Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Arts education: Start young

Tuesday February 15, 2011

"Existing art-based or cultural education programmes carried out by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and its respective institutions are often superficial."

IT IS heartening to understand that the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA) - through the Arts and Culture Strategic Review (ACSR) steering committee - has taken tangible steps to increase the status and prominence of the arts in Singapore and to heighten excellence in artists, musicians, professionals, et cetera.

The report "'Larger role' for the arts in Singapore" (Feb 12-13) reflects the chief challenges - identified by the committee - that plague Singapore's cultural and arts scenes. That is, the lack of sustainable appreciation of the arts, the need for empowerment of industry workers and correspondingly increasing their skills or productivity, as well as to synergise public and private sector efforts to support the industry collectively.

Even though these concerns are valid, the focus should be premised upon the implementation of assorted recommendations to gradually address the ment*loned objectives.

Minister Lui Tuck Yew's assertion - in his brief response to the Interim report that Singaporeans have to broaden their definitions of the arts and culture is certainly not a tangible solution for the dearth of arts appreciation.

Furthermore, continuously expecting art groups and performers to speedily scale peaks of excellence will not yield results if there is a significant absence of financial, resourcebased and manpower support rendered.

The true panacea lies in the active engagement of the arts from a young age.

Existing art-based initiatives or cultural education programmes carried -out by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and its respective institutions are often superficial; with educators and students merely going through the motion.

As a student, the general perception towards the arts was one characterised by apathy and lethargy; with many of my counterparts dismissing the arts and culture - in the form of musicals, concerts, instrumental performances, dramas - as being high brow and highfalutin.

There are a few reasons for these perspectives. First, many of our parents were
not interested or exposed to these elements; hence, art appreciation was not part of our childhood years.

Next, sessions dedicated to arts appreciation were either monotonous or unproductive, with many in the form of pedantic lectures and PowerPoint slides that put individuals into sleep.

Finally, institutions have very laissezfaire attitudes toward s the arts and do not adequately engage community partners to promote such cultures.

Art education methodologies must start to involve parents and working professionals to a larger degree; so as to allow them to comprehend the general elements of performances and artistic presentations.

They are in prime positions to influence their children to be more cognisant and sensitive to these artistic and cultural aspects.

Schools can also develop partnerships with local theatres, art-based non-government organisations (NGOS) and community associations to gradually broaden the horizons of their students and teachers.

Most importantly, the MOE must work closely with the MICA to review existing programmes; so as to weed out anti-quated teaching pedagogies and, subsequently, get students more involved and passionate in the arts. Even though the impetus ultimately lies with the students themselves, the administration can do its part to facilitate these experiences and, hopefully, inculcate interest one step at a time.

Letter From Kwan Jin Yao

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


May The Year Of The Golden Rabbit, Brings You Lots Of Rice And Everything Nice


Clay-Polymer Forum 03/01/2011
Re: Kids Celebrating The Chinese New Year

Some really cute rabbits there! Thanks for sharing!!



Hi Trina, Thanks, Wishes You With Good Fortune All Year Round.

Those are adorable! Very talented bunch of kids.

Thanks Gwen, Gung Hay Fa Choy!


Wow Garie, what can I say I just love all the creations your kids have done.
Please let them know that they are all beautiful and thanks for sharing.


Hello Linda, This is one way of keeping the tradition and custom alive, I felt
that the spirit of celebrating CNY is no longer the same.
In my childhood years, Chinese New Year were such a Joyful and Happy occasion
and would like it to last forever.
I see lots of parent are now stressed out over work and having to make a living
for the family with high inflation in our country.
To them any holidays are resting and relaxing time, before going back to the
same routine.
Hopefully, by teaching them a skill, celebrating the Chinese New Year with the
kids and also giving away oranges with the lucky Ang Pow ( ), will help to enhance the tradition.
Thanks, here's my wishes for ,
May the knowledge you are giving to others, will rewards you with lots of good
fortune, good luck and good health from this Golden Rabbit.


City-o-Clay Forum 03/01/2011
Kids Celebrating The Chinese New Year

Garie,  Thanks for the pics, those kids are gorgeous, and they are so creative
- which of course, is what you are all about.  Happy New Year.
Take care,  Adele

Hello Adele, Reminding the kids and celebrating the Chinese New Year with what
they made, is helping them to keep the tradition and custom alive every year.
May fortune shine on you in whatever you do!

Gung Hay Fa Choy!

I just shared your link on my FaceBook page:



Thanks for the link Aunty, Xin Nian Kuai Le, Fu Kwee Hau Cai !
Happy New Year, The Fortune Flower Blooms For You!

These are wonderful! Those kids really do some nice work, but I really love
these examples! I for one am cheering the golden rabbit on!


Hi Colleen, I am also a Rabbit, welcoming the Golden Rabbit. Thanks for your

Those kids are really talented.
Enjoy Life-This is not a rehearsal!


Thanks Peabody, this is a double happiness for the kids, happiness for the kids
is to be able to create things with clay, happiness is to celebrate the Chinese
New Year and gets plenty of Ang Pow ( )

How nice! It seems to be a really good sign and actual rabbits are so very
charming little animals as well- I've had a couple as pets, and they are
lovely affectionate companions.


OT Colleen- good sign rabbit

And don't forget about the lucky Rabbit's foot :)

Astrid Rabbit :)

I wonder where that started, when possession of one was obviously so very
unlucky for its original owner? I will say my 2 pet bunnies seemed to have
nice lucky lives though, so maybe having 4 each might have something to it


So true, Colleen, but I don't think that just any ol' rabbit's foot is seen as
the bringer of luck. As far as I know it has to be killed/harvested/whatever you
want to call it under certain circumstances.

Maybe Fred or someone else knows more about it, since it comes from the
pre-Celtic period if I remember correctly...


Happy Chinese New Year, from this Rabbit to all other Rabbits, Tigers, Rats, Horses etc ~ in short: to everyone :)

Astrid (or is it now "Sister Rabbit"? LOL) Oh, that rhymes too so it's going to be a splendid year :)

Thank You "Sister Rabbit", May the year of the Golden Rabbit, brings you lots of Carats......... in gold and diamond :-)

Thank you "Brother Rabbit" Garie and I wish the same for you.

As long as I and my loved ones stay healthy and happy, I am/we are rich enough...although I would not decline the opportunity to win the lottery jackpot ;) There is SO much good I could do with that and since someone has to win it, it might as well be me... ;)


Your kids are always so delightful, Garie! I am always impressed with their work
but they win me over with their big smiles and those eyes that sparkle with
happiness at what they have accomplished. They look so proud.

When I see them holding their wonderful creations I think .."These kids are just
too young to make these amazing things" and then I remember that they have a
really awesome teacher!

I really got a great chuckle out of the little man with the shirt that has "Lock
up your daughters" written on it. He's a little charmer!

Happy Chinese New Year to you, your family and your kids!

hugs, luny

Hello Michele,
Happy kids for happy chinese new year, always fun and rewarding doing clay
projects for the festival occasion, even the hardcore kids, "I only make
dinosaur and monster" will also do the rabbit to celebrate CNY :-D
To me all kids are creative, some are slow, others are fast, for the slow
learner, I will taught them the simple approached, by creating 2D clay to look
like 3D on the display.
Kids are kids, brother irritates sister, quarreling among brother over toys or
what they like to made, ultimately, " I will compliant to mummy " ;-(
At our workshop, we have many wonderful /generous parents with good sense of
humor that will make you chuckle.
Thanks Michele you are such a charmer with your words I will let them read all
the comments.
Here my CNY wishes, May the year of the Golden Rabbit brings more golden
happiness and good health to you and your family.

Web Sites/Links/Blogs & More -  Kids Celebrating The Chinese New Year
From:  merrie60  Feb-3 2:48 am 
To: simgarie (2 of 16) 
Same to you and great pictures.


From: Moe2647 Feb-3 3:08 am 
To: simgarie (3 of 16) 
Hey Garie! Kung Hee Fat Choy!
My Blog
My Artfire Shop

From:  Melody01  Feb-3 7:59 am 
To: simgarie (4 of 16) 
Garie, Thanks so much for posting your students New Year's Golden Rabbit artwork. Their things are amazing and I think they are so lucky to be a part of your creative art program. May the New Year bring you Peace, Joy, Good Health, Prosperity, and lots of beautiful and creative artwork.

Anita in AZ

From:  TrinaPrenzi  Feb-3 8:04 am 
To: simgarie  (5 of 16) 
Thanks for sharing this link! I enjoyed looking at all the Rabbit creations by those very talented kids! :)


From:  simgarie  
Feb-3 9:08 am 
To: merrie60 unread (6 of 16) 
Thanks Merrie, It's another celebration with the kids.
All the best for CNY!
From:  simgarie  Feb-3 9:17 am 
To: Moe2647  (7 of 16) 
Thanks here's one wishes for you, Nián Nián Yǒu Yú!
From:  simgarie  Feb-3 9:22 am 
To: Melody01 (8 of 16) 
Anita Thanks, and my wishes, The year of the Rabbit brings you Healthy, Wellthy and Happy in your life.
Always happy to share:D
From:  simgarie  Feb-3 9:25 am 
To: TrinaPrenzi (9 of 16) 
Thanks Trina, May the year of the Rabbit will be a prosperous one for you.
From:  TrinaPrenzi  Feb-3 9:34 am 
To: simgarie (10 of 16) 
Thank you Garie! And may the year of the Rabbit be a prosperous one for you as well!

From: Moe2647 Feb-3 12:01 pm 
To: simgarie (11 of 16) 
Thanks, Garie! This is perfect! I needed a site with characters so I could try to copy some easy one. Scary, no? :)
My Blog
My Artfire Shop

From: 7Jackie Feb-6 2:02 pm 
To: simgarie  (12 of 16) 
Same to you, Garie. The kids are so cute and learning so much, thanks for sharing them.


My Etsy shop:
My blog:  
My Flickr: 
Claypen Art:
From:  simgarie  Feb-6 5:47 pm 
To: TrinaPrenzi  (13 of 16) 
Thanks Trina, We are having long holidays, today is the fourth day of the Chinese New Year, CNY holidays for some people last for fifteen days.
I will be back to work next week.

From:  simgarie  Feb-6 5:56 pm 
To: Moe2647 (14 of 16) 
Yes, it will help anyone who needs the quotes in Chinese Character, I used it as a reference on this occasion.
Hope the Golden Year of the Rabbit will brings about stability and change to this troubled World.
From:  simgarie  Feb-6 6:03 pm 
To: 7Jackie (15 of 16) 
Hello 7jackie, Thanks, May your warm of your home, be blessed with happiness, love and good health.
From:  TrinaPrenzi  Feb-6 8:48 pm 
To: simgarie (16 of 16) 
Garie, How nice to be enjoying some time off to celebrate the holiday! :)