Singapore National Day music video 2008: We Can Be Heroes

I missed our National Day ‘cos I was away for this. Anyway, here’s a music video:


Produced by a Singaporean company and the National Heritage Board:

This year’s video is unique compared to those produced previously. It takes the form of an original song, written and composed by SPINN, a leading video production company in Singapore . This is the second successive year that this 11-year old company has won the pitch with the National Heritage Board (NHB) to produce the National Day video.

This 4-minute video in English celebrates the ordinary heroes in Singapore – the Singaporeans who have contributed to making Singapore what it is today – whose contributions may have sometimes gone unnoticed. It features the young, the old, those with special needs, those who have contributed to the community and the country through what they do and their selflessness.


So refreshing to have a rock sounding version for a NDP song.

And very nicely produced too. Must have taken lots of effort, judging from the production quality. I won’t be surprised if they get more jobs after this. They’re good.

Hmm… Maybe next year the NDP organisers will have a “make your own MTV” event as part of the celebrations. And make it a remix/ mashup effort too. Let people deposit video or music clips, for others to remix.

~ Ivan


This online resource would come in very handy if we want to source for free soundclips and loops.

It’s called
Find and Share Free Sound Effects and Loops

From the website:

What is Soundsnap?
Soundsnap is the best platform to find and share free sound effects and loops- legally. It is a collection of original sounds made or recorded by its users, and not songs or sound FX found on commercial libraries or sample CD’s.

It was originally started by a small group of sound people from all over the world. Our common belief is that sounds and samples should be free for everyone to use in their projects, commercial or not.

Our users are a diverse mix of sound designers, sound artists, web game developers, filmmakers and music producers. Hobbyists and home video makers are welcome too.

Learned about this resource via Murm.

~ Ivan

SeaStars blog has been hacked

Sanitised version of our SMS conversation around 8am this morning:

Adrian: The seastars blog has been hacked into…

Ivan: Really? Wat it look like now? We must change all wordpress passwords then. Hacked using either of our accounts? [As Ivan was replying to Adrian, he’s thinking, “Alamak, this Adrian must have left his password lying around in school”]

Adrian: how do i know this sort of thing? wah piang there’s lots of crap in there lah… some of the music is still there.

Ivan: Can only look at it at home later. Hope the hack is only to seastars and not our other blogs. Must check if still got (my) RSS feed as backup.

Adrian: what day is today lah?

Ivan: [Pauses for a split second. Breaks out in a grin in mid step while walking to a meeting venue and giving others the impression he’s one card short of a full house. Replies:] Somebody is too free. Thks for the laugh though. U realise ur credibilty has taken a dive, don’t u? heh heh

Adrian: hee hee hee… The world is too serious… Glad I made your morning. What credibility?

Ivan: Dude. What would Gandhi say?

Adrian: He’d laugh out loud

Yeah, I really think Gandhi would πŸ™‚
But Adrian, try it again and well… remember the Cry Wolf story!
Ivan Chew - Profile
~ Ivan

Octopus’ Garden

Adrian Loo - ProfileI was reading Sea Stories (Classic Illustrated Edition) Compiled by Cooper Edens. Its a really nice compilation of stories inspired by the sea. Like the 20,000 Leagues under the sea, Captain Blackbeard, The Old Man and the Sea, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner…

What attracted me to book was the front cover.. it was a nice painting

One of the entries for the book was this Poem by Richard Starkey. Turns out to be Ringo Starr from the Beatles.

Octopus’s Garden

“I’d like to be under the sea
In an octopus’ garden in the shade
He’d let us in, knows where we’ve been
In his octopus’ garden in the shade

I’d ask my friends to come and see
An octopus’ garden with me
I’d like to be under the sea
In an octopus’ garden in the shade.

We would be warm below the storm
In our little hideaway beneath the waves
Resting our head on the sea bed
In an octopus’ garden near a cave”

(these are just 3 stanzas>
“The idea for the song came about when Starr was on a boating trip with his family in Sardinia in 1968. He was offered an octopus lunch, but turned it down. Then the boat’s captain told Starr about how octopuses travel along the sea bed picking up stones and shiny objects with which to build gardens. Starr said that hearing about octopuses spending their days collecting shiny objects at the bottom of the sea was one of the happiest things he had ever heard, inspiring him to write this song.”


Here are the Beatles fiddling with the song.

Here’s a Sesame Street version… πŸ™‚


Song dedication: Surfing On Solar Winds

A few days ago, I received a Facebook invite to a surprise birthday party for Alice (who so kindly reviewed our SeaStars album last year). I didn’t attend the party but I emailed Alice to wish her happy birthday.

And I dedicated this song to her, in lieu of a birthday present. Plus an apology for being a “cheapo”.

Alice replied: “Thank you. πŸ™‚ The song is wonderful. Hope you don’t mind, I downloaded it for keeping.

Mind? Absolutely not!

Since you liked it, it’s yours. Literally. I’m extending the rights to the song to you. For what it’s worth, you’re a copyright co-owner now.

Happy belated birthday!
Ivan Chew - Profile
p.s. Apparently Jean (the person behind the Simply Jean group blog) organised the surprise party and kept Alice in the dark about the Facebook invite. What a pal. Incidentally, Jean might be blogging under a different blog.

My home studio (2007)

Ivan Chew - ProfileInspired by Adrian’s earlier post on how his home music studio looks like, I decided to show mine as well.

The picture was taken back in 2007.
My home music studio 2007

Being the procrastinator that I am, I’d kept the image in a folder and subsequently forgotten to publish it. I discovered it today while backing up my SeaStars files.

Promoting SeaStars 2007 in North America

Ivan Chew - ProfileThat’s right.

We’re known in North America.

OK, so only in San Francisco.

And only to about 20 people.

I gave away the SeaStars 2007 MP3 CDs to the Davies Forum participants.

Students, librarians, audience. And also some people at Techsoup.

Showed them the Dolphins Galaxia music video at the end of the talk.

Two of the students (Lulu and Steven) mentioned the album.

I don’t know if they’ve listened to the songs yet.

And I mailed a package to Jude who’s residing in the US at the moment (who gave his review here).

Let’s see if we will get a call from a music producer, Adrian. LOL

Human Genome Project

Adrian Loo - ProfileSorry to post here, but since I am a biologist and teacher… I feel the urge (muahaha) to educate whoever comes by my way… Anyway, this may …. will affect our lives in one way or another.

I am relooking at some notes and slides I prepared for this topic. Its an interesting topic not only because of the science behind it but also the ethical, social and legal implications (that makes the acronym “ELSI”) which blur the lines between right and wrong. Here are two very good resources

The first is the NOVA programs. The videos capture authentic situations that individuals face with regards to genetic diseases and also feature the scientists, science behind the project. Its more information packed in multimedia than I can summarize in a set of lecture notes. More information meaning the drama of the video that will contribute to affective learning and hence motivate students to learn more about the subject.

NOVA Online | Cracking the Code of Life | Watch the Program Here

The 2nd is this free,… yes free, online book you can download. Its easy to read and the examples giving illustrate clearly the perplexing “ELSI” issues about genetic testing, abortions, genetic determinism… that will surface once genetic tests become more accessible..

Your Genes, Your Choices: Exploring the Issues Raised by Genetic Research

Think ELSI and genetic testing are still far off… well read this groundbreaking and probably as “Brave New World” as it can get article in the New York Times on how you can pay just under USD$1000 for the company 23andMe to scan your genome for 580,000 SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms). You actually can order the kit.. not sure how it works but I guess you can do it at home for yourself and children. There are at least 3 companies who will do that for around that price.
23andMe - Store - Build Your Order

Just spit..

23andMe - Store - Build Your Order

This NYT journalist got her own genome scanned by just spitting saliva into a little test tube . Here’s a snippet of the article titled “My Genome, Myself: Seeking Clues in DNA

“I don’t like brussels sprouts. Who knew it was genetic? But I have the snippet of DNA that gives me the ability to taste a compound that makes many vegetables taste bitter. I differ from people who are blind to bitter taste β€” who actually like brussels sprouts β€” by a single spelling change in our four-letter genetic alphabet: somewhere on human chromosome 7, I have a G where they have a C.”

But that’s just information…. trivia about your genes. It gets more serious when people actually use that information to determine the genetics of their progeny. This couple actually had their daughter “genetically determined” so that she wouldn’t inherit forms of genes that would make her highly susceptible to a certain form of colon cancer. This testing is termed preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or P.G.D., which means you need to cull embryos to get the right one. An eight-cell embryo has gone through fertilization.

Couples Cull Embryos to Halt Heritage of Cancer - New York Times

For this couple, 4 were culled leaving 10 good ones that didn’t have those forms of genes that cause cancer, 2 more were culled when a Down’s syndrome test was done. Think that is unethical? Well there are people who actually remove their large intestines or breasts as a prophylactic measure against such cancers once they find they harbour just the forms of genes that make them susceptible. They may have siblings who have died because of that disease. Watch the 3rd video called One Wrong Letter in the set of videos on Nova and you will know why it becomes so grey.

(thanks to Kevin Lam who pointed out the genome scan link).

~ Adrian

Hello. We’re “Starfish Stories”. The band.

It started with their search for a band name.

A biologist and a librarian.

For their SeaStars 2007 album.

They considered “Sardines On Vacation” (Adrian liked it but it didn’t sound right for Ivan).

String Theories” sounded like a winner. There were aspects of the name that struck a chord with us (pun intended). But Ivan tested the name on his wife and got a scowl in return. Scrap “String Theories” then.

Adrian and Ivan then wondered if they really needed a band name.

Adrian Loo & Ivan Chew“, or “Ivan Chew & Adrian Loo“. Didn’t really matter to the two of them (the former was fine with Ivan; he felt that being listed alphabetically had its advantages).

OK, so no pretentious band name then. They’ll try to make “Adrian Loo & Ivan Chew” a household name.

But the two of them were still in a “spin cycle mode”, i.e. being wishy-washy.

Until Adrian asked if they were going to create separate blogs for each and every music project.


Never thought of that, went Ivan. No way they could manage so many blogs.

They didn’t know where their musical forays would take them, but it certainly wouldn’t stop at SeaStars 2007.

The Musicians

And so, here’s Starfish Stories: The Band.