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Some of the best mem­o­ries I have from when I was grow­ing up are of play­ing my piano at home, es­cap­ing into my own world, with my mu­sic to in­spire and com­fort me. My 30-year-old piano has been with me through the most im­por­tant stages of my life – from my school­days, to when I got mar­ried and had my kids. I re­mem­ber play­ing through hap­pi­ness and heart­break, and prac­tis­ing some con­cert pieces that drove me nuts.

Re­cently, I dis­cov­ered that my beloved piano needed an over­haul, and had to be stripped of its keys and in­sides to be given a new lease of life. It was heart­break­ing to see the dam­age it had sus­tained over the years. This piano has been my faith­ful com­pan­ion – one I could count on when­ever I had to face per­sonal dis­ap­point­ments or blow off steam. You could say it’s one of my se­crets to stay­ing pos­i­tive.

If you’re go­ing through tough times, or need a bit of help to be­come a glass-half-full kind of person, take your cue from our cover girl, ever-cheer­ful ac­tress Priscelia Chan, who tells us how she pushes her­self to im­prove de­spite set­backs, and re­veals why one of her nick­names is “Dory” (pg 38).

Other sto­ries you shouldn’t miss this month: If you’re wor­ried about bul­ly­ing go­ing on in your kid’s school bus, find out how to help your child deal with it and what you can do to make sure it doesn’t hap­pen again (pg 108).

To mark Na­tional Day, we asked our read­ers and the team about their favourite places in their neigh­bour­hoods – check out their rec­om­men­da­tions on page 42. And if you’re look­ing for ways to cel­e­brate, try adding clothes by home-grown de­sign­ers to your wardrobe (pg 20), cook up some­thing scrump­tious for your fam­ily and friends with our potluck party recipes (pg 90) or drop in at un­der-the-radar hawker cen­tres for must-try lo­cal dishes (pg 105). En­joy!

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