One of the first stories that I had published all those many years ago was called Underwater World Adventure. When my publisher Epigram books was republishing a new and updated version of the Sam, Sebbie and Di-Di-Di series, they wanted me to rework the story to feature the S.E.A. Aquarium instead and so I did just that and that's how At the S.E.A. Aquarium came about.
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to read its sequel Return to the S.E.A. Aquarium at the Imagine Native Launch at the aquarium. It's available at the gift shop at the attraction but strangely At the S.E.A. Aquarium, isn't available there yet even though I was told it would be. I hope that is rectified soon.
Now to make sure that I was not late for the launch, Winston, the soon to be long suffering Marketing Manager from Epigram Books (I say soon to be because he hasn't been working with me for that long) asked Soefara to pick me up from my place and drive me to the event on Sentosa.
15 minutes before we were due to be there, Winston texted Soefara inquiring where we were. As she was looking for a parking lot, I took it upon myself to text back on her behalf, saying that she was waiting outside my place for me and that I had just woken up. I chuckled thinking of his reaction. There was no response.
Then he called and we told him we were actually in the car park and he insisted on escorting us from our parking space to the venue to prevent me from coming up with anymore of my high-jinks. He even refused to let me go to the restroom on the way there because he knew I would pull a stunt. KILL JOY!
Pastor Joel and his son Pyro kindly turned up to support me and he was early. While they browsed the books, I checked out the reading room area.
Some disembodied mascots were strewn across the floor like the victims Jason Vorhees in Friday the 13th episode XXX: The Theme Park Massacre. OK, so it turns out the mascot performers were taking a break from rehearsals and had removed their costumes which were no doubt hot and uncomfortable. One of the male performers was due to parade as a girl mascot. I had to make fun and tease. And Winston just had to tell me to stop.
When I invited Pastor in the area, I was stopped by a member of staff saying Pyro was not allowed in. I let it be known that they were my guests and I was bringing them in. Again they reiterated that Pyro was not allowed in. It was soon sorted. Apparently they did not want him to be traumatised by the mascot body parts on the floor.
I spied TV and movie actor, Edmund Chen was getting ready to read his book The Little Red Dot and I had to approach him to tell him we were former workmates at Mediacorp. For obvious reasons he was the one in front of the camera; I behind it. I have to say his book is beautifully illustrated. Soefara, you may have competition!
Having skipped breakfast, I looked for the light refreshments that were on the program of events only to be told that there wasn't any. Say what? I've been doing this long enough to know the key to any successful launch is feeding your guests, the press and the authors!
At my last launch I ordered a turkey with the trimmings from the American Club!
Not wanting to read on an empty stomach, I navigated my way through the maze of mascot body parts (OK so this may be a slight exaggeration) to buy a sprite and some lollipops for breakfast at the snack counter. Hey, I'm almost a grown up, I can eat what I want for breakfast.
Soon enough it was time for the storytelling. While I read the story, Soefara sketched some illustrations that we later gave away as prizes. Thank you to Pastor Joel and Pyro for coming and for taking the photos. Thanks to Winston and Soefara and to everyone there for your support.