Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Life Traffic

At the day's break,
With the same haste.
Life he partakes,
Another one to face.

Puts on the tune,
And drifts away.
As far as the moon,
Past thoughts kept at bay.

The lethargy numbs,
Settle into routine,
Echoes from a drum,
Beats out each scene.

Yet something so dear,
Can salvage it all.
A laugh and a cheer,
Really breaks the fall.

O teetered one,
Find me my desire.
Or settle for none,
Fall back into the mire.

Clear the path,
So as thou bright as day.
Peace none hath,
We return to clay.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Weekender Updates

Whoo, a long week this has been. I haven't updated for so long I don't even know that Blogger has added an "add video" feature; I only saw it a moment ago. Time seems to really fly though, it seems that I always never have enough hours in a day. This entire week there wasn't a night where I slept for more than 5 hours!

Had to go down to the Ritz on Tuesday with Ina for rehearsal for the NDP07 Appreciation Dinner. Ina was so smart, she asked me to bring our costume which we didn't wear in the end; noob points for you!! But I did some pretty noob stuff that day too, so I guess we evened out. No one's to blame, I suppose. We've been so tired out from work.

That's how we looked like after we had to go through a rehearsal where they actually read out all 400 or so names of the award recipients for the dinner. Oh, and they have Navy NSFs to come down and role-play the award recipients; smart!!

Thursday night was back at oosh after missing out last week. Playing at oosh is always a pleasant experience, and that night Charles joined us for one set. Needless to say, his beatboxing drew rapturous applause from the crowd. That night at oosh was a particularly rowdy one, as Standard Chartered was holding some private function. It was more like a farewell party for one of their colleagues, and everyone attending was pretty sloshed.

Here's where the story of the chocolate fountain comes in. As it was a private function, they had set up a buffet line. And right beside the sound console was a strategically placed chocolate fondue counter. After the first set, I stretched and leaned out to mute our channels, when my white shirt got fondued. Here's how it looked like after the transformation.

Yes, it was most unglamorous, I assure you. The left picture is the back of the shirt, and the right picture is the front of the shirt. Sigh.

Yesterday VE had yet another NDP07 appreciation dinner to do (a different one). Really, it's amazing how they can endlessly hold dinners to appreciate people every year. I guess what they do isn't really out business, really. But sometimes it gets so tiresome, having to do VE shows at those events.

Today I met Daph for a spot of dinner (well we had two rounds, actually) and to catch Secret. For those of you who've watched that movie too, I mourn with you for having to painfully sit through and endure Jay Chou's acting. Really, any misgivings I had about his acting ability were assured and confirmed. Not that his co-star Kwai Lun-mei was any better though!

I know I've made it known to quite a number of people that there was absolutely no way was I going to watch that self-indulgent movie which I gathered to be just a glorified 90-minute Jay Chou MTV. However, during the past week Daph has been pretty convincing; plus the fact that Ina told me there was a really clever twist to the story and I happened to listen to the soundtrack beforehand and it was actually pretty good.

So, I decided to give it a shot to really find out what the twist was. And Daph, being just too smart for herself, suggested a theory as to what was actually happening only after 20 minutes into the film; and it turned out to be true! So for the rest of the movie we were just waiting for it to happen. When it did, it was admittedly rather anti-climatic!

Speaking of movies, I also managed to catch a test screening of this new Thai movie, Me... Myself a couple days ago. It's a really well-written romantic drama/comedy that talks about a gay male dancer in a transvestite cabaret who suffers amnesia after being struck by a car, and then falling in love with the girl who knocked him down.

The idea of rediscovering one's gender orientation might not be completely new, but this movie was written in a very heartfelt and narrative manner, giving much thought you character development. It does help too that the female lead Chayanan Manomaisnatiphap looks absolutely stunning and mesmerizing in her first feature film.

Gotta give a shout of thanks to Selwyn though, the master of winning radio contests. He won four free tickets to the show, but because I was the only he could find to watch with, the other two tickets went to waste. How Selwyn seems to always strike all these freebies, I'm afraid I'll never know! He did mention though, that he's looking out to pass on the mantle of contest-winning, and is actually looking out for successors with lots of potential before he himself ORDs. Which I suppose translates into quick fingers to dial on the phone, and careful timing. And of course, listening to lots and lots of radio!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Crashing Cribs

Eyes swollen, limbs dragging, hair completely tousled.. I'm starting to get used to this image every single morning I head to work. The mundane bus ride, the 3-minute walk up Transit Road, the mind-numbing shuttle ride up to the office..

Recently there has been yet more drama at work. First, our artistic manager who so dramatically resigned from his post three weeks ago returned from his sabbatical leave to announce that he was coming back and not resigning after all. Well, that was very much expected actually.

Then, there have been a case of a colleague to has been so exasperated by his work as an artiste then he broke down into a emotional fit comparable to Teri Hatcher's character on Desperate Housewives; claiming that he really wanted to be in VE. He came to talk to me today, by the way.

Oh, and tomorrow I have to be at the Ritz at 9 in the morning for the NDP Appreciation Dinner event rehearsal. I swear, this event is killing me. Last night I had to type out TWO different VE repertoire proposals for the organizers along with detailed timing for every song and fax it today before 9:30am. Then now I have to make sure our new guy Nicholas is ready to take Jon Tay's place on show by Friday.

Oh boy.. I really need to lie down.

Anyway, I've done the really brave thing of putting up Vik's Cribs video which we took at Istana. Hope nobody ends up in court for this. Haha! It's a really good laugh though!



Yeah, give it up for the lights from Italy, I say! Hope you didn't have to turn up the volume too much while watching the video. My phone's audio capture is simply terrible.

Facebook's down right now. Dammit.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hall Pass

Untimely, but somehow unavoidable. The notion that we have moved on with each other's lives is clearly established, so I really hope your rants of self-love and self-worth are working, 'cos I'm tired. Tired of all those demanding text messages, confusing signals, indignant questions. Tired of flogging this dead horse.

I never restricted your social life in any way. You decided to do that for yourself, and you know why. I should have just been smarter and closed that chapter; not give in yet again. Please, for the love of me and yourself, let's walk away. Symbolisms, rings and memories. When you've come to this point, do they really matter, in the end?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Everywhere & Nowhere

It's over. Another miserably busy week, that is. Absolutely got smashed tired with last week's multitude of shows. Worst thing is, I just looked at September's show schedule today, and it's not looking any better. I'm relieved that NDP is over, at least. Plus, I have been spending too much time on Facebook it's robbing me of my blog-time. Heh.

wednesday, 08Aug. The last NDOC I'll ever do for MINDEF. Well, as an NSF, at least. A year has just flew through, stopping for nobody and nothing. Can't believe it's been a year already. Still remember doing 2006's NDOC at Gombak, still fresh and all in MDC, learning the ropes. Now, I can't wait to ORD. Every single day, this fleeting thought whizzes through my mind, leaving nothing more than a trace of hope that one day has passed, and that my ORD date draws one day nearer.

Gombak's NDOC was big as usual, with the defense minister and his 2nd minister there; as well as CDF, COA, CON, CAF, and all the other important people who think having acronyms for their titles makes them even bigger. Then there's the big National-Day-songs sing-along at the end, with Mr Teo Chee Hean mouthing, i mean singing the songs while waving his Singapore flag. You know, it's so convincing at that moment that you might actually think you were meaning whatever you might be singing.

All the name of love and patriotism for Singapore. Whoo hoo. (I really should stop being so cynical!) By the way, I can't believe our CDF Desmond Kuek has his own Wikipedia article too. Seriously, I wonder who actually would go write one for him. I bet PAFF (Public Affairs) had to do something with it!

friday, 10Aug. We did an Istana show for the National Day Reception Dinner hosted by none other than Mr Nathan himself. Istana shows always tire me, only because our No. One's house is so big we have to trek from our holding/dressing room to our show stages. And there are actually NO official smoking points in the Istana. Seriously, come on! Your house is so big and you couldn't put just one teeny, small yellow box for us nicotine addicts?

Anyway, Vik was around to entertain us to pass the time as usual. Which was good. We did a gureilla-style video of a parody of Cribs, with Vik as the host (hey, he was the only black guy!) and the grounds of Istana as his crib. It's absolutely hilarious, but due to security reasons I can't post it on YouTube. Actually, it's only so that I don't get Vik into shitloads of trouble. Haha! But yeah, ask to see it when you see me. It's really good!

The dinner opened with lots of pomp and grandeur, no doubt. (Dinner reception grounds, right) The biggest four couples you could find in Singapore were all there: President Nathan and Mrs Nathan, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Mrs Lee, Senior Ministor Goh Chok Tong and Mrs Goh and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yeow and Mrs Lee. Apparently, according to my hosting script, this was the only way and only order I was supposed to read out. Talk about power control!

I saw Mr Lee (the senior one) towards the end of my table, he was probably sitting 15m away from me. Poor Mrs Lee, she has to walk with a brace on her waist and has to be half-supported by an aide wherever she goes.

:: Whoops, hope I didn't just get into trouble for reporting that. You know, perhaps I shouldn't comment on the ill health of our dear leaders (or their wives). Undermines our country's leadership and their capability to run our country. ::

Anyway, I was gonna say, I saw our dear MM actually drinking beer. Damn, you'd think that an 83-year-old would want to stay away from the alcohol! So, yeah, I suppose, respect to the old man. Guess he did have a part to play in APB's formation and production of Tiger beer after all, so I guess he deserves a couple sips every now and then!

the aftermath. I suppose it'll be a while before I don that dreaded red shirt/white suit costume again, but with all those NDP appreciation dinners coming up I suppose it'll be a matter of sooner rather than later.

Last Friday I finally went down to Club 392 at Orchard Towers with Daph, Ray, Kartik, Xiao'an, Albert, and.. Hsin Yeow! Yes, Hsin Yeow actually came down to join us too. It was good fun, bro. You should come out at night more often! And next time don't drive! Haha.. Gerry dropped by afterwards (Hey! Do you know the angmoh keyboardist fancies you? Heh!), and so did Jon Tay, David and their friends. Jon came down from Brewerks so he was rather sloshed by then, naturally!

So there you have it. It's these times when I realize again why I have eye bags bigger than my eyes themselves. I gotta say though, Daph has been extremely sweet in making my whole weekend so much more bearable. I know my retard-ness is reaching breaking point already. Haha! But thank you. Really.

Ok, maybe I should get back to Facebook already!!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Road to NDP

National Day beckons. Or should I say, looms! And that always means crunch time for MDC shows, shows and more shows! Ironically, I'm on show all the way from last Sunday till this Friday, with the exception of National Day itself! That's on Thursday, btw. I'll be playing at oosh as usual though!

sunday, 05Aug. We had an NDOC show at the Punggol/Meridian estate. Well, it was 108 Punggol Field to be exact. It was a rather unusual location, I must say. When I got there, I heard choirs singing and saw children in tutus dancing onstage. It doesn't get any more heartland than this, let me tell you!

The reason why MDC was performing at this particular NDOC is quite compelling, though. What actually happened was, the RSAF seems to somehow always train over the Punggol area, flying their fighter jets and whatnot over the estate. As a result there have been a multitude of complaints from the residents, so for this year's NDOC the RSAF decided to send a "peacemaking" contingent of PR personnel to sooth and pacify residents, and to convince them that flying over Punggol is only done to safeguard the country's interest.

Yeah, whatever. Also, I was quite surprised to see big brother Teo Chee Hean there at the NDOC celebrations as well. He's not even going for the NDP Appreciation Dinner; he's sending his No. 2 man Ng Eng Heng for that one! Guess the residents' complaints must have been vocal enough for the minister himself to turn up and appease them.

As such, MDC was called down (for free, as far as I know) to do three songs at bright-and-early 9 o'clock in the morning. It's Punggol, mind you. I had to take a train to Yishun, then 965 to Sengkang, then MRT to Punggol, then LRT to Meridian. I must admit I noobed out though, I didn't know that there was actually a bus 38 (or was it 39?) which existed. It goes from Yishun straight to Punggol. Damn!! Plus, the LRT took years to arrive.

Oh yes, and not only would singing a couple acappella songs suffice, we had to deck ourselves our in Air Force uniforms (No. 3, pilot overalls etc.) to sing. Way to go!

monday, 06Aug. Last night's show was at Pasir Ris Camp, which is also known is the Commando Training Institute. CDO TI carries special significance to me; it was the very first show which I went along with the VE, or for that matter, with MDC. The feeling of going on show for the very first time has, unfortunately, been lost on me somewhere along the way.

The last time we went for a show there, the VE had to serenade (without mics) the CO as he approached the stairway landing. First time for the VE, as far as I knew. I also remembered how we mixed stout and beer and forced Charles to drink, where he proceeded to become really tipsy.

This time, we were there for a Change of Command (COC) Ceremony & Dinner. This time, we had to serenade the same (outgoing) CO, this time however at much closer (read: uncomfortable) proximity and sing a really lame song: peng you. We also had to perform at the outdoor dinner area without mics. And that's always hell, for sure. Not that we do it frequently; this was the only second time I performed without mics with the VE.

It was quite exhausting and unnerving to have to sing in that way, that's for sure. Dinner, on the other hand, was quite exotic. Apparently they had some ex-officer-turned-chef who happens to specialize in cooking survival food. From survival to gourmet, I say! There were servings of tuna fish sperm (at least that's what we were told), roasted quail, herbal wild chicken and frog's meat. Vik and I had a go at everything; the rest of the guys were too chicken! Fish sperm, however, does not taste good. For sure!

Incidentally I also met Mr. Macho-Commando, Robin, Ruth's wife. Haven't seen him for ages! Ruth, even more so. Good to hear the both of you are doing well!

tuesday, 07Aug. Today was DSTA's turn to have their NDOC, and MDC was there for the first time to perform for them. This was actually one of the bigger shows that I would be hosting for along with the artistes. I had to get up at 6am today only because we had to all report to Depot Road by 7am! So you could imagine how tired, sleepy and hungry we all were.

Our show started early, just a couple minutes before 9am. It was a lengthy show, one hour to be exact. One heritage medley, two acappella songs, a 7-minute M1 of national folk songs, one Original Dance, three cultural items, NDP theme song, and finally two (!!) National Day song medleys! Did I miss anything out?

I was so damn worried about the leading the pledge wrongly in front of 1,800 people, I printed out the pledge in size 36 font, along with markings to indicate the breaks in the pledge. Tells you how much of a patriot I am, huh! But all in all it was a fun and tiring go, so it wasn't too bad. One of the organizers actually came over to give me a hug after the show, despite myself being completely drenched in sweat. Now that was really sweet!

road to NDP. Well, tomorrow's the big one -- NDOC at MINDEF. Another 6am reporting day. I can't believe it's already been a year since I did last year's MINDEF NDOC. Still remember having to do by ridiculously stressful quick-change into my Thai costume with Mahmud's help! Thank god for only two sets of costumes this year. Friday's another big show; some NDP dinner at the Istana. Gah!

To all the poor combo band people who have to play There's No Place I'd Rather Be five times at the Fountain of Wealth on Thursday, I salute to you and say, good luck! Honestly, there's no song I'd rather not play than that song itself.

And finally, happy birthday Ena!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Camera-Loving Musicians

Yesterday Gabriel, Bevlyn, Jon Lim, Hsin Yeow, his daughter Erin and myself all congregated for some good wine and really good food at Ying Ming and Val's place at Costa del Sol along Bayshore. It was really a pleasure meeting the couple again; they were terrific hosts! And Val is a great cook to boot. Don't play play!

Their 29th floor apartment had a great view (you can see it here) of the East Coast Park area and the Upper East Coast neighborhood. Very rustic. You could even see terrain outlines of neighboring countries if you looked hard enough! My network shifted to Indo network Telkomsel, and when I did a manual network search I managed to get 7 networks! Great way to autoroam from the comforts of your own home, eh?

Gabriel, being the quintessential workaholic photographer, brought his DSLR. To take pictures, of course. Everyone had a fun go at attempting to act young and cute (although I must say Jon Lim did quite a good job)! At this point I must mention how fantastic Ying Ming & Val's wallpaper actually is. It's finely textured and comes in a deep sophisticated shade of black. As Val puts, "I needed the wallpaper to match the chandelier I bought!" Very well said indeed!

We also had a great time viewing the videos Ernest took during both the Bali and Shangri-La weddings. Damn, I should really stop opening my mouth when I play..

Yes, yes. Secretly, we're all camwhores in A Little Dream. Don't say we didn't forewarn you! It's the camera for us with every chance we get. Heh heh! Thanks Gabriel for these wonderful shots.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

All Things Erika

I've finally got it! My online order of Erika Sawajiri's latest single CD FREE landed with a joyful thud in my mailbox yesterday after a week's wait. Shorter than I expected, really.

Thanks to Play-Asia.com, everything which I order from that neat little well-stocked online store is shipped free to Singapore. Isn't that blissful? Can't order the idol movies and some photobooks though, apparently they don't ship those to Singapore at all. Must be thanks to our overly-zealous import customs! Haha!

Erika's latest single is quite an improvement from her last one, taiyounouta, which she released under the alias Karou Amane. To be honest, when comparing the theme songs from the drama version (which she stars in) to the movie version, which stars YUI, I prefer YUI's songs more. So I'd say Erika's latest offering into the very top of the Oricon charts is quite the welcome to say the least, with her new songs featuring more of the trademark J-Pop power guitar riffs and flat-6, flat-7 chords.

Speaking of which, would anyone possibly know when Erika's latest photo book ERIKA2007 is being released? Not that anyone I know could be any more possibly fanatic about her then myself. Oooh.. can't wait to lay my grubby hands on the latest one that's for sure!