Thursday, August 2, 2012

He is an artist, he is my son


“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.” - Emile Zola 

I have forgotten now how I came across this quotation, but I can share with you that it resonated with me in a deeply personal way.  It made me think of my son. Nick is an artist. He is an actor, songwriter, and a vocalist in an alternative rock band called Rosevelt. He has also explored film making and now works in a creative environment where he produces music videos and media. Growing up, Nick was impatient with the hard work ethic of his mum and dad. He was the most stubborn of students when it came to learning math or languages. Likewise, he would seldom tidy his room or adhere to his dad's attempts to instill responsibility in him by assigning him household chores. Even though he loved music and spent hours developing his own ideas about music as an outlet for his personal expression, he would repeatedly fail at learning traditional music theory and notation. He had no tolerance for learning to play silly beginner songs by reading the music on a page while sitting with an instructor who tapped out the beat. Instead, he spent hours and hours in his room, and he began to master the simple device of trial and error. He used a guitar, a keyboard, cameras, the computer hooked up to the internet, and various recording devices as his primary tools in a quest that we could not quite understand at the time. We did however, see and recognize that something was happening, and while we may not have fully understood it, we did not discourage it outright.      

Certainly to my Quay Lo and I, who shared the hard work, step by step ethics of the post war baby boomers, had our struggles with Nick when he was in his teens. We failed to recognize that Nick was part of a pattern, a generational shift in values and methods that marks a new way of working, playing, and how to find your own path.
To parents who have children who are creative, I recommend that you watch this video and you may start to understand the new concepts of life, love, work, and self definition. I did not understand it before. What I knew was that my son was doing what he loved, and I came to accept that. My husband and I recognized that Nick still acknowledged our basic values of honesty, the acceptance of different people with different lifestyles, mutual respect, and personal integrity. Still, he embraced a different approach to answering that ancient question of who we are.  We began to understand all this better a step at a time. Watching the video at the following link which was posted in Nick's facebook page, recently, I realized that if I had seen it several years ago, it would have helped to hasten my understanding and acceptance. If you have children I think you will benefit from watching this.


Work all and play all

I love my son very much and like all mothers I would like to stay connected with him as much as possible. Of course, we don’t see Nick as much as we would like and maybe I feel the empty nest syndrome.  He is busy, chasing his dreams and making his way. So, I find excuses to see him and I found a good one. As they say, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. So, after a quick call to be sure I was not interrupting, I brought my "half baked lemon curd cheese cake to his office a few weeks ago. It was the first time I had been to his new office and I met his boss, Yuri Wong, an award winning music producer and the owner of The Factory Music Studio. The company is a creative media production enterprise with works ranging from tv soundtracks, full-length feature film scores, albums and commercials. I will always be grateful to Yuri for giving Nick the opportunity to learn from him. Just recently, they completed a music video project with local singer, Chelsia Ng. It is a cute, upbeat song and a very creative video. It is also a catchy tune that I find myself singing along with it.


I made some Hokkaido Chiffon cupcakes with vanilla whipped cream filling last week so I delivered two boxes to Yuri's office. We mothers never really stop feeding our children, even when they have grown up to become "millennials". Of course, it also gave me a good excuse to see my son. For the next batch, I will make them with vanilla custard cream. Both my Quay Lo and Nick said they prefer the custard cream filling to the whipped cream. I promised Yuri that I would make enough so that he and his lovely wife, Xandria Ooi could sample those soon. Here is the recipe for the vanilla custard cream filling.

Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcakes 
with vanilla custard cream filling


click on the picture to get the cupcake recipe

Custard cream filling ingredients:
Adapted from food.com with modification

2 cups milk
2 eggs, well beaten
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 pinch salt
1 whole vanilla pod
1 grated orange rind

Method:
Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod and set aside. Throw the pods into the milk and cook in a bain-marie till you see a light froth around the edges of the pan, where tiny bubbles will form. To prevent scorching, be sure to stir the milk as it heats. Mix together sugar, egg, flour and salt in a bowl and beat well. Add slowly to milk, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and add in the vanilla seeds and orange rind. Mix well, let cool and cover with cling wrap and put in the fridge for later use. Make sure the cling wrap just touching the custard so it doesn't form a skin.

51 comments:

  1. The younger generation are so different from us. I guess it takes lots of patience to lovingly deal with them. Your son Nick is fortunate to have loving and understanding parents and you guys did a good job. Glad that he is working in something that he loves. Those cupcakes are gorgeous!

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    1. Yes, parents have to roll with the time:D

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  2. It's so great that you let Nick nurture this passion. I lost the fight to my parents about pursuing music but now that I've done the course they like and before I get too old I took the plunge to try my luck to break in the local music industry, It's tough but I'm enjoying it. :)

    I still want to attempt making Hokkaido cakes soon... But I've never have much luck in sponge cake.... They always turn out dense!

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    1. Kelly, it is great that you did not give up your dream. I am sure you live a happier life doing you are love most. As regards to making sponge cakes, I was like you. I have phobia before but like everything else, once we conquer that fear, we will make things happen. I am sure your next attempt making sponge cake will be a success.

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  3. Catchy tune! I love the video ... very quirky!
    You're right. Today's kids aren't the same as what we used to be. Most have a strong personal sense of themselves of who and what they want to be. I agree that we need to let them learn (the hard way even at a young age) so that they can handle the world when the time comes for them to go off on their own and not turn into namby-pambys like some overly-protected kids I've seen. Consider yourselves great parents. I'm pretty proud of myself for bringing up a super kid as well :) *ahem*
    You'd better bring a ton of those hokkaidos this Saturday!

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    1. So we are proud parents aren't we? AHEM! I will bring some macarons this Saturday. I will try to bring some Hokkaidos too. See you soon.

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  4. What an understanding and meaningful post. Iam sure your son appreciates your baking.

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  5. I love the way you put it. As parent of one child, I wanted the world for her and watched with much trepidation at how she turns out. She is full of potential with the occasional stroke that does not fit into my mold and this upsets me. Every single deviation from the norm scares me to death. There's much to learn from you - to let go and enjoy their growing years. Just as you said, as long as the basic values are in place, life offers lots of tangents and they may not all be bad. Thank you!

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    1. I am sure your girl will grow up to be a fine young lady with all the good values you instill in her. Let her spread her wings and fly. Just make sure that your home is her safe harbor no matter what happens.

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  6. A great post and I am sure that you are so proud of your son and what he has now accomplished.
    Wow, the Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcakes with vanilla custard cream filling are soooooo mouth watering to look at. I will try them out in the next couple of days.
    Hope you have a great weekend Diane

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    1. I am sure you will enjoy the Hokkaidos. Looking forward to see a post on that.

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  7. What a lucky child! And what great cakes. Love custard in anything and these look particularly good.

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    1. We are lucky too to have a talented son, he made us proud.

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  8. Hey!!! My daughter just shared that video with her friend today. She loves it soooo much!!!! I wonder what Hokkaido cakes are like though... Can't get those here. :(

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    1. I am happy to hear that Melissa liked the video. Glad that she shared it. I am trying to bring some Hokkaidos for you to taste this Saturday. They are as temperamental as Macarons, so wish me luck. See you soon.

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  9. Your son must be a very creative person. How did you nurture him to become like that? hehe. Oh he's working with Yuri Wong? Ic. Yuri is from Melaka, my hometown. But I know his brother better because we went to the same tuition before.:)

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    1. Carolyn, I did not nuture him, he was born with music talent. I am just give him my support. So you know Yuri's brother. What a small world.

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  10. I really admired this post. This is such a lovely post. I guess for mothers, no matter how much our child has grown up, in our eyes, they are always our lil baby :). I love hokkaido chiffon cupcakes! Must try and bake them one of these days.

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    1. Agree with you. I am looking forward to see your post on the HCC.

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  11. Lovely post as usual ! He's very lucky to have you ( and your Quay Lo ) and I know he appreciates that :) That cupcakes look delectable ! Will try to bake that sometime :D

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    1. We know Nick appreciates what we did for him. Let me know whether you like the custard filling or not.

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  12. Talking about kids and what they want to be, as parents, we can only give moral support, we cannot force them to be what we wanted them to be.... :) Your son is artistic, it is a talent, a gift..

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  13. Looking so yummy ^_^... your son is very talented...

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  14. ah Quay Po all you say dear in this post about your son remember my twins (especially my daugher) they have 18 and we lived sometimes difficukt times and Im agrre with all you say, congrats by your son, and nice video.
    Also I loved these chiffon cupcakes look awesome:)

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  15. I reminded my hubby that we have to stop arguing less as when we get older, we will only have each other as our children will grow up to have their own life, oh, my 2 sweet children! Can send some of your hokkaido cheese cake over?

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    1. My dear, it is chiffon cake not cheese cake lah! You can send in your application to join the Lucy Club. LOL!

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  16. Eh I watched the video. Very nice and cute! Love it!

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  17. Nice video, very creative and cute. Like the music too. Your son is really talented. And you talented in baking & cooking too.

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  18. This post was sooooo sweet! I can feel the love you have for your family :)
    And i am sure everyine must have appreciated these cupcakes coz they look super yummy!
    - abeer @ www.cakewhiz.com

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  19. Oops...i messaged from my husband's site..lol
    - cakewhiz

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  20. I really liked this post...we parents think the world of our kids and only want the best for them. It is so frustrating seeing how the parents of young kids are so different than our parents. Anyway that's a whole other story. You are a very patient parent and must be so proud of him, after all your trials...as he should be of you. My daughter has a learning disability and is always on my mind what she will become. All we can do is support them and guide them the best we know how. This dessert is the bomb! He must love that!!

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    1. Mothers always worry what their children will become. Frankly, we should not for what will be, will be:D Oh yes, Nick love this cupcakes although he is not a big fan of cakes.

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  21. i like the videos too, very meaningful, I have 3 sons to worry about, no wonder my hair greying so much lol!

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    1. Triple worries for you. You must know how to let go:D

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  22. Quay Po, I love this post from start to finish. It resonates with me on two levels: 1.) I understand the challenges and undertow that can come with creative pursuits, and 2.) I'm now raising two young children under 10 who are beginning to landscape their own paths. The "All Work And All Play" video link was poignant, but no more so than the way you write from the heart. Brava!

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    1. Hi Brooks, so good to see you again. Thanks so much for your kind words.

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  23. i ought to learn from you. i think it's quite normal to find differences between generations, it might take a little time but as long as there is love and respect, i think it will all turn out fine. I've made cream puffs with those leftover vanilla custard cream in my house earlier. The custard is really yummy! will only post that next month for one of my baking events :))

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    1. You will be a great mummy, no need to learn from me. Oh I can't wait to see your cream puff post.

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  24. You have a very talented son, that is a blessing :) My best wishes to him. The cupcakes look irresistible, love how that filling looks :)

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  25. Hi,

    I wish to try to bake the Orange HCC with orange vanilla custard cream filling, as recommended by you.

    Unfortunately, when I click on the photo above to obtain the recipe, there's no reaction to it.

    May you guide me to your post on the recipe for Orange HCC with orange vanilla custard cream filling? Hope to bake it over this long weekend.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, I apologize for the broken link. Now you try clicking on it it will bring you there:D Happy baking.

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