Chinese Ink Painting Class

Mar 19 marks the beginning of two new classes to teach Chinese ink painting and calligraphy. By the grace of God and the kindness of man, I was able to have an inclusive classroom where the young, the older and the visually impaired can all learn in 1 classroom.

Here are some snapshots of the class in progress at a local bakery, East Manhattan near Beauty World MRT every Sat afternoon and also at my studio (aka Gallery@OURF), every Thursday evening.


Ink. Journey into Self@NP Staff Centre

20140523_120823 20140523_120914 20140523_120732 20140523_120342 20140523_121904 20140523_134158 20140523_123651 20140523_120143 20140523_120201 20140523_120215 20140523_121444 20140523_115928 20140523_103939 20140523_103731 20140523_102721 20140523_103350 20140523_115712 20140523_102438 20140523_100630 20140523_100609 20140523_092818 20140523_093034 20140523_100556“an interesting course that helps us to bring out understanding of personalities and ourselves”

“thank you pin lay for this fun filled session. Your candid and honest sharing helped us to understand how our personalities can conflict.”

“thank u! i have to say ti was a lot more fun than i had expected it to be!”

“entertaining, enjoyable, knowledgeable”

“very interesting short course which i have enjoyed. Definitely a good take away. having to learn calligraphy once again!”

“it would be nice if we can discuss among ourselves and give time to group ourselves into our departmental units in order to see clearly our personality. Thanks. V fun!”


My own “aha” moment – Educate, Education and Learning

DoggieRecently I was conducting this lesson with my poly students using the PBL approach. I had 3 classes of year 1 students and we spent a day each talking about these issues.

Hey, to an educator, that is a fantastic time. I have always wondered how our students felt about education, being educated and learning. Now I got the “air-time” plus get to hear their views…all in the name of a lesson 🙂

What is the end goal of education in a formal system?

Are there informal ways of learning? What is the role on informal education in one’s lifespan?

My own “aha” moment came when I had to re-look at everything from another perspective after I accidentally discovered that I could draw and paint, and that people actually liked my paintings enough to buy them…

The journey in learning Chinese ink, was pretty much incidental and accidental.

Like a good programme, (for those programmers out there…)my life was “interrupted” with this new interest which I somehow couldn’t explain.

You see, from young, I learnt that I cannot draw cos I have “D” or “F” grades for Art. I could never draw that brinjal or do potato prints. I did not understand why we had to do calligraphy with a manuscript pen. Still life bores me as I cannot understand why we need to draw objects.

And my idea of Chinese ink? Well, it pretty much belonged to “Chi-na” people who do not like English and are often seen  as “uncool”.

But I like art books, art galleries and have been collecting them ever since my twenties.

I liked water-colors and the way the pictures are done. Of course, there are some artists who are so different from me and I cannot understand their art at all.

But what happened was that it took a good art teacher, my first Chinese ink teacher, Mr Tan, to make me believe I can draw. How?

He simply asked and told us to exhibit our paintings. Nothing is impossible for him. His unquestioning look when I brought my only art piece (a piece on “Orchids”, which incidentally I did right when I ran out of ink…yep, it’s true…as my friends will tell you :)) and my determination to put my piece as part of his exhibition started my journey into excellence for art.

To him, I owe this small yet important step to unlock my “drawing” potential.

He simply believed me. 

Then my next step. A calligraphy teacher, Mr Guo from Shanghai who taught me the basics of strokes and make even writing “One” a delightful masterpiece. (Read my blogpost on this:

He taught me the details and the structures of the words. It may seem boring and not as fun as the other class. But he taught me the basics of the strokes. The delight of forming that perfect stroke and the beauty of each Chinese ink brush stroke.

Confirmation of the talent came from friends, my sister, sister-in-law and when I finally drew a complete painting, my favourite to date, the water village series (, a friend, Adeline remarked “but now you can..”

and finally my watercolor teacher, Mr Cheng, whom I learnt a little on how to draw and sketch on the spot.

However, not all of my “education” for art was formal. Some were “aha” moments when friends passed me a calendar to sketch, another was when I got this stylo milo portable water color set from another friend, cos I drew a self-admiring panda for her.

Not forgetting the many who liked my Chinese new year pieces and were kind enough to donate monies to my fund raising activities.

So what is education? Really it is about meeting with the right mentors and being diligent.

Mentor Beginner – the one who started you on the first step, who spotted your potential and believed in you

Mentor Structure – the one who “forced” you to practise hard on uninteresting stuff

Mentor On-the-Spot– the ones who taught you outside the typical classroom

Mentor friends – people who affirmed your talents and gifts through feedback and encouragement

Mentor buyers – people who are interested enough to buy your products

So, for students out there who are frustrated with the “formal” education, do not be discouraged. What cannot destroy you can only make you stronger:)

Adversity breeds perseverance..a forgotten virtue in this “instant” world.

I am fortunate to have met some of the most wonderful students in my poly teaching. These are not the typical academic “A1” students whom I used to teach in premier schools but students who have good attitudes and fortitudes. They are students who could be acting in shows like “Ah Boys to Men”.

What is ultimately more important is not to let people, system and grades label you as “cannot”.

Everyone has a role to play on this earth. Just discover your role and work hard.

And yes, when people fail to recognise your “talent”, don’t be so hard on yourself and play the blame game.

Learn to take yourself less seriously and laugh at your silly mistakes:)

Make “Excellence” your choice.

2 Cor 4:7-15 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

Useful links:

Art for Love and Love for Art – our new gallery is up!

After months and years of evolving, yep since I started OURF, learnt Chinese painting in 2008 and realised that people do want to buy these stuff, we are happy to launch this website as a social effort under OURF.

We are a group of amateur artists who dabble in art for the Love of Art and we do it to help children and communities from World Vision Singapore.
Art for Love is founded on the premise that we can use art to help children.
OURF is an education consultancy that believes in ploughing a portion of our profits and time into worthwhile causes.
Meet our contributors and browse through their gallery. If you feel inspired to draw for a good cause, join us. If you want to commission us to draw for you and raise funds for a good cause, do drop us an email:

Enjoy 🙂Art for Love

A gallery to showcase art pieces by our contributors

Being a Happy Singaporean

The workshop was on 21st Century Competencies, held at the Career 2012 Suntec City and my topic for the PMETs was “Being a Happy Singaporean”. Enjoy the pix:)

What does it mean to be a happy Singaporean? We will take a broad sweep about what currently Singaporeans feel make them happy, and then onto making choices that taps into our innate strengths and motivators, the stuff we are made of. We will touch on what is the Yong Tau Foo Team© – being Chilli, Fishball, Bittergourd and BeeHoon and how the Yong Tau Foo Team© Scorecard can help you make better choices to make yourself happy in work and studies. It will also touch on VIP values in our career choices and finally useful tips on how to be a Happy Singaporean most of the time!

Making a great presentation for World Vision staff

A workshop was conducted for marketing department staff of World Vision on “Making a Great presentation” on 3 Feb 2012.

Enjoy the pix

Making a great presentation
Making a great presentation
What's she doing to my nose?
What's she doing to my nose?

Some feedback:

“Thanks for your generosity to share your skills. Well done in presenting the topic in a very engaging manner. We should have more practices in the next workshop.” – E

“Hi Pin Lay, yours is truly a powerful presentation with many touchpoints to engage us the audience. The main takeaway is definitely the concept of the Yong Tau Foo team© – this is my first time learning about it and it differentiates your presentation from other presentations of the same subject. Thank you.” – D

“Dear Pin Lay, thank you so much for an awesome session. Really appreciate your time and effort in not just advocating for us but also training us! The session is definitely very engaging and useful and provides many practical points that we can use to share the word about World Vision. God bless you” – S

“Informative and entertaining. Can you also show us the software part of presentation?”

“Very fun and engaging session. Interactive, lots of laughs. Also thought provoking – helping me realise that I have to think about the different personality types in the audience and how to connect with each of them. Thanks for this most useful and entertaining training.” – M

“Authentic. Unique workshop that brings about the essential part of presentation for concise and impactful two hours. You do what you preach. Thank you for adding to our lives.” – N

“Engaging and fun. Clearly points out the key areas of presentation skills.”

“Fun.Personable.Learnt about useful presentation skills. Light-hearted. Perhaps could speaker slower. Thank you for offering your time and skills to us. God bless!”

“Thanks Pin Lay for taking time to do this presentation skills for us. Learnt a few pointers and hope to remember to practise them during pre-trip briefings. God bless” – SH

“Hi Pin Lay! Thanks for taking time to share your knowledge about public speaking. It was an enjoyable time.”


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