From time to time, little surprises present themselves in the course of our work or lives. This certainly rang true for us here at ThePiano.SG last week, when we came face to face with someone we had previously featured on this portal.
On 20 July 2016, we posted an article on ThePiano.SG featuring our beloved late President, Mr Ong Teng Cheong, who had dedicated his life and time to the promotion of music and the arts. In the article, we had penned how, in December 1981, Mr Ong had had an encounter with six-year-old Ng Chuin Ting, a resident of Kim Keat Constituency. As reported in The Straits Times days after the incident, Mr Ong had performed On The Street Where You Live and afterwards, Jingle Bells.
35 years after the incident, we were contacted by Chuin Ting, the very lady who had been featured in the press years before. Thanks to modern technology and the Internet, Chuin Ting’s husband Golo had found the article and alerted her to the mention in cyberspace. Chuin Ting subsequently contacted ThePiano.SG and gave us an update of her life since the encounter with the ex-President. ThePiano.SG and Chuin Ting had a meetup at The Providore at Raffles Place.
Chuin Ting revealed that she had started playing the piano at six. She had had only a month of lesson when former President Ong arrived at her home in Block 26, Kim Keat, which her mother still owns today. Chuin Ting would have given up on piano playing at age eight, had it not been for the insistence of her mother, as well as the presence of her teacher.
Chuin Ting had the good fortune of having a piano teacher who instilled in her the right values of learning. A good teacher encourages students to learn out of their passion and love for music, instead of learning for examinations. Chuin Ting’s musical journey was also given a boost when she was invited to accompany the choirs in secondary school and junior college. At age 18, she achieved the Licentiate (LTCL) from Trinity College London.
Chuin Ting then left for the United Kingdom to further her studies, eventually graduating from the University of Oxford with a Degree in History. Happily married with Golo, whom she had met at Oxford, since age 22, Chuin Ting now has a six-year-old son, Noah, and a five-month-old daughter, who enjoy every bit of the piano as much as she does.
Noah has been learning the piano for a year under a private tutor and is so self-motivated that he plays on the family’s baby grand, waking the family up every morning. While Chuin Ting’s daughter is too young to play, she nevertheless enjoys listening to the playing of her mother and brother.
Chuin Ting almost comes from a family of pianists, as it turns out that her two sisters also play the piano. Occasionally, she plays in her church.
It is heartening to come face-to-face with someone we had previously named, and even more heartwarming to know that Chuin Ting has been not only pursuing her passion but also selflessly sharing the love of piano with people around her! ThePiano.SG wishes Chuin Ting all the best, and we will remain in touch!