|This article was published in the sports section of The Straits Times.|
This is extraordinary news indeed. Violinist Vanessa-Mae will be representing Thailand in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Ukraine in a skiing event next month! This would seem to be the culmination of an unusual career in classical music.
Born in Singapore in 1978 (on the same day as Nicolo Paganini's birthday), Vanessa-Mae Vannakorn Nicholson was a child prodigy violinist, daughter of Singaporean pianist (and Singapore Philharmonic Orchestra violinist) Pamela Tan and a Thai businessman father. She starred in the Bang & Olufsen Music Festival in Singapore in 1991 and played with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra on tour in its London début concerts in the same year. Later in 1995 she transformed herself into "The Violin Player", rocketing into pop music fame in her wet swimsuit, and never looked back.
The amazing thing is this: Given her birthplace and parentage, she could have also represented Singapore for the Winter Olympics! A unique opportunity for the Little Red Dot has been missed!