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Musical memories: snapshots of a Chinese family in Singapore
Chee-Hoo Lum
a
a
National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
To cite this Article Lum, Chee-Hoo(2009) 'Musical memories: snapshots of a Chinese family in Singapore', Early Child
Development and Care, 179: 6, 707 — 716
To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/03004430902944296
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03004430902944296
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Early Child Development and Care
Vol. 179, No. 6, August 2009, 707–716
ISSN 0300-4430 print/ISSN 1476-8275 online
© 2009 Taylor & Francis
DOI: 10.1080/03004430902944296
http://www.informaworld.com
Musical memories: snapshots of a Chinese family in Singapore
Chee-Hoo Lum*
National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Taylor and Francis GECD_A_394601.sgm
(Received 7 January 2009; final version received 10 March 2009)
10.1080/03004430902944296 Early Childhood Development and Care 0300-4430 (print)/1476-8275 (online) Original Article 2009 Taylor & Francis 179 5000000June 2009 Chee-HooLum cheehoo.lum@nie.edu.sg
This paper examines music in the home of a Chinese family in Singapore with
specific attention to the children (aged five and seven) of the household: an
exploration of what constitutes the lived ‘musical’ memory of a family enmeshed
in the technology and media of a globalised world. The study is part of a larger
ethnographic study on the musical lives of young children in Singapore, conducted
over a five-month period. Technology and the media encapsulate the home
musical experiences of these children, bringing them musical repertoire and
musical play, attached with social meaning. The pervasiveness of the mass-media
is noted, infused in children’s play, singing and listening repertoire, and even in
their sleeping habits. The media dominated the play environment of these children,
providing them with audio and visual stimuli as they carried on with their fantasy
play along with their media-influenced toys.
Keywords: technology; media; home; children; parents
Introduction
Every family has a lived history with distinct memories and artefacts. These memories
can often be associated with music: grandmother’s lullabies, the singing and skipping
games played with brothers and sisters, father’s guitar playing or the Cantonese opera
singing sessions that mother and her friends used to have over tea time. The memories
constitute a repertoire that gathers and affects the musical interests of family members.
Increasingly with the availability of technology and media, these memories can also
stem from home musical environments that are permeated by mediated musical
sounds from the radio to the television, from CDs/DVDs to MP3 players. Music is not
just ‘bound up with the production of place through collective interpretation, it is also
interpreted in idiosyncratic ways by individual listeners, with songs, sounds and musi-
cal phrases evoking personal memories and feelings associated with particular places’
(Cohen, 1995, p. 445). Music can effectively stimulate ‘a sense of identity, in preserv-
ing and transmitting cultural memory. Individuals can use music as a cultural “map of
meaning”, drawing upon it to locate themselves in different imaginary geographies at
one and the same time and to articulate both individual and collective identities’
(Cohen, 1995, p. 444).
Since the second half of the twentieth century, with the explosion of technology
and the media, people’s everyday lives are becoming increasingly contingent on
globally extensive social processes (Foster, 1999). It would seem that ‘music’s deep
*Email: cheehoo.lum@nie.edu.sg
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connection to social identities has been distinctively intensified by globalisations due
to the ways cultural separation and social exchange are mutually accelerated by tran-
snational flows of technology, media, and popular culture’ (Feld, 2001, p. 189).
Indeed, our memories are increasingly shaped by technologies and one can now talk
about notions of ‘imagined nostalgia’ (Appadurai, 1996, p. 77) where memories are
no longer grounded in lived experiences but ‘memories pillaged from the archive and
mass-marketed for fast consumption’ (Huyssen, 2001, p. 64). Albeit the ‘onslaught’
of technology and media, our lived memory is nonetheless embodied in the social,
‘that is, in individuals, families, groups, nations, and regions. There is no doubt that
in the long run all such memories will be shaped to a significant degree by the new
digital technologies and their effects, but they will not be reducible to them’ (Huyssen,
2001, p. 77).
Cannella and Kincheloe (2002) have stated that globalisation is here for the long
haul and any study of childhood must acknowledge its central significance in
contemporary life. It is therefore useful to study the effects of technological and
media sources like television, internet, video games, music CDs and videos, given
that children can be experts in this domain and their knowledge surpasses many
adults. For teachers, curriculum designers and childcare workers, an understanding of
not only children’s preferred media and technology devices but also the impact of
globalisation is essential for knowing their acquired knowledge and their further
needs in their developing years.
Purpose and method
As Rice suggested (2003, p. 152), ‘a move away from culture to the subject as the
locus of musical practice and experience may provide a fruitful approach to some of
the questions about music that our encounter with the modern world leads us to
ask’. This paper examines music in the home of a Chinese family in Singapore with
specific attention to the children (aged five and seven) of the household: an explora-
tion of what constitutes the lived ‘musical’ memory of a family enmeshed in the
technology and media of a globalised world. The study is part of a larger ethno-
graphic study on the musical lives of young children in a Primary 1 classroom in
Singapore, conducted over a five-month period in 2005 (Lum, 2007). The
researcher is a native of Singapore (born to second-generation Chinese parents,
raised and educated in Singapore) and access to the family was gained initially
through a voluntary home interview session within the larger study, thereafter seek-
ing parents’ permission to enter into a focus period of prolonged study within the
family home.
Data collection included observations, fieldnoting, audio and video recording in
the family home, and interviews with the parents and the two children. The ethno-
graphic study follows the procedure of taking and writing-up fieldnotes as proposed
by Emerson, Fretz, and Shaw (1995). All audio information was transcribed verbatim
whilst selected video footages that were of interest to the study were also transcribed.
Transcriptions also included songs, gestures, movements and conversations that chil-
dren created or were engaged in. Analysis was on-going throughout the duration of the
fieldwork as data collected were combined with previous data to reconstruct under-
standings of the home musical environment. Analysis carried on after the fieldwork
period and was reflective of an intimate familiarity with the settings generating many
more ideas, issues, topics and themes (Emerson et al., 1995).
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Early Child Development and Care 709
Context
Singapore, located to the south of Peninsular Malaysia and about 130 kilometres north
of the equator, is an island state with a total area of 700 square kilometres. It currently
has a population of 4.4 million, with a resident
1
population of 3.6 million. The ethnic
distribution of the resident population includes Malay (14%), Chinese (76%), Indian
(8%) and other (2%) (Singapore Department of Statistics, 2007). Singapore has a
varied linguistic, cultural and religious heritage. Malay is the national language, but
Mandarin, English and Tamil are also official languages. English is widely used in the
government, professions, businesses and schools (Ministry of Information, Communi-
cations, & the Arts, 2009). The family examined in this study provides a glimpse of
the musical lives within the dominant Chinese population of the Singapore landscape.
Raymond’s family of four, consisting of himself, his father, Steven, his mother,
Julie and his younger sister, Annie, lives in a two-bedroom apartment of 600-square-
foot in a heartland neighbourhood of Singapore. Julie and Steven (in their late 30s)
were originally from a city in southern Malaysia but came to work in Singapore about
two decades ago and have since become permanent residents. Both Raymond and
Annie were born and raised in Singapore. Five-year-old Annie is in Kindergarten
2
and
Raymond, aged seven, is in Primary 1 (first-grade). Julie walks Annie to school every
day whilst Raymond takes a short trip on a chartered bus to school.
Julie works as a promoter in a karaoke bar. Her workday begins at 9 p.m. and typi-
cally ends around 3 a.m. Working in the business of karaoke, Julie has to be well-
informed of the latest popular songs that hit the consumer market. She is particularly
familiar with the latest Mandarin and Hokkien
3
popular songs as these are the songs
that define her clientele. Julie enjoys listening to Mandarin and Hokkien popular
ballads (or as she puts it, the ‘quiet songs’). If she comes across a song she likes on
the radio (on the local Chinese music channels, FM 95.8 or 93.3) or at work, she will
buy the CD or borrow it from friends. Constantly surrounded by music at work, Julie
makes it a point to hear little of it at home. She typically chooses not to switch on the
radio or CD player at home, although she does not object to her family members
doing so.
Steven is a taxi driver. His day begins at 5:30 a.m. and he usually works until 7
p.m. Given the different work schedules of Steven and Julie, family time is restricted
to a two-hour window between 7 to 9 in the evening, when the family comes together
for dinner. Steven once listened to a ‘fair bit of rock music’ and had been an avid
attendee at rock concerts (he recalled the band, Deep Purple, as an example) at a local
theatre in the mid-1970s. Because Julie finds rock music too ‘noisy’ for her taste,
Steven has stopped listening to it. In his words, ‘nobody appreciates [it] at home. If I
listen to it here, nobody would like it’. Steven listens to the radio when he drives the
taxi, and typically switches between two local Chinese music channels, FM 95.8 and
93.3. Driving on the road the whole day can be isolating for Steven. The radio helps
him along, as he noted, ‘Music accompanies me wherever I go when I drive. But to
really appreciate the music, I think I don’t. But I just need some noises around’.
The television
The first thing that little Annie and Raymond do when they wake up is to head into
the sitting room, switch on the television and watch a string of cartoons. Raymond is
an avid fan of the cartoons Grand Sazor, Masked Rider, Pokemon and Ninja Storm,
all of which are highly action-packed or as Raymond describes it, ‘fighting cartoons’.
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These cartoons are regular features on weekday and weekend mornings on the local
children’s network (Kids Central). On weekdays, they typically watch for an hour to
90 minutes until it is time to wash up, have an early lunch and go to school.
4
In the
evenings, the television is also a regular and constant feature, usually switched to the
local Chinese channel (Channel 8) and occasionally, the local English channel
(Channel 5). Steven enjoys watching two local Chinese drama series, one at 7 p.m.
and another at 9 p.m. Raymond and Annie are usually in the sitting room during this
time, doing homework, playing with toys and/or watching the television programme
with Steven and Julie. As Steven remarked, ‘Yes, whatever we watch they will
watch. They don’t insist on other channels’.
Since my initial meeting with Steven and Julie, they have continuously empha-
sised to me Annie’s love for singing and dancing. Steven has observed that Annie
loves to sing along with the theme songs of the various Chinese drama series on
television at the beginning and the end of the programme. Though her pronunciation
of the words are not always accurate, Steven feels that Annie has a good ear and sings
the melody on pitch and in rhythm, almost ‘in sync’ with the music source. Julie is
convinced that Annie has musical talent, too. As she explained, ‘When she listens to
music, she can pick it up really quickly. She only needs to listen to it two or three
times and she can pick it up, whether it is English, Mandarin or Hokkien.
5
Her absorp-
tion rate is very quick!’ Using Annie as their yardstick for measuring musical talent,
both Steven and Julie openly proclaim that Raymond ‘doesn’t have musical talents’.
Steven feels that Raymond has inherited his traits, lacking in musical talents but good
with drawing and crafts, whilst Annie takes after Julie in her love for singing and
music.
Vignette: Tong Hua (fairytale)
Whilst Raymond and Annie were engaged in play in the sitting room, Steven was
watching the local Chinese drama series on television. During an advertisement
block, a snippet of an upcoming programme was broadcasted, featuring secondary
school students singing the latest Chinese popular hit song, Tong Hua, an original
song written for the winner of a local Mandarin singing contest. There were excerpts
of a solo singer, a duet of singers and an instrumental arrangement of the song on
the piano. Steven alerted Annie to the song, encouraging her to sing along. Almost
instantaneously Annie began to sing. As the Chinese drama resumed, Annie ran into
the bedroom to her mother and requested her to play Tong Hua on the CD player.
Within minutes, the CD track could be heard. Annie, now back in the sitting room,
smiled at me and started to sing the song (musical example 1), in pitch and in
rhythm with the CD track, rising above the sound of the television (which by
comparison was louder than the CD track coming from the bedroom). Annie
repeated the song a second time immediately after the CD track had finished, shift-
ing the melody to G major. She sang a cappella (i.e. unaccompanied and in pitch)
even whilst she watched the Chinese drama on television. The third time she
repeated the song, it was an octave higher than the first time. Realising that she
could not sing the high ‘A’s and ‘B’s in the melody, Annie instinctively sang an
octave lower, ending the song in the exact pitch range that she started with in the
beginning. She offered accompanying hand actions and facial expressions that she
created on her own, and a meaningful slowing down towards the end of the song.
Throughout Annie’s singing, the tempo remained constant.
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Early Child Development and Care 711
Musical example 1. Annie singing Tong Hua.
English translation of Tong Hua (fairytale):
I don’t recall when you last told me your favourite fairytale. I’ve thought for a long
while and am starting to wonder if I have done something wrong again.
You told me with teary eyes that fairytales are all lies and there’s no way I can be your
prince charming. Perhaps you don’t understand but since you said you loved me,
the stars in my sky have started to twinkle.
I’ll be the angel in your fairytale. I’ll open my arms wide and turn them into wings to
protect you. You must believe that we will be like the fairytale with a happy ever after
ending. Together we’ll pen our own ending.
The radio
In Raymond’s family, the radio is only heard in the car and much less at home. Steven
points out that each time the family travels in the car, Annie will sing away to the
latest hits on the local Chinese radio stations. Raymond is much less enthusiastic about
the music. Julie and Steven also enjoy listening to the radio in the car and their
purchase of CDs is often a direct result of encounters with songs that they have heard
over the car radio.
The CD player
When Julie was pregnant with Raymond, Steven bought her a CD of ‘soft and
romantic’ Western classical music that featured selections such as the first movement
of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata, Op. 27, No. 2 (the Moonlight Sonata). Julie has been
enamoured with the CD, listening to it every night. Raymond has since developed a
habit of listening to that same CD of ‘quiet’ music when he is about to fall asleep
each night. The family CD player is thus located in Raymond and Annie’s bedroom
(Raymond and Annie share a bedroom). Interestingly, Raymond has expressed to me
that he does not like ‘noisy’ music but loves the sound of the piano, and would like to
learn to play the instrument at some point in time. Raymond may have subcon-
sciously been enculturated (Jorgensen, 1997) in this light classical, as early as pre-
birth. Anecdotal evidence has suggested that prenatal music memory does exist
(Hepper, 1988; Verny, 1981). Further, as LeBlanc (1983, p. 48) stated, ‘forces in the
environment can influence music preference. A student’s family … are a part of the
student’s environment, and what they think about music will influence that student’.
In a longitudinal study of 45 pre-school children, Peery and Peery (1986) also found
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that exposure and repetition, combined with positive experience that emphasises
social reinforcement and model factors, had a positive effect on children’s musical
preference. Clearly, Raymond’s love for piano and ‘quiet’ music have been heavily
influenced by his mother’s personal preference during and after pregnancy such that
the constant and repeated exposure to the same music on the CD had led to
Raymond’s personal preference for such music. Perhaps, as Brand (1985, p. 29)
pointed out, ‘of all stages in life, the preschool years, and particularly infancy, may
be the time when music (with specific reference to unconscious listening) can have
the most important impact on the individual’. Steven is well aware of Raymond’s
musical interest but is unable to provide him with a piano or piano lessons due to
financial constraints.
Play
Whilst Annie is bubbly and full of energy, always eager to play, sing and dance,
Raymond by comparison is more reserved and shy. Raymond has a small pillow as
a security blanket and carries it with him everywhere he goes in the family apart-
ment. Raymond and Annie like to play together, sharing similar toys and interests,
from Power Rangers action figures to Pokemon trading cards. The play space for
Annie and Raymond is in the sitting room, a space just in front of the television,
cordoned off by the family sofa set. Raymond’s favourite animal is the tortoise. He
keeps two tortoises in the family’s aquarium, and enjoys watching them swim about
amongst the fishes. His favourite cartoon characters are the Teenage Mutant Ninja
Turtles. He watches the cartoon religiously every Saturday morning, and has three
moving action-figure toys of the ninja turtles that he never fails to include in his
play. Raymond’s fantasy play concerns battles of good and evil, and frequently a
race challenge between superheroes. He is fond of making sound effects when he
plays, from the ‘Brrmmm, Brmmm’ imitation of a motorcycle to a high-pitched
descending glissandi on ‘Ahhh’ in imitation of the character meeting his doom,
along with many rhythmic and melodic utterances that gave voice to each character
in his fantasy play. Annie chooses to be included in Raymond’s fantasy play at
times, taking hold of an action-figure, adding sound effects and dialogue to
Raymond’s play. She initiates other games, too, like trading cards, twirling the Hula
Hoop, or rope jumping when she is no longer interested in participating in her
brother’s play.
Both Annie and Raymond have their individual boxes of trading cards clearly
divided into sets of Pokemon, Digimon and Masked Rider characters. After deciding
which set of cards to use, they will sit facing each other, placing one card faced
down on the floor. When they reveal their cards, the more ‘powerful’ card (which-
ever one has the larger number) wins and the winner takes the loser’s card. Both
Raymond and Annie will tend to rock to-and-fro as they play sometimes to their
own individual pulse, sometimes in sync with each other. The two children will
make various sound effects too, ‘Yippee!’, ‘Woo!’, glissandi of pitches in increasing
dynamics, and imitations of robot speech in various low and high voices. From the
Pokemon and Masked Rider trading cards to the Grand Sazor and Power Ranger toy
figurines, it is clear that Raymond and Annie’s playthings are directly connected to
the cartoons they watch. The media has tremendous control over their play prefer-
ences, which is encouraged by Steven and Julie’s indulgence in buying them the
‘necessary’ toys.
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Early Child Development and Care 713
Discussion
The musical interests of Steven and Julie stemmed from the radio and television. The
media was their initial musical source, and this translated into the purchase of CDs for
further listening to the music they enjoyed. Similarly, Raymond and Annie’s music
surroundings at home consist primarily of television, the radio during car trips, and the
CD player when they slept at night. The media dominated the play environment of
Raymond and Annie, providing them with audio and visual stimuli as they carried on
with their media-influenced toys in an area that was no more than three feet from the
family television. Indeed, this family’s interests and experiences illustrate Kincheloe’s
proposition perspective that:
Since the 1950s more and more of our children’s experiences are produced by corpora-
tions – not as much by parents or even children themselves. Popular and media culture
are now the private domain of the child, even replete with earphones – traditional notions
of childhood as a time of innocence and adult-dependency have been challenged by
children’s access to corporate-produced popular culture. (2002, p. 83)
The music Raymond and Annie listened and sang to were primarily Mandarin and
Hokkien popular songs, with ‘soft and quiet’ piano and orchestral music at bedtime.
The music that surrounded the children at home was to a large extent the music that
defined the musical identities of Steven (at least in part) and Julie. This observation is
in agreement with Borthwick and Davidson (2002, p.76), who stated that, ‘the musical
beliefs and experiences of the parents are of central importance … as they shape the
way in which the subsequent generation experience and value music for themselves
within the family’. Also, ‘all immediate family members play a shaping role, both
children and adults alike, irrespective of whether or not they learn musical instrument
themselves’ (p. 76).
Whilst Annie’s show of musicking (Small, 1998) behaviours was abundant within
the home, often singing, dancing and imitating popular mediated music heard on tele-
vision and the radio, Raymond appeared more reserved, showing little interest in sing-
ing or dancing. He was more keen in engaging in his own fantasy play, accompanying
his playthings and actions with melodic and rhythmic utterances, and listening to light
classical music before bedtime. Annie’s singing (like in musical example 1) also
showed her ability at a tender age to mimic complex musical repertoire, including the
transposition of the octave when she was unable to sing notes above her current vocal
range: food for thought for music educators thinking about the musical development
of children (McPherson, 2006). This observation on children’s complex musicking
behaviours has been corroborated by various research studies (Campbell, 1998; Gaunt,
1997; Marsh, 1997).
The parents’ constant acknowledgement and encouragement of Annie’s musical
talent tended to overshadow their view of Raymond’s developing musical ability. This
was further compounded by the parents’ view of their children taking after their
personal traits i.e. having the perception that Annie takes after the mother’s musical
talent and Raymond taking after the father’s lack thereof. Research in the psychology
of music has shown that the home environment and parents’ support play a critical
role in the musical development of children, particularly in developing skills and their
enthusiasm for music (Davidson & Pitts, 2001; Howe & Sloboda, 1991). Clearly,
Raymond’s parents’ attitude towards his and Annie’s musical worth and their enthu-
siasm towards Annie’s singing and dancing, had in some ways impacted Raymond in
being more reserved towards music making in the family home.
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Thoughts for music education
A major challenge in education is the development of curricular contexts that have the
ability to extend meaningfully into the personal life-worlds of individuals (Barab &
Roth, 2006). Teachers need to bridge this gap between home and school to make
music education relevant and real to the children. Within the current Singapore music
education syllabus (Ministry of Education, 2008b), one of the six main learning objec-
tives for primary and secondary school children is to ‘understand the role of music in
daily living’ (Ministry of Education, 2008b, p. 2) which is inclusive of popular music
and culture. Music educators can build on the extensive expertise that children have
grown already as media consumers and users of new technologies as they enter
nurseries, kindergartens and elementary schools. It is this researcher’s opinion that it
is teachers’ responsibility to discover children’s family musical preferences and to
provide a curriculum that validates and builds on each child’s musical competencies.
Music educators should for instance consider including the music of ‘now’ (rock and
pop) in the classroom, for popular music is the music that surrounds these children on
a daily basis and ‘its rhythms are tantalising, and its cultural implications are consid-
erable’ (Clements & Campbell, 2006). Also, music and musicking at home observed
in this study served primarily emotional and social functions for the children. Social
in the many musical play interaction sessions between Raymond and Annie, and
emotional in the smiles and frustrations coming out of such interactions and the
emotional impact on the children of their parents’ perception of musical ‘talent’
ascribed to each child. Because children want to enjoy their musicking experiences
and share them with family and friends, it appears that ‘musical development and
learning are more likely to flourish outside rather than within the school curriculum’
(Boal-Palheiros & Hargreaves, 2001, p. 117). Teachers need to ‘reflect on the joy, the
laughter and the seriousness with which our students perform music activities’
(Dzansi, 2004, p. 90) and this musicking typically involves some kind of game-
playing or music with movement which motivates the children to be engaged in the
process. Music educators should be aware that learners would be more interested and
engaged when active participation is involved.
Jorgensen (2003, p. 122) advises that as children come to the music classroom
‘with already formed musical perspectives, these need to be taken seriously, listened
to, challenged, and validated because musical beliefs and practices constitute a part of
self’. The notion that all children begin at a similar starting point is in conflict with the
considerable differences observed in children’s interests, experiences and abilities in
music (Pugh & Pugh, 1998). There is a need to bring living knowledge and living
things together in the music-making process that could directly engage the hearts and
minds of children. After all, as Shephard and Wicke (1997, p. 34) remarked, ‘a viable
understanding of culture requires an understanding of its articulation through music
just as much as a viable understanding of music requires an understanding of its place
in culture’. By focusing on the individual’s connection with music in creating a
contextualised curriculum, there is then a de-centring of the subject matter, so that the
individual can be placed at the heart of the music classroom. It is essential to know
who the children are as musical beings so that music educators can tap into their rich
diversified musical network of multiple contexts, in order to approach meaningful
music making.
Technology and the media encapsulate the home musical experiences of Raymond
and Annie. Perhaps years down the road, as they reminisce their early musical memories,
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Early Child Development and Care 715
they would fondly recall the light classical CD that lulled them to sleep, the Chinese
TV theme songs and radio hits that they and their parents listened and sang to, and of
the hours of fantasy play afforded by the trading cards of their favourite cartoon
characters from TV. The images and experiences engendered by music are therefore,
dependent upon the particular circumstances in which the music is performed and heard,
and upon the type of musical style and activity involved. But through its embodiment
of movement and collectivity, and through the peculiar ambiguity of its symbolic forms,
music can appear to act upon and convey emotion in a unique way and it represents
an alternative discourse to everyday speech and language, although both are ideolog-
ically informed and culturally constructed (Cohen, 1995, p. 444).
Huyssen (2001) would be correct in stating that Raymond and Annie’s musical
memories are embodied in the social and shaped to a large extent by technologies, but
their memories, it seem, will never be reducible to them.
Notes
1. The resident population comprises Singapore citizens and permanent residents.
2. Singapore kindergartens admit children between the ages of three and six years into the
respective level, viz. Nursery, Kindergarten 1 and Kindergarten 2. It is mandatory that
kindergartens adhere to the age criteria so that children will join formal Primary 1 schooling
at the correct age of six or above six (Ministry of Education, 2008a).
3. Mandarin and Hokkien are different dialects within the Chinese language.
4. School begins at 1:00 pm and ends at 6:30 p.m. Primary schools (Primary 1–6) in
Singapore typically function in two separate sessions, with three primary levels in the
morning session (7:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.) and the other three levels in the afternoon session
(1:00 p.m.–6:30 p.m.).
5. Steven speaks to the children in English and Mandarin whilst Julie speaks to them in
Mandarin and Hokkien. In school, due to the bilingual system, children are taught English
and Mandarin. The TV shows that the family watches at home can be in English or
Mandarin.
Notes on contributor
Chee-Hoo Lum is currently an assistant professor of music education at the National Institute
of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His research interests include
childrens’ musical cultures and their shifting musical identities; the use of media and technol-
ogy by children, in families and in pedagogy; creativity and improvisation in childrens’ music;
elementary music methods and world musics in education.
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