Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Happenings in Singapore after I returned from Malaysia

The following photos and a video from my personal camera starts off my latest bird story, tied to an old one of spiritual meaning for me that occurred many years ago now, to become symbolic of meanings I perceive in this latest return trip to Singapore of May 2015, after I had left in March as shared in this post covering the passing away of Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

This pair of birdlings in a nest looks as if they were photographed in the wild or in a remote part of the garden of a home

Well, they are found not in the wild nor in a garden of a home but simply in a potted plant on the 7th storey corridor of a residential HDB flat of Singapore. (Being on the 7th storey, this post will most likely be included in the Story of 7 post!) I had just arrived back in Singapore again and some how decided to drop by a neighborhood friend's home before getting back to our own home a few blocks away.

The above video is in its original unedited version, captured quite spontaneously as I stepped out of my friend's unit in a 2nd follow up visit to see the how the family of birds were doing. There is the constant drilling noise from the unit above under renovation but it didn't seem to disturb this family. Notice closely that there are 2 adult birds in the video besides the 2 birdlings being fed. The two adult birds are seen right and the beginning of the footage and also right at the very end when the one bird adult bird leaves the nest to be be replaced by another. We can assume that one is the mother bird and the other the father bird. My friend informed me this is the 3rd time two eggs have been hatched in this potted plant and he has observed two adult birds have been attending to the newly pair of hatched birdlings each time. 

My immediate thought mutually shared by my neighborhood friend whom our family refer to as Uncle David, who has traveled with me in one of my trips to Malaysia, is that the birds must have full appreciation of the peaceful neighborhood of Singapore. They must have also felt confident enough to build their home right on a public corridor of a fully occupied residential flat to raise 3 generations of birdlings without fear of disturbance from close by human neighbors. This was reported by the flat owner with the potted plants where the nestling is found, just adjacent to Uncle David's unit by the common public stairway. You can hear the voices of Uncle David and myself in the video above. 

Below are pics and a video captured by Uncle David who sent them to me by email. Not bad for a man who turns 79 this year on his October birthday  :

These are the young birdlings when first hatched from the eggs without feathers

Here is the pretty mother bird

We can hear the voice of Uncle David and his wife seeing the birdlings now with feathers and touching them. 

The two birdlings in the nest are also symbolic of our two youngest boys in the family, Ern and Ray :

They were born in Malaysia in the mid 90s, in a home close to nature...

... who eventually packed themselves to be the first of our birdlings to head out to study in Singapore in 2007

Here are the two of them starting of primary schooling in Singapore...

...with a chance of being close to nature and it's animals too on Sentosa island

Here they are seen with Uncle David in Kuantan grown up but without feathers haha!

See how close Uncle David is with the Kuantan monkeys?

Father bird says good bye to the boys as they head back to Singapore as he continues the journey with Uncle David.

Time flies and soon the two youngest boys grow up to become young men!

Son No 3 : Woon Ern

On this day when I am in Singapore to be a Mr Mom of our family, overseeing particularly the two youngest boys, this experience will turn into what I symbolically call 'The Singapore Bird Story'. It is written in remembrance of this auspicious day when the 5th child or 3rd son. Woon Ern, begins his life of a 2 year compulsory military national service. This act has been preceded by his older brother Woon Shuan, beginning at the BMTC Basic Military Training Centre on Tekong Island in Singapore. I had posted the above pic on facebook at home before we left including the symbolic photo of the two birdlings :

Read all about the ensuing 'SINGAPORE BIRD STORY' related to enlistment of the family's 3rd son into the Singapore Army! http://familylane.blogspot.sg/2015/05/happenings-in-singapore-after-i.html
Posted by Sun Fu Chong on Monday, May 25, 2015

The story will continue when fresh pics and videos will be included after we see him off marching to his barracks with all the other new recruits, as experienced by his older brother Shuan's first day recorded here.  

Here are the pics of the day with some videos :

As we got to Pasir Ris, there were signs leading to the pick up point to catch a bus to the SAF jetty for a ferry ride to Tekong island.

We're about to take the ferry

Upon arrival at Tekong island, all new enlisted boys were divided from their family members. Ern's older brother who is close to the end of his National Service time serving as a platoon commander in Tekong island itself took time off to join Han, the oldest brother and I as family visitors on a brief tour of the facilities.

Here we see Shuan wearing a casual blue tee shirt attire, off duty to join us in the tour, with Han in shorts. Though off duty with his hands joined behind the back reflects he is still in a platoon commander posture as we visit a room and bunk beds of the new trainee soldiers.

The tour continued as I remember it with Shuan's entry two years ago.

However visting this part was new as it was raining and very crowded the last time.

It was a small museum and this seen when you first walked inside.

Han, the oldest brother is going through it the first time. He doesn't have to serve NS as he opted out to be a Singapore PR

It's a comprehensive training of the body and mind for this 4 week basic training

At the last briefing, the family get to meet up with the boys again...

... to be be briefed by the Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Eddie Khng

Then everyone adjourned to the cafeteria where we saw a sample of the different meals served on different days

This is the actual meal we got for the day

Everyone is enjoying the meal with Ern's girlfriend Lyn

 Here is everyone in our group on the tarmac where the enlisted boys will soon assemble

We see Ern in his stripped shirt in the assembled group

A final farewell wave before they walk orderly to their barracks where all visitors will then walk back to the buses to bring everyone back to the jetty to cross back to the main island.

This video was created with the BMT song

As Ern will be away for 2 years in the army, he will not get to use his talents as a model....

He was therefore encouraged by his Dad to be the best model he can be as a Soldier!

Time flies! Nine months later he graduates as a Sergeant after passing out of the Specialist Cadet Course Graduation Parade captured in photos, video and stories here.

Post-dated development:

28 Apr 2017

26 Aug 2017

Next :
Son No 4 : Woon Ray

Here is Ray our youngest of the family, an avid reader of story books who enrolled at Republic Polytechnic in a Mass Communication program in 2014 and is in his 2nd year at this time of writing.

The campus buildings look very modern in an eco friendly environment

Here is a very green looking building on campus

There were some Singapore Armed Forces big guns on display too when I visited the first time the previous year.

I had a chance to try out a meal at their modern cafeteria too

In my latest visit in May 2015, I explored more of the student facilities available and their sports ground.

They have a spacious modern library

With a 2nd cafeteria near the sports complex area

With more economical prices for the students at the college

Ray has even learnt how to cook or bake at home to enjoy good meals like lasagna!

In the grounds of the college, this attracted my attention, an adventure learning centre!

Some students were doing some dangerous looking stunts!

Looks scary from the top!

Reminds me of Ray's experience in our Pahang caves in Malaysia

But here they make tall man-made structures to do their abseiling on campus grounds!  
Here is how tall the tower is!

Talking about height, Ray wasn't taller than his Dad yet on his birthday of Nov2, 2014 when the above pic was taken. We will measure again on his birthday coming up in Nov 2, 2015.

Ray however had become taller than his next older brother Ern who held the record of being the tallest of all his siblings previously.

Ray's talents in this modern world today is in drawing and writing creative stories...

... not forgetting being a 'Beat Boxer'!

The talents of the NEXT GENERATION continue to amaze me and they continue to change the world in our technology, entertainment and design.

Ern and Ray are symbolically the last two birdlings of the original familylane flock. The True Story of how it all began can be read here or viewed on video here. (Wow having not read the original webpage stories for some time, I just realized it was written on 7 webpages long before the Story of 7 was ever conceived and this must therefore qualify to be included in the Story of 7 post!) All the blog posts, webpages and videos have links in the main website www.familylane.info which was first designed for display on computers only and with the advent of smart phones or mobile phones that has its own operating system to make it a very small and mobile computer, the familylane website is progressively being transformed to be mobile friendly in stages found at www.familylane.info/photolinks

Post-dated development:

7 June 2015

Family trip to Utah for the wedding of the boy's cousin Ying Er to Justin Liu and seeing their niece, Leah, for the first time who is the daughter of Su and Jay Liu. After all the events, I took the boys for a drive up the mountains to Heber and then to Park City Olympic Park after all the family events were over.

2 May 2017

Ray's Graduation from College

2 Nov 2017

Ray's 20th Birthday

8 Nov 2017
Ray is enlisted into the Army

10 Mar 2018
Ray passes out from the Basic Military Training Centre (BMTC).

With the last son fulfilling his compulsory National Service in the Singapore Armed Forces, my thoughts go back to the time when Shuan was the first to enlist to the army and I shared the following quotation. It is a prayer that I always hold for my boys that is from General Douglas MacArthur, a famous war hero in the USA :

Build me a son, O God, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory. Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; a son who will know thee - and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.

Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail. Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high, a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men. One who will reach into the future, yet, never forgets the past.

And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never takes himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember  the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength,

Then I, his father, will dare whisper, "I have not lived in vain!"