Friday, August 31, 2007

The doors are closed

Drained
Shutting myself from the world
In hope to recharge
To find some solace
Until alienation
Makes me vanish from the world

Chun See's thoughts on: Bukit Timah: A Heritage Trail



I have spent at least six years of my life as a student in two different schools located along the Bukit Timah area. As such, it brings a sense of nostalgia whenever I read about post related to this area.

On Yesterday.sg, Noel pointed us to a post by Chun See of Good Morning Yesterday. This is something I won't miss. Do check out the post by Chun See here: Bukit-Timah-Heritage-Trail

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Starting to feel overwhelmed
































Until I have lots of thoughts
But the output
Is simply
Blank

Carnival ride

I am feeling exhausted and in no mood for a carnival ride now. Anyway, I did a personality test recently, and here are the results.




You Are a Log Ride



You prefer to live a fairly calm, relaxed life... with a few surprises thrown in.

You don't tend to get yourself worked up easily. You can roll with what life throws at you.

In relationships, you are steady and solid. You maintain a pretty broad perspective on what's going on.

That's not to say you can't get swept away. Your emotions run as deep as anyone else's.


Your life seems like it has been remarkably easy so far. But that's due to how you manage it.

You never stretch yourself too thinly, and you think out your decisions carefully.

Taking the time to enjoy each day is important to you, and you don't let your emotions rule you.

You stay the course and do what's right... knowing it will all work out in the end.


At your best, you are tolerant and understanding of other people's quirks.

You take "go with the flow" to the extreme. Even if you don't like where you're going.

At your worst, you repress your feelings and end up being a little tightly wound.

You definitely have some explosive emotions that occasionally come to the surface!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pretty handphone accessories




Sweet like candies.
Take a closer peep
They are actually
Pretty handphone straps



One of my blog friends, Carcar, based in Singapore, has recently started an online site selling handphone accessories. These accessories are shipped in from Japan. If you are looking for handphone accessories from Japan, you may wish to visit her online site: http://handphoneaccessories.blogspot.com


Image above is taken from http://handphoneaccessories.blogspot.com

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

PY reading about Emily in Baltimore

Emily is Baltimore, US! She will be there for one academic semester under the Students' Exchange Programme.

Here I am in Singapore, reading about Emily's adventures in US. I am feeling envious having read that she was loaned a Pollman double bass for one entire semester.

I am happy for her that she seems to have found US as a place where she can thrive. I believe that her experience on the Exchange Programme would inspire her greatly in life. Have fun learning, Emily.

To join me to read about Emily's adventures in US, visit her blog: http://www.pinkified.blogspot.com

Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE!

Monday, August 27, 2007

All on one cello

Yet again, Jason Heath pointed me this video featuring Stringfever playing Bolero. Four persons playing on one single cello.



To find out more about Stringfever, please visit their website here: http://www.stringfever.co.uk/index.html

If you like what they play and how they play, you can purchase a copy of their video here: http://www.stringfever.co.uk/video.html

***
On the side, also see: Four bass players playing one instrument by Jason Heath.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Feeling lost

Alive
Yet lost
Moving ahead
Yet unsure
In the crowds
Yet often alone
Trudging forward
Would it get me anywhere?

Magnetic Band – Ghost Opera & The Mad King

This evening, I attended a concert by the Magnetic Band. It was an interesting concert, and it certainly got the audience's senses up and alert. I felt that the Magnetic Band had used elements of theatre-performance while performing the music.

There was a pre-concert talk prior to the concert, and I thought it was a good idea to have one. It gave me better appreciation to the processes involved in rehearsing the two works and more information on the works.

Meantime, readers may visit the following links below to find out more about the two works:

- Tan Dun : Ghost Opera
- Interview re: Sir Peter Maxwell Davies' Eight Songs for a Mad King (Writings by James Wierzbicki)
- Peter Maxwell Davies

I am glad that I went for the concert. It is quite rare to hear these works being performed in Singapore.

Congratulations to the performers for having put up a successful concert. The turnout was pretty good.

Veron in Japan

Veron of http://sparklette.net went to Japan for a 11-days holiday during the earlier part of August 2007.

She is now back in Singpaore writing beautiful posts of her trip. There are many nice photos in this post so do visit her blog http://sparklette.net. She is aiming to blog about her day-to-day vist to Japan over a period of 11 days.

For folks who like to see read about her visit to Tokyo Disneyland, here is the direct URL: http://sparklette.net/archives/japan-day-2-tokyo-disneyland/

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Week 34 of year 2007 on the double bass

19 Aug 2007, Sun: In the evening, I spent about half-an-hour practising the Rondo movement of Keyper's Romance and Rondo at a slow tempo.

22 Aug 2007, Wed: During the strings sectionals and the orchestra rehearsal, I played C. H. Gounod's Faust and selected passages from G. Bizet's Carmen Suite No.1 and Carmen Suite No. 2. I quite like C. H. Gounod's Faust.

23 Aug 2007, Thu: For the double bass lesson, I played through and worked on Keyper's Romance and Rondo and Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro. My tutor allowed to try a particular brand of rosin, and I was amazed how warm and the loud the double bass sounded after playing with a bow wiped with that rosin.

During the lesson, my tutor asked me the question of what kind of bow was likely to be used during Keyper's time. That reminds me to spend more time reading on the history of the double bass.

24 Aug 2007, Fri: At night, some time after I have returned home, I spent some time playing selected passages from the first movement of Keyper's Romance and Rondo and the first movement of Marcello's Sonata in G major from memory.

I also played Marcello's Sonata in e minor and sight-read J.S. Bach's Bourree (from the 3rd Cello Suite. Bach's music is admittedly very challenging to play.

25 Aug 2007, Sat: Many thanks to my dear friend, J, for taking time to practise with me in preparation for the Diploma in Music Performance, in double bass. I think she is a good piano accompanist and she definitely has been most patient with me.

For the day, we managed to accomplish quite a bit. We rehearsed Keyper's Romance and Rondo, part of Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro, Faure's Sicilienne and Marcello's Sonata in G major. I realised that I still have to work on quite a number of areas so as to bring out the music. Most important, I must be steady in keeping time.

My double bass did not sound nasal like it had been last weekend. J and I figured that it was probably because of the weather last weekend that had contributed to the nasal sound. I suppose my double bass is a pretty sensitive instrument.

I can't help it but to say thanks again to J for her pointers and most appreciated help in the accompaniment. Making music is fun. Now, I need to learn to lighten up a bit more.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

PY's blogging personality

Thanks to Simple American for pointing me to this test. I did the test and below are the results.

I agree that I blog for myself because it has been therapeutic for me to blog.

Do you experience me as being confident and insightful in my blogging style?

What kind of post do you like to read on this blog?

I would like to hear from you.

Your Blogging Type is Confident and Insightful

You've got a ton of brain power, and you leverage it into brilliant blog.
Both creative and logical, you come up with amazing ideas and insights.
A total perfectionist, you find yourself revising and rewriting posts a lot of the time.
You blog for yourself - and you don't care how popular (or unpopular) your blog is!

I wish for lots of good luck

My music exams for the diploma of The Associated Board of the Royal School of Music is coming soon in less than four weeks time, and my finger is still healing. I am wishing for full recovery soon. The doctor and Chinese sinseh have both advised me to rest, but I do need some time to practise and refine the music.

This afternoon, I told my double bass tutor of my exams venue, and he told me that it isn't a hall that has good acoustics.

Work in the office has been heavy, and I have to do whatever possible to be effective so that I can go home early enough to practise.

Things do not seem to be going my way. What is within my control is to simply do my best and work out the things that are within my control. I wish for lots of good luck.

On the side note, my music theory tutor suggested that I could just go ahead and play in the allocated exams venue.

Whatever it is, could you please keep your fingers crossed for me? Thank you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I wish for complete recovery

On the injured finger: I went to seek a second opinion from a Western medicine physician (a general practitioner) yesterday. I was told that the ligaments of my left little finger were loose. This contrbuted to partial dislocation of the joint. No medicine was given. No X-ray was needed. No physiotherapy was prescribed. No referral to the specialist either. No finger brace was given either. The doctor told me the best way to allow the finger to recover was to let it rest. I asked if I could practise (on the double bass), he told me it is up to my own calling. Anyway, at least there was hope for the finger to recover completely one day.

I think that the Chinese physician was much more helpful then. At least I could practise. When I am not practising, I could wear the finger brace to allow my finger to rest. The finger feels like it is gradually healing. Maybe I am impatient, I am yearning for a complete recovery soon.

Dinner with double bassists




On 20 Aug 2007, a few double bassists met at Kampong Glam for dinner. What did we end up having for dinner?

Find out here: Dinner gathering at Kampong Glam

Monday, August 20, 2007

Bottesini's Passione Amorosa

Jason Heath posted a post which includes two You-Tube videos of Gary Karr, Daniel Nix, and Harmon Lewis performing Bottesini's Passione Amorosa. One day, I hope to be able to play this work.

Meantime, I shall share the videos here to allow readers of this blog to experience how lovely the double bass can sound. Enjoy!

Bottesini's Passione Amorosa mvt 1


Bottesini's Passione Amorosa mvt 2 & 3

Ten things that happened to me

I was tagged by Two Crazy Dogs of Life with the Two Crazy Dogs.

In no particular order:

1. I started playing the double bass when I was 13 years old.
When I was 13 years old, I did not expect myself to be playing the instrument 15 years later. Whatever it is, I am glad I am still playing.

2. A scar on the left eye-brow.
I was probably 8 or 9 years old. While at home, I had an accident when I was running about, and I hit the left of my upper face against one of the furniture. Next thing was that there was blood. I was taken to see a doctor and she stitched the wounds. Now the scar remains.

3. I wore braces.
My teeth, especially the ones on the upper front row were misaligned. As such, just before I took my Primary School Leaving Examinations at age 12, I started wearing braces for about four years.

4. About one year of being selectively mute when I was in kindergarten level one.
Possibly I did not feel prepared to attend kindergarten classes. When it was my first day attending the kindergarten classes, I cried to ask to be out of the class. Probably I could not know how to adjust, for about one year, I was basically not talking to anyone during the kindergarten class. If I wish to communicate, the other party would have to read my lips to figure out what I wish to say. That was the case too when I had to sit for oral tests.

5. First time travelling overseas.
I was 13 years old then. I travelled to Australia, Brisbane, with other participants of the school's cultural exchange programme.

6. I visited Aberdeen, Scotland.
In the year 2005, I visited Aberdeen to participate in the Aberdeen International Youth Festival. Aberdeen is a lovely place, so is Scotland. I wish I could visit it again. My related posts on Aberdeen can be found here.

7. I became interested in visiting the museums.
I generally have quite good experience in visiting museums. Thankfully, my father had been generous when I requested to visit various museums and places-of-interest when I was young. Probably my interest for museums started then. It was quite fun reading tour guides and tour brochures which my mother brought home (She works in a hotel). I suppose the interest has developed further, and now I am a Friend of Yesterday.sg.

8. I joined the University's Symphony Orchestra.
University's life has its ups and downs. Reflecting, some of my better times in the university was spent playing the double bass as a member of the university's orchestra. I still enjoy the time when I would use the music studios at least twice or thrice a week just to practise on the double bass.

9. A double bass as a 21st birthday gift.
I have my mother to thank for one of the most invaluable gifts that I have received.

10. I became interested in touring Singapore.
After my final year examinations from the university, I set aside time visiting various museums in Singapore. In addition, I picked up tour brochures and began visiting various parts of Singapore (e.g Chinatown, Little India) on foot on my own. At times I would bring out my sketch book to sketch. I still travel about various parts of Singapore nowadays when time permits, and I can say that it is fun to learn about this country that I live and grow up in.



Life is not just about the ten things above, but I suppose these are things that I am comfortable to share.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Pizza and personality

I don't have the mood to write much, so I did a personality test and here are the results.

What Your Pizza Reveals

Your appetite is pretty average. You don't go overboard - but you don't deprive yourself either.

You consider pizza to be bread... very good bread. You fit in best in the Midwest part of the US.

You like food that's traditional and well crafted. You aren't impressed with "gourmet" foods.

You are generous, outgoing, and considerate with your choices.

You are cultured and intellectual. You should consider traveling to Vienna.

The stereotype that best fits you is upper class preppy. You don't anything too ordinary or vulgar.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The resting place of a famous man



A post on Yesterday.sg quoted from an article by Alvin Yeo:
I always knew there was a tomb along Outram Road but never bothered to find out who was buried there. It was someone important for sure.

Who was buried in the tomb? Find out more from the article by Alvin Yeo here.

Week 33 of year 2007 on the double bass

Time flies, and it is now end of week 33 of the year.

12 Aug 2007, Sun: I practised scales (e.g. F major, F harmonic minor F melodic minor, and A major) this morning. In addition, since I would like to give the left hand a break, I played open strings for at least 5 minutes ensuring that I could achieve a nice warm tone and nice bow changes.

Afterwhich, time was spent playing a selected section of Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro.

13 Aug 2007, Mon: Time was spent practising some simple studies for the double bass. I continued to focus on the right-hand techniques, to achieve a uniform sound quality as I drew the bow.

15 Aug 2007, Wed: I attended the orchestra rehearsal. In the evening, there was an orientation programme to introduce the orchestra to the Year ones and potential new members. Hopefully, the double bass section can have a few new members joining us this year.

For the evening of orchestra rehearsal, we rehearsed Selections from Phantom of the Opera (Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Arranged by Calvin Custer), one of the movements from Stravinsky's The Firebird and the fourth movement of Mahler's Symphony No. 1.

16 Aug 2007, Thu: Double bass lesson was held in the late afternoon. My tutor, MJ, asked that I play Marcello's Sonata in G major. I was asked to practising playing using short bows for a particular passage of the second movement.

In addition, time was spent practising Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro so that it would sound musical to the ears of a member of the audience.

I had the pleasure to play on MJ's antique double bass (which I heard cost quite a bit of money and is one of the few of its kind in the world) for a few minutes. My goodness, a good instrument does make playing so much easier, and makes the sound sounds so beautiful with less effort. I wish one day I can accumulate enough savings to purchase a much better double bass. Till then, I shall continue to improve on my playing and maybe pray for someone to sponsor me a nice double bass? Is there such a deal in this world?

18 Aug 2007: In the afternoon, I met with dear J, my friend and piano accompanist for the exams, to practise. I have her to thank for being so patient with me when we were rehearsing today. We rehearsed Faure's Sicilienne and Marcello's Sonata in G major. When I hear the piano parts of Sicilienne, I cannot help but feel that Faure is indeed a genius composer in writing interesting harmonies and lovely melodies.

Exams is now a month away. May my little finger heal fully soon.

**
Achieving targets in terms of my practising goals. I ask for healing and better health.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Jason Heath's demonstration on the bass



Jason Heath in one of his posts shared an interesting video of himself explaining some fundamentals of the double bass. It reminded me of how low the double bass can sound. I love the deep and low sounds of the double bass.

In addition, in the video, we can watch Jason performing Ode D'Espagne composed by François Rabbath. It is quite interesting to learn about the different kinds of sounds that can be created on the double bass.

For your convenience, I have embedded the video in this post. Please check Jason's original post here.

***
On the side, if you would like to learn more about playing the double bass, there is a new post on d'Bassists official webhome on the topic of holding the double bass bow.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Reading about Kampong Bugis

A post on Yesterday.sg pointed me to a post written by Laokokok on the Kampong Bugis. Where on earth is Kampong Bugis in this island called Singapore?

Find out more here: Kampong Bugis or 火城

For me, it was an interesting read to learn of the history of piped gas services in Singapore simply by reading about this place.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A moment of relief?


101_4527
Originally uploaded by oceanskies79.



I am feeling exhausted
Sometimes life does wear a person out
Where could I
Find my moments of relief?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Emily Koh's Quartet 20


Image source: http://www.emilykoh.blogspot.com


Earlier the week, on 12 Aug 2007, I was privileged to attend the concert, Motif Two, held at Esplanade Recital Studio, at 7.30 p.m. Many thanks to Emily for the complimentary ticket. The evening's concert was put up by alumni members of the Temasek Junior College's Music Elective Programme. This year, Temasek Junior College celebrates 30 years of college-building and 20 years of music making.

What significance does it have to know a bit about the history of Temasek Junior College?

Emily Koh's Quartet 20 is written in celebration of th 20th anniversary of the founding of the Music Elective Programme at Temasek Junior College. According to the programme notes, the work "aims to portray the fine achievements of the programme since its establishment 20 years ago".

Well, if you would like to listen to Emily's Quartet 20, then check out Emily's official webhome, and browse under "Audio" and look for "qtet20". For your convenience, here is the direct URL: http://kompobassist.multiply.com/music. (Note: You will have to be a member of Multiply.com to access the audio files. )

I particularly like the multi-percussion parts of Quartet 20. Somehow, the percussion lends a very nice colour and texture to the entire work. Honestly speaking, while I thought the concepts behind the composition was interesting, I could not understand the work just by listening to it for one time. During the concert, I was trying hard to listen out for the perfect fourths, and my ears have yet to have enough practice to identify the perfect fourths easily.

By the way, Emily could consider designing in addition to composing. She did the programme booklet for the concert.

More photos from Emily's blog below to entice you to attend future Motif concerts:

Credits: Slides by Emily, from Emily's blog.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Food and a social enterprise

This evening, while I was browsing the blog ieatishootipost, I came across a post about the cafe, Food for Thought. Do check out Food for Thought's website to see how it operates as a social enterprise.

After reading its website, I quite like its concept and I think there are things I can learn from the operators of the cafe. This shall be one place that I could consider to dine at in the near future.

Food for Thought
420 North Bridge Road
North Bridge Centre
#01-06
Singapore 188727

Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles



If you have heard the rendition of Eleanor Rigby played by a double bass orchestra, try listening to the above version with the vocals.

Lyrics available from the source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxyJLxV0_-8

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I yearn to be better understood

Often feeling misunderstood.
The exercise to clarify isn't what I seek.
For one may wish to know what's on another person's mind,
But he may fail to learn how to see
The world from that person's perspective.
Then telling is not communication.
For an exchange of mere content,
Does not bring anyone closer to the inner world of the other person.
Then communicating just seems not meaningful,
Not at that particular moment in time.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Week 32 of year 2007 on the double bass

5 Aug 2007, Sun: Practised selected passages from Marcello's Sonata in G major. In particular, much of the session focused on practising the third movement, making sure that the rhythm was accurate.

7 Aug 2007, Tue: I spent quite a bit of time practising Faure's Sicilienne. Afterwhich, time was spent playing Marcello's Sonata in e minor.

9 Aug 2007, Thu: I practised the third movement of Marcello's Sonata in G major and focused on the rhythm and the achieving of the legato effect using the right hand. In addition, I played through Lennox Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro.

10 Aug 2007, Fri: Double bass lesson was held in the morning. I worked on Faure's Sicilienne and Lennox Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro for the lesson. Rhythm, I need to master it.

***
It has been a challenging week emotionally. I wish for speedy recovery. I shall practise the right-hand technique for next week.

Singapore's National Day Parades, past and present



(Photo source: Times of My Life.)

Singapore's National Day is on 9 August. Singapore was separated from the rest of Malaysia on 9 August 1965, and became a sovereign, democratic and independent nation (see source). National Day commemorates the day when Singapore became an independent nation.

There's a recent post on Yesterday.sg that links to Laokokok's post that reminisces about the National Day Parades. It is worth a read. It was interesting for me to read about how National Day was celebrated in the past.

Check it out: National Day Parades, then and now.

**
You may also wish to see:
http://heritage.ndp.org.sg
http://www.ndp.org.sg

Friday, August 10, 2007

Singapore River: past and present

This is a post in attempt to distract myself from feeling down and worried. I am not in the mood to do anything that requires a lot of concentration and focus, so I figured I shall just search for photos from the past and present.

I went online to search for fairly similar photos of Boat Quay. Boat Quay is located along the Singapore River.

I have a special liking for this part of the Singapore River. Unconsciously, this is one place that I would tend to go when I am feeling down, when I need some respite, or when I need to have time for quiet reflections. Furthermore, the colonial buildings nearby the area somehow have an attractive appeal to me. I simply love their designs.

Here are three photos of Boat Quay:


The Singapore River and Boat Quay
Late 19th century
Singapore
1994-04904
NHB Collections
National Museum of Singapore
Source of image: Singapore Collection Online




Singapore River, Boat Quay and Fort Canning
Early 20th century
Singapore
1995-00908
NHB Collections
National Museum of Singapore
Source of image: Singapore Collection Online



This photo was taken by me quite some time ago. Fort Canning is located between the white and blue skyscrapers.

What are the similarities and differences that you have noticed between these photos?

Maybe it is only temporary

Some emotions
Feel as if
They would crush oneself to death
I only hope all these
Are merely temporary feelings
That would not be realised
Vulnerability
Can make one feel too fragile

Eleanor Rigby played by double bass orchestra



Emily said that she likes Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles.

For Emily and everyone else who likes Eleanor Rigby, do check out d'Bassist official webhome for a YouTube video of this work performed by a double bass orchestra from Athens.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

China: 7000 years of innovation

In attempt to fill the void and to distract myself from worrying unnecessary, I tried to type a new entry with nine of my fingers.

Yesterday, I visited the CHINA: 7000 years of innovation exhibition. Photos can be found below, and the accounts can be found here: My visit to China: 7000 Years of Innovation.

Untitled

Maybe I have yet the optimism and wisdom
To face the trials from Life
With stride
At times
It's hurting
Or maybe I just need
Some pure distraction?

Elgin Bridge



Dedicated to Simple American.

This afternoon, I happened to be walking past the Elgin Bridge, and I would like to share a photo of it here.

For more information on Elgin Bridge, please read the following online sources (particularly the first one):
http://www.nhb.gov.sg/PE/SRT/content_elginbridge.html
http://www.rivercruise.com.sg/bridge_pg4.htm
http://infopedia.nlb.gov.sg/articles/SIP_921_2004-12-10.html

Wishing for speedy recovery

I visited a Chinese physician today. He was recommended to me by my mother. From his name card, I read that he specialises in: arthritis, rheumatism, backache, fatigue, sport injuries, headache & migraine, kneecap pain, muscle cramps & sprains, sciatica nerve pain, neck and shoulder ache.

He spoke in Mandarin, and I couldn't quite know how to translate his diagnosis to English. Anyway, it seemed that the injury did not happen overnight. There was misalignment at the finger joint. The doctor listened to my accounts and asked me to move the little finger so that he could diagnose the problem. With some pulling and turning, I was pleasantly amazed at how he managed to realign the joints back. It felt good to have the joints working smooth again, but I now know it is still fairly weak and I need to take good care of it to help it heal. He advised me to allow the little finger time to recuperate where possible so that the injury would not resurface.

At the very least, I was relieved to hear that that I could still practise moderately. I was feeling upset for the past few days that my practice regime had to slow down and basically come to stagnancy because of the injury. Furthermore, I had taken leave for most of this week, in hope to have more time to practice!

Anyway, the physician gave me a finger brace for the left little finger (see below). I am to wear it when most of the time, except when I am sleeping, bathing and practising. I will have to see the Chinese physician again next week at his practice located at Haig Road. Let's hope the finger will be stronger by then.

Eastcoastlife suggests that I put up the details of the Chinese physician (sinseh) here in case anyone would like to know:

少林正宗推拿之家
Blk 7 Haig Road, #21-441, Singapore 430007.
Tel: 6841 8537, 9060 7711 (Mr Ngoh).
Please note: Booking is required.



Please wish me a speedy recovery. I don't know the date for my music performance exams date but I know it will be just a month away.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

What could be better than beer?

Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE!

Learning about heritage is way better than beer. The Original Singapore Walks has a new tour. The new tour, The Tipple Exchange, takes one to a walk about some of the pubs along Boat Quay, and as part of the tour, one gets to drink three specialty drinks.

Even though I don't fancy alcoholic drink, the heritage part of it is attractive enough to get me to go for The Tipple Exchange. Emily was my company for the tour. We reached the meeting place, outside Exit B of Raffles Place MRT Station, before 6 p.m. I looked around for the guide and spotted a lady holding on to a brochure of The Original Singapore Walks. It turned out that she was the guide for the day indeed. I could sense a smile on my face for having spotted the guide: that meant the tour would be on! Of course, it would be.

We have a nice tour group consisting of the guide, two participants from Singapore (i.e. Emily and myself) and two other partipants from Germany. The tour began with the guide sharing about the rich history behind the Raffles Place. I felt delighted and enriched to be able to know more about my own country. I recommend that other folks born in Singapore could check out at least one of The Original Singapore Walks.





As I hear about how Raffles Place and the Singapore River had been in the past, it was a fascinating experience for myself to realise how Singapore has changed and progressed with time. Folks, it is fun to tour Singapore like a tourist from time to time.

In addition to all the interesting anecdotes and the enriching yet entertaining information about Singapore's past, I also enjoyed the sights that I had seen along the way. 7 Aug 2007 was NUS Flag Day, and we could see many young people wearing pink T-shirts selling flags. Actually these people in pink aren't as attractive as the beautiful sceneries of the Singapore River and the many artistic sculptures that I had came across while I was on the walk.






Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE!





I shall not reveal the details of the interesting anecdotes that had been shared during the tour. For one main reason, these are information that the organiser has derived through painstakingly research, we should respect it. Furthermore, I believe that I should leave my reader who are interested to join the tour to find things out for yourself.

In case you cannot wait to see the beer, here is a photo of my first drink for the evening on the tour. Emily told me that this ale is pretty good one. I beg your pardon, but I cannot tell. I did not even finish half of it.





The beer drinking endeavour was made complete with each of the participants sharing a little bit about ourselves, and the guide telling us some interesting anecdotes. I refrained myself from asking the question: "What makes some people like beer?" I suppose it is due to personal preference and choice.

We had some interesting drinks to drink at the second pub, Archipelago, that we visited. Trader's Brown Ale from Archipelago was made using Gula Melaka and ginger. My hold of liquor is weak, I barely drank a third of it. I also had a chance to sample Saison Sayang. I understand that Coriander, Star Anise and some other spices were used to create this brew. These beer are quite interesting and worth sampling.





By chance, we happen to see a temporary sculpture next to the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles located just beside Asian Civilisation Musueum and facing Boat Quay.

Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE!

Do read the plaque of the above sculpture and compare it with the nearby statue of Sir Stamford Raffles. I have found the words on the plaque to be insightful and humourous.

By the end of the tour, the night skies were getting dark and that contrasted against the colourful lightings of the buildings along the river. The photo below was taken from Elgin Bridge. If I had heard correctly, Emily said that after the tour, she finds herself liking Elgin Bridge.





The guide probably realised that I did not like to drink. In the end, she kindly asked that the last drink for the evening, i.e. Tiger Beer, be replaced with a fruit juice of my choice. Emily did not fancy the beer either and she asked for fruit juice to replace the beer. I like the music and singing at the last pub that we had stopped by. However, I did not like the volume of the sound from the amplifiers. I was very close to putting on ear-filters at the last pub.


Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE!

I can proudly say that I had managed to finish the entire glass of apple juice that was meant to replace the Tiger Beer. I don't think I can finish half a glass of beer however.

Summarising, I have enjoyed myself throughout the tour. It was an informative, enriching and educational tour. Furthermore, I have had great company for the evening. Of course, the tour is way better than the beers since I hardly drink. If you like beer, I am sure that you will find yourself having the best of both worlds if you were to go on the tour: food for the mind, drinks to unwind.

The Tipple Exchange™ is available on Tuesdays 6.00 - 8.30 p.m. (except public holidays). According to the published online information:

Meet at Raffles Place MRT Outside Exit B
Price: Usual rates: S$55/Adult
Promotional rates S$45/Adult (valid till 31st of December '07)


For more information, please visit: http://www.singaporewalks.com.

***
For more photos, click here.

***
Updates on 29 Dec 2007: Note: According to information from The Original Singapore Walks's website, there appear to be some slight changes in the tour programme and itinerary starting from 5 Jan 2008. To experience the change, you may wish to attend this tour.

For more information about The Tipple Exchange™ , please visit: http://www.singaporewalks.com.

Trying to pick myself up

Feeling vulnerable
Trying to bend and not break
Emotional pain hurts more
Than the physical ones
I wish for hope, strength and wisdom
To pick myself up again.

Photos from 7 Aug 2007

I have had some fun yesterday. Before The Tipple Exchange tour, I have had a walk alone about the Singapore River. At about 5 p.m., I met up with Emily and we had dinner at The Palace Korean Restaurant located at #B1-03A, Chevron House.

The tour was a very enriching and enjoyable one. I shall not write about my day yesterday for it is no fun typing with one hand only. Enjoy the photos for now.

Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE!
Last night, it was one rare occasion that I drank anything alcoholic.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

One-hand typist

Thanks to one of my aunts who had gave me a type-writer when I was in Upper Primary level, I started learning how to type, the proper way. Although I have never actually timed my typing speed, I could say that I can type without having my eyes on the keyboard.

Now, in order not to aggravate what seemed to be an injury before I consult a physician, I am now a one-hand typist.

**
Anyway, I went to The Tipple Exchange tour today, and drank three different kind of beer! As much as I remember, the last time that I was drinking anything alcoholic was when I was in Scotland in year 2005, when I visited a whisky distillery. I couldn't finish most of the beer that I was offered for the tour.

Many thanks to Emily for the company. It helps to have a friend around at the tour to make sure I don't trip myself for I was already feeling a little tipsy mid-way the tour.

The tour was great. I love the anecdotes and historical information that was shared. It makes me know my country better, and enriched my mind. Yeah!

It's a tour that I would recommend, especially if you love knowledge, heritage and beer! I don't like beer, but I still love the tour.

Please bear with me. Posting on this blog may decrease both in frequency and length since I am now typing with one hand.

A free concert on the coming Sunday

An acquaintance alerted me to a free concert performed by the Singapore Wind Symphony, this coming Sunday, 12 Aug 2007, 3 p.m, at Esplanade Concert Hall, Singapore. This concert is approximately 60 minutes without intermission.

For more details: Please click here

The repertoire includes such delightful songs as Beautiful Island, Tales of the Sea, Asian Folk Selections Part I, The Singapore Experience, Stand Up for Singapore and Postcards from Singapore. It will be an afternoon of musical entertainment for the whole family.

Monday, August 06, 2007

What's up this week?

I have taken leave from work from tomorrow till the end of the week. Wish me good luck. There seems a lot to be accomplished.

Much of the time would probably be spent practising and writing programme notes. One of the joints of my little finger on my left hand is giving me some pain, and I wonder if I should consult a physician to see if there is any dislocation or injury. I know I can be rather bothered by injuries on my limbs and fingers.

Tomorrow, I will be meeting Emily to go for The Tipple Exchange™. I have enjoyed all the previous The Original Singapore Walks that I have attended, and I hope this one would be good too. Interestingly, the tour would take one to Traditional English, Irish & Singaporean pubs. It would be one of those few occasions when I would visit a pub.

Wednesday's evening will be reserved for orchestra rehearsal. Strangely, I prefer if it wasn't held that day. That would have freed me up to attend something else held that very day. Then again, some obligations and responsibilities are difficult to shake off.

Thursday is National Day! I wonder if I should visit the Singapore Science Centre that day to check out the CHINA: 7000 years of Innovation that day or on this Friday. I don't particularly need to check this exhibition, yet it seems a good idea to know more about Chinese innovation and learn about the Chinese civilisation.

This Friday, there will be some maintenance work at the block of flat that I live in. The supply of water to the pipes will be disconnected from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. It may not make practical sense for me to be at home the whole day due to the inconvenience.

On Sunday, I shall set time to attend a concert at Esplanade Recital Studio, Singapore. One of Emily's compositions, Quartet 25 will be performed that day.

I hope I can survive the following weeks. This afternoon, I was at the verge of wanting to escape from this world. Probably I was feeling overwhelmed.

The Happy Birthday tune


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0J1NH8ytfy0


A humble video production of a rendition of a Happy Birthday tune played on the double bass. This is to wish Msfeline a Happy Birthday, and Kunstemaecker a belated Happy Birthday.

It was a challenge to record oneself on video single-handedly. Furthermore, I was playing strictly by ear without any score to refer to. I may not try to record myself too often due to logistic constraints. The embedded version of this video is only available for limited period.

Actually, I like this rendition and version of the Happy Birthday tune to mine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPJ34Q4LN8s

For more double bass videos in which I have played, you may wish to check this: http://dbassists.blogspot.com/search/label/Our%20video

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Evening out with a composer

This evening, I met up with Emily to attend a preview concert performed by Arts Sphere, a Chinese orchestral ensemble. Emily's composition, Funereal Reflections, was premiered at the concert.

It has been a while ever since I have attended a performance put up by a Chinese orchestral group. It somehow triggered a sense of nostalgia in me. Furthermore, the very auditorium where the concert was held was also the place where I had used to rehearse many years ago, when I was still fairly involved in playing in a Chinese orchestra.

This evening concert showcased five different works. These works have Chinese names, but for the fact that I don't have easy access to a Chinese wordprocessor, I shall refer to these works using the English translation.

I quite like Chin Yen Choong's rendition's of the gaohu in Double Agony. It somehow has a Cantonese music feel to it, and this work is supposedly a piece of Cantonese music.

Emily Koh's Funereal Reflections added a new musical experience to the entire concert. Somehow, it was the work among the five works played in the concert that had attracted the most attention from me as an audience. According to the programme notes, "Funereal Reflections aims to portray the vast spectra of these emotions when Death comes knocking at the door."

I personally like the choice of instrumentation used in Funereal Reflections. I am not a critic, I don't know why I did, but I like it. The lively, jerky middle section gave an interesting contrast to the generally more melancholic outer sections. After the concert, I even had the pleasure to hear from the composer herself on her perspectives on Death.

Congratulations to Arts Sphere Chinese Ensemble for putting up a generally successful concert.

After the concert, we stayed around for a while. Afterwhich, Emily and I headed for dinner. The initial plan was to have dinner at Miss Clarity Cafe, but it is closed on Sundays. As such, we ended up having dinner at Sofra, the Turkish restaurant.

The service at Sofra was good and thoughtful. The waiters were generally quite attentive. They were attentive enough to realise that Emily and I would be sharing the food, and they got extra plates and utensils for us without us having to remind them more than once. Sofra is a place with friendly service and spacious dining space.

Ambience wise, I am biased. I would prefer a more intimate setting to Sofra's grand-looking setting. The food is acceptable, albeit I think more care and thought could be used in preparing the mutton for the kebab dish that we have had. I felt the mutton was lacking in its texture and taste. The pide was fine. The Turkish Rice Pudding is a nice treat. Emily seemed to like it.



After the dinner, Emily brought me to CD shop at Shaw Towers. I got myself a CD recording of Mozart's Requiem recommended by Emily. There are some great bargains at this CD shop especially for classical music lovers.

Then we headed to Suntec City Mall before we parted for the night.

Congratulations to Emily for the successful realisation of Funereal Reflections.

For my readers who are keen to listen to Emily's compositions, I hope I would be able to get hold of a recording of Funereal Reflections to share them with you at a later date. If you are in Singapore and would like to listen to another work by Emily, please check out Emily's Official Webhome for the updates: http://www.emilykoh.blogspot.com

The next work composed by Emily that will be performed is:
Quartet 25
Performed by Luis Teo (oboe), Chen Zhangyi (violin),
Derrick Lim (multi-percussion) and Jane Foo (piano)
12 August 2007, Sunday
7.30pm
Esplanade Recital Studio, Singapore

**
Also read Emily's related post here.

**
Dictionary:
Funereal

Saturday, August 04, 2007

You are invited

Taken during one of NUS Symphony Orchestra's concerts. Photo credit: Jay.
Photo taken during NUS Symphony Orchestra's concert held on 16 Mar 2007.
Photo credits: Jay


If you are reading this, you are cordially invited to the following performance:

NUS Centre For the Arts presents
Fantasie Passionée by the NUS Symphony Orchestra

15 September 2007 (Saturday), 3pm
National Library Plaza (Ground Floor)
100 Victoria Street
Singapore 188064
Free Admission

Programme:
  1. G. Bizet's Carmen Suite No.1 & part of Carmen Suite No. 2
  2. C. H. Gounod's Faust
  3. Selections from King and I (Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Music by Richard Rodgers, Arranged by Bob Lowden.)
  4. Selections from Phantom of the Opera (Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Arranged by Calvin Custer)
The performance is about one hour in duration.

Week 31 of year 2007 on the double bass

29 Jul 2007, Sun: I sight-read Vernon Elliott's Odd Man Out. It sounded like a humourous piece of music. Afterwhich, I spent some time practising the first and fourth movement of Marcello's Sonata in G major using my rehaired bow.

1 Aug 2007, Wed: Before the orchestra rehearsals began, I attempted to sight-read some works. Subsequently, orchestra rehearsals began. We rehearsed several works that will be performed during an upcoming performance held on 15 Sep 2007, 3 p.m. at NLB Plaza. More details will be provided at a much later date.

We played selected passages from The King and I. The tunes felt cheerful but I did not feel connected to them. I was more in the mood to play sorrowful music, but there was hardly any sorrowful tunes to be rehearsed for the rehearsal.

During the break, I took some time to practise Keyper's Romance and Rondo and Faure's Sicilienne. I am beginning to love playing on my boyfriend, the double bass that I use at the orchestra. I love its mellow yet deep sound, and it feels relatively easy to play certain passages on it than my husband, my own personal double bass.

Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE!

2 Aug 2007, Thu: The day became more bearable because of the thought that I would have double bass lesson after the work-day. Hoping to have more time to practise Faure's Sicilienne and Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro before I play it for lesson, I decided to work on Marcello's Sonata in G major and Keyper's Romance and Rondo.

But before these, I asked for some time to do quick-studies of three excerpts from orchestral works. I have learnt that when it comes to sight-reading, having a steady sense of pulse will be important.

4 Aug 2007, Sat: I am trying to catch up on time to practise. For the day, I spent at least an hour practising Faure's Sicilienne, concentrating to get the rhythm right. After that was done, time was spent practising Rachmaninov's Vocalise and Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro.

Thankfully, I had some time to write programme notes. Once I am done with this task, I would need to find some help to have the programme notes proof-read.

**
For this week, I have managed to achieve my goal of practising at least four days per week, at least 15 minutes per day.

Please wish me lots of good luck meantime.

Noises are unbearable

It is now noisy at home
I do not like the noise from the television
Would I seem petty
If I were to assert myself
To switch it off?
I guess I shall just play my double bass

Just like using a practice mute
I do not like using ear plugs
They are helpful
Yet they block the beauty of the sounds
That I seek to hear

The world is a rather noisy place
I ask for a peaceful corner
To reflect
And to grow

Would the world be kinder please?

29 Jul 07 at the Singapore Heritage Fest

After the lovely meeting with Carcar and Eastcoastlife, Carcar and I took a bus to head for town. I alighted at Suntec City Mall to check out the Singapore HeritageFest 2007.



My first impression of the Fest is that it was very noisy. Thank goodness that I usually carry ear plugs whenever I am out. I should be grateful that I have ear plugs with me. Armed with the ear plugs, the noises from the loudspeakers of the Fest's stage did not dampen my mood to enjoy the Singapore Heritage Fest.

The school table exhibit that I saw at the Fest captivated my attention. It looked quite similar to one of the wooden tables that I had used when I was a Secondary Two student. Come to think about it, I miss having to use wooden tables for lessons.

Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE!

It also trigger pleasant memories to see chalks at the exhibition. I don't play the violoncello, however, when I was a member of the Chinese Orchestra during my Secondary School days, the double bass section and the cello section were combined to form the lower-strings section. My Secondary School was still using chalks up to the time when I was in lower Secondary level. Seeing the chalks remind me pleasantly of the times when I would witness the cello players using chalks to rub against the pegs of the cello so that the pegs won't slip that easily.

Admittedly, I did not, and I still do not, like having to wipe the chalk off the blackboard. My eyes would usually be irritated by the dust from the chalk.

Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE!

When I was in Primary School, I had used a pencil case that was similar to the one that you would see right below. On one occasion, I remembered that I had won a pencil case from some competition, and that pencil case was one with two different sides. It also had special features such as built-in sharpener, built-in mini magnifying glass. The special pencil case had buttons which one could press. One of these buttons when pressed would make a hidden compartment reveal itself so that one could keep paper clips in the compartment.

It is interesting to realise how my preference for pencil case has changed. I won't want that kind of pencil case if I were to buy one now. I would prefer something light and soft. No more gimmick now.

Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE!

At the Fest, I bought myself a copy of the book Discover Singapore Heritage Trails Published by the National Heritage Board. Actually, I was more interested in World War II Sites of Singapore that came complimentary when one purchased Discover Singapore Heritage Trails.

Last but not the least, if you enjoy reading more about the Singapore Heritage Fest, you may wish to check these out:

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A kinder world please

Am in pain
Play me the saddest tunes please
To allow an outlet
Of expression

Played many cheerful tunes tonight
But none could connect with
The deepest core feelings

I ask for a break
Temporary
Yet long enough
To search for a world
More sane for me

Touch the sound


View image source.


How does one hear through our bodies?
Yes, our bodies. Not the ears.

Touch the sound.
Experience hearing as a form of touch.

If you are lost,
Check out the trailer of the documentary Touch the Sound here.

My thanks to Hella Frisch for pointing me to Touch the Sound, a documentary exploring the life and art of percussionist Evelyn Glennie.