Happy Children’s Day!

MP-29

— Photo by Marvin Lowe

Today is Children’s Day in Singapore.

I can’t say I’ve paid much attention to Children’s Day, ever since I graduated from primary school and it stopped being a school holiday. Yup, kids older than 12 don’t get the day off. So, this day meant pretty much nothing to me until September 7, 2014, when my daughter Natalie was born.

That changes today. Today, I celebrate being a dad. And from now on I’ll actually pay attention to Children’s Day, along with other significant events such as Father’s and Mother’s Day, which will have new meaning for Carol and I.

I’m still reeling from the newness of it all. The endless cycle of crying, feeding, burping, diaper changes… But I must say the first few weeks with Natalie have been amazing. She’s captured my heart, as I knew she would the first time I saw her as a blip on an ultrasound machine.

That was when I wrote this song, The Yellow Room.

As our close friends and family know, we set aside a room in our home for our child(ren) ever since we moved in two years ago. Its walls are painted bright yellow. When I wrote this song back in March, I knew it would become something special and personal to me. It captured that sense of anticipation that only a soon-to-be father would know. It was as if everything that we had worked so hard for was for this baby, this little soul that was growing day by day in Carol’s womb.

And so, on Children’s Day, I present to you The Yellow Room. Enjoy the song, and the video, which is a glimpse into our home and lives. And if you so wish, you may buy the song on iTunes. That would mean a lot to me.

More pictures of baby Natalie and me, thanks to Marvin Lowe Photography.

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On becoming a dad

In about a month’s time, I will welcome my little daughter into the world.

A child is something Carol and I have wanted for a long time, and now it’s really about to happen… We are so grateful for God’s precious blessing, and for the smooth pregnancy so far. After months of scrambling to doctor’s appointments, scans, tests, childbirth classes, scouring baby shops for furniture and clothes, we are ready as any first-time parents can be. Which means we’ve done all we humanly can, and now we wait with bated breath for nature to take its course.

After that, it’s uncharted territory.

Our little miracle, you have been growing so well from the first time we saw you as a little blue grape on a screen. Now, you move with so much energy you take your mother’s breath away – quite literally. When I rest my hand on mummy’s belly, you press back as if to tell me how strong you’ve become. When I sing to you my favourite songs from Mary Poppins, you pause for a while to listen, then you kick my mouth.

I can’t wait to meet you, carry you against my chest so you can fall asleep to the sound of my heart beating; to look into your eyes and know that – for now – we are all you need; to hear you cry, laugh and one day, speak; to have you run and hug me below my knees when I get home; to watch you grow up…

There’s a room in our home we’ve set aside for you from the first day we moved in. It’s painted bright yellow. It will be all yours when you arrive. Here it is… it’s pretty much ready. We’ve worked so hard on it and we’re so happy you’ll be here soon.

theyellowroom

Grateful…

… For the opportunity to play on bigger and bigger stages.

For a wife so wonderful, she makes me want to love her more and more.

For a place of our own, and a kitchen filled with home-cooked scents.

For two black-and-white cats that have a special place in my heart.

For a new guitar that I simply adore.

For long-time friends who have seen me through thick and thin.

For the new friends I’ve made along my musical journey.

For two upcoming albums (fingers crossed) – one with TGS and a long-overdue solo effort.

For a new-found love – Yoga.

What are you grateful for?

Week 27 – Fragile

It’s been a rather ’emo’ week for me.

We lost an uncle to cancer on Monday. He died just slightly over half a year after he was diagnosed… very sudden, very sad.

The day he died happened to be All Saints’ Day, and his obituary in the papers read: “Gone fishing with the Lord and the saints”, together with a snapshot of him on a boat, showing off his catch. I kinda liked that.

Then, there was the senseless and tragic murder of 19-year-old Darren Ng, which I’m sure you’ve read about in the papers.

He was just hanging out with his friends at the Downtown East theme park last Saturday. They somehow got into a staring match with another bunch of youngsters, who set upon them with knives and choppers.

The poor boy couldn’t outrun his attackers, and was hacked to death, in full view of the people there.

God knows why those guys were carrying weapons at a place packed with families and kids. One can only begin to wonder what was inside their heads… The brutality of the attack was simply mind-boggling.

I’m glad that the police have arrested four guys over the incident. All of them are around the same age as the victim, mind you.

Of course, that will bring little comfort to Darren’s family… It was very painful to read of their grief and my heart goes out to them.

Another incident which took place this week could easily have resulted in a massive tragedy.

I’m talking about Qantas flight QF32, which was forced to make an emergency landing at Changi Airport after one of its four engines exploded in mid-air, just 10 minutes after taking off from Singapore. Parts of the engine fell over Batam, leading people to believe the plane had crashed there.

Thankfully it didn’t. Through the God’s Grace, it made a safe landing and no one was hurt.

This entire week has made me think about the fragility of life, and just how precious it is. This song is about saying goodbye, and how hard it is to accept the transience of life. Lyrics below:

Fragile
© Music and Lyrics by Marcel Lee Pereira, 5 Nov, 2010

As children we spent
Our days believing
We were super-heroes
We would never die
Man, we could even fly

Then life dawned on us
At the tender age of 10
Someone was taken from us
We never saw ’em again
Oh, we learnt the hard way

Chorus
Tell me how to say goodbye
For you and I
Are fragile
So very fragile
Don’t believe we cannot die
‘cos you and I
Are fragile
So very fragile

Nothing we can keep but
Pictures to remember
A friend who’s gone forever
Their faces on the wall
Are a blessing to us all

Chorus
Tell me how to say goodbye
For you and I
Are fragile
So very fragile
Don’t believe we cannot die
‘cos you and I
Are fragile
So very fragile

Bridge
A lifetime is too brief
Too brief to make amends
For time thrown away in useless things
Moments dissolve like rice paper on candy
A chapter closes at the first breath
Like touch-me-nots in an abandoned field

Week 14 – Making Memories

Today, I celebrate my first wedding anniversary with my wife Carol. It’s been a wonderful year, and we’ve been blessed with so much. There’s nothing more I could ask for, really. Carol, I love you, and I thank God you’re in my life. This song is for you, and I hope we’ll make a million more memories in the years to come.

Making Memories
© Music and Lyrics by Marcel Lee Pereira, 6 Aug, 2010

If there’s something I cling to, it’s times with me and you
Moments tucked away under the trappings of everyday
You know how precious they are to me, the diamonds that brighten my way

They are all I need
You are the face I see

Chorus
We’re building, building a home
And we’re making memories, memories
To have, to have and to hold
I want more of these
Memories, memories

My heart takes a picture of us, every date and every kiss
Making plans, the glances I take at you, there’s nothing I want to miss
They don’t gather dust, the world falls away as we reminisce

Wash away the sands of pain
You’ll see the gold remains

Chorus

Bridge
A year has gone by so fast
And today I say to you, my love
Remember us and smile
I know we’ll last, more than a lifetime

Chorus
We’re building, building a home
And we’re making memories, memories
To have, to have and to hold
Here’s to more of these
Memories, memories

***

It was a really busy Saturday for me, which is why I’m posting this at 4am!

Had a great time at the Maestro Acoustic Lounge @ *Scape Mall in the afternoon. It was quite an experience playing a full 45 minute set of original music in a shopping mall, but it sure felt good having people stop by and listen, even if it was for a little while. I really enjoyed myself, and I’m looking forward to performing a lot more in time to come. Thanks to everyone who came by, I really appreciate the support! Here’s a picture of me with my friend Adrian on the cajon.

Singer-songwriter Marcel Lee Pereira performing at the Maestro Acoustic Lounge @ *Scape Mall. Accompanying him on the cajon is drummer Adrian Loo.

My sis, Gemma, managed to get tickets to the rehearsal for the Youth Olympics opening ceremony (the actual thing is on Aug 14), so straight after the show, we headed to the Marina Bay floating platform. Here’s the view from the grandstand, just before the show started:

I must say, though, while the ceremony was snazzy with its choreographed performances, fireworks, giant walking characters and even water displays, I felt there were just too many bells and whistles – and not enough heart. It just didn’t speak to me, and I couldn’t see the connection of some of the performances to the Youth Olympics. Well, maybe the ending was better – but we left early.

Ok, I’m off to bed now. Long day ahead! Champagne brunch with Carol and then we’re checking in at the Pan Pacific for the long weekend… 😉 Cheers! Oh, and Happy National Day.

A birthday and a weekend getaway

We love staycations.

When we want to recharge our batteries, and we’re too lazy (or broke) to hit a beach resort in Bali, a weekend hotel getaway in Singapore will do just perfectly.

Our hotel of choice? The Conrad Centennial Singapore. We can’t get enough of the rooms, the plush beds, the service, the breakfast buffet… the list goes on. Best of all, they have a special rate for locals on weekends! We’re quite regular guests there, and I must say, we’ve never been let down.

So, since Carol’s birthday was on Sunday, I decided to surprise her with a weekend at the Conrad. It was some much-needed chill time for us, and it turned out great.

After checking in on Saturday afternoon, we headed straight to the hotel spa for a 2-hour massage. Heavenly! Then, we had a simple dinner at Suntec just next door. And when we got back to the room, Carol’s birthday cake (compliments of the hotel) was waiting for us! It was a deliciously-sinful chocolate hazelnut cake, pictured below. It was delightfully creamy and had a crunchy wafer base. Yes, I know it says “Happy Anniversary”, but who’s complaining?

We checked out the next afternoon, and Carol went to Chinatown Point to do her eyelash extensions. She claims her eyes feel naked without them!

Anyway, the next part of the surprise was dinner at her Grandma’s. I know Carol treasures time spent with family, so I got them involved. Carol didn’t know that I’d asked her mum to bring a cake over.

It turned out to be a double celebration because Carol’s and her cousin Melvyn’s birthdays are just days apart. The whole family was there, Grandma cooked up a feast, and we had two cakes at the end. Lovely!

More pictures below:


Carol, her Grandma, and Kooshie the cat, who was dragged away from a nap specially for this.


Carol and Melvyn, the birthday cousins.


Carol gives a killer smile with her brand new eyelashes – over her brand new wallet, a pressie from her aunt.

150 donations

150 blood donations, that is.

Yes, that’s the number of trips my dad has made to the blood bank his entire life to give the precious gift of life. He was honoured this morning with the “Champion Of Champions” title at an awards ceremony, along with others who have made a significant number of blood donations.

My dad’s 72 and can no longer continue to give blood because of his age, but I can tell he was proud to have made that milestone. I’m proud of him too. Love you, dad.

P.S. I know I’ve not posted this week’s song yet. It’s written, but I’ve got an eye infection which has swelled up my left eyelid terribly. I’m hoping it’ll subside by tomorrow so I can record the video. Stay tuned!