Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Dark shadows

The shadows lurk
Fine no more

Heavier
Until the end is reached

Drown oneself

The noises from the trade fair is back again. As to why it was located so near a residential area, I could only attempt to guess that it is because that way, the fair will be more accessible to the residents.

For yours truly who is now in great need for peace, I shall waste no time to figure out why the fair was located where it is now. I need all energy I could muster to stay sane in the face of the intrusions of the noises.

As such, I am plugging earphones into my ears and listening to music. I am now listening to Mahler's First Symphony played on the player.

I would rather drown myself in a tragic sounding piece of music than to face the noises from the trade fair. The latter will bring no value to my soul and mind.

Letter D



Deviation and Dullness.

Seeing the world from an oblique view.

Plunge no further
Lift oneself up
A world out of balance
Is in search for equilibrium

Spinning

Please be kind on me if you do see me, my head has been spinning and aching much of the day.

I was attending a seminar today to learn more about case-management. The trainer has so much to share and much of his sharing is pretty substantial. I do not know if it was information overload that has caused the head to spin and ache. I doubt it was simply information overload. It was quite good to be learning new perspectives of looking at case management.

I hope the headache will go away. A mind clearer makes one feel better.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Last night's movie

Last night, I had the pleasure to be invited to watch Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. My friend, XH, got the tickets for the movie.

She sat with a group of children whom she had volunteered to supervise for a programme held yesterday. I hope she has had some fulfilling moments with the children.

Yesterday's show was the first Harry Potter movie that I have watched. It was alright in standard. The visual effects were nice. However, I felt something lacking in its emotional content as protrayed by the actors/actresses. Maybe I had expected more. Pardon me, I felt in no position to comment further, because I am not a keen movie-goer nor a loyal reader of Harry Potter books.

Anyway, watching the movie was a break from the routine, and a means to understand what makes Harry Potter popular with many people out there. Thanks again to XH for the invitation.

The rain has brought about some peace

The rain has served some functions tonight. I did not like the wet floors that it has contributed to. However, one good thing that came out from the rain was that I managed to get some peace and tranquility tonight.

The trade fair has quieten itself down by 11.20 p.m. tonight when the norm was midnight for the past nights.

Thank goodness. This gives me some space to recharge.

I am aching almost all over. My mind is feeling heavy and feeling tinges of pain. My legs are aching too, and I don't know if I had overly exerted my legs too much. My arms are feeling some strain. I could not imagine how worse it would have been if the trade fair had continue to emit noises like it had done for the past nights. If not for the quiet moments, I fear I might have just explode from the intrusion of the noises tonight.

Thank goodness for the quiet time I could now enjoy.

Monday, November 28, 2005

I am just waiting

I am just waiting
For the moment that midnight might strike
That rules would set the noises to lower their voices
And allow the night to calm down

I am just waiting
For the moment of peace
That could comfort me to slumberland tonight
Then my turn to rest will come

I am just waiting
For a life-string
That could keep me sane
And urge me to stay in this world

I am just waiting
For that time when darkness may come
There is still enough light within oneself
To lit the path ahead with nice sparkles

Thump Thump

Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.

But these aren't from my heart beats. These are intrusions to my quiet space. Noises that I can not make sense of.

I could only falsely believe that some people indeed could earn a livelihood from the noises churned by the trade fair that has been set up near my block. More so, I shall try to see that there are people, unlike myself, who find it entertaining to be at the trade fair. Please forgive me that I could not. I desire an environment away from noises. Thank goodness this trade fair is only temporary.

The night is beautiful and its silence is meant to be enjoyed.

Now the noise has intruded and I find it hard to get the peace that I need in order to chase the aches on my fingers and arms away. The noise is giving me no sense of peace for me to heal from the aching. If this noise persist till tomorrow, I fear I might die not from the aching, but from intrusive noises!

Should I leave the intrusive world?

All I want to do now in this world is to sit down quietly and watch the world go by, sketch for some moments, and observe the beautiful lines of Nature.

But watch out! I am now pretty irritable. All that could be done is to try hard to find ways to soothe myself down.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Cenotaph


The Cenotaph, Esplanade Park, Singapore.


Getting darker.

**

I checked up The Little Oxford Dictionary & Thesaurus and it says that the definition of the word cenotaph is as such: tomb-like monument to people buried elsewhere.

The Cenotaph was erected in memory of those who sacrificed their lives in the First World War (1914-18). A dedication to commemorate those who died in the Second World War was later added on the reverse side of the monument.

Source: http://www.nhb.gov.sg/CDT/Trail1/C.htm

***
I often feel solemn when I am near the Cenotaph. On some days, the Esplanade Park in which the Cenotaph is located offers me the respite from the noises of the city. Peace. Building a world of peace is perhaps one of the best gifts that we can give to the future generations?

Noises, please silence yourself

I prefer quiet places with lots of spaces. Lately, I have been put to a test. Just a few days ago, there was a huge trade fair that started operations very near the residential building that I am living in.

This trade fair is temporary, but it will be around for at least a month, until just after Christmas. Every night, the trade fair seems to come alive. In the morning, most of the stalls may not be ready for business. When afternoon comes, the temporary site gets livelier. Then after 7 p.m., it gets very crowded.

The thing is sound travels up, and so I could hear the sounds from the many speakers that are placed in the site of the fair pretty clearly. This is so especially because I live in a flat unit pretty high above ground level. I am just trying hard to ignore the background music. Gosh, I could only hope for midnight to come and then the noises will quieten down.

What an intrusion that I have to bear with. I have to tell myself that this is only temporary.

And about the crowd, like I have said, it can get very crowded by 7 p.m. I need space and at the sight of a congested pathway, I will do whatever is within my means to detour.

I wish that the person who had planned the layout of the site of the fair could have planned it such that the walkways at the edges of the site could remain as wide as it had used to be so that people who do not wish to visit the fair could walk easily past it. Every night since the fair has started, I have to make detours (and that means going into the site of the fair) in order to walk home from the MRT station without being stuck in the crowd.

At times like this, I can appreciate that silence is golden. Space is valued.

Degeneration of the physical body?

Last night, I met Emily for dinner. We had dinner at Carl's Jr. at Marina Square. That was my first time eating at Carl's Jr. The burgers tasted nice, I like the sauces and the generous servings.

It was so nice of Emily to bear with me when I was suffering in pain from indigestion and a poor stomache last evening. My digestive system hasn't been feeling well for the pas week and pardon me, I still have to work hard in acquiring the habit of chewing my food more diligently. Thank goodness that the pain went away by the time that we attended the concert by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. I have learnt that my secret medicine to lessening the feeling of pain is to find a quiet spot to recharge. That works most of the time.

I personally like the rendition of the First Symphony of Mahler as compared to Mozart's Symphony No. 29. I think Mahler's Symphony would sound better if it were played live, but this is simply a personal opinion. The orchestra sounded more coherent and together last night compared to many of its previous concert. This coherence could have made it possible for me to be attentive throughout this symphony which last almost an hour. Bravo! I think Edo De Waart has conducted the orchestra very well for Mahler's Symphony No. 1.

The double bass solo for the third movement of Mahler's First Symphony was something I (and perhaps Emily) was looking forward to. The fingerings that the soloist had used were so much more challenging than the one that I had chose to use for my music exams. The double bass solo was well-played and did not disappoint.

***

The mind was heavy when I got home last night. Could that be another sign of degeneration? This morning, I woke up and found my mind still pretty heavy. Pardon me, but I have not drunk any alcohol nor caffeine, where could this heavy feeling come from?

Strangely, the mood is that of gradually disassociating myself from the rest of the world...

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Quotable Quotes: On Failure

It is near midnight in Singapore, I am listening to one of Chopin's Nocturnes, Nocturnes op. 9 nos. 1 & 2.

***
Somehow in this moment of the night, a thought came to me, that I am to an extent fearful of failure. I don't know if this could be because the environment around me is aversive of failure?

Very aware that one is fallible and vulnerable, and that life is full of risks of failure. Total avoidance from failure is not possible. Yet, noticing that one walks the steps involving major life decision carefully in hope to cushion as much of the hurts from the perceived notion of failure. But could this measure end one up in a state of being overly cautious? Hence lose the joy of being spntaneous in life?

And if failures are necessary the paths to learning about life, and if learning from the failures help one understand the elements of living better, how could the culture be made such that failures are perceived more fairly?

Or is there a function for societies to be aversive of failures?

But I guess what I do really fear is that the hurts from suffering a perceived failure could be so strong that I would be staying down for longer than I could find strength to pick myself up alone.

***
Before I end this post, I'll like to share three quotations taken from The Quotations Page.

Don't be discouraged by a failure. It can be a positive experience. Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success, in as much as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true, and every fresh experience points out some form of error which we shall afterwards carefully avoid.
- John Keats, English lyric poet (1795 - 1821)


You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try.
- Beverly Sills, US opera singer (1929 - )


If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.
- Mary Pickford (1893 - 1979)

Cheering the team

27 November 2005 marks the official opening date of the 23rd SEA Games. SEA Games stands for the Southeast Asian Games. The 23rd SEA Games is hosted by the Philippines.

I send my words of encouragements and cheers to all participants of the SEA Games, in particularly, the participants from Singapore. Cheers to sportsmanship!

Here's the official website of the 23rd SEA Games:
http://www.2005seagames.com.ph/

Living high-rise


The view from a high-rise flat.



For the benefit of overseas readers, the structure in the foreground is one of the MRT stations in Singapore. Many MRT stations are built underground, but this one is built above the ground.

By the way, if you know of high-rise buildings in Singapore that offers an interesting and nice view, please let me know.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Too much?

Too much thinking about how to do work effectively
Such that one's mind is left tired and the body drained.

Is there a better way to go about doing things and realising the vision?

***
Now what I need is peaceful time to restore my energy, to find the hope to steer me on. Would be nice to have a good company thereafter, but this may seem a luxury?

Sometimes I wonder, when I would be stretched beyond my limits such that I would reach my breaking point.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Theory Lesson

Today marks my first formal individual theory lesson.

I don't know know why, but I felt pretty drained and stiff after the work day. My lesson was held in this area which I would refer to as Toa Payoh Central. I saw sculptures by the local sculptor, Ng Eng Teng, and was tempted to take a photograph. In the end, that tired feeling won over and I didn't.

Toa Payoh Central has changed quite a bit. I have been to Toa Payoh Central a few weeks ago, but I had not roamed to that part of Toa Payoh Central that is near the library. The last that I have been to that part of Toa Payoh Central was probably about a year ago.

I was early for my lesson and decided to wait at the benches of the music school for my lesson to start.

***
My tutor was K.. It must have been customary for the tutor to start the lesson by seeking to understand the student's background in music. That took a couple of minutes.

Theory lesson felt good overall. I got to revise notes Music Theory Grade One before going on to learn about Baroque music. There were some learnings. It is fun to learn.

Now, I have the task of looking for two books which were not available at the music school. K. said that he will be teaching me harmony for my classes, and I am looking forward to this.

The theory lesson helps break the routine a little. It did help bring some life to a soul that has been feeling a little down lately.

Calf's aching

Aching. If I am not wrong, that part of the leg that is aching is the calf. That part of the let just below the knee. I don't know why, but both my calves having been aching since the afternoon. I could feel a strong pull on my calves when I start walking.

No idea what is happening. My gosh, could this be the early signs of tissue degeneration? But I shall be mindful not to think that a catastrophe is drawing near.

Chew

I should be chewing a little more. I realised I haven't quite spend my time chewing on the food that I eat in general.

Lately, I have been feeling that my digestive system is giving me signals that I should be chewing my food more. Otherwise, it would be my stomach that would have to do more of the job of digesting my food?

Remind me to chew a little more when I am eating please.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Navigating through life

I wonder if people in their twenties have as questions as I have about life? Are my questions normal questions to have? How did people who have live past their twenties manage with these questions?

Is there a framework, that helps one better navigate through life? Is there a framework which while does not guarantee no failure, but would allow one to become more resilient, stronger and more compassionate with experiences?

People seem to make a subject out of Maths, Science and etc. But there is this common subject that everyone seems to have to take without much awareness. The subject of life. It is compulsory. Is there a function to it? Is there a reason to one's existence?

What is one's place in this world? Is there one? How does one find it when one is unsure what it is?

Not wise to understand the intricacies of life. Feeling that there is no guide to follow. And so has to walk the paths unknown to carve a feasible path for oneself.

Perhaps all is a walk of faith, that some of the answers shall gradually be revealed?

Lend me a comforting ear tonight



Boat Quay, Singapore


The tides, up and down.
The sounds of water goes according to the rhythm.
Hear the sounds of the night
To discover what is within

What are my gifts?

Bear with me as I have lots of questions coming up everyday.

I was at Tonia's blog and came across this post on discerning a call. I am not a Christian, but I like to believe that each person has special gifts unique to himself/herself. This post makes me think deeper.

(For part I and II of the related posts by Tonia, please view The Book Notes--Water-Walking, Book Notes Part 2-Comparison, Fear, and Comfort.)(New Post: Book Notes Part 4--Honoring Your Raw Material)

I wonder what are my gifts? I am still hoping to discover. Many too much conditioning from the world has left me unclear in deciding what are imposed perceptions of my gifts, and what are my natural gifts?

Anyway, while trying to find my gifts, let me list some of the things I think I could do. But abilities may not necessary be gifts? If you could help me, you could share with me your observations of my gifts (more for people who know me personally, I suppose?).

- I can find my way around, especially with a map
- I can read a simple script even if it were turned 180 degrees around
- I can play the double bass
- I can sketch
- I can think of things from more than one perspective

and more?

***
I would think that if someone could shed light on me on the bigger question: How does one discover one's gifts and niche?, I might be able to be empowered enough to discover my own gifts for myself.

Lighten the mood then

I got to know of this test when I was browsing Ameera's blog.

Guys Like That You're Sensitive


And not in that "cry at a drop of a hat" sort of way
You just get most guys - even if you're not trying to
Guys find it is easy to confide in you and tell you their secrets
No wonder you tend to get close quickly in relationships!


Hmm, I am sensitive.

Anyway, I hope that my father does not act intrusively and keep cutting newspaper cuttings of matchmaking agencies and leave them on my computer table. He just did that last week. Not the first time, neither was that the second. My strategy: ignore.

Getting into a relationship is not a priority now, but discovering and understanding myself is.

Cold weather

Metaphorical and literal.

I have no idea what was the average temperature for yesterday, but it was pretty cold last night. It is not the below zero degrees Celsius kind of cold, but it was considered cold in Singapore's standard. I believe quite a number of bloggers from Singapore could have written about it today.

Anyway, simple gestures of kindness do touch the heart. Warming the heart in this cold weather. Feeling very melancholic today, and it is those simple gestures that helped one see a brighter side of life. Thanks HP for generously offering me a bottle of Yakult this afternoon. While I must clarify that I am not an ardent lover of Yakult, it was the kind gesture that came in a dark weather that can bring some sparks of light to the receiver.

Maybe the moral of the story is be kind, irregardless. You can never know how your simple act of kindness may lift another person's day.

Was I misunderstood?

Feeling misunderstood
But have no wish to clarify
What would be the use to do so
When the other seems to have a different mindset of how things are

Have no idea if the matter was best raised the way it has been
When one could have been asked to clarify privately
That way perhaps in one's private space
Might have felt more at ease to clarify

No need for the truth to be out
What is the truth?
The truth at one's core stands more important
Perceived truths are not truths but merely perceptions

Yet true indeed
There are ways where one could have done better
Than to have allowed way to oversight
So a learning experience this shall be

Shakened a little
But not beaten
Learning experiences shall help one to grow
And be stronger with time

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Visual Treat



Singapore River, overlooking Anderson Bridge.




It has been a cold, wet and dark day. Weather has its part to play, and then the earlier sentence is also metaphorical in nature.

But in hope to cheer oneself up and others along too, allow a visual treat. Meant for friends and folks on blogland. Be comforted by the fact that light sparkles even where darkness may lurk.

Weather Report

A boring title for a tiring day. The weather has been wet lately in that it has been raining many of the times. Today, it rained for a large part of the day and night. As such, when I was outdoors, the streets were noticeably wet. At times, one may find puddles of water on the roads.

Yesterday was also quite a rainy day. I remember that I had to use my umbrella to shelter myself when I was on my way to office yesterday. As such, for people frail like me, please do bring along an umbrella this two months for there would be more rainy days I expect. At least a disposable rain-coat?

I have no idea why there are more rainfalls during this time of the year in Singapore, but I vaguely remember that the rainy season can be attributed to the monsoons. I have not much knowledge about monsoons, so I decided one could read a bit about monsoons from this site:
-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsoon
Enlighten me please if you were know more.

Hardly get to see much sun lately. The skies appear dark many of the times for the past few days. I remember there was some rain on Sunday too. I will miss the sun for a while. But when they are out, I may miss the clouds and the breeze, and light drizzle?

Actually, as I type along, I realise that I don't mind occasional brief drizzles but I don't quite like heavy downpours. Then again, if I were to remind myself to appreciate how water from the skies is necessary to sustain life, it then would not be too bad an idea to have the rain. Of course, I hope for some good weather soon.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Still a month to Christmas

The few photographs on this post is dedicated to JY. While Christmas is still a month away, a particular stretch of road in Singapore has been lit up with Christmas lightings.

If it fascinates you, enjoy. If not, marvel at the fact that the lightings have been put up way before Christmas.


Christmas tree decor near a shopping mall.





Magical lights along the roads?

A test while taking a break

You Are Somewhat Machiavellian


You're not going to mow over everyone to get ahead...
But you're also powerful enough to make things happen for yourself.
You understand how the world works, even when it's an ugly place.
You just don't get ugly yourself - unless you have to!


Got to know of this through JY's blog.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The darkness



The darkness is vast. But may one find comfort in the sparkles of light.

(Anyway, the above photograph was taken in Singapore, of part of the Christmas' lightings.)

Thoughts about disclosure

Is it the way of human's life to warn fellow folks against walking what may seem like difficult paths for oneself? Yet how a pity it might have been, if fellow folks had decided to follow the advice and find that those seemingly difficult paths were imagined? Then would that meant lost opportunities in walking the seemingly difficult paths that may perhaps make one live more alive?

I hope it is all imagined, that it was not safe to disclose one's dreams to another being. But when sometimes I did disclose, I was given advice unsolicitedly. Not blame the giver, for I knew all advice were meant with good intentions. But when one's heart is already weak and confidence failing, it takes one some bit of strength to cushion the unintended effects of unsolicited advice. Next is to muster the wisdom to process through the advice, take in what may apply, and have the courage to ignore those that don't.

When the intentions of disclosing were that of sharing one's worldviews, unnecessary advice does make one start to wonder if it were safe to disclose at all. For that I remember the values of respect and being non-judgemental. Then one realised, these are values that takes a lot of skill to conscientiously practise. So forgive others if they have failed to practise these values fully.

But when the risk of feeling demoralised from getting unsolicited advice exceeds that of sharing oneself to be understood, bear with one that disclosure may not be the chosen choice.

Sunday out

*Yawn*. Please excuse me. I have somehow been feeling tired lately. Both emotionally and physically. Four hours of walking yesterday and the walking today have left my feet and legs feeling pretty tired at times.

***
Met XH for lunch this afternoon. She showed me the photographs and video clips that she had taken during her trip to Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou and Nanjing (if I remember correctly). I was told that people in Suzhou are very nice in the way that they relate to people. Saw some beautiful sceneries of these places from XH's photographs and video clips.

XH took time and kindly shared with me quite a fair bit of the storyline of Harry Potter. I am not the best student of this subject, but at least her sharing would help me to make better sense of the plot when I watch the movie in the next week.

***
Meantime, perhaps the question on my mind was how the author, J.K. Rowling, found the way to use her talents and gifts to her advantage. I read that she loves writing. How does one find out what one's gifts are, and make a sustainable living from one gifts? And if everyone does make good use of one's gifts, does that mean the world would be blessed with people who are finally able to realise their potential?

Pardon me, I have much more questions than I have answers.
***

Overall, it was a nice lunch appointment today with a pleasant friend. I walked off with a bit more knowledge in subjects that I may otherwise not even discuss or think about if I were left on my own.

Headed to visit maternal grandmother after parting with XH.

***

Right now, the next thing on the mind is to figure out how to beat the sense of lethargy and feel a bit more alive again.

Long evening walk



Four hours on the feet, walking, last evening. In search for what may drive the dark moods away.

How does one cope with a senseless feel of aimlessness? Where talking a walk is concern, let the heart dictate the direction to take.

Left with no clue of the map of one's life, but hopefully, has developed a stronger mind and body that could take up the challenges of the journey.

Unique2Me National Photo Contest

What would make a photo that is uniquely Singapore?

***
Unique2Me National Photo Contest is open to all individual persons from 15 Nov 2005 to 5 Jan 2006.

From 1 Feb 2006 to 28 Feb 2006, participants and members of the public can vote for their favourite photo by an online poll on www.visitsingapore.com/unique2me and stand to win attractive prizes. Wining photos will be determined by the number of votes and other judging criteria set by the STB.

***

Take a peep into some of the submitted entries:
http://www.moblog.com.sg/unique2me/photogallery.asp

I should seriously consider taking part in this, but what would make a photo unique to Singapore?

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Talk about Pies

Since the mood is that of being dark lately, perhaps a lighter post like this may help brighten the mood a little.

Aimless roaming, posts like these do place some structure to the overall picture.

Please share with me what kind of pie you are, if you wish to. No hurry though.

You Are Lemon Meringue Pie


You're the perfect combo of sassy and sweet
Those who like you have well refined tastes

A heavy mind

Feeling lost. The mood is that of being dispirited. After that sense of the mind being heavy, one perhaps cope by blanking out. Now the mind seems as if it is all white. No clear sense of purpose.

But could all these experience be temporary? Could they be measures of coping? Too much complexities in the world out there, and when one attempts to reexamine every single bit of these complexities, it can be overwhelming.

Lost. It felt as if one has yet to be in the right place in this world. Where does one ought to be? How does one find the answers? Attempt and walk this journey of discovery? Or move along aimlessly and wait for the answers to fall? Or could one decide a course of direction, follow it through, and when the paths did not feel right, move on to what may seem to be?

This is perhaps the internal dialogue that has been going on.

Nearby Beach Road



Kunstemaecker will be in Singapore next month. For his benefit, I have post a photo taken nearby Beach Road, where his hotel in Singapore would be located along.

The photo above is simply of average or lesser standard, but I hope the recent photos put up on my other blog under the post titled Malay Heritage Centre would be nice enough to make people wish to visit Singapore.

A good ensemble playing by Yellow Pine Trio

I could now catch more moments of breath after a past week of long hours at work. Now, I could find a bit more time to write a short review of Yew Hong-Chow & Yellow Pine Trio's concert that seemed overdue by now. I attended this concert earlier this Sunday at the Victoria Theatre, Singapore.

***

Before I begin, I must admit that I am not an ardent lover of harmonica music. I have personally learned the harmonica when I was about 14 years old. The secondary school music cirriculum in my secondary school back then included harmonica-playing as part of the cirriculum. As such, to some extent, I know a little bit about how to play a harmonica. But I have not touched a harmonica ever since.

After hearing the Yew Hong-Chow & Yellow Pine Trio's concert last Sunday, I was even more convinced that if schools were to wish to include harmonica-playing as part of their music cirriculum, it will be necessary to build in opportunities for the students to attend at least one harmonica concert of good standard every year. Encouraging students to attend concert not only could help to enhance the students' level of music appreciation, it would help them to experience first-hand what good harmonica-playing is about.

While the harmonica may seem a simple instrument to play, it seems a hard instrument to master. The Yellow Pine Trio proved that mastery of the harmonica would greatly transform one's perception of this seemingly easy-to-play harmonica. While it may seem easy to play, I realised it may not necessary be easy to master.

The first and foremost area where the Yellow Pine Trio has impressed me was their ensemble playing. The sound of the harmonica from the three masters blended very well together. The players have strong sense of rhythm, and the rhythms of each player fell very well in place with the rhythms of the other players. That strong sense of rhythm created a pulse that would captivate one to tap along with it.

Technique wise, I am not in the best position to comment since I do not see myself as a harmonica player. At the same time, I believe that the members of the Yellow Pine Trio do indeed have good technique for each of them could create appropriate sounds of the harmonica to suit the moods of the different numbers that they were playing.

As such, while I confess that I personally have no strong (nor moderate) preference for the American folk tunes that they had played, I surprised myself when I found myself enjoying every bit of their music-making. Good ensembles are rare to find. Not only does each member in the ensemble have to be fairly competent in his playing, the members of the ensemble must be able to complement one another and work as a team to weave a work of music. The members of the Yellow Pine Trio was able to achieve both.

Perhaps because of my own preference in music, my favourite item was the William Tell Overture and the encores that the Yellow Pine Trio played that night. The rest of the items were musically-played and entertaining, and I found myself able to enjoy them too.

Bob Boblink's demonstration of the various techniques on the harmonica was very interesting and entertaining. I never knew that one could do so many interesting things on a harmonica.

On the other hand, while I must commend Mr Yew for his efforts and courage to take on two very challenging works on the harmonica, i.e. Romanian Fantasy and Sunshine over Tashkuergan, I thought that his efforts appeared marred by the quality of the ensemble. Somehow, the harmonica did not seem to blend very well with the rest of the other instruments of the ensemble at many of the times.

The ensemble comprised of the harmonica solo, accompanied by the flute, the clarinet, the harp, the double bass and the violin. There were times when I felt that the violin had came in too soft, and there were times that I felt there were hardly any midtone coming from the ensemble. If there were midtones, those felt pretty sparse.

Next, I felt that the ensemble could have under-rehearsed these two items as an ensemble. Clearly, the quality of the ensemble playing for Romanian Fantasy and Sunshine over Tashkuergan was very far lower than that of any one of the items played by the Yellow Pine Trio. Then again, I guess I could not fault the players. These two items are already very difficult pieces. Probably the ensemble had been formed solely for the purpose of this concert, as such, they did not quite have the privilege to work often with one another and did not have much time together to figure out how they could play as one tight-knitted ensemble.

On the good note, Sunshine over Tashkuergan started very well. The harmonica at last felt as if it was well-supported by the other instruments of the ensemble, and finally its sound blended well with the ensemble. I was just about to praise the arrangement and the ensemble when things took a turn.

After the introduction, I felt that the violin sounded too sparse and did not seem to blend well with the harmonica. I quite enjoy the rhythmic sections played on the double bass and the harp. However, it seemed like the lack of sufficient midtones made me experienced a somewhat gap between the soloist and those rhythmic sections. They sounded apart even though they were playing in the right rhythm. The clarinet player has a good tone, but somehow the arrangement did not make best use of it.

As such, while I had came to the concert expecting myself to enjoy Romanian Fantasy and Sunshine over Tashkuergan (for these were the kinds of music I personally prefer), I felt pretty disappointed. Perhaps it might have been better for the ensemble to comprise that of the piano and the harmonica. While the audience may not get to be treated to listen to various kinds of instruments, such ensemble may allow more time for rehearsal. I personally think that it would be easier to get two person to find common time to rehearse as a team than to get seven person to do likewise.

To conclude, it must have been a challenge to put together this concert. I congratulate the organisers for their good efforts. Overall, it was a successful concert.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Hard to reach out to?

I remember that someone I knew once said that I am so diplomatic that people may find me hard to get to know.

Lately another person revealed to me that somehow she finds she does not know how to relate to me.

These comments did make me think. At the same time, they brought me some sense of pain from an inner conflict. While part of me needs lots of space and has been guarding that space so protectively, I might have set myself apart from that external world that I wish to connect with.

The next thought that came: Could I have then unknowingly set myself in some ways apart from people whom I wish to connect with, including family and friends?

I don't know if I should say any word of apology for making these treasured persons feel that I am just too far apart. Sometimes I do sense that while there is a degree of connectedness with friends and family members, there is somehow a feel of an invisible gap I could not cross beyond. When that invisible gap is reexamined, I admit I feel some momentarily feeling of pain of being excluded? Was that exclusion self-imposed? Was that exclusion necessary in order to maintain a more sane world to live in this world? Or could there be ways I could connect with the rest of the external world meaningfully, without neglecting my needs.

I don't know if there could have been other ways to relate to and connect with the external world without sacrificing that sacred space of my own. I don't know if being connected with people around me means taking greater risks, one which includes allowing people to enter to part of my sacred space.

I ask, what is the minimum amount of space I would need? How much space would I be willing to let go while being comfortable? At the same time, I fear I have no wisdom to understand how to achieve that fine balance to connect with others while not neglecting that personal need for space.

What function does that space serve? Perhaps to provide safety and some sense of peace?

"Ask and you shall receive." But would the answers to my questions be revealed one day? Until then, these questions are merely unorganised thoughts of the day.

***
Until I feel safe to relate more fully with the external world in person, I shall use the space on this blog to share a bit of my inner world.

Behind that pair of eyes

Your Eyes Should Be Brown


Your eyes reflect: Depth and wisdom

What's hidden behind your eyes: A tender heart

Irritation: cough again

This is a cough to earn some comforting words. Maybe it is now dark at night, and I was just home less than an hour ago. As such, comforting words would help ease me into a nice slumber tonight.

*cough*, "ahem". My throat seems to be getting more and more irritable these days. I do tend to be susceptible to coughs, but it seemed that things have improved when I was back from Scotland. However, now I seem to be coughing more because of a more easily-irritable throat.

I wonder if the weather has becoming bad, or I have been taking cold food more than I should out of pure convenience. I think it must have been the former.

Could I wish for more fresh air please?

To earn fresh air, that may mean that I have to do my part to act in ways that are environmentally-friendly?

Anyway, wishing everyone good health.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Q Mark

Am feeling the melancholy
Perhaps of the events of the day
More questions were asked
But probably may not be conclusively answered

Human beings made so different
Should have been for a good reason
Yet differences not understood sufficiently
May lead to misunderstanding

Then how could we
So different in how we can contribute
Pull our resources together
For common good and personal needs too?

When one is not in the mood

Not in the mood for writing too much
For one's mind is too tired to
Details now sound unnecessary
When life finds no space for a break

So intended to just write in summary
Of life that happens
The past few days
That had passed

But when one started drafting
Words piece up in ways
That were not intended
So decided against writing that summary
But shall just write why I didn't

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Lost for words


Sculpture by Ju Ming


A long day
A longer day the next day
Where there's no difference between
Night and day

Urge oneself forward
While the inner urges for solitude breeds
Lost for words
From the unsettling pace of the day

Rest well
Sleep tight
For tiredness has stuck
In pursuit of a better day
March on once again the next day

Monday, November 14, 2005

Distracting one's attention

Attempt to be out
Of this swirling world of dark fantasy
Where people normally rubbed against momentarily only

But to check oneself from falling in eternally
Into that pitless trap of the darkness
Distracting oneself out of it

Be it to do things mundane
Be it to listen the sounds of nature
All done for a reason
To lead one out of that dark tunnel within

Sunday, November 13, 2005

There's beauty even in a gloomy day


Clarke Quay, Singapore


Thanks to fellow friends and bloggers for your warm regards. I appreciate your kindness.

The day seems to bring not much brightness as yet. Perhaps an ailing body and a tired mind need time to get better? Going along with the flow and not push too hard?

I should owe myself some cheers for bearing with the hurting lips and the spinning mind despite my low threshold for pain the past few days. Cheers.

When the day seems gloomy, look beyond the darkness, and there would still be beauty in the most gloomy day.

***

Playing on the CD player is the second movement from Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. It speaks.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Ailing blogger

*sneeze*, *sneeze*

The past two days have been rainy days. I wonder if I had caught a cold? I have been sneezing many times throughout today.

I am feeling weak and in need of some comforting words. Feeling ill somehow makes my mind feel as if it is spinning. At times, I have to collect my thoughts before I could think clearly.

As if it wasn't disturbing enough for a vulnerable soul, my lower lip is hurting from a wound. I must have been careless, and I bit on it accidentally while I was eating something on Sunday. Now I can feel the pain constantly and it bothers.

A little feverish, and pretty tired now. I guess I shall rest early tonight. Initially, I had planned to practise tonight. But my double bass will forgive me if I could not, for he is very kind.

Hate to see a doctor. Maybe I have a secret fantasy to leave the world. The fantasy must have been the fault of feeling ill. My threshold for discomfort from illnesses seems very low today such that my thoughts went astray. While I do not wish to be ill, I know I am fallible, susceptible to illnesses.

I must praise myself for being able to hold myself together and stay pretty sane throughout the day. But now, in my own home, I give up on doing so. Let loose, and just be. I do not wish to care much when I am not feeliing well.

I am feeling a little sad and a little upset. I wonder if these were effects of the illness? And as I type along and publish this post, I will have my weird and incoherent thoughts documented.

It looks like I may have to excuse myself from bloggerland until further notice.

Wishing myself and everyone good health. The weather hasn't be good lately, so please take good care.

Noteworthy: Russian Calendar

This evening, I had the honour and pleasure to have dinner with QH, Emily, MC and our double bass tutor. It was a nice dinner and I find myself learning a lot from my dinner company.

One of the new things to me was about the Russian calendar. The Gregorian calendar versus the Julian calendar.

That got me interested, and I searched the web, and found this: Russian Calendar History.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Soup

This post is inspired by one of Pinkie's posts.

The context: I came home this evening and a bowl of soup for me, prepared by my mother.

***

Back at home
A bowl of soup
Simple and warm
Yet full of love

Little things
Does matter
Simple thoughts
Does count

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Yearning for Retreat



A long tiring day
That has worn the body and the soul

Would it be too much
To ask for a retreat
In the arms of the river?

(Photo of the Singapore River, dedicated to JY.)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Ixora



Come by and smell the flowers
Forget the pains of growing temporarily
Arrive in a tropical land
Find yourself in a garden of ixora

Just live
Be carefree
Even if the moment is short-lived
A treasured moment will last
Forever in our hearts

***

(To read more about the Ixora: http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/ixora.htm)

QLC

Thanks to taking some time away from blogging, I have managed to find a bit more time to read. Last Saturday, a book caught my notice when I was at the library. I borrowed it and found myself reading it.

The title: Quarterlife Crisis: The Unique Challenges of Life in Your Twenties, authored by: Alexandra Robbins, Abby Wilner.

If you are fast enough, QLC, the acronymn of the title of this post refers to Quarter-life Crisis. If this terminology is new to you, Wikipedia has a page about it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quarter-life_crisis.

As I read the book, I wonder if I might have been going through some kind of quarter-life crisis to some extent? I wonder if those periods of intense questioning and that I have been going through were symptoms of QLC?

Not all that the book says apply to me. I doubt that all that the book says would be fully relevant contextually to people living in this part of the world that I am living in because of the cultural and environmental differences. Out of curiosity, I wonder how QLC would be experienced differently in this part of the world?

While not all in the book apply to my situation, it seems to be comforting and at least normalising, to find that those questions in my mind could be simply normal to this phase of life that I am in. And if it helps to share with the folks who might be going through QLC unknowingly, here is a post to put a name to their experiences and to attempt to normalise it.

By the way, this page gives some idea about how to deal with QLC:
http://www.handbag.com/relationships/yourlife/haveitallpressure/

Pleasant reading.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Paths crossed by



Maybe there is a reason
For our paths to cross each others
And soon found ourselves
Anchoring at the same pier

Yet we know
We head different destinations
Different routes to pursue
Different winds to guide our paths

When it's time to bid farewell
Parting may not be easy
But holding together
Isn't the answer either

Letting go and sending each other wishes
For a fulfilling journey
For boats are meant to travel
And not stay at one very spot

The world is round
And when the time comes
Distant it may be
Our paths may cross once more

It was Friday

4 Nov 05:

- This is one of my friend's birthday. Happy Birthday to her.

- It was a quiet day at the office. The day before 4 Nov 05 was a public holiday and many have taken leave from work.

One of my colleagues won a prize in a contest. She was very generous and used part of the pize (in the form of vouchers) to get us some confectionery and chocolates. Here's a note of thanks to her, if she were ever to read this.

- After work, I took a taxi to rush to the university. There was a double bass recital held at the Conservatory of Music. I was a little late and had missed the first two items. I could only enter after the second item was over. Good thing I managed to get a seat for the event.Here's thanking Emily for reserving a seat for me.

I like the playing by the piano accompanist. Her playing supports the double bass soloist's playing.

The recital gave me a chance to listen to double bass music live. I wish I could play as good as some of the players. Well, practise and good practise might be one of the keys to good playing?

Last but not the least, here's thanking the players and the organisers for the recital.

- After the recital, Emily and myself headed to the Food Republic at Wisma Atria for dinner. The green tea pudding from the dessert stall tastes nice, but one should eat it together with the red beans that are served with it.

By the way, it was quite interesting to see the ice-cream seller pushing the ice-cream push-cart around the premises so as to make it convenient for customers to buy ice-cream from him.

I quite like the concept of this eating place, and it would have been more ideal if there were more seats and if there were greater spaces between the seats for people to move more freely about.

- That's what I have to say about the Friday.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Simplicity and Delight



There is a need for a voice, perhaps as a mean to connect and to be understood.

Where total uninvolvement may not be the answer, slowing down one's pace may be however.

***

In the ups and downs of life, maybe simplicity and delight may warm one's heart?

Above: A sculpture found outside the Asian Civilisation Museum - Armenian Street, Singapore.

The little girl spotted a familiar looking face in the direction that she's waving to, and she smiles with delight. Life that is simple has its own beauty.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Sail away



Taking a break. I shall refrain from posting for the next couple of days, or perhaps the next week or so.

Anyway, with the maintenance that will be going on with Blogger, I have no wish to compete with the maintenance work for writing space.

Will miss you folks. Meantime, please take good care.

River in the Morning



Fresh air and cool breezes.
Singapore River in the morning, at about 8.30 a.m.
Enjoy the tranquility this hour has to offer.
This is perhaps the reward for early-risers.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Beautiful Merlion



If anyone were to visit Singapore, it would be nice to take a photo with the Merlion. In this post, you will find photographs that I have taken during one of my recent walks.

The current location of the Merlion is at the Merlion Park, next to One Fullerton. It is quite a nice walk to walk from the Esplanade Park to the Merlion Park.

Read this site to know more about the Merlion and its significance:
http://app.stb.com.sg/asp/form/form01.asp



Searching for life


Singapore River, featuring Cavenagh Bridge


The inner world already gloomy
May not need more blues
One's world is without life
But the world outside may be bustling with life.

Maybe there is delight
To look outside?
Hoping to borrow some life
To revitalise

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A place to retreat

Away from the crowds
Where the skies are blue
White clouds lend shades
And soothing breezes whistled

A nearby spring
Where clear water flows
The sounds of water
Churn out music that dances

The only need is to live authentically
In this land where conventions do not hold
Good-will prospers
And there's little place for pretence and defenses

Flowers blossom
Bees and butterflies gather
Four seasons come and go
Each with wonders of its own

Quieten the mind
Hear the voices of the heart
Away from distractions
To retreat in a place, maybe my own?

Let there be Peace



This is the sculpture titled Let there be Peace which I saw at the Singapore Art Museum a few weeks ago. The sculptor of this work is Alexandra Nechita.

Explanatory notes are found below, click on the photo to enlarge:



More photos of the Singapore Art Museum can be found at: Different Angles of Singapore Art Museum

A shop newly opened

About slightly more than a week ago, I was the Esplanade Mall and I realised that this shop named Frank Brothers Violins has been opened.

I went in to check if there were any double bass related items there. There was none. The shop's personnel politely told me that the shop has just opened and might be more euipped with more items the following week. Then I was asked to write my contact details and my request down. The shop personnel were probably Thais, and it took me a while to understand them in English. But I could not deny that they have been courteous, attentive and friendly.

Soon enough, someone from the shop called me a week later to inform me that the shop has a double bass bow available. When I was there, I saw an intermediate level double bass bow. It felt alright, and looked fine. But I had no idea how it would feel when I use it to bow across the strings of the double bass. So I asked if I could pay for the bow, test it out, and if I felt it did not suit me, I could exchange for another one. Quite unexpectedly, the shop personnel agreed without hesitation. That in some way assured me to purchase the bow without too much hesitation. I needed a double bass bow in case I have to return the one that was loaned to me.

The shop was very new and did not have packing boxes of the right size to pack the double bass bow in. The shop personnel, likely the manager, was so thoughtful to lend me one of the double bass bow cases without question asked. I was thinking, what makes him such a trusting person? I am reliable, but I don't know about some others. But it was good service, because I would have rather carried the double bass bow home safely in a bow-case than to just have it carried home wrapped in mere paper packaging. It was safer.

Casually, I told him I have a few of those same kind of bow-cases at home but had trouble finding someone to repair the zips of the bow-cases for me when the zips went faulty with long period of use. He then told me that he might know of someone in Thailand who might be able to help in that, and offered to help. That was good news. It was certainly more environmental-friendly if I were to repair the zip and could use the bow-case again than to throw those bow-cases and buy new ones.

Hopefully, shops like this which operates on the foundation of good-will and good service will be here to stay for good.

For now, I am still taking time to try out on the new bow. It has a much darker sound compared to the one that I used (but is on loan to me). I wonder if it was because of the rosin I have put on it, or if it was because it was not seasoned. Time will tell, I hope.