kids

Three's A Merry Crowd

I know Daryl since the age of 17, and Wee Nee when we were residents at Temasek Hall. In fact, we were all residents there except that I did not know Daryl was pursuing more than just a degree back then. I had the fortune to shoot their wedding, their family photos when number 3 was still inside mummy's tummy, and then this latest one when all the three monkeys are well capable of flashing their cheeky smiles at me. Having three kids seems like a good idea, barring the incessant noise and shrieks, because parents are guaranteed constant entertainment and they actually make a nett positive contribution to Singapore's population. I would always ask myself if I would relish having a third child. I guess it would have been fun, but it is something I will never get to find out.

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Indoor, Outdoor, Natural Light Photography

For an one-hour photography session, clients can have the best of both worlds by combining the comfort of indoor photography with a bit of outdoor greenery when they visit The Family Man studio. Be it indoor or outdoor, Alexis is allowed free rein to push her favourite wagon around. Our emphasis is always on capturing real and candid moments when kids express themselves in their typical childlike way.

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If Eyes Can Kill

This is one serious kid whom you do not want to mess with. Give him a role and he would assume it with his life. Captain America, Jedi Knight or a Kungfu fighter. He would fight you till the end. #veryseriouswithplay #playseriously

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The Song Of Joyice And Joyrain

Zuo Wei and Jia Jia are two of the most patient parents I have met. And we met many years ago when I first shot Jia Jia's sister's wedding, then her own wedding ceremony, and then her brother's wedding ceremony. In between I also took photos of their beloved family dog before he passed on, and took pictures of her firstborn as well as second-born----Joyice and Joyrain respectively.

The parents have their own sense of humour which they sprinkle on their kids regularly; there is constant communication within the family, and any spare time is spent with the girls. The result? Two very well-adjusted, eloquent, cheeky and bright kids. I wish more families can be like this.

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Kiara's First Birthday Party

Remember Aarav's birthday party post? Well, Vihari got my name from Aarav's mummy not long after that birthday party, and there I was documenting another milestone of yet another adorable toddler. Kiara was dressed elegantly in a simple white dress but received royal treatment from whoever was present. The good-natured girl was friendly and smiley throughout (even towards me), and I wish the little princess good health! 

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Of Books And Kids

I am blessed to have two children who are book lovers. You cannot imagine how their reading habit has made my wife's and my lives so much easier. At home, we do not have to constantly (and involuntarily) devote our time and attention to them. On travels, we do not worry about impatient or listless children throwing fits. Just given them a book each and the parents can rest easy, take naps or even go out and drink coffee (yay!). That's how I can enjoy daily a few hours' peace and quiet while doing my work.

Our weekend (and often times weekday) outings mostly involve trips to various libraries in Singapore. Near, far, big, small. We discovered libraries are not all the same. Some stock more of their favourite authors, and some have a bigger comics collection. Other than going outdoors for some activities under the sun, visiting libraries is my favourite family activity. It is free, it comes with the comfort of air-conditioned rooms, and nothing beats the sight of my kids' eyes glued on books and getting lost in the sea of mystery, horror, magic, adventure, love and fantasy. At the same time, I follow the simple logic that if I want my kids to cultivate the good habit of reading, I should surround them with books.

It is also my conscious decision NOT to take the kids to the malls because with malls come merchandise and consumerism, then the clamour to buy this and that, then followed by tantrums and tears. This is something I can happily do without.

We do not have a TV set in the living room. There is a small one in my parents' bedroom, which the kids have limited access to. When there is no TV in the common area, there won't be the tendency to switch it on when we are at home. We do not own any ipads or tablets, except for a Kindle, and no handphones for them either.  Naturally, the kids turn to books, board games, chess, card games, doodle, Science experiment kit, handicrafts, Lego and just about any objects they can find and extract interest from (e.g. discarded cardboard boxes, plastic bottles etc.). Maybe because my wife and I are rather lazy parents----in the sense we don't plan which exciting places to go on weekends -----I choose to be a "firm believer" in boredom being the mother of creativity. Read this to show that I am not making this one up. That is why I find it amazing that many parents, especially those parent-bloggers, can amass so much energy to take the kids all over Singapore to have a taste of everything on offer. Will the kids remember all these experiences when they have become their staple weekly diet? This reminded me of a Father's Day note my son wrote to me. He said he loves the time we spent playing badminton at home. It was not ice-skating, or Legoland. It is the simplest form of activity that can be repeated which left a mark on my son. To me, it is a revelation. It is always the little things that matter.

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Sum Of All Parts

Family portraits or photos need not always depict the family members huddled together. Depending on how you may want to display those pictures, we can capture portraits of individuals and then assemble them in a collage on display. You can arrange them in a row or column, or two by two (as shown below). It is elegant, classy and looks artistic when framed on the wall. The sum of the individual parts can be much greater than the whole.

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I would like to thank Daniel and Lydia for being one of my best clients through the years. They were the ones who engaged me as their pre-wedding and wedding photographer after a short meeting at a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf branch, and also hosted me in Shanghai when they were based there. Daniel also provided much fodder for sarcasm with his misplaced loyalty with Manchester United. And I love their kids, Julien and Madison, to bits.

The Singapore Dae Jang Kum

My one and only Chinese physician bride-client so far, I was happy to reconnect with them again after several years. They have a pair of beautiful and gentle fraternal twins. They were so cute and spontaneous: at the end of the session, they just sang and danced on the spot, performing their parts in the just-concluded school play. I only hope I can break out into a song and dance too in front of strangers that easily. That is how we shorten distances between people.

Well, if you need TCM consultation, you may check out http://wongtcmclinic.blogspot.sg/ . It's a mother-daughter team.

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Probably The Most Famous Photographer-Family In Singapore

I had the privilege of documenting some tender moments between famous art and documentary photographer Bob Lee, his wife Hui Hui and their equally famous son, Lele. They have been widely interviewed in print and on T.V., in part because Bob is a fierce advocate of public awareness of raising a special-needs child (Lele is autistic). Their story strikes a chord with many people, both local and foreign, touches many lives and provides much inspiration to parents who face similar challenges on a day-to-day basis. (I have two cousins who have special needs and I have first-hand experience on the difficulties faced by my uncles and aunts.)

I have known Bob since our photojournalism days, when he was with Zaobao, and I with The New Paper/Today. Both of us hailed from Johore Bahru too. Hui Hui was a familiar face I saw on the job as well at that time.

The intensity of parenting an autistic child can be energy-sapping to the point that it swallows your lives. During the one hour they were with me, it was minute-to-minute stuff on the word go. As a parent of two, I can only imagine and extrapolate what they go through every day. It helps that Bob provides regular and light-hearted updates on their daily lives on social media, which makes light of their challenges. You can never do that without courage, optimism, and lots of love and patience.

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At the end of the session, the role was reversed and I got to keep a photo that Lele took of me.

At the end of the session, the role was reversed and I got to keep a photo that Lele took of me.

0-3 (in...10 years?)

I have known Matt the time I started wedding photography. He was then a wedding videography operating under his own brand called Ninetrogen, and I, Greymatter Photography. We met often on the job, we talked and he came across as someone very sincere, real and chill. Later, he would become a lecturer in a tertiary institution, and at the same time start a beautiful family. I started making family pictures for him when his wife was pregnant with the second child, seen here as the cheeky boy called Morgan. At press time, they are expecting number three. Congratulations!

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Location: One Degree 15 Marina, Sentosa Cove

Coming Soon.....in 2020

Cold War 2 is an upcoming Hong Kong-Chinese crime thriller film written and directed by Longman Leung and Sunny Luk. The film is a sequel to the 2012 box office hit, Cold War, and stars returning cast members Aaron KwokTony LeungCharlie YoungEddie PengAarif RahmanMa Yili and Alex Tsui, joined by new cast members Chow Yun-fatJanice ManTony Yang and Bibi ZhouCold War 2 is set for release on 8 July 2016 in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D.

Cold War 3 talks about what happens four years after the events in 2016, when the kids pick up where their parents left off. Directed by KC Wong, aka The Family Man.

50 Experiences for 500 Kids by The Collective Effort

It has been an honour and pleasure to know this group of dedicated and selfless team of people who set aside time to bring unforgettable experiences to some under-privileged primary school children in Singapore. Usually, we are more touched by plights of fellow citizens who are seriously or terminally ill, or marginalised human beings in other countries who are crying out for aid.

There is actually a substantial number of young children closer to home who may seem to be  "invisible" to members of the public. They could be from broken families, or their parents are struggling to make ends meet, but outwardly, they look like any other kid on the streets. Once you delve deeper, you'll soon discover they lack many things which most of us in a certain stratum of society take for granted. We talk about Resorts World Sentosa, art museums or Gardens by the Bay being the pride of Singapore, but sadly some of these kids have never visited these places ever. You will be surprised that some of them have very little, and they ask for very little. My friend recounted a story of how a girl wanted just a hug from my friend.

I am not good at describing the cause of 50 Experiences For 500 Kids, and it is best you read it here.

As for me, I am only doing a very small part, by volunteering my photographic service when these kids get to go out and enjoy themselves. It is my humble effort to document these memories for them. This was one of the excursions I accompany the kids, in this case, students from Blangah Rise Primary School to iFly in Sentosa. You can read more about their maiden flight experience at The Collective Effort. I hope more people can pay attention to these children. Sometimes, when the system fails us, it takes a collective effort from us, citizens, to do what is right.

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It was a joy to make photographs of these little imps.