The New Paper
By Judith Tan
September 14, 2014
They grew up in front of the nation. While some of these former pint-size performers continue in showbiz, others have fallen off the fame map.
1. From yellow bikini to fashion houses
WHO: Pepita Wee
THEN: She was just four when she captured viewers' hearts with her rendition of Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
Since then, Pepita Wee has never looked back. "From 1981 to 1992, I went on various English variety shows for both TV & radio," the 36-year-old events manager recalls. They included Children's Day Specials, New Year Countdowns, Community Chest Special, Fun on Caldecott Hill."
Sometimes the child star sang solo. Other times, she would perform duets with singers like Joe Ferdinands or the late Ali Ahmad. But performing in front of a TV camera or live audience was something in Ms Wee's genes.
She hails from a musical family. Her uncles Don, Mel and Joe Ferdinands made a name for themselves as local band Gypsy; her mother Emily Ferdinands conducted the SBC Children's Choir.
"I guess I was born into the business. My mum was expecting me when she started the RTS (Radio Television Singapore) Choir, which later became the SBC Children's Choir," she says.
"I used to tag along when I was a toddler so it was only natural to join in the fun. Mum knew I loved performing and went out of her way to let me do so, even when I had to do solo performances outside of the choir."
NOW: Ms Wee has two daughters of her own, aged 10 and seven, but she has not stayed away from performing.
"Now I'm involved behind-the-scenes. I do events, production and project management for clients like Hermes, Chanel and Bulgari.
"Having been a performer helped me in understanding how to put shows and events together," she says.
Ms Wee was sad when the SBC Children's Choir disbanded, but was cheered that Kids Central started "a couple years down the road", creating new era for child stars.
She readily admits she was "badly bitten by the performing bug" and still suffers withdrawal symptoms.
Even with a packed schedule organising events, she still finds time to hit the stage. "I continue performing occasionally, so I guess I never really left the scene," she says.
If given the chance, Ms Wee says she would gladly do it all again. "I remember kids asking me for my autograph. It felt good. I felt like a kid celebrity," she says.