Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Sometimes we can be so absorbed in our own little world that we fail to see the far greater picture... and it happens to most people, i guess.

Recently, over a dinner with some of my friends from GENUS, I heard from Mich that a "new" Niibori guitar group has surfaced in Singapore.

"Really?? You mean a professional one?" I'd asked.

"They're called Singapore Niibori guitar ensemble." was the reply.

"huh? Then they must be damn solid lah.. to dare to use the country's name in their group-name"

"Dunno leh. But i think they're set up thomas Liauw's students" was the answer.


I wonder if we (ie. those of us who have been playing the Niibori set of instruments for the past decade (for me, it has been 13 years) are the 井底蛙, in that we had become so full of our own achievements and progress (not that it's much) that we didnt realise the world have moved on... more, and stronger Niibori guitar ensembles have since came about which we didnt even know existed.


There are some groups of people out there who believe they are the "premier" and "professional" Niibori guitar group(s) and that they alone carry the flag of Singpoare's Niibori orchestration movement.
* I visited one website where a guy stated he headed Singapore's only professional Niibori guitar ensemble - the Singapore Niibori Guitar Ensemble. Sounds pretty impressive. Except the funny fact that none of us have even heard about this group's existence, not to mention attended any of their concerts (if they've had any). And I'm talking about people who have been playing serious classical guitar for at least the last 10 years.

I wonder who are the 井底之蛙 then - Us or them?

Well, in January 2008, GENUS~Expose will be putting up a performance at the Esplanade. I hope we will put up a strong performance and show the rest of the classical guitar folks in Singapore that we aren't the 'toadies'! :P

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Now i can video him!

Finally made up my mind about the make/model and bought it over the weekend!

I am talking about the videocam which i have been thinking of getting, especially since my boy-boy is due to arrive in less than 3 months' time.

After weeks of research and deliberating, plus a couple of trips to the usual electronic haunts like Sim Lim sq, Funan centres, this is what i settled on:

The panasonic HDC-SD5 is one of the latest model from Panasonic to arrive in Singapore, featuring the high-definition (full HD) imaging processor. It wasn't cheap though, and looks like i have to skimp on a few other wanna-gets this year-end (Christmas!!). sigh... but at least now i'll be able to shoot videos of my little baby when he joins the family in 2008!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What is wrong with the England football team???

Russia 2 England 1

What a disaster it was for the England football team last nite(this morning, local time)! Having gone ahead by a good goal from Wayne Rooney on the 29th minute in the 1st half, England should have wrapped up their place in the European championship finals by scoring one or two more -something which they had the chance to do.

But they didnt.

Instead, they allowed the Russians to claw back the 1 goal deficit, and within a matter of 4 sublime minutes, totally turn the tables on the hapless visitors.

Watching the match "live" from my comfy sofa, it was easy to spot the schoolboy's errors made by the English lads. They basically had a strikeforce who were out-jumped time and again, and then always second to the ball; a midfield which didnt know which way to go, and decided to keep passing the ball to the opposition rather than to their own (equally lost) strikers; and a defence which panicked everytime the Russians counterattacked.

In my opinion, England's midfield performed the worst last night. Gerrard was the main culprit, as not only did he consistently squandered possession with his mis-passes, he also squandered probably the best and most clear-cut scoring chance in the entire game. Barry's performance was also below expectations. For all the talk about him providing a foil for Gerrard's attacking instincts, I felt that Barry at times sat too deep to offer England any support in the attack department. He looked more like an out-of-sorts defender.
Let's not even talk about Wright-Phillips and Joe Cole... The normally dynamic wingers were shadowed and stalked all night by the gritty Russian backline. With the exception of one promising run (by Cole) which ended in nothing, all those runs to the flanks merely led them into cul-de-sacs.

Without a strong midfield to carry on the attacking impetus, and to protect their back four, England was always going to struggle. In fact, had the Russians been more clinical in finishing, England would have been trounced by a couple more goals. The fact that they had a butter-fingers goalie certainly didnt help! (what's Paul Robinson doing at England's goal anyway????!!)

Yet, for all their lousy and uninspiring performances in this and some previous matvhes, the English team does boast of some world class players. No one can deny that Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, John Terry, etc.. are probably amongst the top players in their respective rights. So, what went wrong?

I think for a start, Steve McClaren, who clearly isnt good enough to be a national coach at this level, should be replaced. Just take a look at the records and achievements of his opposite number last night - Gus Hiddink. This is a guy who REGULARLY brings supposed "no-hopers" into World Cup finals. And this time round, he has masterminded the downfall of a team whom he admits (and which most critics would agree) is "a level higher" than his own team. What does that tell you? On the other hand, Steve McClaren has spent a couple of years as Alex Ferguson's 跟班, then the next few as the manager of Middlesborough - a team which regularly occupies the mid-table spot in the Premier League. And that's where he SHOULD be. He just isnt good enough to manage a group of world-class English players, whose huge talents are matched only by their EGOs.

So there....

*gosh.. i am really regretting staying up to watch the dreadful England display last night.. got this bloody headache..*

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What I wish for him

Many parents (or parents to be) wish for good things to happen to their child(ren). Or rather, the best things... Many a times, you'd hear them say things like, "hopefully he grows up successful and wealthy!". Others may more modestly claim they'd want their kids to be "kind", "smart" and of course, "filial". All these hopes and wishes are sometimes clearly reflected in the names chosen for the child. That may explain why words like 龙(望子成龙), 富(大富大贵), 福(福星高照), etc.. are so popular.

For me, there are a couple of traits/attributes which i would wish for boy-boy.

** Funnily, when I was thinking of these attributes, the "stats" from those old Koei games like 三国志 or 水浒传, where BL and I used to go on about which characters had the greatest stats - like 赵云 who had impressive stats of Power 99, Intelligence 90 in the original Romance of the 3 Kingdom game (launched in the 80s); or 花荣(小李广) in the Bandits Kings game, who probably had the best stats.
Those were the days.....

Anyway, coming back to boy-boy's stats. Here's what I wish for him (in order of importance):

1) Health (aka constitution/body in the typical RPG games)
- to me, nothing is more important than him being well and healthy. Without a strong body, it would be difficult to accomplish a lot of things.

2) Integrity of character (who was that character who had Integrity score of 100 in Bandit Kings har... cant remember)
- moral values can (and should be) imparted by parents to the child, but it is the unyielding integrity which ensures those same values are kept to and not easily given up for the sake of unscrupulous personal gains or favors.

3) Intelligence (sometimes the games list this as "Wisdom", those in D&D terminology these 2 are not exactly the same things..)
- to be frank, i'd rather my child be more the street-smart than the book-smart kind. I've learnt the in the real world today, being street-smart often gets a person much further than being just study/exam smart

4) Good-looking (aka "Charisma" in 三国志 )
- never underestimate the importance of looks in this superficial and materialistic world. How many times have we witnessed the better-looking fella succeed (whether it's in a job interview, or any other contest) whereas the other more "ordinary-looking" one with the SAME credentials gets left on the sidelines?
Admittedly, being a male, the looks department has a lesser impact than if the child had been a female. That's why I put this at 4th place.

And lastly...

5) Luck (this stats appear in many RPG)
- cant really explain or quantify this stats. But nobody can deny that some people just seem to have all the luck! They happen to be at the right places at the right times, know the right people (who'd help them along in life), meet their ideal partner, strike 4D many many times..etc.. :P

So there! My wishlist for boy-boy! :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Who wants to be in the Genus Committee?

I don't envy being in the Genus Committee these days. It's really not easy to make everyone happy, no matter what decisions they make (or do not make).

Some things they have to deal with (which the earlier Committees prob did not have to face, or not to the same extent):

1) A large cohort of foreign students in the Genus new members intake. Many of these foreign students go back to their home countries during the school holidays, leaving the Genus practices practically meaningless and impossible to manage.

2) A large cohort of super lao-chiows (aka Alumni) playing in a separate ensemble (or as some call it - "small" group ). Most of these players are working adults, and have little patience nor interest in teaching/coaching the younger players. But when things do not run as they expect/hope, expect lots of criticisms (although most of these are done "behind the scenes")

3) An Assistant Conductor (AC) who harbours ambitions and usually come with "hidden agendas" to his undertakings with regards to Genus. Besides helping with the conduct of music activites, this AC also begins his own crusade of "corporatising" Genus - with the full package of "mission" and "vision" , etc...

4) A Music Director/Conductor who, although fully professional in his own right as a musician, knows little about guitar (as he does not play the instrument)and demands payment for writing scores for the club.

5) A bunch of CFA administrators who know little/nothing about music, but rather, focus on the "return on investment" (ROI) of each music group.

Gosh, it's certainly not a good time to be in the Genus Committee, especially if you are a 21 (or younger) youngster who simply wants to enjoy life in the varsity.

"Who wants to be.... a Genus Committee Member???"

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

What's in a name....

Choosing a name for a newborn baby is fun! But I never thought it could be so challenging as well...

Going into the 6th month, we are starting to think of a suitable name to welcome the arrival of the newest member of the family. And it certainly isnt easy!

One of the things we'd decided early on is that boy-boy (no name, so he's just boy-boy now) would not get an English name, since neither of us has one. If he decides to have an english name, he could choose one for himself when he gets older.

The key thing is to find a name that we like - both in terms of the sound of it, as well as the meaning behind it.

For instance, kuja likes the word 乐, which denotes "happiness" and "joy". I love bears, ie. 熊, so how's "乐熊" for a name? hahhahah!! A happy bear arent too bad ya? (here's when I get kicked and chided for being crazy..)

Another way is to consult some cheem cheem dictionary or chinese thesaurus for highly "educated" words that sound supremely scholarly. Hmm.. not my cup of tea leh, as I don't want the name to sound too pretentious.

Others have suggested we visit a professional for the name-choosing process. Maybe go to someone like 游龙子 or some other famous geomancer to get a solid solid name, once and for all.

Sounds like a plan eh?

Anyway, for boy-boy's sake, we'd better come up with something nice and good for him. :)

A 3 month count-down...