Friday, December 29, 2006


其实,在相当早以前,我就有这个念头 - 学大提琴.

最近不知道为什么又突然有一股冲动,想即刻去购买一把属于自己的大提琴. 然后再去找个师傅正式地学习如何奏乐.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Music that touches the heart

I've always found it very fascinating that music has such a potent effect on human emotions.

Different genres of music each has its own distinct feel and touch. In general, classical music tends to give a soothing and calming effect; jazz makes me feel lazy and cozy; latin dance tracks makes one feel like shaking (or tapping fingers/hands/feet) to the rhythm; popular songs are nice for easy listening; etc...

Of course, different people react differently to the music they listen to.

And in each genre (as mentioned above), there is also a wide spectrum of different "classes" of music that evokes totally contrasting emotions. Just take for example, listening to the light court music of Mozart and sipping some nice afternoon tea, as compared to listening to one of Rachmaninoff's piano concertos in a stormy and windy night. :)

Another interesting observation (or experiment) is that watching a movie without its corresponding soundtrack makes the whole experience totally different - something which i'm sure many people will agree whole-heartedly.

I think I mentioned this before - one of the movie which always brings a tear to my eyes is <新不了情>. Watching the scene where 袁咏仪's character lay dying on the hospital bed, and 刘青云 being totally helpless as he watched her slip away - it was absolutely heart-wreching. But I have to say, the wonderful soundtrack of the show (sang by 万芳) made it happen. Without the beautiful melody and lyrics that accompanied it, the show would have been "emotionally dead".

Hppmhh.. imagine watching "BraveHeart" without the hauntingly beautiful soundtrack...think one of the tunes is called "For the love of a princess" or something... mesmerising..

And so it is the same for Christmas. Without those wonderful songs to bring the festive season alive, the whole experience would have been so "flat" and tiresome.

Can't imagine what life is like without MUSIC...

Thursday, December 21, 2006


First of all, I am not a Christian. Neither am I catholic.

But I like Christmas. :)

In the sense that, compared to all other festivals and public holidays we have in Singapore, Christmas seemed have a different "feel" to it - in other words, it is special.

While some people may say that the Chinese New year (typically in Jan - Feb period) usually creates a wonderful festive mood - 喜气洋洋, 大街小巷洋溢着春节的气息, etc.etc.... But the truth is, during the first 2 days of the Chinese New year in Singapore (i heard it's different in Hong Kong...), any street you go to virtually looks and sounds like a dead alley. That's because all the shops are closed! There's hardly anyone walking on the streets, other than the occasional group of families with kids in tow, walking from their car (or bus stop) to go house-visiting. So i guess all the 喜气can only be felt indoors. :P

For Christmas, however, you'd see long queues of people thronging the streets. Lotsa sale going on, lotsa christmas deco, lotsa christmas songs being played in the malls...etc..etc. Basically, all these creates a nice, buzzling atmosphere.

As for the other public holidays (festivals), there's hardly any visible difference, other than maybe having slightly more crowded shopping centres, as Singaporeans virutally has nowhere else to go but visit shopping malls for a holiday movie, or a meal with their families or friends.

So, I really look forward to this coming Christmas day! Going to go for good food and good shopping and enjoy the wonderful Christmas songs and mood in the city!

We wish you a merry Christmas; we wish you a merry Christmas;
We wish you a merry Christmas and a

Happy New Year!


Monday, December 18, 2006

Has Masak been revived?

Against all odds, Masak had a practice session yesterday evening!

Well, to be exact, it was Masak with a slightly new look - Wai had taken over the bass part from Snow parang -whom it seems has little inclination to play guitar these days, though he remains active in the MJ and outing/gathering depts :)

We took Beguine the Begin almost at the tempo which we used to play from our last take (which must have been a year ago! ), and I think it sounded pretty alright! I think the reduced level of score familiarity was more than made up for by our advancements in individual technical abilities. Sections which were really tough to play (and to coordinate) back then, now seemed less daunting and much easier to negotiate. Generally, the song just felt more "alive" than before, as we were able to articulate certain passages and notes with more ease, and thus could actually infuse more expression into playing them.

My feel is that if we want to perform this song for 23rd March (Arts Festival - Genus concert), we'll only need 1-2 more sessions to polish things up. That is not an issue at all.

What I'm more interested to find out is - has Masak been brought back from the dead for good? or is it just a matter of 廻光反照?

At the end, it all depends on how the members look at the group and whether they wish to continue to put in the effort required to keep the practice sessions going. And for most working people, that is certainly quite some effort.

To be frank, the "burden" often lies more squarely on the shoulders of an individual - the group leader/coordinator. Being the leader of Guitaresque, I feel and understand these frustrations more clearly than any of my group members. So yes- i can empathise with Barber Lee on this count. Barber, incidentally is the group leader of Masak.

And that - is what worries me.

Friday, December 15, 2006


HK, KW, "OG" and i had dinner together at Big O cafe in Wheelock Place couple of nites ago... it was quite nostalgic, really - catching up on old times, on younger days (in NUS - Genus adventures and tales) and men's talk.

The only funny thing was - it was supposed to be a gathering to meet up with KM, who has gone 'MIA' for the last year or 2. It was like he's cast a disappearing spell on himself, and decided to 断绝关系with all his friends from the old days. According to OG, this guy not only refuses to answer SMS, he even refuses to pick up calls! I myself have also encountered the same problem with this fella. It's almost like we're some loansharks chasing him for money. Man!!! what's gotten into this guy...

So finally, one fine day he decided to reply one of my SMS. Said he don't mind meeting up as he's going to Australia to study. Ok, i said. Let's get some guys together and have dinner. Fine.

When that day (suggested by him, not me! ) came, guess what? An SMS saying "oh, i got something on, meet up another time."

Great, i thought.. he's done it again. I tried not to sound fed-up, and sms-ed back "Ok, so can you suggest an alternative date/time then? Since you're obviously the busiest one amongst us.."

*Pooof * He does his disappearing trick again. No answer. No call.


OG is really pissed off this time. * i think his hoofs must have been buried deep into the sand... from all that kicking and scraping.. * Can't blame that fella.... poor guy, all he wanted was his wedding tape! (and for a good reason too... apart from the obvious)

一份友情因为种种原因而变质,最终搞到不欢而散,的确令人惋惜. 甚至是痛心...

我真的是不明白. 也许我将永远不会明白.


又是一首周杰伦的好歌- <菊花台> :

你的泪光 柔弱中带伤 惨白的月儿弯弯 固住过往
夜太漫长 凝结成了霜 是谁在阁楼上冰冷地绝望
雨轻轻叹 朱红色的窗 我依身在纸上被风吹乱
梦在远方 化成一缕香 随风飘散你的模样

菊花灿烂地烧 你的笑容已泛黄
花落人断肠 我心事静静躺
被风乱 也微摇 你的影子剪不断
独留我孤单 在湖面神伤

花已伤完 飘落了灿烂 凋谢的市道上 冥冥不堪
手摸独樵 愁心拆两半
怕你上不了岸 一辈子摇晃
谁的江山 马蹄声慌乱 我一身的戎装 呼啸沧桑
天微微亮 你轻声的叹 一夜惆怅如此委婉

菊花灿烂地烧 你的笑容已泛黄
花落人断肠 我心事静静躺
被风乱 也微摇 你的影子剪不断
独留我孤单 在湖面神伤

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Gala Premiere

Attended the gala premiere of the movie "Curse of the Golden Flower" with kuja last nite. The event was held at Vivo City Golden village (the "golden" part is purely coincidental), and as Chow Yun Fatt made a guest appearance for the event, there was the usual fan fare and large crowds of star gazers wanting to catch a glimpse of the movie star in person.

All in all, the show was considerably entertaining and interesting. There's the usual plotting, backstabbing, seducing of step-son, brother and sister commiting incest (albeit through ignorance), vengance, and best of all, a very colourful battle scene right in the large palace courtyard. Basically, my eyes were constantly filled with colours - gold, in particular.

I must say, Jay Chou looked rather splendid in the golden suit of armor. Made me think of Tomas (in the Magician series) donning his golden dragon armor and cutting through chunks of enemy armor (and flesh) in the battle.

Gong Li was superb, as usual, in her role as the vengeful empress who was forced to stomach drips of poision served to her by the emperor's order.

And of course, Chow showed his class, bringing life to the screen through his protrayal of the emperor. He was so convincing (and thus intimidating) that I was almost feeling afraid for the rest of the characters, not knowing what he might do to them next.

Monday, December 11, 2006


人生在世,不如意的事十之八九,其实也不算什么. 只不过有时侯当许许多多恼人的事情一起在同一个时候发生,那时真的难免令人沮丧,懊恼不已.


Frustrations at work - coming from some diffucult customers, as well as your boss showing you a face which resembles Justice Bao (包青天) on a bad day!

Frustrations outside work - bloody Mindef's lousy RT (remedial training) system! They booked RT for me WITHOUT informing me. Then claims that I've missed the training sessions, and wants to charge me for defaulting! What the fxxx!!??!?!

Must tell myself to keep cool...


Friday, December 08, 2006


Sometimes I wonder how males and females regard "Beauty".

While it definitely won't come as a surprise to anyone that guys and gals have rather different 审美观, but sometimes I am still left pondering as to how some guys can be "cute" or "macho" while others are deemed "cannot make it"...
Call me slow and insensitive, but hey - all these guys all seemed normal and look ok to me leh. :PP

Why this line of thought all of a sudden? Well, actually it has always puzzled me all these while, how kuja can remark about this guy being good-looking, that guy having nice features, etc... (hey, we're damn open about such things lah. In fact, I'll be the first to admit I like admiring pretty gals and good looking babes. And I do share my thoughts with kuja sometimes as well ya. hehe )

And today, I had lunch with Yen and Ruby and the topic drifted to friendly gossip about some of our common frens (hhmm.. come to think of it, lunch these 2 always involved sharing new stories and gossips. haha. That's why it's so fun mah! ). And again, there were comments on certain people's looks and features. * incidentally, they seemed to share kuja's viewpoint! e.g. on KH and KC being "good-looking" and such.. I was thinking "Huh??" *

My conclusion (from discussions and gossip sessions) is that guys tend to be more critical when judging the physical appearance of a gal. The facial features, the body contours, the legs, the bust, the bottoms... you name it. But when it comes to guys looking at other guys, it's like "hhmmpphh.. " = like that lor, ok what. 2 eyes, 1 nose, 1 mouth, 2 hands, 2 legs. Conclusion - normal lah!

But ask our lady frens, and they'll tend to have a more err.. should i say, 'sympathetic' view of their kind. I realised kuja seldom gives nasty comments on other gals. They're either very pretty, or quite sweet (which to me usually is quite jia-lat already), or very attractive, etc...
As for rating of guys, they certainly have a wider range of comments to make... some can be quite funny even!

这就是荷曷蒙在作祟吧? 不过有一点是肯定的,那就是无论是男人或是女人,都对漂亮的女人感到兴趣. 男人当然是喜欢欣赏美女啦. 而女人则是喜欢观察其他女人的穿着与衣物,当中也许也有一点相比较的意味存在.

As for whether a person is "good-looking" or not (to the opposite sex), it comes down to the old adage, "beauty is in the eyes of the beholder".

情人眼里出西施. :)

When "good" isn't good enough

There's something about Asian culture... or maybe it's just Singapore's culture. There's this tendancy towards not giving harsh (or critical sounding) feedback, so as to "save face" for the recipient of the feedback. Yet, almost at the same time, there's a particular "stingy-ness" towards giving generous praise and good feedback.

There! I've said it - the word "good".

In my line of work (in training), "good" is simply no-good. Ironic isn't it? When a customer rates the training session as "good", it is saying that the trainer has failed utterly as an educator. Why? Simply because the feedback form has "Very good" and "Excellent" as choices!?!??! And thus the management in my company deems "Good' as meaning "bad".

On occasions, when we actually asked the customer if we delivered a good training session, the response we got could be "It was good! I've learnt so much from your class! Now I feel much more confident using the application and I will try it when i get back to my office. Thanks again for the training! "

Sounds like an appreciative client giving a strong endorsement? Yeah, except this client selected only "good" in the feedback form! Why? I sometimes wonder... it doesnt cost a single cent or penny to rate someone as "Excellent" right? But therein lies the pain of working in the service industry in Singapore... We've become such a critical lot and we expect so much in terms of service, that even when we actually LIKE the service provided, we're hesitant and stingy to dish out compliments and express our thanks/appreciation.

Of course, there are customers who provides very frank feedback, kindly giving "Excellent" grades to areas (in the training session) which they liked very much and deemed satisfactory while rating "Good" (and below) for areas which they feel have room for improvements.

But on the whole, the situation remains:

On one hand, nobody ever gives the "Average" and "Poor" ratings (unless they're really pissed with something! ). But on the other hand, most people stinge on the "Excellent" and "Very Good" scores. Hence, giving a "Good" seemed the easiest way out.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Niibori Ensemble @ Singapore Guitar Festival

Details of the much anticipated concert tomorrow evening:
Conductor : Kazuyuki Terada
Program includes:
- "Canzone in baroque style (O Sole Mio, Torna a Surriento, I Battitori di Grano)" by Masaaki Hayakawa,
- "Concerto for Flute in F major" by Vivaldi,
- "Three scenes in Japan" by Masaaki Hayakawa,
- "Parade Der Zinnsoldaten" by Jessel in Marimba Concerto,
- "Electric Guitar Concerto by the theme of Beethoven's Symphony No.9" by Beethoven, arranged by Kengo Momose,
- "Espana Cani" by Marquina, and so on.
Also, expect erformances by Ensemble of Cembalo Guitars (for each sound range), Men's Sextet and Ladies' Quartet + Guitarron.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Alma guitar

OG introduced this korean classical guitar luthier website :
(by the way, the pretty gal above is NOT the luthier!! She is a chinese player - Li Jie, who plays guitars made by luthier Kim Hee Hong)

Apparently, other established Chinese players, like Wang Yameng, Su Meng, Chen Shan Shan - who are all pupils of Professor Chen Zhi - also endorses this Korean luthier's guitars.

Unfortunately, we won't get a chance to try his guitar here in Singapore.... But OG suggested a trip to Bangkok, where there's a local distributor for Alma guitar. haha.. we'll see how that works out.. :)