Monday, October 30, 2006

The cough gets worse

I decided to see the doctor yet again this evening. The cough has been getting worse after I have finished taking the last course of medication. This evening, the doctor prescribed me some medication and the medication seemed to have relieved quite a fair bit of the symptoms that have plagued me for the past few days.

Yet the doctor felt it was abnormal for me to have a slight fever of 37.5 degrees Celsius this evening and as a precautionary measure, he insisted that I should go for a chest X-ray by tomorrow morning. Hopefully the test results would rule out any abnormal health condition. Wish me all the best.

Treats on a Sunday evening

Yesterday, on a Sunday evening, I was treated to an evening of good music performed by The Philharmonic Orchestra.

The orchestra's rendition of Mozart's Symphony No. 36 was delightful enough that I was able to stay wide awake throughout this symphony. Although it sounded nice overall, I experienced the rendition as just slightly above average. Somehow, something felt missing. But pardon me please, I am possibly not a master in music to tell what was missing.

My favourite for the evening was the orchestra's rendition of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7. I experienced it as being ten times better, ten times more moving and spectular than Mozart's Symphony No. 36. I think this is one work that I am glad that I have listened to it live! The nuances in this work may be slightly lost in recording.

The orchestra's rendition of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7 sounds as good as a professional orchestra, if not better. Perhaps the orchestra members were able to spend adequate time to rehearse together and to better appreciate the nuances in the complexities of this symphony? Music-making is often not like the fast-food industry. Some music require time for the players to appreciate the nuances in the music, and to translate their appreciation of these nuances in their playing.

I also like the way Seah Huan Yuh led the violins in Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7. He has great stage presence, good leadership, and an infectiously moving interpretation of Shostakovich's work.

The percussion section was good too. I also enjoyed the colours and textures that came about from the relatively large winds and brass section required by this very work.

On the whole, every player gave his/ her very best.

There are many other good things I have noticed about last evening's concert, but I shall not attempt to write everything down on this post. Some experiences are just meant to be savoured and not be written down fully.

Anyway, overall, last evening's concert was a very good concert very well worth my time and money. I was so moved that I wanted to stand up to give the orchestra a standing ovation after the orchestra played Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7, but I decided to be a little more reserved yesterday.

Congratulations to TPO for a good concert. Folks, do consider keeping your day free to listen to this orchestra's next concert. (Just that I have yet to have any detail.)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Questions and more questions

What meaning does life hold?
With its ups and downs
Is there something to look forward to?

Can't see the road ahead
But will it be worthwhile to trudge ahead?
While urging oneself not to land in despair

What gives hope?
When the future seems bleak
Uncertain if dreams may indeed be realised

There is no answer
For each question lead to more questions
What lends one faith to pursue for more?

Going to visit Hainan, China

Yesterday, before meeting my friend, I went to sign up for a travel insurance for myself. I will be visiting Hainan, China, from 9 to 13 Nov 2006. The main purpose of the trip is to visit my paternal relatives who are living there.

In my opinion, I think it is a good idea to purchase a travel insurance if I were to travel overseas. Nowadays, there are quite a number of travel insurance packages that are affordable and have fairly good coverage. I think it is worth the money to spend just a little more so as to help cover some of the potential unforeseen risks that one may be subjected to while travelling overseas.

I had an encounter with a foreigner who got really sick and needed to be hospitalised in a foreign land but had no travel insurance coverage. In the end, his accompanying family member had to worry about paying for his large amount of hospital bills and the emergency medical evacuation expenses.

That encounter reminds me that life can be unpredictable, and of the ease of mind that purchasing a travel insurance can provide to some extent. While I hope I can be safe and sound throughout my trip, at least if things unexpectedly turns out to be different, I would be less likely to end up in a financially stuck situation.

***

In case anyone were to ask, I will be going to Hainan with my parents. To be truthfully, I don't fancy the idea of going there with my parents. I can't be sure if they may end up nagging at me when I am there (and I don't like it when others breathe down my neck). I prefer to be on my own to do things, at my pace. I have preferences and values fairly different from my parents and I suspect that we might end up with conflicts when deciding on how we can spend our time there. I won't mind conflicts if it can be resolved amicably and differences be appreciated, but I fear otherwise.

Anyway, please wish me a safe and a sound journey.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Coming up tomorrow!

(Republished)

I got to know of this through one of Emily's posts. This concert is worth your time to tune in and the prices of the tickets are affordable too.

According to Emily, the stall seats for this concert are almost sold out (as of 16 Oct 2006)! By the way, this group's last concert was a sold-out concert. Get your tickets soon.

Yours truly will be going for this concert. (My seat is one of the seats of Row M, of the Stall section. If anyone wishes to stalk me.)

Check it out:





The Philharmonic Orchestra

Music Director - Lim Yau

From Linz to Leningrad

Programme:
Mozart - Symphony No.36 "Linz"
Shostakovich - Symphony No.7 "Leningrad"

Esplanade Concert Hall

Sunday 29th October 2006, 5pm
Tickets at $19, $15 and $13 from Sistic.

An early birthday wish for Mystic

I have the honour and pleasure to meet up with one of my good friends, Mystic, to celebrate her birthday (in advance) today.

We each had Ben & Jerry ice-cream at Raffles City shopping mall, and later travelled to Race Course Road for dinner. Dinner was good. I like the briyani rice especially. The vegetables served were nice too.



Little India at night. Taken by Mystic.


I am thankful that Mystic was gracious enough to accompany me to the Singapore Biennale site at the Maghain Aboth Synagogue to see Jaume Plensa's Even Shetia. This is one work that one must experience personally at a close distance before one can fully learn to appreciate it. I have tried to take a photo of it but the essence of this work just simply could not be captured using photography. This work is one work that has to be appreciated during the night time, from a fairly close distance.




I would also like to thank Mystic for being obliging to my request of visiting the National Library along Victoria Street. I wasn't there to read the books but I wanted to experience the trill of taking the lift up to the highest possible level to view Victoria Street and Middle Street in their quiet simplicity at night.

**

Thanks Mystic for the treat to hot lemon tea. It was refreshing.

Last but not the least, wishing Mystic a Happy Birthday!

Today's lesson

Double bass lesson for this week has been rescheduled to today.

Before the double bass lesson, I played a few studies from F. Simandl's New Method for the Double Bass Book 1. It feels good to realise that I am now able to produce a clearer and warmer sound on the double bass while playing the very same study that I have played about eight years ago. Practising and receiving good guidance do help.

Lesson today started with playing of C major scales. My tutor gave me pointers on how I can enable my left-hand to be play notes with more fluidity.

Afterwhich, we worked on Keyper's Romance and Rondo. I quite like the melody of this piece of music. It seems a challenge to play it musically. My tutor's analogy is that Romance should be played as if it was intended for someone whom one loves. My tutor said that there should be some kind of variation in the dynamics at appropriate places as love, in itself, has its ups and downs. Well, the point that I was trying to make is that playing music does require one to have lots of imagination.

For Rondo, my tutor proposed that for this very movement, it is best to achieve the required sound by playing the harmonics using as short a length from the tip of the bow. This does work!

Today's lesson also worked on how I could get a nice warm, open and ringing tone. My tutor demonstrated and got me to experience how the placement of the fingers on the bow does matter in the quality of the sound.

It appears that if I would like a louder, more open sound whereby the entire bass vibrate in a warm manner, I would have to try to place the index finger and middle finger apart from each other, and place the middle finger fairly close to the ring finger. According to my tutor, if the little finger were to be placed somewhere just above the eye of the frog (of my bow), it would help make the sound produced by the drawing of my bow to have a stronger bass quality.

In addition, today's lesson made me realised that in creating that warm, open tone whereby the stopped notes sound as if they were open notes, I would need to relax my left-hand too.

After the lesson, I realised that my whole mind kept humming Romance from Keyper's Romance and Rondo. I started singing the melody out in public while I was walking along the City Link underground walkways. Please bear with me if you happen to hear me humming the tune out loud in public. I just wanted to work out how to make Romance sound more musical and expressive.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Installing Macromedia Flash 8

Thanks to JZ, I have managed to find the way to browse the Explore Singapore! that requires Macromedia Flash 8. This has certainly put a smile on my face, as it also means that I will finally be able to view the National Museum of Singapore's website.

If you happen to also have difficulties installing Macromedia Flash, check JZ's comments here to attempt to resolve the installation issues: http://oceanskies79.blogspot.com/2006/10/this-should-be-fun.html#comments

It works for me. *Smiles*

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Thursday without music class

This Thursday is designated as a school holiday by the music school where I take my music theory classes. As such, I am free this evening. In addition, the schedules of my double bass tutor and mine clashed with each other and as such, we were not able to schedule the double bass lesson on today.

It is a strange feeling to have no music-related lesson on a Thursday.

Anyway, I tried to sight read half a page from the first movement of Dragonetti's Solo in e minor tonight. I think it was easier for me to relate to Keyper's Romance and Rondo. Getting the harmonics to sound beautifully and clearly for Keyper's Romance and Rondo is a challenge that I don't mind taking up. It can be quite fun.

Perhaps the next challenge is to understand the locations and the corresponding note of the various harmonics, on the double bass. Emily had gave me a quick overview quite a while ago, but I could not seem to assimilate it yet with understanding. Right now, I locate each of the harmonics required by reading the fingerings marked on the scores.

Today's a Thursday without any music class. I'm feeling a little void. What else in this world could please me a little?

New set of scores arrived!

On this Tuesday's afternoon, I headed for one of the music book store in town to collect the set of double bass scores that I have ordered. Finding music book stores that sell double bass music in Singapore seems to be a very great challenge.

A few months ago, I could not find any single store in Singapore that carries Dragonetti's The Famous Solo in e minor (for double bass and piano). In the end, I decided that I shall ask a music book store to order this music for me.

On Lemur Music, the cost to purchase Dragonetti's The Famous Solo in e minor is US$26.95. Usually, it would just take about one to two weeks for the scores to reach me if Lemur Music has stock of the scores that I want.

When I ordered from the music book store that I had ordered from, it took about four to five weeks of waiting before I can lay hands on the scores. Including the air charge (which costs fifteen Singapore dollars), it costs me slightly more than S$46 to get a copy of Dragonetti's The Famous Solo in e minor.

I don't mind the slight wait, and the cost is comparable to that if I were to order from Lemur Music, but the disappointing part is that the music book store could not get copies of the two other music that I would like to get. I was told that one of the music was out-of-stock, one is temporarily out-of-stock. However, when I just checked up Lemur Music's online store, these two sets of scores are in-stock. It would then seem more effective and faster if I had ordered from Lemur Music.

Overall, after this recent experience, I figured that currently, Lemur Music seems to be a better source to purchase double bass scores than the local music stores in Singapore.

If I were to have lots of capital, I would like to consider the idea of setting up a store that sells/rents double bass music. This shall be a good service for the double bass community right here, won't it?

This should be fun

I've found out that there is an upcoming project called Explore Singapore!. I understand that this project aims to spark a national passion in discovering and learning about Singapore's heritage.

This should be fun, but I cannot seem to be able to check out the details today. For some reasons unknown, (since ages ago) I have not been able to install Macromedia Flash Player 8 on the personal computer that I use at home. I was able to download Macromedia Flash Player 8 from the web, but I was not able to install it successfully?

Can anyone advise me how else I can install Macromedia Flash Player 8?

Maybe this is a hint that I need to get a new PC soon, but I decided that I have other more important priorities that I prefer to put my money on.

Anyway, if you can, maybe you could check out this site: http://www.yesterday.sg/explore and tell me more about this project. Thank you in advance.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The air improves a little

The air quality improves a little
Catching glimpses of the clouds
Is it the rain that washes the smoke away?
Or the burning has finally come to an end?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

In the afternoon of Deepavali



Thanks for your patience. For those of you who would like to read about my visit to the Singapore Biennale 2006's site at Tanglin Camp on Deepavali, please check out: Treasures of art hidden in a peaceful corner.

Do check out the SB2006 site at Tanglin Camp by 12 Nov 2006.

Updates for 24 Oct 06



I read from the Singapore Biennale 2006 website that 24 Oct 2006 is Hari Raya Puasa, a public holiday in Singapore. As such, entry to the Biennale is free on 24 Oct 2006. Please check this website for more information: http://www.singaporebiennale.org

In case anyone wonders, the photo above shows some of the Singapore Biennale artist badges that I have collected on Saturday (22 Oct 2006). I still don't have the complete set of 95 badges. Anyway, I think the concept of having a Badge Hunt can be quite interesting. Some of the designs on the badges are very attractive.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Walking on the morning of Deepavali



Yesterday, I joined one of the Singapore Biennale 2006's walking trails. To read about my experiences onboard this walking trail, please check out my post titled: Stairway to Heaven.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Today's a public holiday

It is a public holiday today, in Singapore. If you were to ask what's the occasion, it is Deepavali (Festival of Light) today.

**
A good day to catch the Singapore Biennale 2006

Folks in Singapore, you will miss a lot if you were to miss the Singapore Biennale 2006 (SB2006). This is my opinion. After visiting a few of the SB2006 sites, I find myself getting more interested and intrigued by the various contemporary artworks that address the Biennale's theme of Belief. Many of the works from the SB2006 got me to start thinking of issues that I had used to take for granted. I also find myself being exposed to perspectives different from mine. These, I find, stimulating for the mind. Experiencing diversity is fun.

In the morning, I went for one of the Walking Art Trail Tours: Stairway to Heaven. This trail takes one to the following SB2006 sites: SMU, Maghain Aboth Synagogue, Church of Sts Peter & Paul, Sculpture Square, Sri Krishnan Temple, Kwan Im Temple. I particularly like Yayoi Kusama's Ladder to Heaven. I find the ideas behind it and the method used to achieve the ideas to be fascinating.

In the afternoon, I headed for the Tanglin Camp via the free SB2006 shuttle bus. I have heard many people giving good reviews of the SB2006 site at Tanglin Camp. Emily went there sometime ago, and she gave fairly positive feedback on it.

I had a pleasant surprise when I was at Tanglin Camp. I was about to show my SB2006 admission ticket to the personnel there when they told me that it is a public holiday and that the admission to the site is free!

I heard from the news on TV that admission to SB2006 sites will be free again on the upcoming public holiday. Folks, maybe you may wish to bring some elements of art into your life the upcoming public holiday, i.e. 24 Oct 2006. It is rare to be treated to so many quality works of art within a single period, and SB2006 will be ending in 12 Nov 2006.

I am pleased to say that I have bought myself a copy of the SB2006 short guide today. This short guide contains a lot of useful information about the participating artists and artworks of this Biennale. I strongly recommend it to anyone who wishes to venture to the SB2006 sites and to gain a slightly better appreciation to the works. The best part is that one gets to choose the colour of the cover that one prefers for the short guide. Doesn't it represent that one can be free (at least to some extent) to choose one's beliefs?

For readers who are patient, I shall blog about today's trips to the SB2006 in detail some time later. Meantime, please check out the Singapore Biennale 2006 website for more information: http://www.singaporebiennale.org

***
Practising Keyper's Romance and Rondo

I took some time out today to practise Keyper's Romance and Rondo. More so, I have spent much time practising Keyper's Romance (the first movement). I did practise Rondo (the second movement), but I focused on trying to familiarise myself with where all the harmonics required for this movement are. The more I play it, the more I like Keyper's Romance and Rondo.

I think it will sound more interesting if I were to play it with the piano accompaniment. Anyway, for now, I shall concentrate on getting the double bass parts to sound nice first.

***
Meantime, have a good weekend.

Climbing the stairs

A week ago, I met a neighbour while I was in the lift of our block. She told me that the lift at our block has been breaking down very often. Here's a snippet of what I remember from my conversation with her:

PY: Oh really?

Neighbour: Yes, at least once or twice a week. Usually near dinner-time when people comes home from work.

PY: Oh. I didn't realise this. Perhaps it is because I usually don't come home at that time.


There is now lift-upgrading works going on. There are two lifts at the block of flat that I am living in. One lift is now undergoing the upgrading works, and only the other lift can be used to carry passengers. I shall correct myself. Now, the only lift that is operating is also used to carry loads of construction debris and materials.

Yesterday evening, I decided not to stay too late in office, so I went home and reached the void deck of my block by around 7 p.m. I went into the lift, pressed the lift button but the lift did not move. It took me a few minutes to realise that the lift, the only operating lift, was not working.

After calling the lift-maintenance unit to request for someone to look at the issue, I decided I could muster some energy to climb up my way home. My flat unit is more than twenty-storeys from the ground level, though. The only good thing was that I was beginning to recover some of my strength after a very bad episode of poor health.

One-step-at-a-time. I climbed up each step of the stairs, taking moments of rest at every few levels. I decided not to wait for the repairman to come, because based on past experiences, it seems that it would take the technical person at least an hour or more to get the lift operating. If that were to be the case, it might be more time-effective for me to walk up the stairs.

On my way up, I get to see my neighbours (many whom I have not met) walking down the stairs. Perhaps in resignation? Perhaps they have an appointment later in the evening that they were looking forward to? Perhaps they've decided to walk their way to better health (by exercising)?

Anyway, by the time I reached the level where my flat unit is, I was happy that I survived. I was right, the lift was still not working when I reached home.

I heard that this morning, the lift broke down once again! My father was puzzled why the newspapers was not delivered in time this morning. Only later, did he call and inform that the lift has broken down, and that could be the reason why the newspapers deliveryman was held up. (In Singapore, the normal practice for newspaper deliveryman is to use the lift to transport all the newspaper to the highest level, and then deliver the newspapers from the highest level to the ground level.)

It looks like my neighbour has made a correct observation. I can only hope that the lift doesn't break down as often after the lift-grading exercises. Meantime, I can only hope that the lift gets reapired soon enough if it were to breakdown. It would be better if it doesn't breakdown.

Oh yes, I shall pray that the lift is operating and is in good condition whenever I need to transport my double bass out of my home. I can't imagine carrying my dear double bass more than twenty-storeys down the stairs, and then up again!

My hips are hurting now. I am not sure if this is due to the tedious climb from yesterday. Wish the lift good health though.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Showing love

This shall be a post that is in some ways, reflective. I don't usually write much about my work as I observe the practice of maintaining confidentiality. I shall still maintain confidentiality of the stories behind those whom I work with. In this post, I shall write on thoughts arising from my own reflections.

In my work, I often have the honour to work with families with children. Somehow, Simple American's recent post on the definitions of love came to my mind today, in the course of my work.

What exactly is love? How does one show it? How is it that sometimes the ones whom one loves may actually cause one more hurt? How is it that we may actually hurt the ones we love more than we've actually imagined?

Somehow, I crafted a poem in my mind to speak the voices of some children:

Do you love me?
I guess you do
But why is it that
I cannot sense your love?

How is it that
You've never shown your love
The way that I wish you would?
And then, I just don't feel your love

How could I trust?
That you love me
When I cannot feel loved
I can only guess that you love me

There were days when I feel hurt
That I cannot feel your love
I show my hurt by rejecting you
Even if it were to make you feel hurt

I don't understand what is love
I had thought you ought to show me so
But the hurt that you have felt
Makes you hesitant to show any more

Someone once told me
"That to love fully
We ought to drop the defences and pretences"
I don't know what he meant
Perhaps you can show me
Please show me what is love

Now at the Singpaore Arts Museum





There are some interesting posts on Yesterday.sg on the current exhibitions at the Singapore Arts Museum.

Check the posts out:
Gloom and Glee
Another photolog for All the Best

More importantly, why not check out the Singapore Art Museums?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

How does one express?

I beg all readers to pardon me. I hereby declare that I am feeling awfully exhausted, and at times I just feel that my days will be ending soon. The feeling of exhaustion seems to have a draining effect on me.

**
Anyway, today I have an interesting double bass lesson with my tutor, MJ. For the first time since a span of two and a half months, today's lesson was the first time when I did not play the Marcello's Sonata in g minor. I like the Marcello's sonata but I also welcomed the slight change from the routine. It probably implied that MJ felt I have managed to have made a fair improvement in my foundational skills to move on to try out more advanced works.

We started the lesson looking through the ABRSM Diploma Exams syllabus. I only have the copy of the 2001 syllabus (which is similar to the 2006 syllabus). I am hoping to get my hands on the latest syllabus, if there is any.

Anyway, MJ gave me a sight-reading challenge by asking me to sightread the following:
the first 90 bars from the first movement of A. Capuzzi's Concerto in D major and the first 52 bars from the first movement of Franz Keyper's Romance and Rondo.

My sight-reading skills still needed a lot of work. I was delighted to hear from MJ that he shall start to make me do sight-reading studies and work on improving my sight-reading skills.

Then MJ spent most of the lesson to start me on playing Franz Keyper's Romance and Rondo. The first movement: Adagio sounded like a touching and sentimental piece of music even though this was the first few times that I have played it. I knew it because I heard MJ's demonstration (he was sight-reading marvellously!) of the first 54 bars of this movement during today's lesson. I love the way the music sounds and while playing this movement during today's lesson, I tried to strive to express the sentimental and expressive characteristic of the movement. MJ described that I can relate to certain bars from this movement by imagining a pair of lovers having an intimate dialogue with one another. This movement is largely an expression of love.

After I have managed to get a better idea of the rhythms and the fingerings, playing the notes became manageable. The greater challenge was to play this movement musically, to move the hearts of whoever would be listening (I was trying to imagine myself playing in a recital).

How does one express? A good technical foundation would help me to play this work more competently, but the greater challenges would be to develop a sensitive ear for music and a soul that plays music from the heart.

Before the end of today's lesson, MJ demonstrated how to play the 20 bars of harmonics found in the second movement of Keyper's Romance and Rondo.

I am looking forward to studying and playing Keyper's Romance and Rondo. It sounds like a nice piece of music. I shall practise it over this weekend.

***
I had intended to practise those 20 bars of harmonics from the second movement of Keyper's Romance and Rondo after returning home from my music theory class, but I shall postpone my plans. I am feeling very tired from the day and the air pollution is making the air unpleasant for breathing.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night

Vincent Van Gogh is one of my favourite painters. This is a nice site with information on Van Gogh's works: http://www.vangoghgallery.com/index.html

Somehow the night felt melancholic, and I am humming Don McLean's hit song Vincent once again. There is a page from the site mentioned above that attempts to relate the lyrics of Vincent to Van Gogh's life. The URL is: http://www.vangoghgallery.com/painting/starrynightlyrics.html

As best as I can remember from the art history books that I have read, Vincent Van Gogh went through much difficult times in his life-time. But I would like to think that he has great passion in painting, especially in painting Nature. Because Vincent Van Gogh had pursued his passion with all his soul, his works speak and move the hearts of many, even hundred of years after he has left the world. Vincent Van Gogh's legacy, I should say.

What legacy would I leave behind one day?

The Sweet Onion scent on me

For the whole of this evening and throughout today's orchestra rehearsal, I just felt as if I was smelling of Sweet Onion.

I had orchestra rehearsal earlier this evening, after my work. Way before the rehearsal started, I bought myself dinner from the Subway Fast-food outlet located within the University's compounds. I opted for Cold Cut Trio 6-inch sandwich with Sweet Onion sauce (take-away order). Usually, I would opt to have Honey Mustard sauce to go along with my Subway sandwich, but for a change, I decided to ask for the Sweet Onion sauce.

Actually the Sweet Onion sauce tasted fairly good and went fairly well with the sandwich. However, half-way while eating, I found liquid dripping on my pants and clothes. That liquid was the Sweet Onion sauce. I had expected the Sweet Onion sauce to be viscous like the Honey Mustard sauce, but it is not. It turned out that the Sweet Onion sauce flowed like liquid from the sandwich to my clothes. In the end, I simply felt that I smell of Sweet Onion after the dinner.

***
I had a tiring day, and I felt tired even before the start of the rehearsal. I am still feeling tired right now.

Tonight's rehearsal started with rehearsing the 3rd and the 4th movements of Sibelius' Symphony No. 2. Maybe I ought to travel to Finland, Sibelius' hometown, to truly appreciate Sibelius' music. I still find it hard to relate to his music. How does the Nordic world look like? How did Sibelius seek to describe the Finnish landscape in his music? I found it fairly difficult to enjoy the first half of the rehearsal.

Perhaps my mood has not been in its best due to poor health and tiredness, I did not find it joy in playing Rimsky Korsakov's Easter Overture, that was rehearsed much later, either. Yet, it felt much easier to relate to the Easter Overture than the Sibelius' symphony. But I have never been to Russia.

Anyway, after tonight's rehearsal, the orchestra shall start its exams-break. Rehearsal will resume only in December this year.

***
Right now, I could hardly care about writing a nice conclusion for this post. Now the Sweet Onion scent is off me. I shall be more careful if I were to order Subway sandwiches with Sweet Onion sauce in the future.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Two unexpected meetings online

Before MSN was made popular, I remember that ICQ was one of the most commonly used softwares that people use for online-chats.

However, nowadays, I hardly have any contact using ICQ on a regular basis, so I have in some ways switched to using MSN. I use the web-based version most of the time.

It has been ages since I have log onto ICQ, but when I strangely decided to do so today, I found myself meeting two friends online on ICQ most unexpectedly. One of them is JY and the other, one of my university friends whom I have not kept in touch for a while. It feels nice to meet friends online.

Moral of the story? Pleasant surprises may unfold when one does things a little different from one's normal routine?

Do you have an unexpected but pleasant incident to share?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Seeing possibilities



You may have seen the structure above if you happen to pass by Stamford Road, Singapore. What do you think it is made of?

To find out, please check out the latest post (dated 15 Oct 06) on my other blog: http://oceanskies79places.blogspot.com/

The structure serves as the public information and media centre for the Singapore Biennale 2006 (SB2006). Talking about SB2006, I hope that my health can get better so that I can check out the Tanglin Camp and a few other SB2006 sites over the weekend despite the poor air condition. But, would I get better soon enough?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Thank you for caring



When I fear I would be too frail to walk alone
You accompanied me
When the dizzy spells made me see spots of white
You walked beside me

Simple acts of kindness:
From being patient,
Lending your tolerance,
To an offer of a warm drink to soothe the throat

The get-well wishes you send
Reminds me to take good care
Helps to soothe some of the discomforts
When the pain gets too hard to bear

Not that these go unnoticed
It is just that I don't say it
Thank you for caring
Your kindness touches me

Art of Cartier



Even though I don't have a fancy for jewellery, the Art of Cartier is an exhibition that I would like to catch if I were feeling better. The air quality today remains quite bad today. After yesterday's attempt to go out in the evening and ending up having dizzy spells on my way home, I suppose it won't be a good idea for me to travel outdoors today (even though I wish to do so badly).

Anyway, the good thing is that toycon has so generously shared about his visit to the Art of Cartier, and he has uploaded what I deemed as exclusive photographs (photography is strictly not allowed at the exhibition unless one gets special clearance and permission). Check out his post: http://yesterday.sg/detail/bling_bling/

Having read toycon's post, I think I would be most intrigued by the Mystery Clock as well. I have a fascination over how things work.

This exhibition is held from 30 Sep to 17 Oct 2006 at the National Museum of Singapore, Gallery Theatre. Admission is free. For details on the opening hours and the schedule of the guided tour, I think it is available from: http://www.nationalmuseum.sg/

Friday, October 13, 2006

Feeling frail

Sickness and poor health have been making me feel vulnerable. Perhaps I may need to learn to accept that my state of health won't be as good as it used to be? Perhaps I need to review my current lifestyle in hope to nurse my health back?

I decided to miss music theory class last evening as I was feeling very nauseous. The discomfort prompted me to see a doctor and the doctor told me that I have a badly inflamed throat. Perhaps it was a good choice that I had missed the class. I was feeling drowsy and weak most of last evening (and today). In the later part of last evening, I threw up much of my lunch, dinner and the medication that I had taken. At that kind of state, I suppose I won't be able to assimilate much if I had attended the music theory class last evening.

I tried to take as much of rest at home for the whole of today. It has helped to rest the throat a bit, but I found myself unable to get a restful rest as there were drillings from the unit above. Hopefully, I can get some better rest tonight. I doubt the renovation works from the unit above would go on at night.

I am feeling a little bleak. Life feels bitter for now. Perhaps the bitter taste of the medicine that is still lurking on my taste-buds makes me feel so. But I shall remind myself that all these might be temporary. At least, this is what I hope.

Sickness can be too much to bear.

Wishing all, health.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Overdose?

This evening, while waiting for the double bass sectional to start, I practised the Marcello's Sonata in g minor. Actually it feels much easier for the fingers of the left-hand to play on the double bass that I usually play on at the orchestra (and I affectionately call this double bass "my boyfriend"). I also love its rounded and deep tone.

Then again, I find I was able to enjoy playing this sonata even on my own double bass. It feels like a good workout to play this sonata on my own double bass which I affectionately address as "my husband".

Anyway, after the sectional, I played a few other works, but went back to playing the Marcello's Sonata in g minor again.

Right now, I can recall one recent occasion when my mother asked me while I was practising at home, "How come you always play this?" (she was referring to the Marcello's Sonata in g minor.)

An overdose? Actually, this sonata can sound nice. I won't mind playing it many times. Admittedly, I do feel bored with it at times. I managed the boredom by switching to play something else before returning to play it again.

The thing is: it will not be fun if I were to always play it exactly the same way each time. I try to find slightly different ways to approach this sonata, and it feels good to experience that I able now more able to be in control of the way I want my double bass playing to sound.

Ripped apart

Internally on a strike
A dilemma is faced
Life outside goes on
But one's world deep down wants a rest

Don't feel one fits in
The world moves in direction contrary to one's
Be true to oneself
Else one may soon be ripped apart

Monologue 2

With the declining state of health, I can sense a growing sense of vulnerability in me. A feeling that makes me feel as like crying deep down though the face appears fine.

It seems to be due to the cough, my voice has been sounding as if it would soon go away. The quality of the air isn't as bad as the past weekend but my throat has been feeling very irritated for most of the day, and I was coughing much more today. It now hurts to cough. Somehow, the act of coughing pulls the muscles near the shoulder blade and arm area, and this hurts. I just hope that I can still have the dexterity to play on the double bass this week.

At some time of the day, when the pain feels sore and the discomfort feels bothering, I simply wish I could have a space to retreat. No noise, just space. A space to recharge from this world that saps health away from me.

What may bring health back?

I am feeling tired. Yearning for a rest.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Savour the food

Thanks to HP who provided me with a link to http://www.ieatishootipost.blogspot.com/.

I can now browse through the many food reviews on the blog above-mentioned to find out if there is any good food that I have missed trying, right here in Singapore. Don't you feel hungry to sample the food mentioned on this blog?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Coming Next Year

The musical, The Phantom of the Opera, will be performed right here in Singapore from 23 Mar - 15 Apr 2007 at the Esplanade Theatre.

I have only watched this musical once, when I was in London last year. Right at this point in time, I remember the music better than the visual-scenes. This could be partly because I have a copy of the original cast recording, and that I listen to it every now and then. I love the music. Visually, I can remember the scene whereby there was a crashing down of the chandelier, the graveyard scene and the scene whereby the Phantom rows the boat with Christine on it. This is one musical that is entertaining to catch.

I have Emrah to thank for he recommended this musical to me. This musical was so popular in London that I had to purchase the ticket more than two weeks before I had reached London. It was full-house when I caught this musical in London.

Public sales starts from 6 Nov 2006. For ticketing details, please check out http://www.sistic.com.sg/cms/events/index.html?content=525

To find out more about this musical, you can check out its official website: http://www.thephantomoftheopera.com

Stretched

The muscles around my right shoulder blade seem to be hurting. I might have stretched the muscles or have pulled them somehow, but I have no clue how I have done so. Now it hurts when I raise my right arm vertically up in the air and when I attempt to rotate my right arm in a circular motion.

I've arrived home about slightly less than an hour ago. For reasons that I could not determine, I am having a headache. Thank goodness that this only happened after I locked up the office compounds.

The right side of my hips are hurting too. The thing is that I haven't been doing much walking the past weekend.

I seem to be experiencing physical pain these few days. Are the pains telling me something?

***

Pain (any pain--emotional, physical, mental) has a message. The information it has about our life can be remarkably specific, but it usually falls into one of two categories: "We would be more alive if we did more of this," and, "Life would be more lovely if we did less of that." Once we get the pain's message, and follow its advice, the pain goes away.

-Peter McWilliams, Life 101

***






Anyway, my burning question is: how can I ease the pain?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Grateful for the fresh air

The air quality level is better today.
Thanks for the fresh air.
Even if it is temporary,
It provides a relief anyway.

Fragility

Declining state of health
Experiencing the physical pains
Am feeling fragile
The threshold gets low for discomforts
How does one ease the pain?

An urge to slow down

The body signals signs of pain
The energy level going low
Dizzy and seeing white spots
The body's indications to slow down

The outside world continues to move
The body has its own pace
Wishing to take a break from the world's game
To go slow till the body recuperates

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Staying indoors

The overall PSI readings readings for 7 Oct 2006 as at 4 p.m. was 128. This implies that the air quality has reached a level deemed to be unhealthy. Visibility level is fairly low too.

I initially have plans to go out to check out one of the Singapore Biennale sites, but I decided it would be wiser to stay indoors. I am keeping most windows of my flat unit shut. I wish I have air-condition unit, but I shall make do with the fan since the ventillation is still fairly bearable with the use of the fan.

I am feeling listless. I don't know if this is due to the poor air quality. For those affected by the haze, please take good care folks.

Weekend at City Hall



Here's a post that I have written about my visit to one of the Singapore Biennale 2006 sites: Contemporary art at City Hall.

Hopefully it may entice some of you to check out the Singapore Biennale 2006.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Dominant Intelligence

I have done a similar test some time ago, and I think I've got the same result. May I get a chance to put my dominant intelligence to regular use.

Your Dominant Intelligence is Spatial Intelligence

You've got a good sense of space and how the world around you looks.
You can close your eyes and "see" images. You have innate artistic talent.
An eye for color and shapes, you're also a natural designer.
Since you think in pictures, visual aids and demonstrations help you learn best.

You would make a good navigator, sculptor, visual artist, inventor, architect, interior designer, or engineer.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The sound of the double bass is therapeutic

This evening, I had double bass lesson with my tutor, MJ. We spent the first part of the lesson on right-hand technique. He gave me a task for this week's assignment. It is to play an exercise fairly similar to playing the G Major scale, but in the following manner:

Play the following notes, with the bow direction "as it comes":
G-d-G-A-d-A-B-d-B-C-d-C ...etc (d - open d string)(G - open G string)
(Is this the way to write the notations?)

At first sight, when I saw MJ doing the demonstration, it looked pretty easy. When I tried playing it, I realised that my mind became confused after playing this way. However, accordingly to MJ, such exerises can help in the right-hand coordination. I trust him on this.

The next part of the double bass lesson continued with working on the Marcello's Sonata in g minor. I spent some time playing the first movement but more time was spent playing the second movement. I can clearly hear that my rendition of the second movement today is much better than my rendition of it during my exams. MJ demonstrated and sang to me how I can play this movement more musically so that the melody lines can be clearly heard and understood. It felt satisfying to be able to bring my proficiency of playing to a greater height. Not just technically, but musically.

I have been working on the Marcello's Sonata in g minor for more than two months. I am having the thoughts of organising an informal recital where I can perform the Marcello's Sonata in g minor. Then again, even if I do get a piano-accompanist to play with me, I would like to work on my sense of tempo first before even thinking about having a recital. I admit my tempo fluctuated inappropriately when I was playing the first movement of the sonata. MJ reminded me to be mindful about keeping time.

After the double bass lesson, I could remember feeling a sense of inner peace and comfort in me. The sound of the double bass still rang in my ear. I could remember how heart-warming it felt to feel the vibrations of the double bass. The whole experience felt therapeutic. Not that it stopped me from coughing; It just felt as if it was gently re-energizing me from some of the drained feeling that I get from the recent bout of poor health. This has brought some relief.

Air pollution makes the cough worse

I smell smoke in the air today. Visibility today is not as clear as it used to be. The air feels polluted. This isn't helping me recover from the cough. I can only try to stay indoors for as long as possible to be away from the polluted air.

Wishing for fresher, clearer air.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Scream

Cornered by poor health
Life seems robbed away
Most moments lived in pain
Despair seems growing everyday

Scream!
As if in protest
Only to find the sound pierce deep inwards
Ripping what is within, all apart

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Dali Dali


Surrealist Piano, Bronze, by Salvador Dali, Edition No: 1/8


Does anyone here know who Salvador Dali is?

I took art history lessons in my Secondary school years, and I recall learning that Salvador Dali is an artist who is closely associated with the Surrealist art movement. I do not personally adore his works, but I don't have anything against his works either. I prefer some of his sculptures to his paintings. It appears to me that the best way to understand Salvador Dali's works is to understand his approach and philosophy towards life, which I personally know very limited about.

Anyway, for those who wish to know, the above photo was taken at Boat Quay, There are now a series of works by Salvador Dali being displayed right her as part of the Dali in Singapore exhibition organised by Opera Gallery, held from 14 Sep to 14 Oct 2006. You may also find sculptures and paintings by Dali at the following places during the given period: Wheelock Place, Ngee Ann City, Capital Towers, and Opera Gallery.

How did I know all these? Oh, I read these from the plaque that was found on the base of the Surrealist Piano. Look closely at the legs of the piano. Do you see that these legs wear high heels?

**
By the way, Melvin Ryan Tan has written a post on Youth.sg on the Dali in Singapore exhibition, you can check his post here.

Irritating cough

Found blood strains in the phlegm when I coughed out phlegm from my throat first thing in the morning. Subsequently, for the remaining of the day, I did not notice blood strains in the phlegm.

This is not the first time something like this has happened in my life. The last time when something like this has happened, I did a thorough check-up to ensure that my lungs were functioning early. The doctor told me that no problem was detected with my lungs functioning.

I wish the air can get better. My voice is getting hoarse, not from the flu, but from the coughing. It is such an irritating cough. Does anyone have any remedy to relieve me from the very itchy feeling that makes me feel a strong urge to cough?

Soft-cases

For those who are keen to learn more about the double bass, Jason Heath has a post titled: Sorting out double bass gig bags.

I have bought myself (or rather, my dear double bass) a new soft case this July. This was purchased from a local music shop in Singapore. It costs about S$320. The factors that prompted me to purchase it are as follow:

1) it has two wheels underneath (so I can roll the double bass from places to places).

2) it has fairly thick padding (although it may not be as thick as the Mooradian double bass soft-cases that Jason has mentioned

3) it has a number of fairly sturdy handles so that increases the ease of handling and carrying my instrument

4) Cost-effectiveness. It can be purchased locally. I have calculated that if I were to get a Mooradian soft-case, I am likely to have to purchase it from online overseas sources, and the cost can be fairly high after including the air freight charges and factoring in the exchange rate. Having bought it from local sources, I hope that it would be more convenient for me to seek help if the soft-case needs some form of maintenance (e.g. a wheel replacement).

Let's hope that this case would serve me well enough for a couple of years at least. Here's a snapshot of my double bass in the new double bass soft-case.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The tune

The dark vast skies
It is now night.
Pitch darkness
Envelopes the entire sky

A tune rings in my mind
Which I wish when sung,
could pierce through the starless skies
Dot the bleak skies with twinkling stars

But had once hummed the tune
And whispered its lyrics
No one seems to bother to listen
Others misunderstand or show disapproval

Then would mustering enough faith and courage
Help one believe
That the tune shall be sung
Whatever the rest of the world may react?

For its expression is unique
If not sung
How could the world know
What it is missing out on?

Hazy skies

The poor quality of the air is making the cough that I am now having worse. Not only is the air making me cough more frequently, it is making me cough more violently. At this rate, I wonder when I would ever fully recover from the bad flu that has plagued me since early last week. Some parts of the day, I wonder if all the coughing may just puncture my lungs and take life away from me. Living with a bad cough makes one feel as if quality life is being robbed away.

According to the PSI (Pollutant Standards Index) Reading for Singapore, the overall PSI reading for today stands at 73.

I have already felt it was unbearable for me when the PSI reading for yesterday was 41. 73 makes the air feel almost as if it is a silent-killer. If it goes up to beyond 100, I fear that I may have to consider using a mask that is linked to an oxygen tank.

Life feels as if it is getting unbearable. I can only urge myself to keep looking out for simple little pleasures from my everyday-life to attempt to delight myself.

Wishing for fresh air. Yearning for the fresh air from Aberdeen, Scotland.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Bottled Up

Feeling bottled up
As if I have not enough room for expression
Eager to express
But the restriction seems there

Missing out on...

Chun See writes about Kampong Fruit Trees (Part 1), (Part 2) on his blog Good Morning Yesterday. It seems that I am missing out on tree climbing and the nice fragrance of fruit trees. Do you feel similar?

If you would like to find out more about kampong fruit trees, please check out:
Kampong Fruit Trees (Part I) and
Kampong Fruit Trees (Part 2)

Monologue

What would make life worth living for?
Surely not just to eat and sleep?
How could one bide each day, each second
If there wasn't something worth living for?

But is life an endless cycle?
That comes all to square-one
Like rain will soon be followed by sunshine
Every step ahead seems to be laid

Yet if this was the case
Would it imply life is no more than being mechanical?
The details may vary but the themes are similar?
Then is there any meaning to live for?

What breathes life into a living creature
How is the survival instinct being programmed?
That urges one forward
Even in the faces of the unknown and realms of darkness