Posts tagged: Peter Breitkreutz

Ah Boys to Men OR Ah Pete to Man? GV Great Movie Race…

By , December 2, 2012 9:52 pm

Source: Aussie Pete

November 24th, 2012, will go down as a memorable day for a variety of reasons… it was the day that Sammi and I competed as a team in the GV (Golden Village) Great Movie Race, as well as the day that I competed for the screaming fans with the cast of ‘Ah Boys to Men’ and it was also the day that I learned that I cannot trust someone who says, “it’s not that physical – looking at everybody here, it won’t be too challenging”.

Husband and Wife Team - Before The Sweating Started

Husband and Wife Team - Before The Sweating Started

 

Aussie Pete Fans? Or are the there for 'Ah Boys to Men'?

Aussie Pete Fans? Or are the there for 'Ah Boys to Men'?



All pictures in this article are courtesy of GV and OMY. The video is courtsey of OMY (watch the vodcast at the bottom of this article).

It was a bright Saturday afternoon when Golden Village (GV) held its first movie-themed race, known as “The Great Movie Race” at City Square Mall. The race was part of the opening of the 11th Golden Village multiplex at the mall.

My wife Sammi (Zheng Liang) and I formed the OMY media team (aptly named “Aussie Pete Dot Com”) and were the tenth team of finalists competing on the day. Although we didn’t win, we certainly learned all about our stamina limits in this ‘Amazing Race’ style competition, which proved much more physical than intellectual.

Team 'Aussie Pete Dot Com'

Team 'Aussie Pete Dot Com'



The other finalists were shortlisted from over 500 participants to compete in various tasks, including running 2.4 kilometers on a treadmill, guessing ice-cream flavours, a tug-of-war, archery and even testing ourselves in a karaoke version of ‘Don’t forget the lyrics’.

The various pitstops wera all based around movie themes – well-known box-office hits such as “Indiana Jones”, “Ice Age”, “Ah Boys to Men”, “The Hunger Games”, “Sherlock Holmes” and many others.

Sammi and I were actually extremely competitive (we smashed the poor girls who came up against us in the tug of war – their combined weight was probably 20kg less than my individual mass), and more than once my wife proved that she is definitely the ‘better half’ by out-performing me – surprisingly, she ran much further and more efficiently than me in the 2.4km run and was the only one in our team who knew the words to Elton John’s smash hit, ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’.

Sammi beat me hands down in the Karaoke 'Don't forget the Lyrics'

Sammi beat me hands down in the Karaoke 'Don't forget the Lyrics'

 

The problem for us kicked in at the 3rd pit-stop (at Amore gym – the location of the treadmill run). We checked in in 6th postition, and given that only five treadmills were utilized for the event, we could not start until one of the first five tems had completed this mini-marathon… putting us a full 10 to 15 minutes behind the leaders, that we could never make up… although we did almost catch up at the food court pice challenge, where we checked in before the race leaders had checked out.

The 2.4km run spread the field early

The 2.4km run spread the field early

 
Running the 2.4km - Sammi looking on in the background

Running the 2.4km - Sammi looking on in the background

 

Thanks OMY and GV for a fantastic day – we had a blast!! However, I think it will be a long time before I ever attempt again to eat five bowls of dry cereal with no milk or water. 🙂

Also, a huge congratulations to students Sherman Ho and Gan Chong Zhi (both 23 years old), who checked into the final pitstop first and scored around $2,350 worth of cash and prizes. Well done guys!!

The Winners

The Winners

 
All the Competitiors with 'Ah Boys to Men' Cast

All the Competitiors with 'Ah Boys to Men' Cast

 
Ah Boys to Men - Gangnam Style

Ah Boys to Men - Gangnam Style

 
Watch the VODCAST below:

[youtube ccrBtwmfEyE]

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 🙂

[youtube hAjQiDF2yT0]

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.

[youtube 8jxU89x78ac]

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?

NDP Tickets

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!!?

[youtube TxRWSU8yNOo]

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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2012 Community Dialogue – Sengkang West to Grow 80% by 2015

By , July 9, 2012 1:31 am

As a Grassroots Leader, one of the highlights of the year, is the annual Community Dialogue Day. Aside from the regular local ‘meet the people’ sessions with Dr Lam Pin Min, the Dialogue Day offers the opportunity for residents to share their observations or concerns, ask questions and feedback on issues that affect the community as a whole.

Mr Benny Thio (PBM, Chairman CCMC), Dr Lam Pin Min (MP Sengkang West and Grassroots Advisor), Mr Raymond Chua (BBM(L), Chairman CCC), Mr Peter Breitkreutz (Grassroots Leader, CCMC Member)

Mr Benny Thio (PBM, Chairman CCMC), Dr Lam Pin Min (MP Sengkang West and Grassroots Advisor), Mr Raymond Chua (BBM(L), Chairman CCC), Mr Peter Breitkreutz (Grassroots Leader, CCMC Member)

Along with the local MP, Dr Lam, Mr Raymond Chua, BBM(L) (Chairman of the CCC) and Mr Benny Thio, PBM (Chairman of the CCMC – of which I am a member), the group of panelists also included representatives from LTA (Ms Margarita Loh) and the AMK Town Council (Mr Chris Goh).

Panelists

Panelists

The morning began on Sunday, 8th July at 9am, at which time breakfast was served and residents and Grassroots representatives from the various Sengkang West zones were offered the chance to network and engage informally.

By around 10am, the Anchorvale Community Club Multi-Purpose Hall was quite full, and the dialogue session commenced.

Dr Lam began with a short presentation of the various activities and events that have taken place over the previous 12-months, along with insights into the significant number of improvements, constructions and beneficial changes that have occurred, are currently being undertaken or are slated to begin, looking out through this year, into to 2013 and out to 2015 and even 2018.

Although I consider myself well versed and knowledgable in what ‘has’, ‘is’, and ‘will be’ taking place in my local community, I must say I was nothing less than amazed at the various things covered off in this presentation of which I was not aware.

For example, I have always described Sengkang West to friends, colleagues and readers of my blog, as ‘one of the fastest growing communities in Singapore’. If only I had truly understood the speed at which we are growing!!

I learned today, that Sengkang West will grow in size (population) by a staggering 80% by the year 2015!! That is a huge increase by anyone’s standards.

Of course, I have seen the new estates and blocks pop up over the last three years, have been aware of the massive improvements in public transport, increases in covered walkways, and witnessed the many upgrading activities. But not until today, did I understand how much was still yet to come.

The following is a listing of the HDB estates being built just in Fernvale (the west side of Sengkang West, and where our home is).

New and upcoming HDB estates in Fernvale

New and upcoming HDB estates in Sengkang West

This does not include those opening up in Anchorvale, the H2O residences (first private condo in the constituency), the upcoming EC in Fernvale Lane (opposite our block on the Fernvale side and opposite Greenwich V on the YCK Road side) and of course, the new schools on the way in 2013, the hospital that will be completed by around 2018, the new shopping mall being built on the vacant block next door to Fernvale Point (which will be 2/3 the size of Compass Point), and to accomodate all of this, the further planned improvements to public transport, and even new roads being built – including the current construction to move traffic off Jalan Kayu and on to a parallel ‘feeder’ to the TPE direct from Yio Chu Kang Road.

GET YOUR HEAD AROUND ALL OF THAT, MY FRIENDS!!

Two new schools opening in 2013

Two new schools opening in 2013

At the outset of the dialogue, it was made clear to all that the day would be better framed as a ‘sharing and feedback’ session than straight ‘dialogue’. Residents were encouraged to pose questions to the panel and to share their observations openly and candidly.

All credit to everyone in attendance… the ‘sharing’ and ‘openness’ was in fact just that! It lasted until around 12:30pm in the afternoon, at which time lunch was served.

It is fair to say, that it would be easy for such a session to easily turn out to be an opportunity for concerned or dissatisifed residents to air any grievances in perhaps a not so ‘healthy manner’… once again all kudos to those in attendance for civility and contructiveness!

Among the issues raised and the questions posed, were concerns of a (new to SW) ‘working mother’ with child care opportunities in the area, school enrolments and inefficiency of transportation.

Also, a non-working mother asking about subsidies; Residents seeking clarification on the GST credit program; questions surrounding CCTV in elevators and how to curb bicycle theft in particular estates; how one local high school will be cutting Tamil and Malay classes in 2013 and another local primary school leaving the exhaust fans on in their kitchen areas late at night causing enough noise that some residents have lost valuable sleep – All of which were answered well by Dr Lam and the panel and with an intimate amount of knowledge. For a couple of items, clarification will be sought by the appropriate departments / functions and the residents will be advised of the response and actions.

Quite a large number of residents of all ages were in attendance

Quite a large number of residents of all ages were in attendance

A couple of common themes surrounded transportation (notably the 163 bus service), and how the operators will cope with the huge increase in population by 2015, and health services (the three ‘M’s).

Nearer the end of the session, one gentleman hailing originally from Beijing and now a 10-year citizen of Singapore, put forward his concerns over many issues from over-crowded transportation and taxation thresholds to importing of foreign talent. All points were noted and very well answered and dealt with by the panel.

As well as gaining personal value and insights from the entire session, I was very glad to meet up and have some 1-on-1 time with residents that I already knew (surpringly, quite a large number), as well as quite a few I was meeting for the very first time.

Thani, Dr Lam, Sourajit and Pete

Thani, Dr Lam, Sourajit and Pete

Also encouraging, was the large number of attendees (in a non-election year) – it goes to show you how passionate this community of Sengkang West is. We may be growing at a huge rate of knots, but with the input and feedback of the people on the ground, Sengkang West will be able to pre-empt the waves before they hit the shore.

It is quite clear to me, that the constituency is already way ahead of the curve, and it makes me proud (as I have always said) to shout the catch phrase out loud – “Sengkang West – Our Home”!

Click here to view more photos from the Community Dialogue Day

Source: Aussie Pete

Aussie Pete Does NOT Sit On The Fence!

By , November 1, 2011 2:37 am

Following on from my recent appearance on BlogTV, live on Channel NewsAsia, I’ve had a few people tell me that they thought I was ‘sitting on the fence’ in relation to some of the questions posed to me about controversial blogger, Peggy Heng. They even went as far as suggesting that perhaps I was avoiding conflict, because of the fact that I was seated right next to Peggy on the panel!

Fence Sitting Just Isn't My Thing

Fence Sitting Just Isn't My Thing

I’m guessing that maybe I came across this way, because being only a short half hour (TV air time – another 15-min either side of that online streaming), I was told up front by the show’s producers that my answers need to be short, succinct and to the point… my regular readers (and friends in the real world) know that’s just not my style.

So to clear the air, I’ve included the ‘long'(winded) version of the answers as I had thought about them, prior to the show going to air.

Also, I’ve managed to get at the streamed version of the segments and uploaded to YouTube – so if you missed the show on TV and do not have the appropriate media player to view on the BlogTV website, you can check them out here and now!

What did you think of the publicity stunt by blogger Peggy Heng?

As long as Peggy feels that she remained true to herself, then I don’t personally have any issues with what she did. The idea was to promote a dating event for young singles, right? Then if the audience that she was after stood up and listened and attended the event, then maybe it worked? Having said that, Peggy must have known that in Singapore’s relatively conservative society, the netizens were going to take umbrage and express outrage. So, if she’s comfortable with the reactions and is ok for her family to see her in the light that she portrayed, then all kudos to her.

VIDEO SEGMENT 1: HOW LOW WILL YOU GO? – We ask the panel how far they will go to get hits for their blogs:

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Did you think it was a smart way to get traffic to her blog?

I firmly believe that it’s really ‘every blogger for his or her self ’. The thing to remember though, is that even if you one day delete your blog with the intention of burying the past, due to aggregation and republication of articles as well as any media coverage that your actions might bring about, it really is the case that anything that appears online remains there forever. This is extremely important – I would never post anything online that I would be concerned for my kids to read or see as they grow up (perhaps through a simple Google search of my name). Also, it is well known that many companies (large and small) use the internet and social media when making recruitment decisions. HR departments in most MNCs are completely experienced in this method of screening… once again, if I thought that any of my actions or writings might jeapordize my career, there absolutely is no way that I would post it online.

Was it necessary in your opinion to go through those measures? Would you have done it differently?

There are many other ways to promote an event and attain clicks. I definitely wouldn’t pursue the same path as Peggy, because I have too many people – loved ones and colleagues – that would potentially be hurt by such actions. If it were me, I would use my already established networks to promote the event.

VIDEO SEGMENT 2: SENSATIONALISM SELLS – Our guests tells us what users want to see in blogs:

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How would you drive traffic to your blog?

I used to be almost obsessed by traffic and hits to my blog, but over time came to realize that aside from SEO techniques, the important thing is quality content – once this is under control, the traffic will take care of itself. Worrying over short-term spikes in traffic, just led to too much time, stress and heartache in trying to increase the stats. I think there comes a point in time (perhaps once a blog has sustainable and long term readers) that it’s no longer important.

Controversy often creates short term hits – I’ve found that sometimes (for example, when I wrote about the ‘crushing bunnies’ fetish in China before it hit the mainstream media), traffic will increased hugely (in this case, almost quarter of a million hits in the one month), but this is not sustainable. Although I got a ‘buzz’ from the spike, it’s often the more informative articles that deliver returning traffic and have stood up to the test of time.

I also have come to realize that (in my view) the interaction through comments is not that important – I used to receive many comments on certain articles (especially when I didn’t have moderation on my blog) and sometimes readers were disagreeing and even arguing amongst themselves. By keeping this in check over the last year or so, I find that most ‘serious’ readers will reach out to me via email if they really want to discuss a topic or get extra information etc. This has really helped reduce the ‘noise’ but had no real detrimental effect on traffic.

How would you promote dating and being social?

I’ve never been interested in or been a big promoter of online dating – I think some bloggers turned business people have done a great job of it though… take for example my good friend, Violet Lim of Lunch Actually. She’s shown there is a market out there that if managed professionally is well untapped today. If anyone asked me personally where they could seek dating help, I would have no hesitation sending them Violet’s way. Her business model is one that is very unique and morally adept.

Being social is a little different – my family and I have met some wonderful people through moving out of our comfort zone. In the early days of Facebook and our early days in Singapore when we knew very few people, we met up with members of social groups – (usually surrounding food interest), and some of these people have remained as our long-term friends – one couple is getting married this November and we will be there to take part in their celebrations.

Although I probably wouldn’t recommend social media as the best way to get out and meet people, I think it can definitely assist, especially for people who might otherwise have problems mixing and getting to make new friends.

Notice I’m talking about social media, and not suggesting that provocative videos combined with sensationalism online is necessarily an effective way to promote a dating or social event.

VIDEO SEGMENT 3: DADDY, I’M A BIG GIRL NOW – We make a call to Peggy Heng’s father to ask him what he thought of the stunt!:

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What are the most tasteless things you’ve seen done on blogs?

Personally, I’m not big on the whole ‘colourful’ language thing that many bloggers these days utilize. As an Aussie, I’m obviously not unaccustomed to four letter words. Just head on down to any bar on a weekend down under, and it’s enough to make even the most hardened potty mouth blush. However, nothing is more annoying to me, than reading a blog article where every second word is a curse word. Perhaps I could forgive the odd F-Bomb to get a point across or if the author is passionate about a particular subject… but some bloggers seem to have redefined the entire English dictionary. I sometimes wonder what their parents or children think of this?

I recently read an article by a very well know Singaporean female blogger whose previous articles I had never actually read before (let’s just call her ‘X** X**’ – I don’t wish to be her next target), who was upset about an ‘anti-fan’ who had posted videos on YouTube about her – at first, I was a little empathic about her plight, but as I read the article I soon realized that it would be all too easy to make fun of her potty mouth – she lost me after the first couple of paragraphs… they say that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit… I think that splatterings of swear words throughout all a bloggers articles suggests an even lower form of intelligence.

UPDATE: After the program was aired, I saw a retweet from this same well-known blogger – once again, potty mouth was tweeting about Peggy having a ‘c*ck’ in her mouth… hmmm – very lady-like indeed – actually, very sad if you ask me!

What do you think Singaporeans want to read?

Around 74% of ‘Aussie Pete’ readers are from Singapore (sustainable readers and subscribers). The main spikes in traffic due to controversial topics to which I referred earlier, often arrive from international audiences. In my experience, although I could be antagonizing and stir up netizens by writing negatively about things that many Singaporeans are passionate about (eg. immigration policy), I could definitely increase traffic, but I would not be being true to myself. I try and be as respectful as I can to all people – I am grateful of my place in local society and therefore completely tolerant and understanding of anybody’s point of view on any topic. From my experience, my local readers are more interested in informative content – whether it’s a ‘foreigners guide to Singlish’, ‘buying a HDB flat as a permanent resident’, how many cars could be bought in other countries for the current cost of COE, my views on Singapore traffic or cycling on footpaths – these are the kind of articles that continue to deliver sustainable hits, many months and years after I first wrote them.

The entire general election period was interesting, and as a PR and non-voter, I was careful to keep my (sometimes strong) views in check – although I did garner much interest and even a little bit of hate email at the time).

VIDEO SEGMENT 4: THE FUTURE OF BLOGGING – We discuss in which direction bloggers are trending toward to:

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Do you think blogger’s have a responsibility to censor?

Absolutely! – However, I think the level of censorship needs to align to an author’s particular blog, their intentions around audience and should display some level of diligence. For example, if an author wants to write using many curse words, I would not want my children unwittingly opening and reading their articles. Any ‘unsavory’ material –words, images or videos’ – should carry a warning or disclaimer and should be highlighted as unsuitable for some readers.

I am an advocate for freedom of speech (especially on the internet), but the onus is on every website owner to manage their content in line with their country regulation and censorship laws, as well as be sensitive to the fact that what they publish could be read by an audience that may find their content offensive or even harmful. I have absolutely no time for intolerant authors that write in abusive or racial tones or suggest individual differences as a subject of discourse.

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Cuteness Alert – Help Pete Get His Aussie Back Campaign

By , June 24, 2011 12:43 am

Up until now, aside from a small side-bar ad, I’ve not done much promotion to rally for people to vote for me in the 2011 OMY Blog Awards. After walking away with the first prize in my category (‘What The Hell’) last year and the amazing activities and follow-ons that have lasted for almost the last 12-months (including the tour of Hong Kong and the now infamous ‘swim’ that I had in Victoria Harbour during my participation in the OMY media team for the HK Dragon Boat Carnival Bathtub race), I think that perhaps I’ve got my work cut out for me if I’ve got any chance to pull out a back-to-back win in the same category in 2011.

Help Pete Get His Aussie Back

Having said that, I am still feeling some (small) level of confidence – perhaps delusional? – based on the fact that thanks to my friends, readers and family in Singapore and around the world, I’m sitting in the Top 3 for the category from an online voting perspective – voting accounts for 30%, while the other 70% is based on the decision of a panel of independent and quite knowledgeable and respected judges.

If the 70% was based on hard statistics alone – eg, SEO, PR, Backlinks, Readership, Subscriptions, search engine rankings etc – the quick research I’ve done shows that I would be the clear front runner… but at the end of the day, the awards are all about blogging and content – not necessarily popularity or page views.

What The Hell?

What The Hell?

Therefore, much of the result will come down to what the respected judges deem to be the right or appropriate content to fit the particular category for which we are finalists. The other finalists in my category are unique in their approach to ‘What The Hell’ subject matter, and I wish them all the best of luck and success for the Awards presentation on the 23rd July!

I’ve really got no idea how much of a chance I stand of winning the OMY Blog Awards for consecutive years, but perhaps I can at least rally some more votes online in a couple of different ways – firstly, let’s take this article as the kick-off of the campaign to “Help Pete Get His Aussie Back”!!

You see, the award winners this year get to travel back to the city in which I spent 10-years of my professional career before heading up into Asia (Shanghai, and now my home for the past 5+ years, Singapore). The city of Melbourne in the state of Victoria, Australia – just think of the value to the other winning and travelling bloggers that my local knowledge and expertise has to offer. 🙂

Jiayou Aussie Pete! - Cuteness Alert

Jiayou Aussie Pete! - Cuteness Alert

Secondly, as a part of the rally video that we recorded at the SPH News Centre (and perhaps this is exploitation of cuteness) – I brought my nearly 4yo son, Jaime, along to join me in the latter half of the video as my #1 fan – for a total burst of absolute cuteness check his cheers for Daddy!… and of course, you will now be obliged to vote for me by clicking here, and then clicking the vote button next to my picture.

Watch the Video (Warning – Cuteness Alert):

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Once again, best of luck to my fellow finalists – see you all at the awards presentation!!

Don’t forget the campaign – “Help Pete Get His Aussie Back” !!!!

Step Back In Time – Singapore Food Trail

By , March 3, 2011 11:34 pm
Famous Bloggers and Friends: Mint, Cherie, Pete and YongWei

Famous Bloggers and Friends: Mint, Cherie, Pete and YongWei

As is always the case with any event that I attend with Alvin and the OMY crew, the opening media event of the Singapore Food Trail at the Singapore Flyer was an absolute blast… and the local food delights just made this one sensational!

The new Singapore Food Trail, is set in a 1960s style era gone by, with food being served from push carts and decor to match the theme. I could actually author a picture book with the number of photographs I shot on the day, or I could morph into a food blogger and spend weeks reviewing the many dishes in which we delighted ourselves… but I won’t!! 🙂

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Let me just tap into OMY‘s Vodcast of the event, where each of us talks about our favourite foods, our take on the entire themed Food Trail, and of course YongWei’s sense of humour – I notice that someone ‘bonked’ him on the head when he was making faces behind me while I was being interviewed… but one of the highlights of the videos is the very creative way in which he applies his own names to the various dishes… one in particular, he associates with a very private part of a male’s anatomy… I won’t spoil it – check it out for yourself!!

FOR A SHORT GALLERY OF SOME OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS, CLICK HERE!!

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Just a few shots below – for many, many more, check out the gallery here!!

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Early Xmas at Ang Mo Kio – Exclusive Heartlands Pictorial

By , November 30, 2010 12:48 am

If you haven’t checked it out yet, let me give you the heads-up now!! Be sure to take your kids to AMK Hub in the early evening and let them live the fantasy that is Singapore’s North Pole. The decorations just seem to improve every year, and this time around it’s quite spectacular.

Jaime at home getting himself ready for the evening at AMK Hub

Jaime at home getting himself ready for the evening at AMK Hub

I took the family out on Sunday night and also seized the opportunity to get in some practice with our new Nikon D90 camera. The most difficult part is knowing which photos to print, post online, embed in a blog or simply upload to Facebook or our digital photo frame… I was just ‘click happy’. Also, the resolution and image size makes for such wonderful memories, but unfortunately I need to reduce the pics right down to get them across the social network.

So here you go, dear friends – let me take the opportunity to wish you all the very best of our blessings for a happy and joyous festive season with your loved ones!! 🙂

EARLY XMAS AT ANG MO KIO – A PICTORIAL

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