Your First Real Automobile

If you haven’t already read my friends’ accounts of their firsts, here are the links:

Melody Chen tells of her first bungy jump. It would already have been memorable before even considering the fact she is terribly acrophobic, and that her first jump was filmed for a reality tv show, later broadcast to homes across the region. Actually, it was her blood curdling screams that most people remember Mel’s first jump for.

Randall Tan’s first pair of football boots – the magical pair that kicks the ball further, curls it into the imaginary net behind the keeper guarding the goal made from a pair of slippers, which were worn before we got our boots. Every kid in the 80s knows how it was like playing soccer in our slippers – if you could kiap your slippers while taking a free kick, you could do anything.

What firsts jog your memory? Have a think and check back here, maybe after checking out the Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TSI – released this weekend, and hopefully becoming several people’s memorable first cars.

You Never Forget Your First

The thing about being first time parents that always tugs at the heartstrings is the number of firsts you experience in a short span of time. I remember vividly the first time I mistook another person’s baby for ours, tapping at the nursery window in the hospital, promising to be the best dad ever, vowing to be a better person for five whole minutes before the maternity ward staff nurse wheeled out another bassinet with our actual son who was crying his lungs out because he was hungry.

I must have looked quite daft as I wheeled him to my wife’s hospital room, all my steely eyed, firm jawed conviction evaporated, and all I could think of was the hint of a smirk on the staff nurse’s smile.

It has come in quick succession, our son’s first solid meal, the first word (“Dog”), first unaided steps, first Halloween, first Christmas, first New Year’s, first birthday, first flight, first unaided kick-scooter ride, first ski lesson (followed by nine mountain ski descents), first first nursery class, first school bus ride, the first time he said a rude word because he heard one of the songs Papa wrote for work (Kow Peh Kow Bu).

It’s all a blur, but somehow, each one’s as memorable as the other. There’s been the anticipation, excitement, joy and pride, over and over again in the last three years and a bit, and we’re looking forward to the first skateboard ride, even though that’s a little way away while we look for a board that’s small enough for him.

Golf GTI Party Report

I was actually taken by surprise when I tried to make my way on time for the Golf GTI35 Party at Kallang Airport last night.

I was already running late getting to the north end of the premises, where the map of the event said I should head, when I got stuck in a queue of VW Golfs trying to get into the premises as well.

I felt like an imposter (I drive a Volvo) trying to gatecrash, but I was helpfully guided by a flustered valet operator asking me to try my luck coming in from Nicoll Highway.

I managed to park a distance away and walk to the entrance of the party, which I might add, was really quite impressive. This had to be one of the more flamboyant car events I had ever attended.

mrbrown was just as impressed as we walloped the food on offer in between taking photographs of the cars and people.

Even if you’re not a GTI fan (there’s a gallery of GTIs from Marks I to VI), you’d appreciate the scale of the party (today and tomorrow 10am – 9pm) – there’s food, games, stilt walkers.

And don’t worry about the inclement weather we’ve been having – most of the party is under cover in Kallang’s old hangars. Go join in an have some fun!

Programme for 26 & 27 November 2011:

Party starts 10.00am
Band performances 11.00am, 2.00pm & 5.00pm
Stage games 12.00pm, 3.30pm & 6.00pm
Golf GTI E35 shows 1.00pm, 4.00pm & 7.00pm
Lucky draws 1.30pm, 4.30pm & 7.30pm
Miss Golf GTI pageant 3.00pm
Party ends 9.00pm


Map and info here. Free shuttle from Midpoint Orchard & MBS.

Volkswagen GTI 35th Anniversary Celebrations

A friend commented yesterday about “Volkswagen” being literally (German) “People’s Car”.

Well, one of the “People’s Cars” has grown up, and in fact, turns 35 this year. You could call the Golf GTI the “Sporty People’s Car”, and you could say you think of it when you think about hatchbacks.

There’s a party this weekend at the Old Kallang Airport (Stadium Link) where there’ll be food and fun and even a beauty pageant (Miss Golf GTI – you can check out her hatchback or her boot). Free food vouchers for the first 10,000 registrants too, so you might want to hurry and register here.

There’s a map in case you’re driving and don’t want to end up at the National Stadium demolition site, and information about the programme as well. Better yet, there are shuttle services to and from the event from various locations around town.

I’ll be checking out the event at a preview this Friday evening, and I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out.

The Event

Naomi and I enjoy television – the hours after Kai goes to bed and before we do are usually (if I don’t have any work to do) spent mindlessly watching our favourite channels and programs.

Universal Channel (That’s Channel 512 for those whose lives changed forever after Starhub went and changed the numbering) isn’t on our favourites, but we’ll see if this new series that premieres Wednesday night changes that.

It’s called ‘The Event‘, and it looks promising, judging by the trailer. What’s more remarkable is that the series premiered in the U.S. only a month ago (September 20) – when we usually get the goods on our screens a season or two late.

The series takes the age-old conspiracy theory that alien landings/contact/abduction were covered up by the U.S. government, for reasons that will make sense once you watch the damn thing — I dunno, I haven’t watched any episode, and will, like many others, catch it first on Universal Channel.

My best friend and Barry Manilow

Barry Manilow on the big screen

When we were growing up, my best friend and I were always on the periphery.

We were middle of the road students in school, and amongst our peers, were the only ones who really, really didn’t know what to do with our future because it seemed the only versions of the future that were available were either the “approved professions” in law, medicine and engineering, or if you did badly enough at the exams, the “approved fall back careers” in the lower rungs of the civil service or some multinational corporation.

We never really got on with our peers when they spoke about “honours”, “first uppers” and other such like. (Although I was shortlisted for a PSC Scholarship, and became the first potential scholar to actually fail the ‘A’ Levels).

But this is not a story about me, because while I eventually did attend law school (and didn’t finish), my best friend was bold enough to say from the start, “I want to be an actor/singer/performer”, simply because he loved being all three, and he felt he was really good at all three.

He did get a full time gig as an “administrator” at a local, fledgling theatre company for $400 a month, sweeping the floors and cleaning the toilets when he didn’t have to rehearse for a play, I remember him telling me.

While I was at law school, he told me about his singing for free at Chaplin’s in Holland Village and other pubs, singing his heart out until his mother found out from a friend, and threatened to disown him if he continued his rock and roll lifestyle.

It wasn’t really that rock and roll, actually. One of the things this best friend of mine loved was and is still considered by many to be decidedly unfashionable – he loved Barry Manilow.

He can sing almost every Manilow song and accompany himself on the piano.

So when Manilow came and performed in Singapore in 1996, he was probably one of the first in line to get the tickets to his idol’s show.

A week out from the concert, one of the production people for Manilow’s concert who knew my friend and his love for the man who writes the songs that make the whole world sing calls and says he’s one of the production people for Barry Manilow’s concert.

My best friend says excitedly, “Wow! Don’t worry, I bought my ticket already, I don’t need a comp(limentary ticket).”

The production guy responds, “No, we’re wondering if you’d be keen to be one of his backup singers, because we’re short of one due to illness, and we know that you’d have no problem at such short notice”.

I was in Australia then, and that evening, I received a phone call from this best friend of mine which consisted of a lot of screaming about “I’m singing back up for Barry! I’m singing back up for Barry! Oh wait, I should stop yelling cos I should save my voice for singing back up for Barry!”

Of course, singing back up for Barry wasn’t the pinnacle of his career – this best friend of mine has of course gone on and become the veteran performer/director that everyone loves and respects.

More importantly for me, what he’s gone and done in the last two decades has been to pursue joy, and to demonstrate that when you pursue joy, success follows.

Thanks mate.


What does JOY means to you? Submit your photos together with a short blurb to the BMW Facebook page and exclusive BMW lifestyle merchandise will be given out to the Top 3 stories.

Date 5 & 6 May 2010 (Wed/Thur)
8 pm sharp: 3D projection begins
Venue Fountain Of Wealth at Suntec City, Towers 2 and 3

P.S. I’ve been privy to what the JOY 3D event is going to be, and it is… what’s the scientific term for it? FRIKKIN’ AWESOME!