Coming home for good
Charity begins at home, as four performers make a special trip back to Singapore just to do their bit for the ChildAid concerts.
TEEN opera singer Aliya goes to school in Perth. But at the end of this month, the 17-year-old will be making a special trip back here for the ChildAid concerts.
She is one of four Singaporean performers who will be flying back from abroad.
Aliya says: 'I made a special request to my principal for leave from school because I wanted to help raise funds for the local community.'
ChildAid, an annual showcase of young musical talents, is organised by The Straits Times (ST) and The Business Times (BT) newspapers to raise money for the ST School Pocket Money Fund and the BT Budding Artist Fund.
It will be held on Nov 27 and 28, with the NUS Centre for the Arts as a venue and production partner.
The trip home will not be a vacation for Aliya, who left for Australia on her own early this year. She is currently pursuing vocal studies on a scholarship at St Mary's Anglican Girls' School.
Because lessons are still going on, she will have to catch up on homework using the school's online portal system, she says.
Another performer, Patricia Lee, 21, is taking advantage of her term break to come back from Melbourne, where she studies medicine at Monash University.
She will be performing a medley of pop-rock songs with her three younger sisters. This makes group rehearsals 'hard to co-ordinate', she admits.
The quartet can rely only on video tapes and the webcam for group practice, she adds with a laugh.
As for drummer Ethan Ong, eight, he is 'simply happy' to come back to perform.
'I miss my relatives and friends, and best of all, I can finally busk along Orchard Road again,' he says.
The Singapore Drumfest 2007 Junior Championship winner used to busk there before he left for China with his family. His father was posted to Guangzhou as general manager of a chemical plant.
Ethan is not the only one in his family supporting ChildAid. His mother, Mrs Christina Ong, who sells purses she makes herself on BlingBlitz.com, will donate all proceeds from the sale of one design of evening clutches to the ST School Pocket Money Fund.
And like Ethan, flamenco dancer Kimberly Chan, 15, will also be skipping a week of school for Child-Aid.
She is currently studying in an international school in Shanghai, where her family is based.
The five-hour flight home is 'nothing compared to the plights of the needy children whom I'll be helping', she says.
ChildAid will be held at the University Cultural Centre on Nov 27 and 28. Tickets at $15, $20 and $30 are available from Sistic (http://www.sistic.com.sg/ or call 6348-5555).
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