It started with doodling this morning. This being Duan Wu Festival, I randomly drew this. While I know the legend of Qu Yuan that is the origin of this festival, I realised that I do not know what Duan Wu 端午 referred to. There are apparently many names for this festival, and many variations as to how Duan Wu came about. In this game, I chose a simple to understand version. Curious? Play the game then. Haha!
I learned about this naming system for things like time of a day and also months of a year. More reading up is needed to find out the history behind this. Here are the 12 words in order.
For the hours of a day counting in 12 pairs, it starts from 11 pm at night. For months of the lunar year, it starts with the 11th month, followed by the 12th and then the 1st and so on. So Duan Wu which falls on the 5th month, which you will see then is the 7th word which is 午.
ETV is part of my career and personal history, and hopefully I am part of its history too. Nothing very much seems to have been written about this and so this recent article in the Chinese Zaobao was quite a delight to read.
Here is my loose translation so that you can enjoy it too.
Looking at my last post, I realise that it has been 3 months since I last updated – and what a tremendously eventful quarter it has been. Many things happened which were the lest expected and on the whole I am grateful for the exciting and meaningful work that I have been involved in, especially in the light of the COVID19 pandemic.
Here goes an attempt to list most, if not all, of them.
This has been in the works for month and on 2 Feb, we launched the very first package. This is a digitally delivered learning package with an original story that comes with activity packs that we say are either “curriculum-based or discovery-led”. Play-based and building upon curiosity for learning. Developing, writing, illustrating the stories and the many printable was fun though it really took us a lot of energy to do so. Not to mention setting up website, sales channel, doing promotion and publicity and even going live on Facebook for the first time for both the creators. (Little did we think that we would be online and on cam so much more in the subsequent days).
We are also happy to have given PE an Asian, and more specifically Southeast Asian focus too. Fruits, animals, places and words of this region. How cool is that!
And in the midst of the other events, we put finalised a second lunchpack which was released last Saturday. Our aim is to have 4 launchpacks this year. Please do help lend us your support.
Thank you Rebecca for being a wonderful partner in these Edventures!
I was also able to explore and try out conducting Virtual Tours at the Gallery. As situation changed due to COVID19, we had to try different permutations and adaptations. Nonetheless a very precious learning opportunity.
Teaching a New Module… and Online
I also took on a new module, Education at Museums, at Singapore University of Social Sciences this past term, and also had to adapt to conducting the entire course online. This meant not only preparation of materials, but also getting familiar with the technology, setting up the hardware, and most importantly, to try out a different suite of ways to engage the students. A 3-hour session would seem like a long time to get through online but thankfully we all did well.
Then there are initiatives that I was part of. SilverGood started in response to the closing of Senior Activity centres as a protection of our seniors from COVID19. I mooted the idea of Facebook Live broadcast as a way of bring cheer to them and it has been over 2 months since and the community that responded has been astounding. There are so many creative individuals out there and many of them are so generous. I am especially grateful for Sze-Chin who came onboard to provide the tech support.
When the idea of activity books for seniors was floated, I was definitely for it but also a little hesitant about being too involved as I already had quite a few things on my plate. When it finally happened, I ended up leading the team of talented and passionate artists to create these 3 booklets. I am also happy to get to create and illustrate a few of the activities. Two amazing booklets are already available for download and use, and one more in the works.
Another publication that was a amazing community effort and created within a fortnight is this gorgeous book of fun poems. And it is free!! I had earlier created 14 illustrations in response to a set of prompts and made a call for poems to be written in response to either the prompts or my illustrations. The response was fantastic – we had young and older writers, new and experienced one.
More Sharing Online
There were also numerous other opportunities to share and facilitate online. Sharing about the use of iPad for Learning (first one done before CB, and the next one done on my own), preschool teacher training, tested a short tech over tea with SIWAs, and upcoming, a chat with my visually challenged friend Edwin to share some timely tech tips (Sight by Side), a video introducing stop-motion animation to the young ones (Animation Anyone?), and possibly videos on using tech to create for seniors (Creative Seniors Jamboree).
Overwhelmingly Grateful – for the opportunities to contribute, to learn and also to earn during this unprecedented period of life-disruption. On the home front, I also got to pack up my house (still a lot more piles of things to sort through though) and got to cook more too. This quarter has been eventful, hasn’t it?
It has been a while since I last created a TinyTap story/game. My good friend Ellen Weber asked me to recommend a good book about Chinese New Year and that was the spark I needed. In under 10 hours, here’s my new interface story on TinyTap.
It is no mere coincidence to be involved in two separate events running over the same weekend and both were held in the same venue. Between 5 to 8 Sep, I was at both the Asian Festival of Children’s Content and also at this year’s Silver Arts Festival. These were held at the National Library at Victoria Street.
As part of the Silver Arts Festival exhibition, we had hands-on sessions for the Befriender’s Art Toolkits. Of the 3 toolkits, the latest one Places and Voices in Your Neighbourhood was designed by me and launched this year. It was such a delight seeing the many senior volunteers have such fun with the young and all create their art map and then adding their voices digitally using TinyTap. You can find the toolkit here.
I was also able to participate in the 10th Asian Festival of Children’s Content and I learned much both as a speaker and also as a participant. On 6 Sep, I shared about Inspiring Creativity through Creating Mobile Games. (The venue was the Pod and what a grand place that is.) So glad to be able to talk about my belief that digital devices now offers so much opportunities for creating which can be harnessed for learning and yet we are not doing so. To illustrate, I have chosen to share about the wonderful ways in which this can be done using TinyTap to create games as a part of learning. I had a receptive audience and they asked great questions. The moderator for my session was Tanya Wilson from the fantastic Eyeyah! Magazine. I have an ebook about what I shared which is available here.
Throughout this weekend, it was through the many interactions with such a diverse range of people, both familiar and new, that I learn so much and also had so much fun and joy. I hope I have also been a blessing to those I met.
On Saturday, I attended a talk by Josef Lee 李文良, a Singapore author and illustrator who has recently published a few well-received picture books.
In this talk, he shared about his interesting journey that led to him publishing his book first in Taiwan and then in China before having a picture book published in Singapore.
It all started with one of his passion project creating what he called bedtime Stories for Adults that he posted online. One of which is Wake Me Up at Happyland (click on this link to read it). This story was picked up by a few sites online and eventually a Taiwanese site invited him to consider publishing the book via crowdfunding. He successfully did that and later this book was also published in China. Soon after, a Hong Kong mall invited him to have this story as the theme for their Easter decoration. Most recently, a novel has been written based on this story too.
Having gained fame overseas, he finally had a chance to create a Chinese picture book Bear with Me 我的守护熊 for a Singapore publisher.
Is it unusual to blog about a wedding celebration?
This one was to me one of the more, if not the most, unusual one. The Groom jokingly talked about asking themselves what the end in mind was for having a wedding dinner and when his Bride said to honour those who are important to them, this couple really took that very seriously.
Each guest had a personalised box of wedding favours, with handwritten name and a card with a personal note. The couple also thanked and honoured their families and close friends amidst laughter, heartfelt words and not little tears and moments of choking back tears (we were asked to applause during such awkward moments and of course we did).
It was also creative in other ways like serving a buffet of appetisers while waiting for the formal dinner to start, and then the main dishes were not the usual but all delicious. There was also a mahjong-based table game with everyone given different sets of cards – for interacting around the table and between tables.
What a tremendously heartwarming, meaningful and memorable celebration it was! Congratulations Eugene and Sharyl, and the richest blessings as you continue to share your love with those around you as a family.
(It was also very nice to meet people and discovered how we were connected through the couple or their parents.)
The good folks at Folklora brought a small group of us to visit Jeffrey at his shop in Geylang Lor 24A. It was a most extraordinary place with stories and artefacts at every nook and cranny and Jeffrey was a consummate storyteller who was engaging and most generous.
Starting with portraits of his ancestors which were on the wall, he then brought out a roll of very old paintings in which these portraits were based on. These originals were silverfish bitten but Jeffrey happily unfurled each one and allowed of photos and even for us to gingerly touch them.
Then came post-war telephone directories and even document showing land sale in China and floor plans of old shophouses in Singapore. His father use to import and sell opera costumes and the photo and embroidery catalogues were fascinating.
Finally, in a whole extra hour beyond the original tour period, Jeffrey introduced musical instruments and it was especially enlightening to know about dialect instruments, like ye/coconut hu and the mei/peach blossom Qin, which are less well known than the typical Chinese instruments. He was really very good with the simple cymbals when he played fantastic tunes on the different types.
As we wrapped up our visit, Jeffrey has a surprise for all of us. He gave each of us a bundle of ancient gold silk thread.
Look out for more such wonderful tours by Folklora.
Last night, on 11 April, the ATC book was finally launched after a few months of work compiling it. This is a collection of the many ideas and memories that we have tried at the monthly Artist Trading Card group which have been meeting for more than 10 years. We have just stopped our meetings last December.
More than a memento, it also has 52 inspirations for anyone who wish to try creating ATCs, which is a great way to create and share art.
I feel honoured to have been hosting this group from the start. To see the joy of those who attend discover their innate creativity and then to be able to spark joy in others when they share their work, and to see this over and over again, has been very precious to me.
Whenever we met, we would try out an art method that is accessible, and cheap. Looking back, it is hard to believe that I have been able to come up with probably no less than 60 or so of such activities. Another thing to be grateful about.
Of course, not forgetting the relationships that are forged. When you get to keep another person’s creation in your collection, that’s always something special. Thank you friends and every one who has visited the ATC group at some point. Also, a word of thanks to NLB and the librarians for the use of Bishan Library.
Do download a copy of the book and hopefully it can be the springboard for many more ATC adventures.