May 2010

On the 75th day to the YOG, we launched the theme song “Everyone” – via the MTV premiere on MediaCorp Channel 5.

Not bad – we had originally targeted for a May launch and so we are on schedule.

I was involved in the development of the theme song at the start. What do I know about song and music? Not very much. All I knew back then was I wanted a “pop song” i.e. a song with universal appeal, which everyone should have heard beforehand and would be able to sing it out loud at the Opening Ceremony.

I got Clarissa who was interning with us then to help with the research. And when Sharmaine joined us briefly as Head of Public Relations, we progressed to meeting people to explore how to develop this theme song. For a while, we were hung up on the philosophical argument of what makes a song universal and appealing to youth. There was never an answer.

One day, I got a phone call to say go see Ken Lim. So I did. And I was sold on his idea of having a singer from each continent to sing the theme song – to connect YOG to the world. I went to convince the bosses and that was that.

Things got more busy and so when Winnie came in, I left it to her and Fangjing to manage the song. But that was just the start of a very challenging and sometimes quite tiring project, navigating all legalese among other things.

A truly classic moment must be when Eta ran into my office after a meeting one day to alert me that the people from another division wanted to take possession of the song. I remembered I was stunned, but because I didn’t know what that meant exactly.

So began many months of debate about the theme song. I had wondered why the people didn’t say something earlier.

The debate sometimes turned into ugly disputes; I wasn’t quite in the midst of it but I was close enough to smell the gun power.

So much so that on 25 March when the five singers – who were here to record the song – sang “Everyone” at the press conference, I was overcome with emotions; mostly I was happy for the team that we finally got the song out.

“Everyone” has been officially launched on 30 May 2010. I must say that I really admire the steadfastness and the tenacity of the few people who not only worked on this project, but defended and protected the theme song all the way. Just as a number of us do for the Games. Thank you.


That’s the name of Robbie Williams’ third solo album, and it seems perfect for this evening.

Ken Lim and the singers

Sean Kingston and Ken Lim share an intimate moment

Tonight, the theme song for the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games made its premiere on TV. It’s now also the ringtone for my phone. (Ask me nicely if you want it)

UPDATE: You asked for it, here it is… the “Everyone” ringtone
.mp3 (for most phones): DOWNLOAD (843kb)
.m4r (for iPhones):  DOWNLOAD (831kb)

The music video will be playing exclusively on Channel 5, but we’ll let you know as soon as we’re able to share it with you on our YouTube channel, for the rest of you who aren’t in Singapore. But if you’re really impatient, and don’t mind hearing an abridged, “bootleg” version, this one’s for you.

Shortly after, the Singapore women’s table tennis team beat China at the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Moscow.

Eddy Tay, team manager said,  “When we came out, all of us were in tears and they were lost for words. They couldn’t believe (they won)….especially Tianwei. She aspires to be the world champion. I think she’s done it, at the age of 24, and what’s there more to say. I think this is a lifetime thing that will stay with you, and Singapore created history, because in 19 years, no one has beaten them (China).” (Full story on Channel News Asia)

Apart from my persistent running nose, a pretty good Sunday I think.

Stay tuned on Twitter (follow @singapore2010)  for results of the draw for Volleyball (1100hrs GMT+8) and 3-on-3 Basketball (1200hrs GMT +8) later today.

(Sorry for the rather short post. Feeling very woozy from the medication. 😦 )

For some particular reason, spammers seem to really like my last post and have greeted it with lots more of their sales-pitches-disguised-as-comments than usual.

In truth, perhaps they’ve just gotten into the spirit of things, it being that time of the year again in Singapore that we locals know and love. Those eight weeks (plus and minus) of madness known as “The Great Singapore Sale“. (also known as the GSS – we love acronyms!)

From the deepest corners of Bangkok’s Chatuchak market in to the sparkling stores along the Champs Elysees, Singaporeans are adept at finding the best deals. We will whisper amongst ourselves, while whipping out our smartphones to double check the exchange rate and prices back home. Depending on the scene of the crime sale, we will further attempt to drive the price down, sometimes in a mangled mess of the local vernacular and sign language. All this before triumphantly carting away our loot and heading to the nearest foot massage. Or maybe that’s just me.

shop till you drop
spot the bargain

So when it comes to the GSS – which is pretty much the equivalent of the Shopping World Cup (in our own backyard, no less) – the Orchard Road shopping belt becomes a swathe of well-seasoned bargain hunters that swarms into the malls and plunders anything with a marked down price.

Second only to our love for good food, I think Singapore stands a pretty decent shot at a medal should the IOC ever decide to make shopping an Olympic event.

Some of the events could include 50metre butterfly queueing (doubles event where you take turns queueing), 1oom freestyle bargaining (whatever it takes to get the price down), shoppingbag-lifting (pretty self-explanatory?), bargain-bin diving (grace is always important even when looking for marked-down items). And since there’s already a modern pentathlon, we could have an urban duathlon: Eating & Shopping! What say you, President Rogge? 🙂

But fear not, my friends who will be coming to Singapore in August. The GSS may be over by then, but if you’re looking for a good deal in the malls between your time competing in sports and taking part in the Culture and Education Programme, there will still be discounts to be found. Plus we’re just itching for another reason for a sale. 🙂

(Let me know if you need foot massage recommendations 😉 )

Tonight’s title may sound a like a slightly strange breakfast combo.

You could try it tomorrow, but it’s really not something I recommend unless you’re really adventurous.

Anyway, the reason those three items are thrown together, is because of its the title of this story my mom emailed me. I think she’s figured out that my current job isn’t something I can do with one eye shut while juggling flaming bottles and singing the national anthem. So along comes this email …


Phoebe went to her mother one day, after an especially tough day in the office, and told her about how things were so hard for her.

She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

After a few minutes, her mother stood up and went to the kitchen, asking Phoebe to follow.

There, she filled 3 pots with water which she placed on the stove. Soon the pots came to boil.

eat me!

full of vitamin A and beta-carotene!

In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.


Humpty dumpty sat on an egg tray

Phoebe frowned. She wasn’t in the mood for a cooking lesson.

In about twenty minutes, her mother fished out the carrots and eggs, placing them in separate bowls. Then she poured the coffee into a mug. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see.”

wake up and smell the cuppa

caffeine for the soul

“Breakfast?”‘ she replied.

Her mother smiled, and brought her closer. She asked Phoebe to feel the carrots.

Phoebe picked one up, and nearly squished it because it was so soft.

The mother then asked the daughter to pick up the egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, Phoebe rolled the warm, hard boiled egg in her palm, wondering if she could eat it, given she had missed dinner again, thanks to work.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. Phoebe smiled as she tasted familiar flavour that she looked forward to each morning.

The daughter then asked, “Is this supposed to be breakfast, mom?”

Her mother shook her head, and smiled.

“Each of these objects have faced the same adversity: boiling water,” she said.

“They all reacted differently – The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. But after being stuck in the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg was fragile. Its thin outer shell was its only protection for its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, it hardened. The coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they changed the water instead.”

“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity comes, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?”

… END …

Do you start off strong, but wilt with pressure?
Do you start off weak, but toughen with adversity?
When things are at their worst, do you react positively to the situtation, even changing it to your flavour favour?

Cold water doesn’t brew good coffee. Hot water does.

Given the challenges that some of my colleagues are facing now, I thought this little story was pretty apt. Same goes for any of you who are stuck in a spot of bother. I’ve edited it slightly though, and I can’t find out who the author is to give him/her credit. Great story, whoever you are.

Like a wise man I know once said, “The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything, but they make the best of everything.” Or something to that effect.

Goodnight all.

Amidst the frenzy and tension – with 77 days to go to the first YOG, it was a treat to watch the off line version of Part 1 of the Making of Singapore 2010 documentary.

At the end of 60 minutes, I had tears in my eyes.

Right from the start, we decided to depart from the usual Making Of documentary. Instead of a story of just about us, the organising committee, we wanted it to be a story of how different people are preparing for first YOG.

In many ways, the idea parallels how we wanted to organise the Games – as one where we invite, and not mobilize, people to take part, by offering a platform where youth and community can create action and make an impact in their own lives and that of others.

Beyond Gold, which is the name of the documentary, tells the story of three YOG hopefuls, as they prepare themselves for selection against the backdrop of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games events and preparations.

At the end of 60 minutes, I was moved and believed that the YOG had meant something to some people, to the three athletes, providing them an opportunity to fulfill their dreams and aspirations.

However, one of our senior management was disappointed as it was not the Making of in a real sense of the word. It was understandable.

Many of us want to achieve so many of things with the Games. There were projects that we wanted to embark on but did not take off because there was not enough time and resources.

But there were projects that we worked hard to pitch for because we didn’t think we should settle for second best just because we are the inaugural Games.

Then there were the “battles” to preserve the integrity of the Games so that it does not get hijack by opportunists for their own gains. After two years at it, I sometimes wonder what lies at the end of this bittersweet journey.

But at the end of 60 minutes of Beyond Gold, I was brought back to the beginning of YOG. I was on the plane out to Beijing for my first Olympics experience when I watched the film, “Colours Fly”, directed by Majid Majidi for Vision Beijing. As the balloons of the Olympic colours took to the sky, I felt that the world was a beautiful place filled with opportunities and possibilities.

In 77 days’ time, the Games will begin and 3,600 athletes will gather in Singapore to live out their dreams. To some, it will be a start of a brilliant career. To others, it will be a beginning of beautiful friendships that span the country and the globe. I hope the YOG will also open the doors in each of their hearts, just as it did ours, to the many wonderful possibilities.

No, we’ve not turned into savage cannibals overnight, but it’s funny how leaving out a word changes the meaning of a sentence entirely.

"Hello Clariiiccce"

You probably wouldn't want to invite Mr Lecter back for dinner tonight

Today we celebrate “Eat WITH Your Family Day“. In most government bodies, staff will be getting off work half an hour earlier today to eat at home. (Hmmm… so I get to leave at 8.30pm) At 1 Kay Siang Road, we were luckier still to have a free lunch with colleagues from overseas, some of whom who don’t have their families here with them. So it’s sort of a “Eat with your adopted family day” too.

CEO Mr Goh Kee Nguan

Our CEO gives us a timely peptalk before the devouring begins

Well me and some of the other slowpokes were busy with work, and were in danger of missing out on whatever food was left. Lucky for us the Workforce team (Thanks Amy!) made sure we still had some grub and didn’t have to eat our families.


Do interns taste like chicken?

Go eat with your family! 🙂

First off, just to make things clear, this isn’t an advertisement for gambling, casinos or overweight comedians. (See picture below)

spot the difference

Geddit? Geddit?

It just so happened that today’s post #number reminded me that most of my team and I would be operating from the Main Media Centre at the Marina Bay Sands (one of Singapore’s 2 Integrated Resorts that houses a casino within its premises – hence the segue from blackjack) during Games Time.


Before you know it...

The Marina Bay skyline has changed pretty dramatically with the introduction of the 3 monoliths (should it be trioliths since there are 3?) … erm… giant towers connected on top by a sky garden. And it’s been amazing how quickly they finished construction.


... it's good to go!

Everything’s spanking new and we’re going to move in in less just about 2 months! Yippeee..!!

I promise there’ll be more pics when we start shifting into our new (temporary) home. Not usually a gambling man, but I’ll bet every cent I have in my wallet (that’s about $4.35) that August is going to be busy. 😉 Any takers?

P.S. Sorry entries have been coming in late. Past couple of days have been crazy busy!

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