Posts tagged: Sammi

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]

Kindergarten Marching Band or Rehearsal for National Service?

By , October 16, 2012 11:56 pm

Source: Aussie Pete

One of my mates that watched the video below commented that Jaime was very well-rehearsed in his debut in front of a large crowd and obviously knew exactly what he was doing… I agree completely, and this was as a result of months of practice and dedication.

He then went on to say that the marching band reminded him of the structured marching at Singapore’s annual National Day Parade and suggested that perhaps Jaime was being primed for his future in National Service  🙂

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I kind of doubt that, but it was wonderful to watch and when the crowd screamed in appreciaton at the end of each segment, I was filled with an uncanny sense of pride. Later, Jaime told me that he was extremely excited and amazed when he marched out to see so many people watching.

The performance was part of the opening ceremony of the 2012 “Singapore Kinderland Sports Fiesta” held at the Toa Payoh Indoor Stadium.

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The day itself was themed around, “it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s about having fun” – and this was reinforced by the fact that every single child received a gold medal at the end of the event.

Kudos to the organizers and well done to the kindergarten staff members who went above and beyond their duties as school teachers to make this day a memorable one for all.

Casey also had a great day watching his ‘ge ge’ and was also beaming with pride when he saw his efforts in the marching band – I think his voice was louder than the rest of the crowd combined.  🙂

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Although the day was never about winning, it was quite amusing to see how serious some of the parents took the family and parents events… Sammi’s team came first in the ‘Let’s move as a team’ event (a variation of the old three-legged race) and we combined with Jaime to be a part of the first placed team in the ‘We are a Happy Family’ segment.

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Somewhat disappointing was our efforts in the Yio Chu Kang Kinderland team for the ‘Tug-o-War’. If my back was not feeling old and sore before, this event just sought to remind me that I’m not as young and strong as I used to be… (of course I’m kidding – there was no disappointment – we had an absolute blast with our fellow parents)  🙂

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Watch the amazing Marching Band Video here (remember, these kids are only Kindergarten age):

[youtube jzFHnz46dmE]


Again, thanks to Kinderland and the staff and volunteers. Special congratulations to the band master, Mr Victor Tan.

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Jaime had his own “End of day Gold Medal Celebrations”:

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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

Aussie Pete Needs a Favour – Latest in Fashion… Like, Follow, Visit!

By , July 18, 2012 9:36 pm

bou·tique /booˈtēk/
Noun:
1. A small store selling fashionable clothes or accessories.
2. A business that serves a sophisticated or specialized clientele.

A Happy Customer is a returning Customer

NB: Dearest readers and friends – never in the many years that I have been blogging have I asked for your help on anything. Today, I have good reason to change this – for one time only. Please read the following article and then offer me the very personal favour of following, liking or visiting (or all three) of the links at the bottom! I implore you – I have never asked anything of you before, and I probably never will again.

For the longest time now – years in fact, Sammi has been talking about wanting to set up a business and an online shop. The idea was always to provide women’s clothing, lingerie and accessories that are all the rage in countries such as Japan, Korea and Taiwan, but have yet to hit the fashion scene in Singapore.

Her vision of such a ‘niche’ has been simmering, and eventually got to the point where we decided such an idea should finally become reality.

And so it came to pass…

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Online shopping and even the old-fashioned ‘blog shop’ are abundant in Singapore – almost it would seem, to saturation point. So, just like opening any business, the first step was to come up with a robust business plan – what are the objectives, investment required, inventories, supply chains, even payment methodology etc. The most important thing in the front of Sammi’s mind was – “What will set me apart from the (fierce) competition.

Therein lies the opportunity…

After much research (yes, I’ve become like a personal consultant as well as web designer and all-round ‘gofer’), we discovered that there are a number of risks even for those running a simple blog shop. If the authorities ever decide to do a crack-down on the small operators, it will become apparent that most of them are operating without appropriate business registration or required permits.

logo_ACRASo to mitigate this risk and to put some ‘substance’ behind what we are doing, we decided to register the business with ACRA (the ‘Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority’ of Singapore). Quite simple and cheap actually. So we are officially now partners in the registered business, “SG Alternative Shopping”.

Next – and there is a wealth of information available through ACRA and other advising departments – we wanted to make sure that any and all permits or licenses we required were attained. I won’t run you through everything, but there are requirements around customs (if you are importing or exporting) and requirements around location and operation of business (in our case, to operate as a ‘home office’), just as a couple of examples.

In the background, Sammi was madly working with wholesalers and manufacturers to come up with fashion items that may not be readily available in Singapore. She managed completely on her own, to source inventories and set up shipping and supply chains (incoming). She actually displayed some skills that I didn’t even know she had. The first items are now with us and up on the site for sale.

To this point, the investment had been – registration and license fees, inventory cost and shipping / logistics.

dreampurple01Also in the background, was the painstaking front of store and back end development. There are a number of open source solutions out there, but at the end of the day, you are only going to get the basics.

We extrapolated on this, and managed to integrate various modules and extensions (re-taught myself some long-lost java skills) and capitalized on (one of) the URL and hosting that I already had.

Now the site is live – I will probably one day give Sammi and invoice for my services (not really… unless I want to risk death).

Continuing on with the high expectations set on ourselves to ensure we were offering something quite unique to the competition, we decided to brand the store as a ‘boutique’ style and unique shop, with eyes on the latest in Japanese and Korean fashion.

The customer experience is also extremely critical, and in the case of SG Alternative Shopping, we are determined to make it another differentiator – as the adage goes: “a happy customer is a returning customer”.

Research shows that a very high percentage of the population (globally) are still not comfortable using the internet as a means to spending money. Whether they are concerned with supplying PII (personally identifiable information) across cyberspace or perhaps whether or not their credit card or payment details are safe and managed securely… guess what! – these concerns are actually completely very valid.

crownbear01So, after even more research and advice (as well as some self-learnings), we have secured our site with the latest in SSL encryption protocol. This means that the site is certified, and any time a customer is logged in, or a user is providing information, the connection is secured and encrypted – nobody else can see any of the information.

Furthermore, we have very strict policies implemented to manage any information provided to the site or to us. Our privacy policy is very strict and very transparent.

Finally, when it comes to payment and shipping methods, we have found that a surprisingly large number of online businesses require pickup of items and cash on delivery only, or some significant courier costs if they choose to deliver.

In our case, we offer free shipping to all locations in Singapore – however we recommend that our customers take up a ‘registered mail’ option for a very small pass-through fee.

Payment can be made securely through all major credit cards, PayPal, bank transfer or as mentioned above, cash on delivery. For COD, central locations will be arranged with the customer for collection.

koreanstylecollegedress01So there you have it – in short – the differentiators between Sammi’s business and the thousands of other online shops across Singapore, are:

1. Boutique Style – the latest Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese fashion items not often readily available in Singapore

2. Multiple Payment Options: Secure Credit Card, PayPal, COD, Bank Transfer

3. Free Shipping to Singapore Customers

4. Secure, encrypted shopping experience (SSL), with strict data policies surrounding how personal data will be used and managed

5. The highest level of customer service

SG Alternative Shopping officially opened on this past Sunday (15th July), and when I briefly posted a link on my Facebook Page, I received very warm encouragement from friends – both on FB and by email… even a couple of well known local celebrities wished us congratulations and all the best on the launch.

Although Sammi’s ready to rock and she is available at times during the day for live interaction on the site (through site consultant live chat – watch for the green status) and inventory is on hand ready to go (apparel, lingerie, jewellery, etc), we are under no misconceptions that such a business will take time to build (although she – very excitedly – got her first order today.

I will continue to assist (although I won’t be giving up my day job just yet :p), by helping with SEO and social media integration etc. Sammi has her own skillset with Chinese social media and networks such as Weibo.

So, why not offer some support for her to encourage such a bold undertaking – visit the site, interact with her through the site (and news articles), send emails, join the Facebook page and follow her on Twitter (although the accounts are brand spanking new, so don’t be surprised if there are not too many ‘followers’ and ‘likers’ just yet… gotta start somewhere right?)

If you’re a regular (or sometimes) reader of mine or one of my friends, please do me the personal favour and grace SG Alternative Shopping with your presence – in fact, you may just find that something unique for you or your partner or family member that you’d like to purchase!!

Click to visit SG Alternative Shopping Now!!

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Click here to Like the SG Alternative Shopping Page on Facebook!

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Click here to follow SG Alternative Shopping on Twitter

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Thank you, dear friends and readers….!!

Fully Endorsed by Aussie Pete

Oh – I almost forgot – if you have your own website, or you are a blogger and would like the opportunity to earn some cash, you can join us as an Affiliate… simply sign up, copy and paste some code to link to the site or any individual item you’d like to advertise, and for every sale that comes from your blog or website, you will get paid 5% commission!! Examples of the affiliate code are scattered throughout this article where you see an image of one of the products – just click the link and you will see the tracking code (mine) in the URL Click here to sign up as an Affiliate now!!

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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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.

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Global Blog Campaign – The 7 Links Project

By , August 8, 2011 4:04 am

I think this is an absolutely brilliant idea!!

I was invited by a fellow 2011 Singapore Blog Award winner (Best Lifestyle Blog), Bing, from storyofbing.com to take part in a global campaign known as ‘The 7 Links Blog Project’.

The idea, is that bloggers from all over the world list out seven of their top articles in a variety of categories (this is not actually that easy when there are literally hundreds of posts for me to choose from, and everything I write is usually inspired by an emotion or passion at a particular point of time – so how to pick just seven best ones?… Check out my selection and perhaps decide if you agree with me). The project continues by each blogger who has been invited, forwarding the request to three more bloggers to keep the campaign going (once again, out of all of my blogger friends and mates – how to pick just three?)

Anyway, a huge thanks to Bing for the invite and the very lovely words she wrote on her Top 7 Article!!

Without ado, here are my seven entries for this project:

My Most Beautiful Post

OK – so how to define ‘beautiful’? I guess the term is very subjective, and for me, the most beautiful thing in my life is my family… therefore, I have to break the rules (already) and enter three articles in this category – one each for Jaime and Casey and one for my beautiful wife, Sammi.

The one for Jaime was just a short while back – the cuteness overload saw the Singapore national Chinese newspaper Lianhe Wanbao view the YouTube Video and subsequently interview me for a large print article that appeared about a ‘4-year old mixed kid Internet superstar’… how very proud was I??

The article (click to view), was titled, “WTH!? Huge Amounts Of Cuteness Overload – 郑家洋”

DSC_0367

The article for Casey was (of course) the miracle that was his childbirth (on the same date as my dear departed Dad). Click here to view “Miracle of Life – Casey Zheng Jiakai!!”

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Finally – the love of my life (aaawwww!), Sammi… I’ve obviously written numerous articles about the joys of our inter-cultural marriage, so it’s difficult to choose, but I decided on this one (Valentine’s Day last year – which won a prize from Reebonz)… I chose it specifically because it has our wedding video (short version) embedded. Click here to share with us and enjoy our wedding! – “Sharing The Love For Valentine’s Day”

ourwedding

My Most Popular Post

If ‘popularity’ for this 7-Links project is based on unique visitors and ‘hits’, then without a doubt the winner in this category, is an article I wrote a couple of years back, after much research on the oft-discussed language that is unique to Singaporeans and actually (I believe) culturally significant and something that all locals should be proud of – SINGLISH!

The article was entitled, “SINGLISH – A Language Guide for Foreigners”… Click here to read it.

singlishsign

My Most Controversial Post

The most ‘controversial’ is once again a bit subjective, given that I’m going now just on the sheer number of emails I received (and still receive) on this article that I also wrote a couple of years back… it was really a ‘test’ at the time to see what the feedback of readers would be, and is not a topic that I would probably broach on my blog these days – I think my writings and musings here at ‘Aussie Pete’ were perhaps much more controversial back in those days as I was learning to feel my feet in a new country.

This title of the post speaks for itself – click to read – “‘Ang Mo’ in Singapore and ‘Lao Wai’ or ‘Gweilo’ in China – Offensive to Westerners?”

gweilo01

My Most Helpful Post

This one is easy – without a doubt, the article that I wrote outlining our experiences and the processes that a PR (permanent resident) in Singapore needs to go through to purchase a resale HDB apartment in Singapore… it was also picked up (with my permission) and used as a 5-part series at both one of the popular online real estate companies in Singapore, along with Yahoo News – if I counted all the comments and traffic driven around the blogosphere by these ‘rewrites’, I could also say that this article was the most popular AND (for various reasons) the most controversial.

(NB: Due to changes in rules and regulations, some of the information may be a little outdated)

Click here for “Information For PRs – How To Buy A Resale HDB Apartment In Singapore”

ourapartment

My Most Surprisingly Successful Post

Obviously over the last few years, the content of my blog has ‘morphed’ a bit into what is now known as ‘WTH’ (What The Hell) – I say ‘obviously’, because I have won the award for the best WTH blog in Singapore for the last two years at the OMY Singapore Blog Awards.

The fallout from this, is that now and then I write posts that may be considered by many (including myself) as downright crazy and even disgusting. One such article received huge amounts of (search generated) traffic and is perhaps a good example of how the digusting and perverted can be of interest to thousands of ordinary people.

Click to read about the “Sick Chinese Video Craze – Pretty Girls Crushing Bunnies (Warning: Graphic)”

crushrabbit06

My Most Under-Rated Post

Once again, I’m selecting one of my older articles for this… I wrote this one just a few weeks after we bought our car, and I was very alarmed at the speed of motorists in car parks. Two years later, I still feel very strongly about this, and would love to see this post get more exposure to create awareness.

Car Parks – Slow Down or Kill Someone – Click to read about it!

slowdown

Post I Am Most Proud Of

So perhaps the actual article link here is not the only one I’m proud of (although it was an awesome experience meeting such an inspiration as Lee Hsien Loong (PM of Singapore)… in general the post is a reflection of the pride and self-satisfaction that I feel from volunteering as a Grassroots leader. To be able to help out in the community in such a variety of ways is extremely gratifying, as well as enabling my family and me to reach out and meet so many wonderful new friends and neighbours in Sengkang West – OUR HOME!!

Click here to read about “The Day I Met The Prime Minister of Singapore”

pmlee01

Finally, it’s time to pass the baton on – so the three bloggers who I will invite to participate in the ‘7 Links Blog Project’ are (in no particular order):

ALVINOLOGY
http://alvinology.com

“Alvinology is a light-hearted blog maintained by a regular Singaporean dude called Alvin who lives in Potong Pasir.

Like most Singaporeans, Alvin likes to travel and eat. Hence a large number of blog posts are devoted to these two topics. He also likes to read books, watch movies, check out the funny as well as chee ko pek issues online”

THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD
http://thelongnwindingroad.wordpress.com/

“Once told that it was his destiny to wander through life, the Wondering Wanderer takes a wide eyed view of life’s wanderings through the eyes of the child that he was and blogs about the many things that has captured his imagination through life’s journey.”

FUNNY LITTLE WORLD
http://kirstenhan.me/

“Since moving back to Singapore in 2010 from New Zealand after being deemed “too tall” to play a hobbit (while “too small” for anything else), Kirsten has been working on documentary and film projects.

Kirsten recently won the ‘Best Y Bloggist’ award in the ingapore Blog Awards 2011, and is on far too many social media platforms for her own good”

An Active Lifestyle – Fun For The Whole Family!

By , August 8, 2011 12:51 am

In Singapore where a very high work ethic is essential, having a couple of young boys can ensure that my whole family always stays active.

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Whether it’s the extended office hours, making sure I keep up my work-out time at the gym, running around for various engagements as a celebrity blogger, keeping on top of blogs, freelance article writing and other online projects, taking the kids for exercise in the park, or just generally chasing after a (sometimes ‘hyper’?) active 4-year old, it’s no wonder I don’t usually get to sleep before 4am on weeknights.

kiteflying01

This means I usually average just 3 or 4 hours sleep every night of the week (except Friday nights when I am rewarded with a sleep-in on Saturday mornings).

Many of my friends and colleagues ask me how I keep up with such an active lifestyle, and I’d love to say that it’s all as a result of constant motivation – but that would really be a lie… although I do get a buzz out of a lot of things that I take part in and am very passionate about most of them, I do actually often feel a sense of obligation to many people which can sometimes become overwhelming. I have high expectations of myself and my outputs, and I personally feel down if I don’t meet commitments that I’ve made to others. This is both a good and a bad thing, I suspect.

So here’s a tip for all of my readers – forget the high doses of caffeine or so-called ‘energy drinks’ packing large taurine kicks. I grew up drinking a simple but effective energy-booster known the world over, and I still stand by this today – a beverage well-known to all Singaporeans… none other than MILO!!

When I decided to write this article, I did a little research and found out the secret behind the ingredients and why it’s been packing punch with so many generations in so many countries for so many years.

Did you know for example, that the key ingredient, barley, has more nutritional value than other simple and common carbohydrate sources such as rice or wheat? Hulled barley, for instance, is a particularly rich source of dietary fibre and vitamin B.

I have also learned that the marketers of this product got the name right all those years ago – The name MILO was based on a Greek mythical character MILON, who was known for his STRENGTH!!

Mythological Milon:

milon

Modern Day Milon:

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Recently, a friend put me on to some Milo products that I was not aware of… of course, I always have the good ol’ tin waiting for me in my pantry, but did you know that there are other ways of boosting the daily energy with this product?

miloeasycool

For example, if you haven’t tried them yet, check out the Milo power bar or (now this is really ‘cool’ – pardon the pun) Milo Easy Cool… you can make it using cold water instead of hot! I downed a couple of glasses of this just before I ran up the stairs of Millenia Tower in Singapore’s financial district last week as part of the ‘Vertical Challenge’ to raise money for charity.

verticalchallenge01

All of my family enjoys staying active and healthy together – I strongly recommend that you do the same… turning an exercise commitment into family fun will ensure that it never feels like an obligation, rather quality time that can never be replaced! 🙂

activefamily

2011 CNY – Another Year of the Pig?

By , February 3, 2011 9:35 pm

CNY Portrait

Of course, everybody knows that we are now in the Year of the Rabbit… but if you take note of what I’ve been eating over the last week in Shanghai, you would be forgiven for thinking that I should be back in 2007… the Year of the Pig (because I’ve been gorging myself like an absolute swine)!!

Year of the RabbitI’m putting any weight gain down to the slower metabolism due to the cold weather up here north of the equator… the day we arrived it was -3C with a little snow. Although I do know that the activities we partake in during the festive season are probably large contributors to the shift in belly circumference… here in China during Lunar New Year, it’s nothing but Eat… Play… Sleep… Eat… Play… Sleep (*repeat*) 🙁

Anyway, just for a quick update on the activities so far, here are a few of the highlights:

1. Dinner with the immediate family

[Click here for the full gallery from the evening]

[And Here for Part 2]

CNY Family Dinner

CNY Family Dinner

2. Official Studio Photo Shoot for the two boys

[Click here for the full gallery from Casey’s Photo Shoot]

Casey Photo Shoot

[Click here for the full gallery from Jaime’s Photo Shoot]

Jaime Photo Shoot

3. Sammi’s (First) 2011 Birthday Dinner – Another much larger one planned tomorrow lunch and dinner with extended family

[Click here for the full gallery from Sammi’s First Birthday Dinner]

Sammi First Birthday Dinner

Sammi First Birthday Dinner

4. Bringing in the New Year and Wishing for Longevity and Prosperity through Fire Works

[Click here for the full gallery from CNY Eve Fireworks]

CNY Fireworks

CNY Fireworks

So there you go (for now)… stay tuned for more updates!!

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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