:: trivia retrieved ::


with 9 comments

You may see the name “Ivan Chew” as the author of the blog posts here, but the REAL author of ReTRIeVIA is Dr. Tan Wee Kiat — retired Associate Professor NIE, avid philatelist, author (plus co-author/ publisher), swimmer-instructor, and all round nice-guy.

Dr. Tan Wee Kiat (2006)Dr. Tan explained how Retrievia came about:

Retrievia‘ is my short form for ‘trivia retrieved‘.

I wrote it to amuse/ irritate (depending on perception) my NIE colleagues as I neared retirement in 2000.

As it turned out, the NIE decided to keep me out of mischief till May 2004. So, Retrievia had a longer life.

Now that I am retired, I thought I would compile the little stories in Retrievia into a small book with the title, “Short Grandfather Stories” (and leave it to the readers, [if any!] to figure out whether the “Short” refers to the grandfather or the stories or both!


I’ve been hounding Wee Kiat to start a blog to republish his Retrievia articles. He politely tolerates my nagging. Maintaining a blog takes a lot of work and time, he says. Well, he has a point. It does take work and time (although “a lot” is subjective).

Today (12 Sept 2007), over at the FOYers discussion group, I hounded Wee Kiat again. Siva, perhaps a bit irritated by my constant hounding of the nice gentleman, reminded me that Wee Kiat had already passed the materials to those in the group. Siva added: “So up to YOU? to post it??

I should’ve taken the hint and kept my mouth shut. But the “YOU” (capitalised, no less) stood out accusingly.

I shot off a reply:

Siva, the materials are in print format. Unless Wee Kiat gives me the PDFs and standing permission to publish it wholesale (no time to edit).

How Dr Tan?

Dr. Tan promptly emailed his PDF copies — one for Year 2000 and the other for Year 2001. And permission to publish it, in return for one cup of ‘Kopi-O Siew-tai’ (i.e. Black coffee, less sugar).

Sure Dr. Tan. Coffee on me!

… Uh, wait a minute. I’m blogging for you, and I have to treat you to coffee?!

But I jest 🙂

I’m more than happy to do it. ReTRIeVIA ought to be blogged for prosperity.

Ivan Chew

12 September, 2007


Written by Ivan Chew

12 September, 2007 at 9:20 am

9 Responses

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  1. Nice tongue-in-cheek profile, Ivan.

    Wee Kiat – Congrats on your new blog. Like Chun See said, you should personally respond to comments on your blog.

    Victor Koo

    13 September, 2007 at 5:33 pm

  2. Thanks for all the encouragement.
    Now that the bit of retrievia “Did you have a good spell” is out, there is a nice one from Ivan in his last sentence above that is irresistable:
    “Retrievia ought to be blogged for PROSPERITY”.
    So, I am off to the nearest TOTO shop after this.


    15 September, 2007 at 3:28 pm

  3. Thanks Wee Kiat and Victor for another interesting blog.


    17 September, 2007 at 11:17 am

  4. Most interesting. I could not stop reading.

    YC Wee

    27 October, 2007 at 6:28 am

  5. I enjoy reading your “Re-trievia recalled” series which are filled with good-natured humour and interesting topics gleaned from your enriching personal experience and keen observation of simple, everyday things you see around you…the way you could convey so much information from postage stamps.

    Your blog about NUT reminds me of “The NUTty Professor”, the funny movie starring Jerry Lewis.

    Please carry on blogging, Dr Tan.

    Thank you for sharing your unique and inspiring ‘ReTRIeVIA’ blogs. It has helped me to retrieve some of my forgotten and joyful memories of the past.


    9 February, 2008 at 12:22 am

  6. Dear Thimbuktu,
    Thank you for the kind remarks about Retrievia.

    Your reference to the “Nutty Professor” itself is an interesting bit of Retrievia. I was not much of a movie-goer in the past (I still am not) but I remember there were several comedy movies that Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin starred in.

    Regards and a Happy Lunar New Year to you,
    tan wee kiat


    9 February, 2008 at 2:50 pm

  7. Dear Dr. Tan,

    Best wishes for Happy New Year 2009 to you and your family.


    James Seah

    James Seah

    1 January, 2009 at 1:25 am

  8. Dear Dr. Tan,

    My name is Hwee Chin and I am working as a guidance officer. Part of my work involves looking into ways to help students in schools through career guidance.

    I understand that the National Institute of Education has developed an online career guidance tool (OSCAR) some years back. I was looking at the OSCAR commemorative video today and saw that you were the leader for the education guidance module. I am very interested to find out more about this education guidance module and thought I should take the chance to write to you, and to seek your advice on how education guidance can be carried out to help our students. I will be delighted if you could oblige to share from your rich experience. I am contactable at this email

    Thank you in advance for your time.

    Warm Regards,
    Hwee Chin

    Lim Hwee Chin

    24 September, 2010 at 4:52 pm

  9. Hi Wee Kiat, I am one of the army cadets in the platoon under your charge in Raffles Institution. Under your leadership, we won some awards, including best platoon. I still have those photos. A number of the cadets, also classmates, still meet regularly and we would like to have a reunion with you. Can you call me at 9173 5604 or contact me at . Looking forward to meeting you again after 50 years plus. Chia Yee Kim


    21 January, 2015 at 10:31 pm

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