Showing off their ‘Rock & Roll’ dance moves which had brought them closer to each other in their courtship, Ruby and Patrick will be celebrating their 50 years of marriage next year. They were first introduced to each other when Patrick came looking for his bandmate, who is Ruby's cousin. Sparks flew when the couple started exploring new dances together, such as folk dancing, square dancing and line dancing.
Living the stage as their second home, the couple engages in many forms of performances. They are members of the Peranakan Choir, who are popular performers for birthdays, museum events and also for the President at the Istana. They are also members of various Ukulele groups, performing at Gardens by the Bay, trade union events for ULive NTUC, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Clubs, Sports Hub, Community Centres, charity events, senior homes, and they make occasional appearances on television! When they are not performing, Ruby and Patrick can be found volunteering their time with RSVP (The Organisation of Senior Volunteers), and simply teaching line dancing and the ukelele, playing games with seniors, or administrative work at Dover Park Hospice. In fact, Ruby won an Active Ager Award in 2009. Contenders for this award are nominated by friends before they go through a selection process for a final interview with a panel of seven judges. Ruby shared that Patrick was a finalist for the 2010 awards but he lost out because he was “too shy to answer the questions during the interview”.
At present, Patrick is a People’s Association trainer, teaching ukulele in various Community Centres and Resident Committee Centres, ULive NTUC, corporate companies and churches. He has a treasured 40-year-old ukulele he brings around for performances. His favourite songs to play include “You are my sunshine”, “Yue Liang” (which means moon in Chinese), and “Munnaeru Vaalibaa”, a favourite National Day song. He used to work at a stock and shares broker firm.
As for Ruby, she has had a job that few might identify with today. She was a crime clerk, who documented crimes with her fast typing skills and her knowledge of Pitman shorthand, a phonetic recording system where phonetic symbols instead of words are recorded as they are spoken. It is not an easy skill to learn, as Ruby shared, “To get distinction, you have to be able to write down 100 words or more per minute and transcribe them in verbatim.” However, her hard work paid off and she was promoted to Secretary.
Speaking about these memories led them to share about the fun they had during colonial Singapore, “You only worked from 8.30am to 4pm and there were many parties, mass dancing and music at Raffles Hotel and Victoria Concert Hall. Garden and rooftop parties were my favourites.” Today, the couple relieves those carefree moments by bringing their ukuleles on their cruise trips, where they will play music on the deck and piano bars with friends and bring delight to fellow travellers.