Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lyrical Expressions of Love

You. Yes, you. You don't deserve any charity.
You will regret your words, your actions, and your self-righteousness.
You think you know best, but you know nothing at all.
You think you know me, but you know nothing at all.

Have it your way, at least for now.
Your presumptuous and cocky attitude eats you up, and it will kill you.
You will be broken, you will be torn.
And reduced to nothingness like the parasite you are.

So wake yourself up, you silly little girl.
And don't think you can do whatever you please.
Everything comes in a cause and effect,
And it's this where you will break.

You think you've accomplished something, but actually you've done nothing at all.
So spare me your pompous ways and look at yourself.
That mess of your life, and those stupid silly dreams of getting married.
Once again I say, wake up, girl.

Thank god you have a silly little dog you call your hubby,
I bet he's blinded by you and all your evil schemes.
So continue to lead that treacherous life of yours,
I'm sure your parents raised you well that way.

So don't you even try to contemplate me,
You're probably to clueless to contemplate your own life anyway.
You sorry little thing.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Ship Sightings

The marathon of a weekend came by and left without much fanfare but with plenty of activity. But indeed, this morning's recuperation of 4 hours of sleep in my favourite "ninja turtle" spot proved to be really helpful! Last Thursday was the dreaded show at National Library Boards, where MDC's VE and FEU (Fusion Ensemble Unplugged, right) did two quick slots for the launch of the Read! Singapore 2007. Amazingly, however, our song item of singing something according to the lyrics of a Charlie & The Chocolate Factory poem went down pretty well and as quite well-received!

I also managed to do hosting with Zarinah for the first time; apparently the managers said that Zarinah & me have quite good on-stage chemistry. Guess the workshops by Hossan are indeed paying off! After the event Meng Yee was really nice and treated Charles, JCT and myself to some really good lunch at TCC at Bugis Junction. We all had a variation of salmon or the other! Thanks Meng Yee!

Friday, Saturday and Sunday was Changi Naval Base all the way for the Navy Open House. Pictures of the event first! (I've really ballooned! What's wrong with me!)

Clarence & me on one of the many ship visits.

Pretending to be CO for the day! (That's the ship CO's chair.)

We are easily wowed by big guns!

That's one of the Navy's high-tech frigates. Trust me, it's really quite cool inside.

Andre and me hamming it up by the pier.

Mahmud & me chilling out backstage

Clarence obviously distracted on-stage!

Drumming divers from the NDU. Seems like they have some instilled musical talent too!

Apparently that's called Boat PT. Don't play play ah!

JCT the fake Civil Defence sergeant.

It's always quite amusing how MDC people get mistaken for real officers when wearing uniforms of different uniformed units. That last time Arvind wore an Air Force No. 3 uniform with 1st Warrant Officer rank at the MINDEF Pride Day, a couple high-ranking (real) sergeants addressed him as sir. Pretty good way to get your cheap thrill fix, eh! Haha!

View from the bridge.

My continuing obsession with CO chairs.

That's the RSS Persistence landing platform dock ship behind me. These giants
are the biggest ships in the Singapore Navy with a displacement
of 6000 tons and are designed and built wholly in Singapore!

That's the view of the well dock from inside the LST.

VE backstage on Day 03.

Also over the weekend I played for the first time at this new, really really nice chillout place called oosh at Dempsey Road. I was there on Friday & Saturday night, and both nights were really enjoyable. The place is really beautiful, from the decor to the landscaping to the ambiance. They have not one, but two stages for bands and singers; one is in the indoor dining and bar area and one at the outdoor bar known as the Lookout. oosh is located right at the edge of Tanglin Village, very near the junction of Dempsey Road and Holland Road.

I bumped into Jo Dong and Daniel Purnomo on Saturday; they were doing the outdoor area and my band was doing the indoor one. It was good meeting up and catching up with them! Jo, remember our crazy Snow Queen days? Haha! Really miss them! Daniel's really good as usual; I'm talking about his crazy guitar skills. Really the jazz virtuoso!

All the buzz over the weekend resulted in me only sleeping three hours each on Friday & Saturday nights. Not happening! My days were so long that by nightfall I would think that whatever happened earlier in the morning actually happened the day before. Don't you get that too sometimes? That's why I was really grateful for the morning slumber I had earlier today. Well, it's back to mundane office days for now, but I'm not complaining. I'm watching Pirates 3 tomorrow! That ought to inject some excitement into my boring life!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Baffled & Bewildered

This e-mail was recently posted on Singapore's Arts Comm e-mailing list. Worth a read.

It's sometimes really baffling when you think about it, the ludicrous things (or so-called "personal thoughts") our dear leaders say, more so if he or she is from the military. I know this debate has been going on quite strongly in the papers in the past few weeks, and I actually feel that such exchanges are actually good. Forces apathetic Singaporeans to think, to voice out, and to air their personal opinions.

But sweeping statements made by people of influence and authority (no less the Minister of State for Education) just makes one wonder how progressive our society really is. Or makes you think how far-sighted our leaders really are.

Just to set the record straight (no pun intended), I'm straight. But I have lots of wonderful and close friends who are gay, and they are just as diligent, kind-hearted, good-natured, hardworking, easygoing and, forgive me for a lack of a better word, normal as any hetrosexual individual. So lets put an end to all this intolerance, it'll only do us good.

You can read the news article here and the email response here.

Whatever & Anything

Say hi to the first-ever non Chinese dude to join the ranks of VE. I'm serious. For as long as I know, and looking at all the photos of past VEs, I have never seen a non-Chinese dude. Viknesh, congratulations! You've actually made MDC history! Hope to see you on show soon. Vik's got a really nice tone when it comes to jazz numbers. Incidentally, we also have another Malay guy coming in soon; also a very good singer. Hanifi is his name, I think. Diversify, I say! That's Charles (again) by the way. Trying to look angsty 'cos the CSM of Nee Soon Camp confiscated his phone. Haha!

Dreaded Weekend Pt. 2 is approaching soon. Wednesdays have become sort of a reality check for me... The rest of the week seems to just loom quicker and quicker once Wednesday is over. Japanese class seems to be the sign for me that my dreaded weekends are approaching soon. Navy Open House, 3 days, 5 shows. And to top it off, they're all the way at fricking hell timbuktu Changi Naval Base. Panglima Road or some crap. What a lame name for a road to build a naval base on. Not fun. I'm bitter. The only thing that's keeping me hanging there is the thought of the offs I'll get back.

Not that I should put too much hope in my offs. Charles, JCT and myself aren't gonna get any OILs for the Viva Verdi concert we did in March. Wtf!! Apparently Jessie (our assistant chief clerk) said that it's too late now to submit off claims from March. I don't know who to blame; Jessie or the people that forgot to submit our offs in time. Gah. Grrr. Roar. Whatever. Or maybe I should just blame myself for being stupid enough to agree to the SLO attachment in the first place. It was exactly because of this concert which was why I delayed my trip to Melbourne to see beenzy.

Anyway, Singapore just saw the launch of two new drinks, very strangely titled Whatever and Anything. Ok, I gotta admit, the branding and copious amounts of advertising (through bus stop ads) piqued my curiosity quite a bit, so I bought a can of Whatever the first I time I saw it selling at the YJC canteen (of all places, right?). Turns out it's actually a bland mix of green tea extract and sugared water. It was quite a let down! The positive thing is, however, the both Whatever and Anything are going to carry six flavors each, so I hope the other flavors of Whatever fare better.

Haven't really tried Anything yet, but I heard all the drinks from the Anything line are going to be carbonated. I heard from someone that one of the flavors taste like Sarsi, and I already think Sarsi's flavor is already pushing the limits of non-diabetic drinkers in terms of sugar content (don't even talk about diabetics), so I wonder how is the Anything version gonna taste like. Also, I've read that the flavors of each can is not going to labeled on the can itself so you'll just randomly get a flavor every time you buy one. I think you can read the ingredients on the can beforehand though, so you can do that if you're not feeling too adventurous. Don't think you can do that at a coffeeshop though, you'll probably piss the drinks sellers off. But in any case I think this Whatever & Anything business a pretty good idea, I just hope the drinks themselves will live up to all the hype. They're selling everywhere! School canteens, petrol kiosks, 7-Eleven, coffeeshops...

Speaking of coffeeshops, I can just imagine such a conversation to take place:

kopi-kia: ai lim simi?
me: anything lor
kopi-kia: anything? bo anything lah. kin!
me: ah ni kuan ah, whatever lah.
kopi-kia: smlj!! li ka wa siao keng ah!

Will tell you when that really happens one day!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mistaken Pride

It's been unbelievably tiring and busy the past week. Can't seem to just find time to sit down and blog, for now at least. I've actually resorted to blogging from office, again! Last week's show at Haw Par Villa is pretty interesting; it was rather surreal walking up the entrance knowing that the last time I visited this place was more than 10 years ago. Yep, that was when they still had the boat service into the 10 Levels of Hell. Now you have to walk!

Managed to take plenty of photos of wax figurines being chopped into half, being crushed by boulders, being thrown onto a hill of knives, being dismembered, having their heart and tongue pulled out, being tied to a giant red-hot copper pillar, and much more. I tell you, we Chinese are pretty imaginative when it comes to hellish punishments, literally! Unfortunately, the photos were taking using my temp cellphone which I traded in to buy my Nokia 6300, and I didn't manage to transfer them before I traded it in.

Interestingly, us VE guys (the old ones) got too carried away with some of the wax figures. John Khoo took one with a child figurine (she was about to be sold as a commodity) and I took one with a street prostitute. Wax figurine of course. But I got so unnerved by the photo I actually deleted it after and apologized to the wax figurine! The prostitute was closely modelled after this prostitute in a famous photo where she's standing on a street corner in olden-day San Francisco. So, decided not to take the chance!

Tuesday was the new VE's first show at IJC. It would have been nothing short of a horrid show, if not for the fact that it was just a publicity show so all we had to do were three (or four) songs. But the folks at IJC were nevertheless extremely accommodating; it was the VE's third time there and after our show they presented us with a gift of appreciation (liquor chocolates) and a thank you card. Now that sure is incentive!

Last weekend was the 20th MINDEF Pride Day. Woo hoo. Yeah. Just another useless exhibition courtesy of MINDEF. You want a good way to cut costs and save money & man-hours? Just completely scrap the MINDEF Pride Day. No need to pay MDC hundreds of thousands of dollars (literally!) to perform over the weekend, and us artistes can all go about all lives and try to live a normal weekend. What was good though, was that the new VE managed to go on five shows, letting the new guys soak up some show experience and onstage time. Toa Payoh Hub wasn't exactly a source of the more discerning audiences, so it was good that we were given this location to "try out" the new guys. Doesn't Andie look gorgeous in the pose by the way? Yeah, all the roadshows are driving us crazy!

Not that a break is around the corner, anyway. After loads of vettings last week and all that training, this weekend will be reserved for the Navy Open House at Changi Naval Base. Same old thing, MDC shows galore! I glanced at the show schedule, apparently there will also be a performance by the NDU. I wonder what they are the gonna do. Quick-change from No. 4 into their wetsuits? Haha!

Also, we have a NLB show coming up. It's supposedly the launch of some Reading Week; I didn't know we even had a Reading Week! Maybe the NLB can do me a big favour and get me started on reading again by erasing my $90 fine that I still owe them. Apparently Teo Chee Hean is going to be there. Like, the Minister of Defence will be interesting in the National Reading Week, right? I don't think he even remembers what he was doing as Second Minister for Education. Someone should educate him to smile abit more, we're not at war you know Mr Teo.

Anyway, apparently what we're supposed to do is to do a four minute "tongue-in-cheek" musical presentation based on words taken from a poem in Roald Dahl's Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. Wow. From acappella to skits, they sure are utilizing us to the max! Anyway, Charles and myself just (begrudgingly) sat down and came out with chords and a melody in five minutes. We had a quick informal vetting today, and apparently the boss likes it. Hope it goes the same for Mr Teo. The last two times we sang for him at one of his pompous dinners we had to cut our show short 'cos he wanted to leave halfway. Gee, thanks. Glad to be performing for you! (That's new bass Andre and me at Toa Payoh Hub.)

Anyway, I'm tired. Still have to teach two kids tomorrow then go for my JLC class. That's after another day of work with vetting and Hossan's workshop. Haven't even started on my script with Timmy. Argh!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Contact Harvesting

Finally! Got my replacement phone, a very thin and sexy Nokia 6300. I'll be needing everyone's contacts though! Gotta start from scratch this time round. So just either post a blog or tag comment or drop me a msg/email/text with your number, ok?

Thanks for helping me out of this one! : )

Monday, May 14, 2007

Stroke of 12

'Twas another muted weekend that flew by, characterized by spontaneous bouts of frenzied worrying as to whether my life is headed anywhere respectable. It's so hard to believe in oneself sometimes, what more even in somewhere else. What's true for a fact, though, and I've learnt that lesson well, is to never make promises which you can't keep. Even if you think for a slight second that you can never keep that promise, don't make it. It's been hard, trying to come to terms with myself that promises do break sometimes, be it by you yourself or someone else who promised you something.

As well very well-put lyrics of Linkin Park's Somwhere I Belong comes to mind;

"It is not the way i had imagined it all in my mind.
(So what am I)
What do I have but negativity
'Cos I can't trust no one by the way everyone is looking at me"

I guess sometimes I'm still looking for somewhere I belong. Do we think we are really close to something real, or are we still at the end of the day just stuck hollow and alone? Well, guess we need that rude awakening jolt for us to realize that sometimes everything around us isn't what it really seems!

Anyway, talking about Linkin Park, I managed to listen to the whole of their new album Minutes To Midnight. Pretty good stuff, actually. Initially I was one of the many other loyal LP fans who were worried that their new sound for this third studio album would be too much of a paradigm shift for the band's benefit, but I'm glad to say that I actually quite appreciate their new music approach this time round, too. It's become more gritty and rough, definitely much less of the nu-metal element. Instead, they've approached it with a very distinct heavy metal perspective, stripping down the elements and just presenting them vis a vis.

It's also good to see Mike Shinoda singing a couple more songs in this album instead of just doing his usual rapping (he only raps for 2 tracks in this album). This should give poor lead singer Chester Bennington a break every now and then; sometimes I feel painful for him when I watch his live concerts. Imagine all that constant repetitive strain on his voice! (He used to suffer from hiatal hernia by the way. Not happening at all!!)

Yesterday I finally finished up watching Freedom Writers. Excellent movie after all! Hilary Swank displayed her renowned Academy Award acting prowess, and her supporting casts of students did really touching portrayals of how living in racial Los Angeles of the mid-1990s was really like. And finally, after staring at Patrick Dempsey's character for the longest time, I recalled why he look so familiar; he's none other than Dr. Derek Shepherd on Grey's Anatomy.

Interestingly, Freedom Writers is based on true life events, notably the Freedom Writers Diary, written and published in 1999 by teacher Erin Gruwell (played by Hillary Swank) and her students in her English Language class. Interesting to note is also the subject of Freedom Riders, a brave congregation of mostly students who nonviolently opposed the notion of segregated seating on public transport by getting themselves, who were of different races, to sit in the same bus that would ply through different states. However, they faced constant opposition from violent mobs and the KKK, who were spurred on to higher levels of violent retaliations through the non-action of the local authorities.

Anyhow, crazy show season for the rest of this month starts this week. Feeling the stress cords tighten even further now, but not tight enough for me to scream. If it comes to that though, you'll hear it!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Muggletons

I finally got to the bottom about the recent uproar as to why blog posting was rendered almost impossible for some people. Yesterday I managed to update my blog at work, which got me thinking and searching. Apparently, this problem is only present among SingNet subscribers like myself, and this issue can be (somewhat) circumvented by using "www2." instead of "www". It's working for me at the moment, but I do hope SingNet gets it's bloody act together and stop inconveniencing us subscribers. So much for upgrading my connection to the mio setup! For more information about the posting and layout issue, you can read this forum thread here which should provide you with some help.

This weekend just reminded me once again how much I find weekends bothersome. For years, weekends have never bonded well with me I remember always getting so depressed on the entire of Sundays as a 9-year-old, knowing full well that it would be back to school. 13 years later, not much has changed; a full teaching and working schedule usually sees my weekends zoom by faster than I can say "TGIF"! Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate the work, and I love performing, but sometimes I just wonder how come I'm so financially strapped that I need to work so much.

Life drama seems to love weekends, too. Maybe life has a way of realizing and sensing that my dull 5-day work week lull has come to an end and decides to throw in as much drama into my life as possible, making them coming in huge waves so that they break and crash on me as I stand by the shoreline. And when everything has subsided, this knowing of someone's avoidance to me just makes me want to rip through all that packaging farce and wonder what's really going on.

In other news, I've been watching a little of MADtv clips here and there on YouTube, thanks to Ena's good introduction! For the unfamiliar, MADtv is something like a grown-up version of Nickelodeon's All That (that's if you actually still do watch Nickelodeon) or a raunchier version of Saturday Night Live. They have a whole range of different skits, I find the Average Asian clips particularly hilarious, so enjoy watching!

I managed to catch sneaks of 28 Weeks Later last Wednesday! It's been a long four-year wait since the first one (28 Days Later) came out, and I'm glad to say it has been a rewarding wait! I swear, I'm getting pretty addicted to these British post-apocalyptic movies; they're more gritty and dark than their Hollywood counterparts. Not that I've watched alot of British post-apocalyptic movies anyhow, so if you have any recommendations let me know.

So, anyway, I did some kind of searching on the movie itself and found that one of the main actors is a fresh-faced boy starring in his first movie called Mackintosh Muggleton. Gosh, who has a last name called Muggleton? And worse still, who would ever name their child Mackintosh after taking into consideration their last name, Muggleton? I swear, if he had a brother, the brother will be named PC Wizardbane.

Ha ha. Ok, that was funny alright!! Think I might be watching Freedom Writers later. Yeah, I know I'm kinda slow!

The World Wide Web is the only thing I know of whose shortened form takes three times longer to say than its long form.

Douglas Adams, The Independent on Sunday, 1999

Friday, May 11, 2007

Blogger Drama

Oh, finally! Blogger has fixed it's damn posting issues. Good to be able to blog again, that's for sure! Some news first: my phone has completely crashed and I'm the midst of getting a new phone, so forgive me if I reply back asking who you are when you message me.

'Tis been one hell of a busy week! Vetting just ended today, and the whole of this week was busy training the new VE guys Ying Peng, Justin & Andre. Well, I guess you could say everything paid off; today's vetting went well, though there will be another one next week before the MINDEF Pride Day shows over the weekend. I need more weekend shows to accumulate offs! Mine's at such a pathetic state right now.

I'll be doing another ALD gig tonight at JetQuay, hope that goes well. JetQuay is this new terminal within Changi Airport that serves "Commercially Important Passengers", aka millionaires and other rich people who like to travel in style. Got a couple new songs to play for the gig, including Leslie Cheung's A Thousand Dreams of You. Pretty good song, check it out if you can! Millionaireasia magazine is having their 2nd Anniversary Party there and it should be interesting to check out which exceedingly luxurious lounges do millionaires actually fly out from when they're at Changi Airport. The lobby itself (right) already does look pretty welcoming!

The past week was pretty filled out with me finishing up 14才の母 on DVD. I guess it'd be only fair to proclaim that it was an excellent drama series! Initially I did have my misgivings about how they would be able to stretch the story of a 14-year-old girl getting pregnant over 11 episodes, but in the end I was completely blown away by the stellar acting and the convincing storyline. Family dramas are usually not really my thing (I'd rather watch air stewardesses or coast guard divers, get what I mean?), but this one was literally quite the exception. Shida Mirai is such a talented young actress, and Yamaguchi Sayaka (also from Shimtoka Sundays) is really good eye candy as usual!

Which reminds me. Need to get new dorama DVDs soon, I've run out! I'm still looking for that elusive Ruri no Shima, so if anyone has any leads, please give me a buzz! I'm looking out for the DVD version, not the VCD one. Till then, じゃまたね!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Identity Crisis

Apparently spotted right here in Singapore in front of Tekka Mall, a man with a pseudo identity crisis evoked numerous curious stares from people on the street. Check this out!

As you can see, he wants to be both pretty and handsome at the same time, evidently unable to select a preference of choice. Someone should tell him to at least shave off that mustache and keep a long hair or wear a wig! Well, what can I say. It seems like This Fashion has very successfully eroded Singaporeans' sense of fashion. I mean, come on, you gotta love the dress! Don't even get me started on the cardigan!

Absolutely living out my dreaded weekend now. An insane part of me is looking forward to going back to work on Monday! There're 7 or 8 VE shows lined up for this month, so I'm looking forward to going back on show. They're gonna call back two of the recently-ORDed VE guys back for a show on the 14th at Haw Par Villa, so it'll be nice being back onstage doing shows together again!

"Ok soldiers, we're gonna go in quiet and low. Stick close
together, and shoot back at anything that shoots at you. If
you run out of ammo, just shoot outside of the battlefield".

Adapted from Justin's kick-ass repository of one-liners

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Blue or Green?

Gah! imeem has been pissing me off real bad.. Haven't been able to upload any songs for the past two days 'cos if a dumb glitch that seems to grant you access to a completely different account everytime you attempt to upload a song. Anyone else having this problem? I sure hope nobody lands up in my account and start probing! Scary!

Anyway, I've been spending so much time in front of a TV screen that I think I'm starting to get "eye flowers". Ok, lame.. It's 眼花 I'm talking about actually. I actually finished the entire series of Umizaru Evolution in two sittings. But, what's new right? Thankfully I still have one more unopened and unwatched dorama, 14才の母 (14-Year-Old Mother, right) to keep me entertained for the rest of the week!

Ok, so here's a little interesting bit of trivia I discovered at Japanese class last night. Do you know that in really olden-day Japan, they only had proper traditional names for four colors? Yes, only four colors! Black, white, blue and red. So how would to refer to something pink? They would just call it red! Or green? They would call it blue! Uh-huh, strange eh? Apparently they would just pick the closest to the four established colors and just call them that. Makes you think whether Japan had rainbows back then, eh? How would they analyze one??

Then, progressively, they started calling colors in relation to other established objects. For example, to refer to something grey they would just call it "mouse-colored" (after the color of a mouse), and pink would be cherry blossom-colored or peach-colored. In modern times though they (according to my teacher at least) just use Japanese variants of the proper English words for some colors, i.e. pink is pinku and orange is orenji; with it's kanji character usually identical to Chinese words. Some olden-day elements still remain, though. For example, green traffic lights are described as ao shingō (青信号), and blue skies are described as aozora (青空), whereby one color Ao (あお) is still used to apply to both blue and green.

But guess what. Apparently this vagueness between blue and green exsists not only in Japanese, but in also approximately 15 other languages as well! Check it out here. Talk about complicated!!

Today's MDC publicity photo shoot was pretty entertaining at times, if you look past all the waiting and lulling around. Vincent and me ending up playing the drums; Justin, Andre and myself did shots with the guitar; K and Samuel did the bongos; and finally Andre and me again on the double bass. Talk about being out of our element! Instruments which we totally don't play. Haha! Can't wait to see how the final publicity press kits look like when they're done.

Week's approaching to an end, and I can hardly wait! One more day of work left to go (not counting teaching on Saturday & Sunday), unlike someone whose weekend has already arrived and all ready to go mau hiu hiu over the weekend, hor! Heh heh. Managed to catch up with Lingna during the Labor Day holiday; I haven't seen her in ages and it was the only way to catch her not burying herself in heaps of work. Groan. Did I just say "work"?

Don't remind me!