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.