Posts tagged: Aussie Pete

National Day Dinner – Living The Local Dream

By , August 28, 2012 9:51 pm

Saturday, 25th August, saw me heading on down to the hard-court opposite the Anchorvale Community Club for the 2012 National Day Dinner.

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Surprisingly, after a relatively lengthy association with the Grassroots community in Sengkang West, this was the first time I had attended this extremely enjoyable and inclusive event. Let me tell you, I was not to be disappointed. All kudos to Mickey and the organizing committee for a fun-filled evening that was just bursting with national pride and excitement for all of the residents that attended.

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Along with the singing of Majulah Singapura and the recitation of the pledge, some highlights of the evening included presentation of awards to long-service committed community volunteers, symphony and choir performances, a Wushu display, performances by ITE College Central students and a very interesting and quite amusing spot by artiste, Donna Daniels.

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We were also entertained by a very talented magician, who literally left the audience with mouths agape… but the true spectacle of the whole night was an impromptu singing performance by the Guest of Honour, Dr Lam Pin Min – he actually has a very good voice!! 🙂

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A special mention should go out to the master of ceremonies, Derrick! He is just an absolute natural in this role.

Oh – did I mention the food… *mouth waters* – the menu was completely tantalizing to the taste buds.

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The CCMC members were seated at Table number 3, right down the front and nearest to all the ‘action’. One may well have thought from observing, that there was a spare seat at our table, but in fact we had reserved a spot for our very dear friend and recently departed, Mark Toh – I firmly believe that he was right there with us in spirit. Mark was a tireless and selfless volunteer to anybody who needed assistance, and he was a great mate whose deeds will forever be etched in my (and hundreds of others’) memory.

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Thanks again to the organizers, the event company, the performers and all of the many volunteers that gave up their time to ensure that the National Day Dinner was a 100% success!!

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I am so proud of my community!

Photo Credits for this article:

* Raymond Lee
* Sourajit Bhowmick
* Poor Quality Ones: My iPhone

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Source: Aussie Pete

Question of Dual Citizenship? We, The ‘People’ of Singapore…

By , August 10, 2012 2:49 am

Disclaimer: I am in no way trying to create controversy with this article. I speak only from the heart, openly and honestly.

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As we celebrate another National Day and NDP (National Day Parade) in Singapore, we once again open our hearts and souls to this wonderful country.

And I ponder once again, about the possiblity of dual citizenship…

For the first time in our many years of calling Singapore home, Sammi and I were fortunate enough to have been able to attend in person at the NDP preview (held on 4th August), and to celebrate in the pride of the nation along with around 27,000 Singaporeans.

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We have always watched the parade on television, but the experience of the comfort of our own lounge room absolutely pales in comparison to actually being there and soaking up the atmosphere of the moment… I feel that I am still trying to rub the goosebumps off my arms almost a week after the event!!

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Now here’s the strange thing – many people my age might be preparing for what is commonly known as a ‘mid-life’ crisis. However, I think I’m undergoing what might be best referred to as a potential ‘identity’ crisis.

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You see, Singapore is our home and she has been very good to us. We are proud to live and be accepted here.

But I’m wondering – is this enough?

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The things that we do every day, the way we contribute to society and genuinely love our neighbours, the allegiance that we have undertaken in our actions and our hearts… I’m wondering, is it possible to hold ‘allegiance’ to more than one country? More over, is it acceptable to ‘pledge allegiance’ to more than one country?

The reason I ask, is that when it comes time to sing the national anthem of Singapore, ‘Majulah Singapura’ (Onward Sigapore), we do so with heads held high and an unmistakable sense of pride in our home and the nation.

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When it comes time for the nation to recite the ‘Pledge’, we do so… however, we have to omit a few words – I can not hold my hand on my heart and call myself a ‘Citizen of Singapore’ – because I am not. My passport is not that of a Singaporean.

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But I will continue to say the pledge – Why? Because all of the things I am pledging for (alongside my friends and neighbours) are things that I firmly believe and agree to abide by. I am living them everyday – this I can say, with my hand on my heart… regardless of the colour of my passport.

It is common knowledge that holding a ‘dual citizenhip’ is not something that Singapore will allow. I understand all of the reasoning behind this, but I honestly believe that in some cases, exceptions could (and should) be made.

The problem I have, is that if I applied to become a citizen of Singapore, Australia would have no problems at all if I wanted to take up dual citizenhip. However, to be accepted as a citizen of Singapore, I would be required to take an ‘Oath of Renunciation, Allegiance and Loyalty’ – effectively, I would need to renounce my Australian citizenhip… or in other words, I would be required to renounce my heritage, the home where I grew up, the history that made me the person I am today, my family, my friends… how could I possibly turn my back on the country of my birth?

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In my culture, such a renunciation would be completely frowned upon and unforgivable – I would be disowned by the people I love.

I am kind of hoping that among the thousands of people reading my blog, there may just be one person with some level of influence to take my request to the powers that be… there are some people, that would absolutely love to take up Singapore citizenhip, but due to the requirement for renunication of their country of heritage, just cannot morally bring themselves to do so… this does not make us any less dedicated to the success and growth of our nation, or what we are pledging for on National Day.

I will continue to pledge, but may just quietly substitute the word ‘citizens’ with ‘people’.

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To those in authority – please, please reconsider the option of dual citizenship for certain legitimate cases…. the literal definition of ‘allegiance’, is “Loyalty or the obligation of loyalty, as to a nation, sovereign, or cause”… does it really mean that it can only be to one nation or cause?

Interestingly and on a side note, Jaime had his usual National Day celebrations at his kindergarten the other day – it would not even occur to him that as he sings the anthem and then proudly recites the pledge alongside all of his class mates, that he is making the statement that he is a citizen… when in fact he is a permanent resident – as far as he is concerned, he was born here and is Singaporean… he is too young to understand otherwise – I’m sure such allegiances and pride will stay with him right up until he performs his national service and is then given the option himself to become a citizen – if he renounces his Australian allegiance first.

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For more pictures of our experience at the NDP 2012 preview, Click Here.

Below, is a video I took of the ‘Majulah Moment’ – the fly past of the Singapore Flag to the background of ‘Majulah Singapura’ – here come those Goose Bumps again 🙂

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Source: Aussie Pete Blog

Feeling Sexy and Patriotic at the Same Time – NDP 2012

By , August 3, 2012 11:11 pm

This August 9th, Singapore celebrates it’s 47th birthday.

So it’s time to get mobilized and do your patriotic duty! The marketing guys at Mentos have provided us with a ‘viral video’ and message to do just that (to be honest, how the mint making giant associates themselves with Singapore’s low birth rate and ageing population by promoting the ‘making of babies’ is quite beyond me – but what the heck, this video is absolute gold!)

I shared the clever rap called ‘National Night’ with many friends and colleagues today, but when I got some blank stares from some ang moh mates who didn’t get all the humour, it dawned on me that many of the references would probably be lost on them… Aside from the obvious ‘making babies’ message of course.

The fact that I found it hilarious (along with most of my local buddies), is I believe, attestation to my successful integration as a heartlander and Singaporean PR.

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Strangely, this affirmation is enough to make me feel proud and patriotic in my own way… as we do every year, we have our national flag displayed in the window of our HDB loungeroom, the mini flag is waving as we drive with it attached to our car window, and this year, I’ve even got a Singapore flag as an iPhone 4S cover!!

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On another note, for many years now, we have ballotted unsuccessfully for tickets to attend the National Day Parade (or NDP preview) at the bay… but this year it’s a different story!! Donning our red and white, we will be heading down tomorrow (4th July) to bask in the glory of the event preview. How exciting, right?

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And who knows… once the fireworks are over and the kids are in bed, we may just do our own civic duty and create our own fireworks before the 9th August (if I’m lucky). But to be totally honest – ‘putting a bao in the oven’ is not on our agenda right now! 🙂

So sit back and enjoy the video – and for those who don’t get all the humour in it, I make no apologies – come and live in Singapore!

Finally, for those who don’t know the English meaning of the Malay words of the Singapore National Anthem, ‘Majulah Singapura’, I found this version online with English translation – goosebump worthy, or not!!?

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NB: The logo for this year’s NDP, is the ‘Orchid Star’ and the theme is ‘Loving Singapore, Our Home’!

Source: Aussie Pete

Super Aussie Pete to Attend 2012 Singapore Blog Awards – With Undies Inside!

By , July 18, 2012 1:45 am

Source: Aussie Pete

”The time has come”, the Walrus said…

My, how time does fly! And so does Superman… or should I say – SUPER AUSSIE PETE!! – OK, OK… Perhaps I should explain!

Look - Up in the Sky!!!

Look - Up in the Sky!!!

After having ‘stepped down’ this year (the fifth of the annual OMY Singapore Blog Awards), I was watching the hive of activity and keen interest via the blog awards website. In fact, I was following with some degree of sadness and perhaps even ‘withdrawal’ at not playing my part.

Of course, I have been mainly focused on what’s been happening in my category – Best What The Hell Blog – and wondering just who my successor may be. But at the same time, with so many very good friends involved once again, I have been very interested in how every blogger in the Top 10 will fare in their respective categories.

I was hoping all along that I would perhaps be honoured with an invitation to the Awards ceremony, which is always one of the ‘must attend’ events of the Singapore cyberspace calendar. It’s always alive with the “who’s who” of the SG blogosphere – This year will be no exception, and the quality of bloggers looks like the talent will be the best yet to be vying to take out the crowns.

Well, herein lies my complete surprise!! More-so for me then anyone else…

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Some weeks back, I received communication from the Awards organizers, to tell me that I was being honoured (along with four other talented writers in their own right – and very great friends – Catherine, Yong Wei, Eunice and Christine), with a ‘Super Blogger’ award!!

What the??!! – I won an award without even entering?

superbloggers01 (2)All jokes aside – of course I am once again more than humbly taken aback. Being recognized for something that I enjoy doing, is almost like highway robbery right?

According to OMY, I am being honoured with this ‘Super Blogger’ award, for being an “exemplar of the value of information- and experience-sharing via your blog content”. In short, I think it’s kind of the reason behind why so many people seem to enjoy reading my blog. 🙂

So my wish was granted – not only will Sammi and I be attending the Awards ceremony again, but there will be a special segment in which I will receive the accolades.
The Awards this year will be happening this Saturday afternoon, 21st July at the Singapore Food Trail at the Singapore Flyer. The GOH will be Mr. Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education and theme is ‘Superheroes’, but like I told the organizers, do NOT expect me to attend wearing my underpants on the outside… eeeewwww – actually the thought is quite gross, right?

Good luck to all of the finalists – remember, you are all already winners!! Look forward to seeing you there.

Following below, are the answers that I gave to the OMY when they reached out to let me know about the ‘Super Blogger’ award. The same responses can also be found on their official blog site here.

How do you feel about receiving the Super Blogger Award?

Of course, I’m absolutely honoured to be recognized as one of Singapore’s ‘Super Bloggers’, but I guess that goes without saying… after a lengthy association with OMY, I have shared in many amazing and exciting adventures online and off – moments that will forever be etched in my memories. After collecting first place in my category in both the 2010 and 2011 blog awards, I thought it would be impossible to top such success and recognition, so opted to ’step down’ in 2012 to allow others the opportunities that I have been afforded. To be recognized as a ‘Super Blogger’ as part of this year’s blog awards and for the impact that I have had on the Singapore Blogosphere over the past five years, although it is very surprising, I think it also reflects the hard work and dedication that I have made over this last half decade – albeit a huge enjoyment at the same time. The biggest honour comes from seeing so many readers coming back to my website day in and day out – I must be doing something right with my content :p

super-blogger-peterWhat did you gain most during these years of blogging? How did you counter-attack any weariness that deters you from blogging? (if any at all)

Aside from the buzz that I get from making friends (once again online and off), some of them life long strong associations, to see my readership grow so exponentially over the years is an absolute blast. Interestingly enough, and many thanks to OMY, blogging over recent years has taken me to different countries, has seen me partake in dozens and dozens of media events, has put me on TV on many occasions – both recorded and live, I have appeared in every major newspaper in Singapore (English and Chinese) numerous times for my opinions and insights, numerous magazines have covered my articles, my family and me, I have filmed vodcasts, participated in too many photoshoots to even count, participated in live radio interviews, I have been guest writer for and been quoted on hundreds of websites and of course, I have been rewarded many times over financially and with invaluable awards and prizes from just about every kind of industry imaginable (and this is just in Singapore – dozens of the largest global media organizations aggregate my work every day, quote my articles and writings and conduct interviews for my advice or opinion). The problem is how to keep up with life as a ‘pseudo-celebrity’, while maintaining a very demanding professional career, spending quality time with a beautiful and loving young family and also dedicating thousands of hours to community volunteer work and grassroots activities.

The answer to this for me, is blogging has always been my ‘escape’… my means to unwinding and de-stressing. My professional life sees me dealing with other regions, so late night work and conference calls are often the norm (and have been for more than a decade) – this has taught me to survive on very little sleep. It may surprise many to know that on weeknights I often don’t sleep until around 3am and arise for the new workday around 7:00am (an average of just 4-hours shut-eye every week night). Then my wonderful wife usually let’s me recharge with a late sleep in on Saturday morning. Blogging usually occurs when everyone else in my household (and many people all over Singapore) are safely snug and sleeping in their beds. Like I said, it’s not a chore… it’s a way to relax – the day it becomes a chore, is the day I stop blogging.

How do you think bloggers can play a part in contributing to society, either in general or in any specific area?

As I’ve written before, bloggers and aspiring writers should always remain true to themselves. Write about what you are passionate about, what you know. There is so much information that everyone has (whether they know it or not) that others may want to tap in to. Share your experiences, offer advice, but always, always – remain humble. Of course, aside from just writing, I cannot recommend enough that so much self-fulfillment comes from volunteer and charity community work.

Given the many other social media platforms available these days, what do you think is/are the most valuable aspect(s) about blogs that the other channels not able to surpass/replace?

Nothing can be as unique as blogging when it comes to social media (at least not with the platforms available today) – Facebook is generally only going to attract your FB friends (unless you are competent with running viral campaigns), Twitter is always restricted to 140 characters, many apps and platforms will keep track of where you are and where you check-in. The list goes on of course, and there is always a place for every platform… mostly the integration of them all. But at the end of the day, a blog is your own personal journal – you own the content, you own the design. it is very personal… and with dedication and a little hard work, you can corner a very real sizeable chunk of the search engine traffic as well as obtain loyalty from regular readers and subscribers base (with your very own website). This can also lead to attention from other websites, other social media users and can offer some amount of credibility from others around what you write, what you think and how you portray it. If having a voice that wants to be heard is your reason for blogging – then you are on the right platform.

If you are a Superhero, who do you think you will be and why? What kind of Superpower do you think you will possess? (If none of the existing superheroes match what you have in mind, create your own and tell us!)

Haha – I’d like to believe it would be someone cool and strong… to be honest, given my ‘dual’ (or even more) personalities and often contradicting activities, I’d have to be a little boring and say ‘Superman’. The reason is that the huge difference between the unassuming mild-mannered Clark Kent and the crime fighting strength and confidence of Superman, perhaps best reflects the difference between a senior vice president in a bank by day, and a sometimes ‘wannabe’ pseudo-celebrity that mixes it up with the very cool people and culture that the Singapore Blogosphere has now become – these are worlds apart. Never do these two personas meet… and any time they do come close, I always do my best to divert the attention. So yes, mild manner Clark Kent and superhero, Superman (but don’t ask me to wear my undies on the outside – eeewww, what a horrible thought) :p

Of course, my wife Sammi is my very own Lois Lane – although she is completely aware and familiar with (and tolerant of) all of the multiple personalities.

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Blog Awards – Aussie Pete Retires And Advice For WTH Bloggers

By , April 12, 2012 1:34 am

This article was originally posted at Aussie Pete Legacy Blog

OK dear friends and readers, here’s the scoop! After a very lengthy association with the OMY Singapore Blog Awards (which celebrates their 5th anniversary in 2012) and after being short-listed to the Top 10 and collecting the first place award in my category for consecutive years (2010 and 2011), it’s time for me to step aside and open the ‘Best WTH Category’ up to other nominees.

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Be sure to visit the Blog Awards site to register your own blog for the 2012 awards, or to nominate your favourite blogger.

Don’t be mistaken – I am not going to stop blogging, nor is my ongoing collaboration with the OMY team over. In fact, it has never been stronger. I will continue to mirror my main legacy blog at my OMY Star Blogger home and will still attend various events and outings (time permitting)… in other words, you will not be getting rid of my ugly mug that easily – I will definitely see my OMY friends from time to time (as will Sammi and the boys).

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Over the last few years, I have been absolutely blessed with the opportunities that OMY and the Singapore blogosphere have afforded me. From collecting prizes including vacations, audio visual gear, make-overs, computers and lasting memories of trips to Hong Kong (2010) and Australia (2011), just to name a few (I’m running out of shelf space to put my custom-made trophies by Tan Swie Hian)… to creating life-long friendships with fellow bloggers (now some of my best mates) and taking part in media events – such as the Urban Homme Challenge and (the now historic) bathtub race in Victoria Harbour (HK) – I’m sure that Ang Geck Geck just rolled her eyes at me again 🙂

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I was going to list out all of the activities, events and appearances I’ve participated in since 2009, but soon realized that I would probably lose everyone after about 300 rows… the memories for me, however, will remain eternal. Not to mention all the media clippings that Sammi (who also doubles up as my PR agent) has saved… numerous vodcasts; newspapers – Straits Times, Wanbao, Zhaobao, Shin Min; TV appearances, and many more – all thanks in one way or another to my OMY collaboration.

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I make no excuses for my decision to move aside this year, but not only is my work-life very stretched right now along with family and community / grassroots commitments, I think it is only fair to open up the category of ‘What The Hell’ (WTH) to other just as deserving bloggers. Many of the previous nominees over the years are also my friends and I actually felt especially quite bad last year to know that some of these very excellent writers and great people did not get the same opportunities that I have had over recent years.

The WTH category is obviously very subjective. Not only on the judging side to determine who has the best style or fanciest looking blog or even the voting side (for which I’m enormously grateful to all of my supporters who have made the effort to vote for me), but also – and perhaps most importantly – the content.

The question is, and always has been, “What really constitutes WTH content?”

In my mind, it’s what can potentially make the reader’s jaw drop. Quite frankly, if a particular topic or subject makes me say to myself ‘What the Hell’, then I suspect it will offer up the same reaction to others (I’ve seen a lot throughout my decades on this earth, so it’s actually quite rare that something leaves me well and truly ‘gob-smacked’).

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While I’m on my high horse talking about what I think ‘WTH’ is, perhaps I could also recommend to nominees this year, what I really think ‘WTH’ is not!!

Once again in my (small) mind – boasting about oneself (too much) is not going to get the readers’ attention… and any attention you do get, might be the wrong kind – it may make people switch off or worse still, unsubscribe to your work. So forget writing things that have the intention of ‘you’ve gotta love me’ or ‘I’m the best’, etc, or posting a 1000px x 1600px picture of your face as your blog header. It may work for one or two bloggers… but the odds are it’s not going to work for you. In fact, instead of people saying ‘What the Hell!!’ they may choose to say ‘What an Idiot!!’

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Also, remember well, that regardless of your nominated category, a blog should generally allow you to remain true to yourself. Think back to when and how you started blogging… was it to seek fame and fortune? (I doubt it)… or was it so that you could keep an online diary of your activities, thoughts and images? (more likely). In my case, it was to share our experiences with family and friends who live overseas and we do not get to see very often… and although I’ve diverted often and sometimes quite dramatically from this foundation, I always end up coming home in the end. What I’m saying, is that your content should not be contrived or forced… just let it flow… and no matter what – don’t ever sell yourself out!! (you guys know what I’m talking about, right?)

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So there you go… Aussie Pete blog is stepping aside this year to allow other worthy writers to be crowned the 2012 Best WTH Blogger in Singapore (not that I would’ve been a certain to win – just like a world heavy weight champion, all the more reason to ‘quit while I’m ahead’). Wishing you all the best and will see you at upcoming events. If you’re new to the OMY scene or Singapore blogosphere, don’t be shy – if we haven’t met before, be sure to say hello!! (I’ll be the ang moh with a beer in my hand and a smile on my face)

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Nostalgia – Nestlé, You Made Me Cry…

By , March 5, 2012 9:46 pm

When my good friend, Christine, invited Jaime and myself to attend a ‘toy making’ afternoon a couple of weeks ago, I was completed unprepared for the emotions and strong sense of nostalgia that I was going to be faced with.

Click here to view all photos in this set…

In fact, it started dawning on me during the drive in to the Arab Street area of Singapore, that perhaps I’ve not spoken enough with Jaime about my childhood and what it was like growing up in the days before computers, electronic games and today’s generation of gadgets and social networking. Or maybe I’d just forgotten myself?

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As Jaime and I discussed the kind of toys we would be making, he asked me the question: “Daddy, do you think we should bring our own batteries?”… for a moment I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. His automatic assumption was that if we were ‘making’ our own toys, then they would obviously be electronic in nature and would require a power source…. OH MY!!

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Once we arrived at Children Little Museum in Bussorah Street, I also quickly became aware that although ‘back when I was a lad’ of about Jaime’s age (4-years old), Singapore was another world away – I’m not even sure I knew that it existed (forgive me if I thought the world was indeed flat) – our cultures were already operating in parallel. With global travel something that I wouldn’t experience for almost another decade, the idea that kids my own age in a country some 6,000km away from the small rural Victorian town of Rupanyup where I was living were doing the same things as I was, was quite unfathomable.

You see, I clearly remember receiving a wooden top for my birthday… and the hours upon hours of enjoyment it provided were immeasurable. But guess what? – I have now learned that the same joy was being experienced well beyond the shores of down under and as far away as Asia.

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Then there’s the game of ‘Five Stones’ – in Australia, we called it knuckles and it was played with either a synthetic form or sometimes even real dried out knuckle bones. In Singapore, it was played with little satchels that feel like mini-bean bags (and now while we’re reminiscing, kids from my generation in Australia would see the obvious resemblance in shape of these game items to the old ‘Sunny Boys’). – Jaime got to take the ‘five stones’ home and has been trying desperately to teach Casey – I think their tiny little hands are not quite there yet :p

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Now here’s the kicker!! I would’ve placed money on the fact that Milo was as Australian as Vegemite! Once again, while we were growing up and being told to drink our Milo to get strong bones, healthy bodies and heaps of energy… so were the kids in Singapore!

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Herein is the underlying motivation for the entire afternoon… The icon behind the Milo brand is none other than Nestlé, and the team in Singapore invited us along (with some other very close mates… and even my Hong Kong travel buddies and witnesses to the now historical, 2010 Bathtub Racing Dilemma) to share in their 100th Anniversary… Yes, you heard it right – Nestlé is much older than me and was filling the Singaporean kids with sustenance long before I was even running around in nappies (and even before my mother was a wee lass… and even when my Grandparents were still little critters). 🙂

My dear Mum as a young girl...

My dear Mum as a young girl...

Amazing right!? The company behind every day brands such as Nescafe, Kit Kat, Maggi and Milkmaid are a century old!!

So what better way to showcase their celebrations than a walk back in time – before the iPad and Nintendo Wii were even flights of fantasy for the science fiction buffs… the ‘internet’ must have been something we used to help us fish for yabbies in the dams and mud creeks around the outskirts of town right?

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Once we arrived and had a few snacks, I was offered an iced cappuccino from this amazing futuristic looking machine (Dolce Gusto Circolo coffee machine – a modern day invention)… I MUST MUST have one!! – the flavour of my ‘cold cuppa’ was divine!… and I’m one of those guys that lives for his coffee.

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Then we learned about the 100-year history of Nestlé in Singapore from none other than the MD himself, Valerio Nannini. Mr Nannini also learned a thing or two himself – such as the fact that Nestlé produced tins with a handle on the bottom to be recycled as money containers for many of the store owners and hawkers of the day. Simply pull down on the handle and the tin moves on a pulley system – store your cash and let it fly back up – ingenious really – and an absolute nugget of a marketing and branding idea all those years ago 😀

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Soon after, we were taken up a flight of stairs and were transported down another flight in time. A toy museum consisting of things I knew and things I didn’t… the school classroom setting that was so familiar to me that I was looking to see where (next to the pencil well) my name was engraved from times gone by.

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Then the fun stuff began – first we made a ‘balancing pyramid’ – an amazing device that will balance anywhere.

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Next was a kite – created and designed by us – Jaime is a much better artist than me and loves to paint, so he was the mastermind behind the design 

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On the way home, I had so many thoughts running through my mind… days gone by when life was just so simple. How great it was to be a kid – I almost wish that Jaime didn’t ever have to grow up. As I looked to Jaime and saw him completely sound asleep, the tears again welled in my eyes… I could say it was because a piece of dust had lodged in them, or that the sun was just a little too bright – but either of these excuses would be a lie.

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Thank you Nestlé for a magical afternoon… thank you for inspiring memories long-forgotten… thank you for some wonderful bonding time with my son… and finally, THANK YOU for growing with me from early childhood until now!!

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Footnote: Keep your eye out for another initiative that Nestlé Singapore will be undertaking as part of their 100 year celebrations – the fulfillment of 100 wishes for lucky people. Simply visit the Nestlé 100 years website and check it out – Wishes should reflect the theme of “Good Food, Good Life” and must be meaningful and beneficial! Closing date will be 15th Nov 2012. So what are you waiting for??

Source: Aussie Pete

When Is An Expat An Expat?

By , December 23, 2011 11:19 am

Source

I’ve had a number of people email to ask what this ‘Notatourist.sg’ collaboration is all about. Thanks to Joanne and the team over there, the following videos have been posted on YouTube which pretty much explain it all.

The first one is about the site itself and was played at the launch event held at TAB:

[youtube YYMsHXvL20M]

The second one is a video of the launch event itself:

[youtube bjJsNmcmWK4]

Still not sure what it’s about and need more info? – Visit the site and check it out, or feel free to drop me a line.

Exclusive – 100% Absolute Irrefutable Proof That Santa Claus Exists – Double Confirmed

By , December 13, 2011 1:39 am

Folks – today at Aussie Pete blog, I have an absolute jaw-dropping scoop!!

To answer the age-old question, “Does Santa Claus really exist”, we can now go one step further than the timeless, but as yet unsubstantiated response, of “Yes, Virgina, there is a Santa Claus”.

You see today, right here, I can provide video evidence that proves without a shadow of a doubt that ‘Jolly Old Saint Nick’ is more than just the imagination of children the globe over.

Santa has a file on every single child

Santa has a file on every single child

Only the real Santa would know such personal information about Jaime – from his age, where he lives, what Mummy and Daddy would like to see him working on to improve his behaviour (being more quiet inside the house), what he wants for Xmas (this must have come from the letter that Jaime wrote a couple of days ago)… and a load more information!

Proof That Santa Exists

Proof That Santa Exists

Of course, Santa keeps all of this data on every child around the world in their very own file – he has pictures of birthdays and performances, and of course he has the one piece of knowledge that is the most critical at this time of year – Was Jaime naughty or nice in 2011? You really want to know? Then watch this video and see Santa’s elves enter Jaime’s file into the ‘naughty and nice’ machine for the final evaluation!

[youtube BbGAew-pBOI]

When Jaime watched this message from Santa today, his jaw really did almost hit the ground as he responded to all of the questions. He was so well behaved at bed time, I almost didn’t recognize him as the same 4-year old… and with still over 2-weeks left until Christmas Day, Jaime will be checking in on Santa’s message to see if there is any change in the ‘naughty and nice’ status – it’s going to be lovely to have almost three weeks of good behaviour! 🙂

So yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus! DOUBLE COMFIRMED!

Naughty or Nice? The suspense is intense...

Naughty or Nice? The suspense is intense...

Source: Aussie Pete

We Love Singapore – For The Record

By , December 5, 2011 12:15 pm

http://www.aussiepete.com/2011/12/we-love-singapore-for-record.html

I am very saddened that I have no option but to pen a response to the increasing number of blog entries and forum posts popping up all over the place online in the last few days.

I wouldn’t like to suggest that some people seem to have too much time on their hands, but why someone feels it is important enough to research my blog and other articles to try and discredit me or my motivations for living in Singapore or becoming PR is totally beyond me.

Anyway, to set the record straight, I wanted to put forward my position on a few items and just move on (I’m not interested in getting into flame wars with online trolls).

DECISION TO BECOME PERMANENT RESIDENT

Regardless of the quotes taken out of context from an article written on my blog some 3-years+ ago, our decision for becoming PR was not for the sole intention of buying a resale HDB flat. We have become PRs because we love Singapore, it is our home, and we had made a ‘pact’ even prior to relocating here many years ago that if we were to really integrate into the local community, we wanted to do it ‘boots and all’ – moving to a foreign country is no menial task – it takes much courage and planning. Our first attempt to achieve this, was by moving to Woodlands (as opposed to doing the stereotypical expat thing and surrounding ourselves with other foreigners).

When I penned the article all those years ago about beating the increasing rental market by purchasing a property here, I was highlighting the fact that rent money is ‘dead money’ and to invest in ourselves as opposed to lining our landlord’s pocket was an easy decision – this would be applicable no matter which country we were living.

Living in a condo was just not doing it for us – we still felt like we were on an extended business trip and did not feel at home… almost like we were shutting ourselves in, so we decided to go down the HDB resale flat path, as this gave us the opportunity to meet more locals and to potentially give back to the community in which we so dearly wanted to integrate.

This has worked for us – our best friends are our neighbours. We gladly and proudly actively participate in the community, and I am extremely active in the local grassroots in Sengkang West – spending most weekends and many weeknights on such activities.

We have no secrets or ulterior motives. Singapore is our home and we are proud and feel very blessed that we have been so welcomed into our neighbourhood and community! I make absolutely no apologies for this.

In no way have we mocked any system as a few people seem to be insinuating in these forums.

NATIONAL SERVICE FOR OUR BOYS

Another issue that seems to be a topic for these forum trolls, is around a comment I made in an interview (also more than 3 years ago). I suggested at the time, that I felt it a disadvantage of becoming a PR that our boys (both born here) would be liable for National Service.

On this issue, through my local mates and close friends, I have come to learn more about the process and what NS entails. These days, I do not actually feel it is a disadvantage. I have grown to believe that along with our children playing their part in their birth-country’s obligations, NS has shown to instill a discipline and sense of pride that would be difficult to attain through other means. I am therefore supportive of this requirement for male children of permanent residents.

CITIZENSHIP

The colour of my passport seems to be a giant bug-bear for a small cross-section of people. In a recent interview with the Straits Times, I stated that although I had thought about SG citizenship, ‘at this juncture’ I was not ready to give up my Aussie passport (while there is no opportunity for dual citizenship).

This has lead to much speculation as to my motivation and reasoning. Quite frankly, this is a very personal decision and not one to be taken lightly – in my culture, to give up one’s citizenship is akin to turning one’s back on their heritage and even their family. Just as I respect and totally accept other cultures around me, I would have hoped that my culture and upbringing would at least be tolerated.

This is my reasoning and it has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not I one day intend to return to Australia (which is not even in our thoughts right now), nor is it so that I could rort or mock any system or process.

MY INCOME

I have worked very hard to become successful in my career (over decades). This has been at the sacrifice of my personal leisure and my family time. Along with long, hard hours, I spend much time volunteering in the community. How much I earn as a result of my professional endeavours is absolutely nobody’s business and has no bearing on my love for Singapore or our decision to live in a HDB estate.

Thanks for reading – I hope this clears the air somewhat.

It is important to note, that we LOVE our home – Singapore! We are happy and blessed to be here and we will continue to integrate and assist others to integrate into the local community. We have no other  intention right now, but to remain here, and perhaps one day (as the years move forward) we will take the next step towards Singapore citizenship. In the meantime, please accept our good intentions and respect our wish to be good neighbours and friends.

Cheers, 

Pete

I’m Not A Tourist (Or A Celebrity)… Or Am I? Hmmm…

By , December 2, 2011 12:43 am

I’ll explain the ‘Not a Tourist’ piece in a moment, but first let me touch on the celebrity part…

I’ve actually been trying to play things a little more low key these past few months, following on from a year that’s seen more commitments than I can throw a stick at. With my ‘day job’ creating quite a significant workload outside of office hours (late night conference calls and 2012 planning) and my Grassroots activities, I’ve had to knock back literally dozens of ‘extra-curricular’ activities and engagements.

I'm not a tourist because...

I'm not a tourist because...

Having said that, the month of November saw a remarkable amount of exposure across various media – traditional and digital. With appearances on TV, interviews and ‘exclusives’ on a couple of international news websites, on Monday this week the Straits Times ran an article penned by one of their journalists based out of Sydney – I kindly agreed to the interview for this and was a little stunned to see how large the picture of my family was that was run with the story – I had SMS’s, emails, phone calls from every man and his dog to tell me about it.

Seriously? Looking out across Orchard Road

Seriously? Looking out across Orchard Road

Then the very next day, as Sammi and I were walking up Orchard Road to TAB to attend the official launch event for Notatourist.sg – I kid you not – our photos… one of me and another of Sammi and the boys appeared on the large screen facing the most famous of Singapore’s shopping strips. Let me tell you, Sammi and I took more than a double-take… how very surreal!

notatouristlogo02The reason for the images being displayed (along with the pictures of other ‘expat writers’) was part of the launch event.

As part of the proceedings, I was invited to participate on stage as a panelist in an informal dialog… along with local celebrities, the one and only (very cool) Hossan Leong and famous author and columnist, Neil Humphreys – a couple of very funny guys… I felt very honoured to meet them both.

Aussie Pete, Neil Humphreys and Hossan Leong

Aussie Pete, Neil Humphreys and Hossan Leong

Expat Panelists

Expat Panelists

I have gladly agreed to be part of the editorial team at the newly launched Notatourist.sg.

NOT A TOURIST

notatourist.sg is about you — You, the expatriate in Singapore, in discovering your home away from home.

You’re an expat, not a tourist. You can pepper your English with lah’s and can’s, you know why taxis seem to be in hiding just before midnight, and you know that tissue packets left on hawker centre tables is not a process to be trifled with.

I'm not a tourist because...

I'm not a tourist because...

Maybe you are here for the abundant career opportunities, or you are trailing a spouse, or simply for the endless sunshine, clean parks and fantastic chilli sauce. Whatever the case may be, notatourist.sg recognises that the expatriation process is about creating your own identity and foundations in Singapore, living life here to build lasting memories to share with each other and loved ones at home.

The stories you will find here are on the ground—real and raw—written by you and fellow like-minded individuals. We share stories from expatriates of all backgrounds, so that you find your commonality in the joys, quirks and even gripes unique to your Singapore experience. In this community and endless resource for advice, find tips on the relocation process, on easing into the local scene and on how to get to those hidden finds beyond Orchard Road.

We welcome you to join our network and feel a sense of home in Singapore. Making new connections is just the beginning of what this Lion City has to offer.

notatourist.sg is built in partnership with SingTel

Click here to check out more photos from the launch event!

Source: Aussie Pete Blog

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