Failing to plan is planning to fail – a principle that I hold on very strongly thanks to my project management background.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Tell-A-Tell of Faith in Fatih – Where I Push Myself
15 Dec, Gateway Theatre Auditorium
Performer – Percussion

As per my previous post – this was a four months crash course.  With limited music/percussion background, learning 13 songs and playing six different traditional drums/instruments was totally unexpected and a huge achievement.

I did it not because of personal glory but it was a self-test and self-development.  This is “what did I get myself into” moment.  And I was invited back to be part of the musical on end June.  Excited and nervous!

Rather interesting that I started the year at Gateway Theatre Blackbox and ended the year at Gateway Theatre Auditorium.  Best part is that it was the same crew and they remembered me (don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing).

Faith in Fatih - Programme Booklet & Badge

2018 has been a year of self-discovery, self-reflection and pushing of boundaries (some I shared above, if I were to share all, it will be a super long post).  2019 is going to be an exciting year and another year of a lot of unknowns.  Apart from a client activation work in early Jan, Chingay 2019 in Feb, Mascot Minder till end April and Faith in Fatih Musical end June, my calendar is still pretty open (I know being thick-skinned by self-promoting).  I am actively looking for projects as a freelance as well as on contract basis.  Been asked recently if I would consider going back to the corporate world/work full time.  If the conditions are right, I might consider.

Have a blessed and fruitful 2019 wherever you are!  I am going to start my 2019 with an open mind and a new slate for I am still learning.  What about you?

Safety First

This was on a paid shuttle service to one of our major attractions earlier this afternoon. This shuttle is an outsourced provider as it is not the official shuttle (the official shuttle is decorated with the attraction ads). It is a 40 seater coach with a luggage compartment underneath.

dsc_21467119347903357023922.jpg

I was appalled when I board the bus and saw this (was last few to board the bus and had to stand).  I wondered:
1) Why didn’t the bus driver say no to strollers on board and tell passengers to keep the strollers in the luggage compartment.
2) The first person who boards the bus with the stroller could have seen that there is no storage space for the stroller, should have asked the driver if he/she could store it in the luggage compartment.  His/her action could set a precedent/an example to others.  There are four strollers in total.
3) What if there is an emergency and/or something had actually happened?  The onus falls on the driver or the passengers who placed the strollers there? Or it falls on the attraction operations?

This is not a case of paranoia but a case of preventive measure which we should never ever take for granted.  Having worked in a consultancy firm that focuses in incident and injury free at workplace plus various types of events, missing out the slightest detail could lead to a major repercussion.  When we reached the attraction and the door opens, the strollers almost fall off the steps.  What if it landed on someone especially a child? (The drop-off/pick-up point are the same at the attraction with no barriers on the curb).  It is more appalling when the driver is totally aware of this as I saw that he removed the strollers once we reached (I was taking down the bus license number).

I had written to the attraction providing the necessary details hoping that action will be taken.  I know it is not as simple or easy.  Anything to do with behavioural change (or sense of entitlement, for that matter) is not easy.  Thanks to this ‘incident’ I noticed that the official shuttle have no space either for strollers (or wheelchairs) which I may ask once they reply to my first feedback.

The topic of strollers on public transportation and especially on escalators have been on-going for the past few months.  Recently the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) had released the poster below as part of their escalator safety campaign which received mixed reactions.

BCA Ad

Poster: BCA Facebook Page

When it comes to safety, everyone plays a part.  Most times we need to take a look at the bigger picture especially when safety is concerned. We need to ask ourselves why things have to be done in a certain way or why certain things are not allowed/discouraged.  In the case of strollers on escalators, do parents know/think how dangerous it can be for the child to be on the stroller while they go either up or down the escalator?  Again, it is not a case of paranoia but a case of prevention.

A Faith. A Crash Course.

When I was asked by NADI Singapura Co-Founder & Artistic Director, RidUan Zalani to be part of Faith in Fatih in August, I thought I would be doing my usual stage management role as per previous productions. Never have I expected that I will be asked to be on stage alongside the talented brothers & sisters of NADI Singapura.

Despite being onstage numerous times for dance showcase, theatre or even monologue couldn’t prepare me for this – a totally different ballgame. This is a crash course like no other as I have little percussion/music background.  To play six traditional drums/instruments on stage plus learning 13 songs without any score/notes – nerve wrecking is an understatement.

The faith and trust by RidUan came at a much needed time.  A time when I was doing a lot of self-reflections plus battling with my own demons.  The fear of not being able to catch-up and/or perform lingered at the back of my head till the day we bumped-in at Gateway Theatre.

Words are not enough to express my gratitude to each NADI Singapura members.  Their patience, guidance, special session and video recordings of rehearsals helped tremendously.  Their dedication, friendship and support to one another are admirable.

A lot of time, effort, dedication and sacrifice took place behind the scenes.  And it doesn’t end after the curtain call.  The same people who played and entertained the audience on 15 Dec at the concert, were the ones who have to tear down and pack the instruments back to level 3 of Aliwal Arts Centre (with no lift!).

The full Faith in Fatih show (musical) will be in end June 2019.

Photos & videos: Nadi Singapura, family & friends of performers and/or audience

Faith in Fatih - Final Run and ChecksFaith in FatihFaith in Fatih - Cast & CrewFaith in Fatih - Cast & Crew

The Tell-A-Tale of Faith in Fatih

10 days till the full concert. These are just snippets of the instruments and talents on one stage for one night only. Honoured to be on stage with these talented individuals from Nadi Singapura instead of my usual stage management duties. The concert will showcase various traditional Malayan drums/instruments and will feature upcoming talented guest artistes:

1) Rose Handayani of Gamelan Asmaradana will be singing and playing the kecapi
2) Alhafiz Jamat and Ismahairie Putra Ishak of Orkestar Trio will be playing various flutes/wind instruments and violin plus oud respectively
3) Din Safari, a veteran bassist
4) Aidil Akmal, a singer, songwriter & musician who will be playing the harmonium and accordion
5) Shahirah Saad, a talented Malay traditional music singer

The Tell-A-Tale of Faith in Fatih
15 Dec | Gateway Theatre | 8pm
$25 and $20 excluding $2 ticketing fee

Sypnosis and details of the show can be found on the link: https://www.apactix.com/events/detail/the-tell-a-tale-of-faith-in-fatih

Geography and Currency Lessons…Please

While queuing at a money changer, standing in front of a young couple who are university students based on their other conversations, who also don’t know the basic concept of personal space plus volume control…

Boy: Frankfurt where, Russia ah?
Girl: (hesitation) Hmm… Yeah
(silence) 
Boy: What’s the difference between Chinese dollars and Chinese Renmenbi?
Girl: Read somewhere that there is a difference but can’t remember…Chinese dollars and US dollars used to be the same, now they change…
(silence)
Girl: I also read that we can use British pounds here
Boy: We used to be under British what…that’s ages ago
Girl: No leh…can use it until about ten years ago
(silence)
Girl: Hong Kong and China same what, why have Hong Kong dollars
Boy: Dunno… Wah Won a lot leh but not much value like Dong.  Eh, must go to ‘atas’ countries so people look at you more ‘atas’
Girl: I know right.  What is “we buy”, “we sell”….how come got different rate one?

Me (throughout this conversation): 😲🤦🏽‍♀️🤦🏽‍♀️💆🏽‍♀️🤦🏽‍♀️💆🏽‍♀️🤦🏽‍♀️💆🏽‍♀️🤦🏽‍♀️💆🏽‍♀️Thank God it’s my turn…

Moral of the story:

(1) there is nothing wrong to admit that you don’t know than pretend to know with hesitation

(2) smartphones can be used to Google instead of just scrutinising your classmates’ IG

(3) personal space + volume control is a basic concept