Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

Save Mother Earth ...Think Green when celebrating this Christmas

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

From Caldecott Hill to One North

MediaCorp moving out......

After more than 60 years on Caldecott Hill MediaCorp known previously by names such as RTS, TCS and SBC will be moving out of Caldecott Hill to One North.

The new centre will be at the new Mediapolis@one-north Buona Vista. Mediapolis is Singapore's digital media hub with an area of 19-hectares.

MediaCorp will occupy 1.5 hectares of land and a built-up area of 79,500 square metres, just at the side of the MDA building Fusionpolis. It will house all the media facilities including television studios and broadcast facilities.
CNA reports
"Speaking at the opening of the Asia Television Forum, Information, Communications and the Arts Minister Lui Tuck Yew said the move would attract other local and overseas industry players involved across the value chain -- such as creation, production and post-production -- to Mediapolis, and to participate in collaborative projects with MediaCorp.

The broadcaster could also extend its facilities and services to other production houses "for greater synergies and possible cost benefits".

He said this would contribute further to the growth of the media landscape.

Mr Lui also said he hoped the infocomm infrastructure at Mediapolis, which includes a high-speed network and high density storage systems, would be a lure for digital content companies.

MediaCorp CEO Lucas Chow welcomes the decision.

He said the group looks forward to playing a catalytic role in attracting new and foreign media players to Mediapolis.

In 2006, MediaCorp had announced its decision to relocate to a site at Bukit Batok, but the plan was shelved due to high construction costs and the onset of the economic crisis.

But it said in a statement that the move to a new campus gained traction as the economy improved and new options presented themselves.

The design of MediaCorp's new complex is yet to be decided, but the company said it would be high-rise in nature, with television studios and theatres occupying the lower floors.

The move to one-north will be carried out in phases, and is expected to be completed by mid-2015.

Separately, MediaCorp and the Media Development Authority are working together to support independent production houses in creating made-in-Singapore content exclusively for online viewing.

The regulator will co-invest up to half of the production budget, and the finished products will be distributed on MediaCorp's xinmsn online video platform.

Selected projects will also be promoted through MediaCorp's media network."
For more:

Sunday, November 28, 2010



One of the more interesting project which I helped to facilitate was a series of ASEAN DIGITAL BROADCASTING Meetings. The idea of this gathering of broadcasters on a regular basis was mooted by the then Permanent Secretary in the PMO’s Office , Brunei.. Pengiran Ismail.

The first meeting was held in Brunei on 15/16 March 2004. It was supported by MDA and the PMO of Brunei. Co-organised by RTB and MediaCorp, it was attended by 70 delegates from the technology broadcasting departments of ASEAN countries. Manufacturers and vendors also attended the meeting. I helped to co-chair the meeting with the Director of RTB.

According to the Press Release the meeting was to share latest knowledge and applications relating to digital television terrestrial broadcasters. The group set up guidelines for implementing common specifications for digital television set-top boxes and receivers, thereby with the hope achieving economies of scales (with a total households of more than 500million). The second meeting was held in Singapore on 14 June 2004. Pengiran Ismail and CEO of NDA Christopher Chia gave very encouraging opening remarks. Subsequently the group expanded to include content and policy persons involved in free-to-air broadcasting in the ASEAN region. The ASEAN Ministers responsible for Information etc endorsed the meetings. One of the notable achievements was the agreement among members at the AMRI meeting in BALI Indonesia to adopt DVB as a digital TV standard (except for the Philippines) .

The latest meeting the 9th ADB was held in Singapore in November 2010. Members discussed the implementation of the new version of DVBT (T2), interative TV , the digital dividend, Dolby Surround Sound, Disaster Recovery etc as well as the switching of existing analogue TV services. The next meeting will be hosted in 2011 by the Philippines.

It was always a satisfying experience when I attended ADB meetings. First I know that I was among friends. Secondly the knowledge gained from the experience of the others was enriching. And thirdly the networking enabled and facilitated some of the projects that were done in the company.

I attended the recent meeting at the Concorde Hotel mainly to inform members and friends that I had retired from MediaCorp after more than 40 years there. And to introduce my consultancy company MediAComm Associates LLP – dealing with digital media and all things digital. They were all kind enough to wish me well.

ASEAN Members: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Phoenix and the Dragon

The Phoenix and the Dragon

All Singaporeans should be saddened by the demise of Kwa Geok Choo wife of MM Lee Kuan Yew. The great love story of Mr and Mrs Lee had been told and retold many times, a couple with 61 years of loving care for each other , started a long time ago in Cambridge England with MM Lee’s vision of building the Singapore nation and the support of his loving wife to carry out this mission successfully. . It is a story of the Phoenix and the Dragon which can be best expressed in film memorable.

Many had paid their respects to Madam Kwa Geok Choo. Many important people, many common folks had paid tributes to this great grand lady the likes of which will not be felt in Singapore never again, I think……

“an exceptional worman who passed on excellent values to her children”
”kind and caring woman that helped my daughter to study in England”
”brilliant,compassionate and motherly”
”woman behind the success of MM Lee”
“gone thro and thick and thin with him and build Spore for the next generations to come” and many more tributes to a great lady from community centres, coffee shops, cyberspace and public and private events and the media.

I do not know Mrs Lee personally but I do know that she was a caring wife and kind person. I had the opportunity to meet her and MM Lee during outdoor broadcasts of the National Day Rally at the Singapore Conference Hall and Kallang Theatre. Usually then two days before the Rally she would accompanied MM to the theatre to rehearse the teleprompter and also to check on the suitablility of his shirt for the TV telecast. Many a times MM would turn to her for advice on he looked on TV and she would lovingly gave her comments like too bright, too gaudy and made him look older or younger etc. She would also turn to the engineers and producers politely for opinions. Eventually it was MM who made the final decision. Also she would politely remind security to ensure that the tea for MM should be in placed at the lectern on stage. And when we got into the late of the night rehearsing the script she gently reminded MM that the crew needed to make adjustments for the night and retire for the next day. She won the admiration of all the crew members involved in the recording and she was met with high respects from all whenever she appeared in the TV Studios and Outside Broadcasts.

Without doubt Madam Kwa Geok Choo with her husband had dedicated their lives for a better Singapore. She will be forever be in our memories.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

3D Photo

click picture for You Tube pictures
View this with colour spectacles Red on left and Cyan on Right
Same type of colour spectacle given free by TODAY

Saturday, August 28, 2010

S Chandra Mohan

Another Caldecott Hill Old-timer dies – S Chandra Mohan

It is with sadness that I hear the news that Chandra has passed away. Auntie Lucy Leong
called me this evening to inform me.
Please read this news from Channel News Asia

Broadcasting veteran S Chandra Mohan dies
By Milton Sau | Posted: 28 August 2010 1558 hrs

SINGAPORE : Former director of news and current affairs at the then-Singapore Broadcasting Corporation, S Chandra Mohan, died on Saturday afternoon after a long illness.
He was 72.
For those who were privileged to know him well, Mr Chandra Mohan was a man of smiles.
Former colleagues remember him as a mentor and dear friend.
Tan Lek Hwa, vice-president, English Current Affairs, MediaCorp, said: "He showed me everything from how to tell a story, how to peel the layers of stories and in fact, the most instrumental - it is how to manage national programmes. I feel very sad that he has passed on today because I think we have really lost an industry giant."
The industry giant started his broadcasting career in Radio Television Singapore in the early 1960s.
As a producer, he was on the ground to capture that historic moment of Singapore's separation from Malaysia on 9 August 1965.
He held key positions within the then-Singapore Broadcasting Corporation, playing a pivotal role in the station's programmes and driving award-winning shows such as Diary Of A Nation.
He was also instrumental in the launch of Radio Singapore International (RSI) in 1994.
He retired in 2007 but remains dear to those he had worked with
,,,,,”. For more at

ST dated 30 Aug also reported that

"DUBBED by some as 'the father of Singapore's broadcast journalism', veteran broadcaster S. Chandramohan passed away on Saturday after a long illness.

The former news and current affairs director, who started his career with Radio Television Singapore (RTS), was 71.

His career spanned five decades - beginning with a stint at the now defunct RTS in the early 1960s. After RTS became the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) in 1980, he was appointed director of current affairs and played an important role in the station's programmes, with the Diary Of A Nation series being a particular success. He was also instrumental in the launch of Radio Singapore International in 1994.

During his tenure, Mr Chandramohan was on the scene to report on, and later oversee, many milestone events - ranging from Singapore's separation from Malaysia on Aug 9, 1965, to various live telecasts of election results and also the Prime Minister's National Day Rally speeches.

Ms Jacintha Stephens, a former current affairs producer at SBC who has been in the broadcast industry for 23 years, remembers him fondly as the 'father of broadcast journalism', who was instrumental in shaping the field in Singapore.

'He mentored and nurtured several generations of broadcast journalists and documentary producers - who are now all over the world. He brought to the profession an intellectual vigour and great passion,' said the media consultant........." Read more at

In a letter to his wife Mdm Chandramohan Nirmala Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said "...he was
a professional with a fine political sense, a good understanding of the issues of the day as well as keen insight into the medium, of what would work on was a pleasure working with him..." For more read TODAY or ST dated Aug 31 2010

When I was a young engineer, Chandra Mohan already made his name as a producer of current affairs programmes that won a number of awards. His programmes informed and educated the population. He rose to the top position of Director of News and Current Affairs in the late 70s and early 80s. It was then that I had encounters with him at the Television Studio Three where the Prime Minister’s National Day messages were recorded. My job then was simply to operate the auto-cue. Over the years he took charge of productions such the National Day Rallies (done at the Singapore Conference Hall and the Kallang theatre) and the General Election coverages. He was instrumental in the early 80s to introduce programmes such as Friday Background, Feedback, Tinjuan, Focus etc which were impactful to Singaporeans. He co-ordinated the implementation of Today in Parliament and the engineers supported this project in okaying the microphones and lighting systems which were critical to this coverage, among other things.

I knew him to be a very serious person in his work. In the years I know him one outstanding habit of his was to be perfect in his production work. He would want pictures to be properly composed and make-up to be properly done. In one of the production meeting much to the relief of the engineers he said “ I can tolerate technical breakdown but not a bad picture composition even though it is just a talking head” He must have countless productions where VVIPs were involved, sometimes there were scoldings from important people and more often he took the blame on behalf of the crew. The production crew respected him a lot.
In 82/83 because of the expansion of SBC the News and Current Affairs were split with him running the Current Affairs Unit. Improvements were made in presentations and the acquisition of new technology equipment such as Electronic News Gathering cameras transformed the face of News and Current affairs reporting.
In the late 90s when he became Director of Radio Singapore International which he set-up I began lunching with him together
with Michael Loke Director of Human resources. The other half of Chandra was friendly and warm but still a reserved and serious person exhibiting a high level of professionalism in his work. During the extension years after his retirement, he was still immaculate in writing a VVIP story with enthusiasm.
Taking account of all his work on Caldecott Hill over the years I think he
should be remembered as one of those dedicated and loyal backroom boys that helped build the nation.

Farewell Chandra and rest in peace.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I remember the NDP

I remember the NDP
My first encounter with the NDP was in the year 1969, two years after joining the Department of Broadcasting. I was rostered to work in the black and white NEC TVOB van as a sound assistant. My job was to install and operate effects microphones. The mics were hanged on the lamp-posts along High Street. That year the contingents marched past this road. I remembered on the day of the live telecast the late Mrs Wong forwarded instructions to producer “ More effects sound more effects sound!” She was monitoring the progress of the parade at the master control room on Caldecott Hill together with some senior management staff(which included George Ang the Chief Engineer then). And I was a young sound operator trying desperately to oblige with more effects sound. Later on I found out that that there were viewers who complained that the effects did not bring up the fullness and boom of the Parade. It was then that I realized how important each and every staff in a TV show was especially the NDP.
Since that year I had grown from doing sound, microwave transmission, vision control , supervisor , engineer work to even Chairman of the Technical Committee a few times –responsible for vision, sound and lighting for the whole Parade. The most memorable Parade was in 1986 when together with Colonel Tang Mun Poh we brought night-lighting to NDP. As mentioned elsewhere in this blog, it was the biggest challenge we had ever faced in an Outside Broadcast Operation and to this day the night segment became the essential part of the NDP.
The NDP has progressed over the years with better planning, better equipment and better people. There were never a shortage of creative ideas. We used to think that the NDP was the best for a particular year but only to see the following year surpassed the previous. I must have left organizing the technical part for the last 10-15years and was clearly looking forward to my retirement when the boss suddenly assigned me the job of co-ordinating the NDP recording in 3Dimensional Television. It is my last fling so to speak and I am looking forward to this year’s parade (year 2010)with enthusiasm and excitement. And certainly very glad that the workforce at Caldecott Hill has matured over the years and could work very closely together now for this mammoth event happening this year at the Padang on 9 August. Watch out for the 3D telecast on Ch 37 in Sep/Nov 2010 and the main telecast in full HD on MediaCorp Channels on the 9th.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Digression:Earthday Baby has her say

This message has nothing to do with memories of Caldecott Hill. My grandpa , Philip J T Tay , who is still working on Caldecott Hill for the past 43 years and who is the administrator of this blog has allowed me some blog space to pen what I am going to say for the record. Ha Ha.
I was born on Thursday 22 April 2010 at 1741 hrs at Thomson Medical Hospital . My weight was 3.09 kg and now a week later is 3.2kg. I stayed in the hospital for two days being in the “cocoon” which I crouched for the past 10 months. Sure glad to be out!
My dad was given the chance to cut the umbilical cord and the ceremony of this is recorded on camera. It is going to be exciting when I view it when my sight matures.
The first talk I had with my mum is by the method of crying loudly. This seems to be modus operandi and the next few days I had to communicate by this means whenever I need to be fed or when I pooh.
Kongkong(father’sfather) came over every night to take a look at me and carry me just to tell me he loves me very much. Grandpa Tay also came over my cot many time to peep and admire this little me. He shyed away carrying me and I know he is clumsy at this. By his own confession he hardly carried my mum when a baby. The excuse was late hours at Caldecott Hill lah!
Now I am seven days old and everybody from nanny,grandma and pa. mum and dad and my aunties had studied me inside and out. And they seem to know and understand my crying . I was never left to cry for more than 2 minutes!
Dad has started a facebook for me and got me a email . Grandpa promises to start a blog so that he can document my early life from birth till I am able to operate a blog independently. He is retiring soon and he thinks it is great to start blogging me!
Well that’s all folks . Hope to tell you more on my blog as the days pass and the years come…

PS: One of the photos shows I sent a greeting card to my uncle in Sydney and my auntie in Sengkang to wish them happy bithday on 2 May.

With Love from Claire Ong

Monday, May 3, 2010

Raymond has something to say....

I remember Raymond Anthony Fernando. He was the smartest dressed officer in the days of RTS/SBC. With the Public Relations department, i think he was one of courteous person I had met. He recently wrote this to me. He has something to say on behalf of senior citizens..

"Doing more for senior citizens -Show re-runs of old TV Shows. Many of our seniors citizens who have fulfilled their responsibilities in the past should be able to look forward to a better quality of life in their twilight years. ... See MoreMediaCorp TV and radio have a role to play in supporting our elderly. Certainly a trip down memory lane will help to revive the beautiful memories that our seniors have of what they once enjoyed. During the 60s and 70s, there were some very entertaining programmes on television and radio. Television shows like Dr Kildare, Ben Casey, 77 Sunset Strip, Sea Hunt and many more always had a large following. Westerns such as The Rifleman, Rin Tin Tin and The Lone Ranger also had viewers glued to the small screen. Ours seniors will definitely appreciate a revival of such TV shows including comedies like The Jack Benny Show and I love Lucy. I remember Jack Benny could easily secure a laugh just by his body language. Even our local TV productions such as Pop In, Dendang Ria and Talentime were also delightfully entertaining. Though all these programmes were in black and white, I am sure ours seniors will enjoy watching them all over again because it brings back beautiful memories. Could MediaCorp TV introduce a senior citizens slot on Channel 5 to recognise those who have contributed much to nation building?Community support I remember veteran broadcaster Lucy Leong hosting a radio show dedicated to the sick. Listeners could write in and request songs and send get-well wishes for their loved ones who were hospitalised. Such a programme could be brought back as part of a community project to support the sick in hospitals and nursing homes. It will also help seniors if our major supermarkets make available ready-to-cook meals. When the Japanese supermarket Yaohan was in operation here, these cleaned and packed ready-to-cook meals were very popular. Meat and fish packed with vegetables, garlic and ginger enabled consumers to prepare a meal in less than 10 minutes. Such products may also prove useful for working couples who often have little time to prepare dinner.


Friday, April 30, 2010

what do Kopi-O and Under One Roof have in common?

Both were my family favourite shows on TV years ago. And both were prime time TV hits – KOPI-O on channel 8 and UNDER ONE ROOF on channel 5.

KOPI-O is a drama serial televised in 1987. It centred around the daily lives of stall operators in a HDB coffee shop. Every story was about a situation which they would argued and quarreled and eventually came to a good ending. There were good times and bad times in their lives in providing services to coffee-shop customers. One of the things that made this show memorable is the catchy theme some. Many of the local stars performed superbly. You see them in the opening of for this show at

Under One Roof is the story of Tan Ah Teck (Moses Lim)-the owner of a provision shop and his family-wife Dolly and children Ronnie, Paul and Denise and their daily encounters with their neighbours in a HDB apartment. The stories that were told could be easily identified with the daily lives of HDB heartlanders. We used to gather round the TV set to watch this hilarious show and everybody had good laughs.
It was the first locally-produced English situation comedy. First aired over channel 5 in 1994 it starred Moses Lim ,Koh Chieng Mun , Norleena Salim , Vernetta Lopez, Nicholas Lee, Andrew Lim, Selena Tan, Zaibo and Daisy Irani. It won many international awards and was also shown in many overseas broadcast stations. Here is the opening of Under One Roof

MediaCorp had produced many good ones over the years and I think the above two are classics during the formative years of the company. The other classic is Phua Chu Kang another classic of recent vintage……...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Remember the first TV Guide?

One of the priorities when RTS rolled over to SBC a statutory board was to keep viewers and advertises informed of its channel porgrammes. The first issue of TV Guide in English called Radio and TV Times was published on 25 Oct 1980. It gave viewers lots of programming information and was an instant success. This issue featured programmes such as Battle Galactica, the Muppet Show etc and interesting snippets on TV personalities.
About three months later the Chinese version of Radio and TV Times was published. The Chairman of SBC the late Ong Teng Cheong gave an encouraging forward to this issue. Mr Cheng Tong Fatt the General Manager also had something to say, thanking staff for the support and giving information on the reorganisation of the company. The first edition of Chinese RTV Times had interesting information on Carol Cheng and Chow Ying Fatt. It also featured our new drama artistes including Huang Wenyong. The TV Guides became an instant hit with viewers.

Many look forward to the guides weekly- now called 8 Days for English and I-Weekly for Chinese.
You cannot watch TV without it!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

MediaCorp Logos over the years

The above is not complete. Please emaiil me if you have more logos of the station on Caldecott Hill especially during the British Colony Days, Japanese Occupation and any that is in your collection.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Remember the SBC Orchestra?

(left: Leslie Weddell, Ahmd Jaffar)

Yes there was a SBC orchestra on Caldecott Hill. It had a humble beginning in 1956 (only 9 musicians) and expanded to 38 members over the years. Gus Stein was the leader at the early stages (i didnt know until recently). I knew the next leader Ahmad Jaffar who had dedicated his whole life to music and was a recipient of the Cultural Mediallion from the Ministry of Culture. I also knew there was a Christopher Daniel who brought electronic music into the station . And I remember having being scolded for poor lighting quality on some of the shows that SBC Orchestra appeared and the poor sound balancing as well. Which was the reason for sound experts on Cladecott Hill from the BBC and NHK in the early 70s and 80s. In the formatives years the station depended on lot on foreign expertise including in the Orchestra. Last week I was pleasantly surprised by an email from one of the musicians a Mr Leslie Weddell. He was kind enough to share his memories with us in the write-up below. Enjoy the memories!

My days in Singapore, working at RTS in the orchestra.
By Leslie Weddell.

I do not think of myself as an ‘expat’ worker, although it may appear so as I was not Singapore born, because all the British expats had long gone by the time I joined the RTS orchestra.
For the ten years I worked in the Radio & television Orchestra in the period 1964 to 1974 or thereabouts, and as a young lad, I loved every minute of it.
Singapore was going through a period of rebuild after WW2 and it was going to be a long haul because there was little or no money for the Government to finance a vast rebuild of the republic for the nation, to give future generations a real chance to work with pride and enjoy better health and remove the poverty of those desperate years.
Because of the shortage of local trombone players at that time of a standard good enough for broadcasting, staff orchestra positions were offered to anyone that wished to audition for the vacant post.
I was serving in the British Royal Marines Band in ‘HMS Terror’ in the (then) Royal Navy base at Sembawang, and we all used to listen to the radio on the wall of our barrack room, the very same blocks that the Japanese Forces occupied when Singapore fell to them from the British Forces.
There was no television in those days, and the radio was king, along with the person putting on the records at request times. Today we would call the presenter a ‘D.J’.
Being a trombone player, I was always interested in the RTS Big Band playing every week, and one day I bucked up enough courage to write in to the ‘Director of Music at RTS, Caldecott Hill’ !
I was flabbergasted to actually get a reply, and a well written letter in lovely handwriting from Gus Stein, the then Orchestra Leader. He invited me to come to one of the recordings and to say ‘hello’ to the boys in the band.
The first thing I found out was that the studio in which the band made their recordings was FREEZING! All the personnel were sitting there with coats or woolly jumpers on to keep warm, so besides the music they were recording I most certainly enjoyed getting back in the heat of the day on the tea break in the canteen.
Gus asked how long I had been playing the trombone and as he had only three trombones in his section at most on the recordings, would I like to make up the full compliment of four trombones that big bands use, and could I bring my trombone in the following week for a sit-in with the band.
It was a try-out of course, and I must have passed it, for he asked if I would have any problems getting out of the Band duties I had with the Marines in the Naval Base, and I had none, for when I told my Band officer about my wonderful experience at RTS he was delighted, and urged me to ‘go for it.’
So I played with the RTS big band for a few weeks until the resident trombonist left.

The following day Gus Stein contacted me and asked if I would consider applying for the position of staff trombonist with the RTS if I could get out of the Royal Marines.
It was really all a lucky break for me, since at that very time the British Government decided to cut the size of the armed forces and I, along with anyone else that wanted to, could buy our discharge from the Service.
It all went through the channels and within a few weeks I found myself a civilian and driving through the gates of ‘HMS Terror’ in a taxi for the very last time.
For ten long and happy years I played with the RTS Orchestra, and I recall the jobs we played for; everything from radio and Television band programmes, song contests, street galas, official functions for heads of State and visiting foreign dignitaries to parties next to Chinese opera performances. We always had a laugh when we had to play in a street carnival for sure as little green apples, as soon as we started playing a piece of music with a young lady singing her heart out - the Chinese opera band would start up too!
Ahmad Jaafar would simply grin at us and say ‘ Alamat!’ and we would all roar with laughter for there was no way we could compete with that lot.
Before I came to the end of my stay in Singapore I met, and fell in love with, a lovely lady named Zarah, and we have been married now for 38 years and have three grown up children; Zarinah, Stephen and Richard, and we have now got a granddaughter named Kateejah.
Life after Singapore
My return to the UK was in the month of May in 1974, and so the transition from the lovely tropic heat of Singapore was not too bad, and I soon acclimatized.
It was a rude shock though to witness at first hand a completely different culture in Britain from Singapore. I could not believe my eyes at the drab, black clothing of the young; the long hair and massive boots they wore, looking as if they were all going to a funeral.
Walking through the streets of London I was window shopping and my eyes found something called a Sex Shop. I was totally astounded at what I saw in that window! It was disgusting to me, for I had left a good society of folks with clean minds in Singapore, and was wondering what I had let myself in for coming back to the UK.
A job working as a musican was not hard to find, and via a Band booking Agent, I secured a summer season theatre post in the pit orchestra of the ‘Pavilion’ theatre in Torquay for four months. Torquay is a pleasant seaside resort in the county of Devon in South East England and is very popular with holiday makers.
By this time my wife had joined me from Singapore and it was time to think about setting up a home and finding a secure job, so at the end of the summer run on the theatre I headed with my wife for my Mother’s house in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, Scotland.
I soon found out that it was not going to be easy finding work as a trombone player in Scotland, so I worked for a short time as a labourer on a building site and that was tough. I have immense respect for anyone that is a builder or works as a brick layer on those jobs, and then I decided to move back to London to look for work as a musician.
Some theatre work came along deputising for other established trombone players, and eventually I attended an audition in a London studio for another summer season job with a band in a holiday camp in Southport, a small seaside town near Liverpool.
I stayed with that band for two years, going on cruise ships in the Caribbean during the winter months and returning to the holiday camp for the summer seasons.
In my time living in Southport I decided that it was not fair to my wife to be away from home so long on those cruise ships for five months at a time, and decided to take a teaching job with the local education authority. I was teaching music to children in Primary schools in the area and working casual gigs (engagements) in bands in Liverpool and Manchester on the weekends, and one thing leading to another, I found myself moving to Blackpool in Lancashire, for I had found a really good job as staff trombonist with the (then) Blackpool Tower Company.
I played in the Opera House theatre for all the big stars of the era such as Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Tony Christie, Matt Munro, and many more. As my job required, I also played as a member of the Empress Ballroom orchestra, and had the pleasure of performing with them for 29 years on all the World Ballroom Dancing Championships before I took retirement in November of 1999.
There were other good jobs too, for I eventually played trombone with the Northern Dance Orchestra (not really known in Singapore, but very famous in Britain in the seventies and eighties) and other jobs I had short spells with, such as the New Geraldo orchestra, UK Glenn Miller Orchestra, Eric Delaney big band, BBC Big band, and numerous studio sessions in Leeds, Manchester and London.
Finally moving to my present home in Preston, Lancashire, twenty two years ago I concentrated on teaching children to play music and have been with the Lancashire Music service for over twenty years.
Although I no longer play professionally in bands I do a little part time teaching with children in Preston Primary schools.
One of my interests or hobbies is writing books, and I love photography too.
I have a website at and besides my publications on it there is a more extensive bio of my travels as a trombonist.
You are welcome to visit the website and use anything you wish from my light hearted book ‘Have trombone will travel’

Les. Weddell

Les Weddell email is He is planning a trip to Singapore and if there are any Caldecott Hill Old timers who would like to meet him to chit-chat and recall old memories please contact.
Please keep me informed if you guys are getting together. Cheers.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The late Mrs-Wong-Lee Siok Tin- we missed her very much

The late Mrs Wong-Lee Siok Tin rose from the rank of journalist-producer to the top executive of the then Singapore Broadcasting Corporation. She spent a good part of her life (29 years)serving this media institution on the Caldecott Hill estate. I knew her from 60s to 80s when I was a young technician in the TV studios and as engineer-in-charge of operations. She was a humble and hardworking General Manager . Never known to have a temper, she was a caring general manager to her staff. She had a pleasant disposition and cut a very nice figure in her cheongsam- always. I never got to tell her that she looked lovely in her cheongsam.
She worked late hours and was well-known as a workaholic. She was a task-master but never a slave-driver. I was very impressed with her mastery of Queen’s English. This was witnessed by many international visitors. At one of the ABU meetings she was praised for her chairmanship and excellent speeches. She received many international accolades.
I could recall that at every National Day Parade she would sit beside us with all the other Management members. Her advice and direction to the NDP producer (at the Padang or National Stadium) was indispensable as she was able to recognize camera shots that had high impact values to viewers. She would advise VVIPs on how to look good on TV cameras .
I was told that during the earlier years (before I joined the department) she travelled many times with PM and his team during the Singapore fight for independence and merger. And she brought back many reports which were broadcast to keep the people well-informed.
She was a teacher before he joined RTS. She started in 1961 as a Programme Assistant rose quickly to Controller, Deputy Director and then Director of Broadcasting in 1978. She became General Manager of SBC in 1982 . She retired in January 1991.
Shortly after her retirement she lost her battle with cancer. It was with great sadness that we heard the news.
On occasions I would meet his younger brother Winston for a chit-chat at the Club. He said her sister was loved by everybody. She was a good sister to all. With a tearful eye he said “we missed her very much”

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mr n Mrs Chan

Mr and Mrs Chan

You will never go hungry when Mr or Mrs Chan is around.
If you work at Caldecott Hill for more than 30 years you will know Mrs Chan and the late Mr Chan. Mr Chan was the boss of the cooked food stall operating at the Old Broadcasting in the 60s. The stall is still around in the TV Centre canteen. The name of the stall is Lau Lim Kee (Old Lim Kee. Mr Lim is the father of Mrs Chan) . In its 41st year the food stall is still popular and is now managed by his daughter and wife.
Mr Chan Soo Har was a very nice man. Very friendly and got along well with staff and workers. He used to come around and chit-chat when we gathered for lunch at the old canteen. Many liked to see his smiling face except for pay day. In the old days staff received cash at the old auditorium. Mr Chan would stand at the exit and collect his money for those who were on account. At times we all would participate in a credit scheme called “tontine”.
The best dish I recalled at the old canteen was nasi berani. He had a secret recipe for this. The other cooked dishes were delicious too. Till today his food stall is till crowded during lunch and dinner hours. I had hokkien mee yesterday (the week before was mee goreng) and was pleased to talk to Mrs Chan and her daughter on some of the past memories.
It is said that staff on Caldecott Hill come and go but Lau Lim Kee go on forever!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

In Memoriam- Yang Lina

It is with sadness that I post this news..that Yang Lina a former MediaCorp actress died of uterine cancer two days ago at age 47. She was one of the early pioneers when the then Singapore Broadcasting Corporation(SBC) created the Chinese Drama Division and started to produce very good dramas for local television and regional distriubtion. Her last TV appearance is in last syear's Pedrfect Cut 2 on Ch U.. I do not know her except to have seen her in the studios on occasions when I was engineer-in-charge of television in the 80s. She was very pretty and had a sweet smile.
Artistes and newbies show up at her wake to support her make-up artist hubby Chau Kim Wa and show respect. The artistes include
Chen Liping, Rayson Tan, Chen Shucheng, Belinda Lee, Shaun Chen, Chris lee, Fann Wong, Gurmit Singh, Pierce Png, Andrea Dcruz and many more. MediaCorp Management executives and staff also turned up to pay respects. They know they lost a good actress and friend.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

COT go Lo Hei

Thirty-three CaldecottHill Old Timers (COT) gathered for Lo Hei yesterday at Boon Tong Kee Restaurant Whampoa West. As usual Auntie Lucy Leong organised the event. George Favacho flew in from Perth for the get-together.

It is great to meet old colleagues again. Great to see most of them in good health..Seah Kim Hock, Ujagar Singh, Sim Choon Hin, Ee Boon Lee, Jim Soh, Lee Kim Tian, Michael Loke, Liew Ter Kwang, S C Leong, Cecilia, Jenny, Sebastian Tan, Lucy, George etc..

And of course we miss Vernon Palmer who left us last year. God Bless.

May the year of Tiger bring good health to all and make all of our wishes come true!
Here is a write-up from Wkipedia which may be of interest..
"IngredientsArranged on a large serving plate, the colourful array of ingredients include raw fish which is traditionally ikan parang 西刀魚 or "mackerel", shredded green and white radish drained of liquid, shredded carrots adding a bright orange tinge to the dish, pickled ginger, crushed nuts and pomelo. The ingredients are topped with various condiments including deep-fried flour crisps, crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, cinnamon, pepper and other spices. All at the table would then jointly toss the salad with a generous portion of plum sauce and cooking oil to add sweetness and taste.Rituals and MeaningsYusheng plays on the homonyms where "yu" 魚 means "fish" but enunciated appropriately, it also means 馀 "abundance"; and "sheng" 生 means literally "raw" but enunciated appropriately, it means "life". Thus Yusheng implies "abundance of wealth and long life". In Cantonese it is known as "lo sheng" with "lo" 捞 also meaning "tossing up good fortune". The tossing action is called "Lo Hei", which means to "rise" (起 "hei"), again a reference to a thriving business and thus its popularity with businessmen during the New Year.Step 1: All at the table offer New Year greetings.Words: 恭喜发财 "Gong Xi Fa Cai" meaning "Congratulations for your wealth" or 万事如意 "Wan shi ru yi" meaning "May all your wishes be fulfilled".Step 2: Fish, symbolising abundance or excess through the year, is added.Words: Nian nian you yu 年年有馀 and You yu you sheng.Step 3: The pomelo is added over the fish, adding both luck and auspicious value.Words: 大吉大利 Da ji da li.Step 4: Pepper & Cinnamon Powder is then dashed over the ingredients in the hope of attracting more money and valuables.Words: 招财进宝 Zhao cai jin bao.Step 5: Then oil is poured out, circling the ingredients to increase all profits 10,000 times and encouraging money to flow in from all directionsWords: Yi ben wan li and 财原广进 Cai yuan guang jin.Step 6: Carrots are added to the fish indicating blessings of good luck.Words: Hong yun dang tou.Step 7: Then the shredded green radish is placed on the fish symbolising eternal youth.Words: Qing chun chang zhu.Step 8: After which the shredded white radish is added - prosperity in business and promotion at work.Words: Feng sheng shui qi and 步步高升 Bu bu gao sheng.Step 9: Chopped Peanut bits are dusted on the dish symbolising a household filled with gold and silver. As an icon of longevity, peanuts also symbolise eternal youth.Words: 金银满屋 Jin yin man wu.Step 10: Sesame seeds quickly follow symbolising a flourishing business.Words: 生意兴隆 Sheng yi xing long.Step 11: Deep-fried flour crisps in the shape of golden pillows is then added with wishes that literally the whole floor would be filled with gold.Words: Pian di huang jin.Step 12: All toss the salad an auspicious 7 times with loud shouts of "lo hei" 捞起 and other auspicious New Year wishes.Words: Lo hei 捞起 which is Cantonese for "tossing luck".The ingredients are mixed by pushing them toward the centre, an encouragement to push on the good luck of all at the table. If you can't finish the salad, don't worry, as usually a small amount is left behind to signify abundance."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I remember Cheng Tong Fatt

(Dr Cheng Tong Fatt second from left)

I called him Mr Cheng (not Dr Cheng , a more proper salutation) whenever I met him at the studios on CaldecottHill. I remember him well because he was
‘strongest ‘CEO I ever encountered. He came in before 1980 and prepared us for the corporatisation of the then RTS,officially known as the Department of Broadcasting MInistry of Culture. The Singapore Broadcasting Corporation SBC was formed on 1 Feb 1980. Mr Cheng Tong Fatt was the first chief executive as GM of SBC. The late Mrs Wong-Lee Siok Tin was the first Deputy GM of the Corporation. Later on the Corporation was restructured and Mrs Wong became the GM with Mr Cheng as Deputy Chairman. He remained in this position till early 1988. Mr Cheng was concurrently concurrently the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture. The position of DyChairman was an executive one. I knew him to be a tough-minded leader that brook no nonsense. Being target-orientated he transformed RTS into a company that could meet the challenges of a commercial world. Over the ten years or so there he introduced many firsts to SBC. His greatest achievement was the formation and development of the Chinese Drama unit. I can say sthat without him the Chinese Drama would not have been what it is today. During his tenure, Chinese Drama produced many popular series, such as the Awakening , Samsui Woman etc. Also other departments such as the Current Affairs section blossomed and popular programmes such as Feedback and Friday Background for instance. The biggest success in the Entertainment section was the introduction of night shows outdoors, the first being telecast of the NDP at night in 1986. Other night shows such at City Hall Steps, China Town, Singapore River became a regular evenets during New Years eve and Lunar New Year. And of course the staging of the Miss Universe 1986 – an event which I personally faced many challenges.
I was not with the Management team then during his stay at Caldecott but certainly had encountered with him as the engineer-in-charge of studios and outside broadcasts. He seldom put on a smile and appeared stern and stately all the time. Under him engineers had to really be on full alert because he was the sharpest boss in all areas including the technologies. He would wish for staff to be innovative and adopt a can- do attitude. All staff were toughened by his management style. He was credited with bringing the drama producers from Hongkong and top executives as well to run the Drama unit. The greatest respect for him was that he gave all the executive local producers a chance to take charge first. But none were able. The turnaround came when foreign talents from Hongkong were roped in.
Mr Cheng later on became the Ambassador to China. His assistance was sought again, this time for SBC’s foray into the China market….Without doubt he was one of the top-notched civil servants that helped build Singapore.

I met him about a year ago at a friend's wedding dinner. He was in the pink of health. I asked him what made him look so young for his age. He said "Never Retire!". Here is wishing him many good years of a healthy life.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Syonan Jinja(the search for the Yamashita Gold)

Syonan Jinja (the search for the Yamashita Gold)

Hi A bit of history that took place during World War II near Caldecott Hill. Here is the interesting piece.

"Based in the dense jungle of the MacRitchie Catchment Area are the ruins of SyonanJinja, a Japanese Shinto shrine dating back to World War II. Built to commemorate Japanesesoldiers who died fighting in the invasion of Singapore, Syonan Jinja was the locationof many Japanese religious and cultural ceremonies. The original structure,built during the Japanese Occupatiion (1942-5), was a temple with no walls.Raised from the ground by a stone platform graduated with a few steps, the slopingtemple roof rested on pillars that stood at regular intervals round the perimeter of theplatform. It is believed that during rituals, worshippers would drink from a huge granite ceremonial fountain located outside the shrine......."For more information please go to the entrance of Sime Road (left side) and read the two courtesy of the National Heritage Board and Singapore pools.
I remember Lisa Ang presented a programme Hey Singapore telecast over Channel 5 in 1999 I think. In one of the episodes “Search for Yamashita Gold” was featured. It is documented that General Yamashita commander of the Japanese Army that swept through South Asia buried his loot along the location is rumoured to be at the Syonan Jinja. Remnants of the Shinto Shrine can be found next to the SICC Bukit 3rd Fairway (see photo) The then Television Corporation had a team there with metal detector attempting to find the gold. Nothing!
I spoke to one of the crew members WL Ang and he said maybe it is worth a second attempt.
Those interested to search for the Yamashita gold please email me.