Sunday, July 31, 2005

Awfully tired

My feet are feeling tired and my shoulders aching. I don't know why. Could it be due to too much walking in the rain yesterday?

Today I attended a friend's Malay wedding. I hope to write a brief post about it when I am feeling less tired tomorrow.

In the afternoon, I played The Elephant. Our conductor sat in to listen and he gave quite encouraging remakrs, and some useful suggestions. He said I could play The Elephant twice. Afterall, the entire work itself is very short. (Much less than five minutes.) He asked if I would be playing other item, I could consider playing a sonata but after much thought, I would rather not. It takes much more time to prepare to play a sonata well.

We had orchestra rehearsals at about 2 p.m. We rehearsed the second and the third movement of Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. Then we went through selected sections from the Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto. We also did sight-reading for Max Bruch's Violin Concerto - G minor. There were some challenging double bass parts in Bruch's Violin Concerto. I keep my fingers crossed that I could manage it when we play this in Aberdeen as part of the combined orchestra for the Gala concert.

During rehearsals, QH and myself were talking about our preparations for the trip. When I told QH of what kind of clothes I would be bringing along for the trip, she highlighted that I was not bringing enough suitable clothings to keep myself warm for Aberdeen's weather. She said Aberdeen would be colder than in London. Aberdeen, according to her, is very windy and that would make the air feel more cold. So I heeded advice, and after rehearsals, I went to a shop selling warm clothings to get myself a wollen long-shelves top. I got myself two pair of woolen socks too.

Afterwhich, I went around trying to do some errands.

Now I am feeling physically tired. My body's aching.

By the way, I will be away from blogging for about three weeks. I will reach Singapore on 18 Aug 05. I have no baby-sitter for this blog, so if you have gotten accustomed to visiting my blog, I welcome you to read previous posts. I shall challenge you to see if you can weave the messages that I have been writing about in my various posts together.

Meantime, please take care.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Walking in the rain

Today, I was walking in the rain, with an umbrella.

I started the day packing my luggage. I am slightly more than half-way to completion.

It started pouring in the late morning. I was out of my home trying to get those stickers that has the word FRAGILE on it. I wanted to paste it on my luggage. I must have been wanting the airport staff to be extremely cautious with my luggage and double bass bow case (in which I will keep the double bass bow).

Airport security would probably be very tight. I was told that the violins, violas, double bass bow and etc have to be placed inside a special safety container, and cannot be brought up the plane as hand-carry. Hmmmm, I don't feel safe to have my double bass bow handled in this way. Actually this double bass bow does not even belong to me, it belongs to the orchestra, but I take good care of it as if it is mine.

I went round to check out for the sticker and to have my lunch (an early one), walking in the pouring rain with an umbrella. Sigh, I did not manage to find a shop that sells the sticker. I went to the post-office in my neighbourhood but it does not sell the sticker. It used to, but not after it was renovated.

Then I went back home to take a short rest. In the mid-afternoon, I left my home to see the dentist. A regular checkup. Weren't we told that we are suppose to see the dentist once every six months? I try my best to follow this guide diligently. Maybe that is how I keep a nice smile?

After which, I took public transport and headed for Waterloo Street. My mother had wanted me to go to one of the Chinese temples there to pray for safety. I could have choosen not to, but I guess doing so may help her feel less worried about my trip to the United Kingdom, so I did. Anyway, I had to go to Bras Basah Complex, which is nearby Waterloo Street, so it just probably took up only about an extra 15 minutes of my time to make the trip there. I learnt from Jing's dad (when he gave me a lift to the West of Singapore when he actually needed to head South towards the town area) that sometimes making a detour to a place not within one's initial plans may help brighten the day of another person.

From the temple, that was when I started out on my walking trip. I walked towards Bras Basah Complex which took about ten minutes to travel on foot. It was drizzling so I walked carrying an umbrella. Next to Bras Basah Complex is the newly opened National Library. I did not enter the new library. I reckon I could do so another day. I spent quite some time at the Bras Basah Complex. It was nice to be dry. When I left Bras Basah Complex, I have made a discovery. The Mac Donalds fast-food restaurant that is situated next to Bras Basah Complex is now opened 24 hours! I did not walk into the fast-food restaurant to verify the information, but I shall trust the banner that was put up outside the fast-food restaurant.

I walked on foot towards the Singapore Art Museum, and then passed by Plaza-by-the-Park before I reached Plaza Singapura, a shopping complex that took about 30 minutes on foot from Bras Basah Complex, in the rain. I am amazed that the wet weather had not deterred me from walking. I needed a walk. Even if it was in the rain.

I spent quite a fair bit of time at Plaza Singapura trying to shop for items that I would need for my trip to the United Kingdom. It was tiring to walk on a rainy day. I would rather go home and practise. In fact, I made it a point to leave the shopping complex before 7 p.m. so that I could have enough time to practise. Self-discipline helps one find time for practice, I suppose?

Rainy days do get me down a little. However, I am pleased to say I am feeling better now than yesterday.

Accountability time

I am posting about my practice on the double bass for the purpose of accountability.

From about 8.30 p.m., I was practising on the double bass to go through Brahms' Second Symphony at home. I spent about an hour going through all the four movements of the symphony.

I am thankful that I have the Zimmerman edition of the symphony. It has helped a lot, because it has pretty good suggested fingerings. I did not totally follow all the fingerings. I have figured out a few alternative fingerings which I thought were more economical and easier, so I used those instead. To clarify, I did not make much changes to Zimmerman's suggested fingerings, most of the fingerings were very sound. I used most of his suggested fingerings in fact. As for the bowings, some of the bowings were a little awkward but generally most bowings were pretty sound and effective.

I won't have known how to do a crash practice of Brahms' Second Symphony within a short span of a fornight without the Zimmerman edition. I have spent more than a period of more than three months to be sufficiently competent in playing Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony, I don't know how realistic it is to master Brahms' Second Symphony within two weeks.

Anyhow, I must thank Zimmerman. His edited score of the symphony came in very handy. So I went to search for information about Oscar Zimmerman. Here is a site with brief description on him:
Actually I was rather tired by the time I practised the third movement. I started with the first, next the second, then the third movement. Anyway, now I have a clearer idea what to expect for Brahms' Second Symphony. Now, the symphony feels a little more manageable. Proper practice does help.

I ended my practice by playing Saint Saens' The Elephant. Hopefully I can memorise this piece. I felt apologetic that for the past few weeks, I did not spend more than an hour a week practising it. My goodness, I am supposed to play this double bass solo at one of the art museums. Well, I should be glad that this is a Grade 5 exams piece, and is still within my capacity to play.

Tomorrow, I have asked my orchestra's conductor to listen to me play The Elephant with the strings quartet so that I can get some feedback of my playing and help with the transition passage of this work. He actually needn't have to, but I am thankful he has agreed to.

Brahms' Symphonies

Right now, I am listening to Brahms' Symphonies. Performed by Berliner Philharmoniker, conducted by Herbert Von Karajan. This album contains all four of Brahms' Symphonies. I love the symphonies of Brahms.

At one point of time, I love his symphonies so much that I went to read about Brahms and his life. Back then, I thought to myself, if Brahms were alive, and I would love to be his friend. I think he can be a very faithful and loyal friend, even though he may get caustic in his remarks. But I suppose he won't bear to hurt the fragile yours truly.

A week ago, our orchestra went through the Brahms' Symphony No. 2. That was my first time playing the Second Symphony. I was practically sight-reading. On 12 Aug 2005, we are due to play the Second Symphony with the rest of the members from other orchestras participating in the Aberdeen International Youth Festival's Gala Concert Festival Orchestra performance. That would be the work that we would be rehearsing intensively when we are in Aberdeen.

I keep my fingers crossed that all would go well. I am feeling a little insecured that QH, one of the double bassists, won't be playing for the Gala Concert. I guess part of me still hopes to have a more seasoned and reliable player to count on. I shall not dwell on the insecurities. What seems more effective is for myself to practise well for the Second Symphony and help guide the rest of the double bass section to be proficient enough to play this Second Symphony.

It helps to get some recommended bowings and fingerings for the Brahms' Second Symphony. Good thing that I have an original copy of The Complete Double Bass Parts Orchestral Works of Brahms edited and published by Oscar G. Zimmerman. I think I shall use that copy to help me in my individual practice of the Brahms' Second Symphony. Now, I am thankful it was a Brahms' symphony that the organiser wanted us to play. I don't have the complete double bass parts for the orchestral works of other composers.

I shall look forward to play Brahms' in Aberdeen, although part of me feels a sense of apprehension and uncertainty. Brahms' Second Symphony is relatively difficult.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Needing a walk

I think I would need a walk soon.

Hopefully, I won't go on auto-pilot walking mode again.

Should I ask for a company? I guess I better don't. I am worried that I would walk so much such that my accompanying company will be driven to total exhaustion.

Air and concrete shall be my company instead.

Darkness sets in

Shadows and evening lights. Posted by Picasa

Maybe no one would find any beauty in this? But I did. Shadows and darkness can be appealing.

Before I hit rock bottoms

JY seems to have helped me find an expression for what I am feeling now: inexplicable blues.

I was trying hard to clear as much work as possible. I hope I could do more, but there was only some much I could do within my means. At least I have tied up most of the loose ends and have completed whatever that I have to do before I go on annual leave. I should have been kind enough to give myself a pat on the shoulder to reward myself for the hard work, but I felt not in the moods to celebrate even this simple achievement.

Humility seems to be asking of me to bear in mind that I could not do everything that needs to be done within too short a time-frame. I wish I were an immortal at times. Then again, maybe there could be no satisfaction in being an immortal. How do we truly appreciate and find joy in the fruits of our labour if we have not gone through trials and obstacles to gain them?

It felt rather sad that I had stayed back in office to clear work beyond 9 p.m. tonight. I had wanted to attend to something else in the late evening, but I ended up choosing to clear work in the office. I guess I simply did not wish to go back to office tomorrow to continue to clear the work. The office felt very quiet. This was a good thing for someone like myself who needs some peace. Though it felt a little melancholic to be all on one's own.

Thank goodness that I had the batteries from Mistipurple to steer me on.

Anyway, I am officially on annual leave starting on coming Monday and I do not need to be back in office until 22 Aug 2005.

The blues caught up on me, and I don't know why.

Mystic called me on my mobile phone in the late evening. She reminded me to relax, but I have no idea if I could. I simply was not in the moods to act on any suggestion.

Seems like I am heading towards hitting rock bottoms. I know very well that before I hit there, I have to learn to pick myself up again. Maybe I should ask a fork-lift driver to drive in with a fork-lift to just help me do that?

Not at my best to reason effectively. I would think.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Phantom of the Opera

I finally managed to make bookings to catch Phantom of the Opera via London Theatre Bookings.

After much careful looking, I found the option to choose to collect the ticket at London Theatre Bookings' Office along Coventry Street.

Yesterday, I have tried to book the tickets online via Ticketmaster but did not manage to be able to get a ticket to catch the musical on 15 Aug 2005. It seemed much easier to get seats via London Theatre Bookings.

Special credits go to Emrah.

Emrah, thank you for checking out the booking details for me. I greatly appreciate your help.

Melancholy and Vulnerability

My mood of the day is as the title suggests.

Fatigue? Post-concert depression? Or simply because it is 28 July 2005 (though nothing significant is related to this date)?

Official time to end the workday today was 5.35 p.m. I think it was not a most productive choice to stay back in office to clear work after the end of the workday. I left office close to 9 p.m. At least I have accomplished a report and completed several tasks at hand. But by the time I left office, I was feeling bouts of melancholy. It just felt as if the fatigue could kill.

Vulnerability, because I realise no matter how hard I strive to do whatever I would like to, there is simply a limit to what I can do within a time-frame. I wish I could do better, and yet some how I have yet to reach the standards I have set for myself. Maybe I shall be easy on myself and accept my vulnerabilities and limitations? It makes me a little sad when I try to get in touch with my vulnerable side.

I shall decide not to dwell further. Too much overdwelling in the melancholy and the vulnerability may drive one to depression.

There seems a window right in front, and I shall decide to look out of it to see the brighter side, and tell myself that I shall be alright.

How You Live Your Life?

How You Life Your Life

You have a good sense of self control and hate to show weakness.

You tend to avoid confrontation and stay away from sticky situations.

You tend to have one best friend you hang with, as opposed to many aquaintences.

You tend to dream big, but you worry that your dreams aren't attainable.

Quite true. I have a problem about showing weakness. That tends to make me feel vulnerable.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Thank you for your well-wishes and support

Wednesday, 27 July 2005, 7.30pm

Hi everyone, thank you for your well-wishes and support. The concert went well.

The day begun when I woke up by 6 a.m. This is not my usual waking hours. I am a morning person, but I would usually wake up after 6.30 a.m. on a working day.

The reason for waking up so early is that I have scheduled for a session with one of my clients at 8 a.m. in the morning, even before the official office hours starts. It turned out not to be a good idea. I woke up in time, and I was able to reach my office by 7.30 a.m. However, my client was not feeling well and the session had to be rescheduled to another day. I suppose this is the way things are, inevitably things may not go the way we wish it to be, and things just are.

Then at 9 a.m. we had staff meeting. I have applied for half-day leave in the afternoon as well as slightly more than an hour of time-off. As such, I was due to leave by 11.30 a.m. My director knew that I have a concert to perform in and she was nice enough to allow me to excuse myself from the meeting from 11.25 a.m. Anyway, by 11.30 a.m. there was only one more item left in the agenda that had not been discussed. That item did not quite concern me. I am not a counsellor, and that item was about the registration of counsellors. Furthermore, I am a registered social worker already, even if my director had wished to use the meeting to encourage professional staffs to register with a professional association, I have already done that and I would not fall within the to-be-converted list.

So I left office at 11.40 a.m.

When I got home, I took a short nap. I was actually feeling quite tired by the afternoon. Yet I know to be able to play well for the concert, I would need mental alertness.

It's 3.20 p.m. in the afternoon of 27 July, I reached the University Cultural Centre. I took some time to play some passages on the double bass (yes, my boyfriend).

Rehearsal started at 4 p.m.

I got a little concern because there were a few players who had only came for a few rehearsals. I was not fully confident if everyone could finally work as a team and piece up everything together. It turns out that while the quality of the rehearsal had not been very assuring, the concert went well in general.

Maybe a miracle did happen after all?

We only ended rehearsal at about 6.40 p.m. I felt quite tired after the rehearsal. So tired that I feared that I may not be able to be mentally focused enough to play well during the concert. So I decided to minimise talking with people, and just spend time to recharge mentally. I avoided the dressing rooms and the corridors where most of rest of the orchestra members were. I chose to be at the dark corners of the backstage listening to silence and basking under the solemn darkness. It helped a bit. Though much of me was still worried that I would be too tired to play well.

Then again, too much worries won't do good to someone who wishes to give his/her best. At 7.30 p.m. plus, the concert started. It started a little later than it should. I understand that there was a long queue at the ticketing counter as many members of the audience needed to collect their tickets there.

What helped put the stop to the worries was when we started playing. When the music starts playing, part of me was urged to just enjoy playing the music anyway. That helped to revive my mind's concentration level.

Mendelssohn's Fingals Cave has very difficult double bass parts. It was a good thing that the first hundred bars were relatively manageable. As such, I was able to try to have use the first hundred bars to warm myself up for further playing. By the time that I had reached the difficult passages, I was more awake and mentally focused.

After Mendelssohn's, we played the Butterfly Lovers Concerto. I quite like today's version of the concerto. It must have been the effect of playing the work in front of an audience. It just felt different.

Then came intermission. My mind was losing focus again. It must have been the effect of a busy and tiring day. I had wanted to go to the audience's area to look for several friends who have came to support the concert. Sad to say, I realised if I were to do so, I am taking the risk of playing badly after the intermission. Tchaikovsky does require a lot of mental alertness and concentration to play well. So I am sorry that I chose to isolate myself at the dark corners of the backstage. It is as if the darkness and the silence could recharge me. They did, to some extent.

Now I just hope those friends of mine who had came to support the concert won't find me anti-social for not meeting them during intermission. Actually, I think my friends are understanding people. I just hope I have not abused their understanding hearts.

I like Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. It felt as if one is trying to struggle against the odds to triumph over one's fate. Maybe I just have a love for such kind of music? It is difficult technically, but it is manageable with lots of practices. Yeah, I am glad that we did it.

We ended with an encore Dance of the Yao. Pinkie told me this was her favourite piece in the concert. This piece reminds me of the days when I played the double bass in a Chinese orchestra. Fond memories.

Now I wonder which is the favourite piece for each person who had attended the concert. Mine is still Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. I love symphonies.

All in all, I think we did well. I am not sure if the concert would be deemed successful. But I think the double bass section has done well. Our conductor has even commented that the members of the double bass section came in together and played like an ensemble for the Butterfly Lovers Concerto. That had pleased him, I think.

I have made several mistakes during the entire concert. Thank goodness those were not very major ones. Thanks to the rest of my section mates for covering my mistakes when I made those. Thanks to Emily for being my stand partner. I could depend on her for support whenever needed. It was very assuring that I know that she would still be able to continue to play the parts on her own even if I were to made a mistake in my playing. Then I could listen to her and follow her to recover from my mistakes.

QH and Dinah are also stand-partners I enjoy working with, for different reasons. QH is very steady with her rhythms so that complements my weakness in rhythms. Dinah have great sight-reading skills which I always wish to emulate.

After concert, I took quite a bit of time to pack the double basses with the help of the rest of the double bass section. We had to load it up the lorry for it to be transported to our temporary rehearsal venue cum storage room about ten minutes drive away.

It took a while, because in order to load the double basses up the lorry, we have to move the timpani set and the harp (in its flight case) onto the lorry first. If we don't, it may be quite difficult to squeeze all the instruments required to be transported onto one single lorry. Good packing needs thinking and planning.

I am sorry that due to the relatively long time taken at the backstage, by the time I walked out of backstage, I had missed the chance of seeing Crazy Cat who came to support the concert. I don't expect her to wait. Nevertheless, I would like to thank her for coming. Thanks Crazy Cat and her colleagues. I hope they have enjoyed our sharing of the music.

Mistipurple and Pinkie also came to support the concert. I met them face to face for the very first time tonight. I hope I was able to conceal my shyness when they saw me. Thanks ladies, for supporting. I believe the other blog-friends might feel envious that we were able to meet one another outside blogosphere.

I saw a few other friends at the concert. Some got to know about the concert via other orchestra members. I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has attended the concert. It has been a pleasure to share the music with you.

Thanks to HJ for coming to support the concert with her friends. Thanking her for the flowers. I should have remembered to request her not to get me any gifts. I actually tried to request all friends I know not to get me any gifts or things for the concert. But my goodness, I left her out unintentionally. Her attendance was the best gift to me, and I don't expect any other gift. Furthermore, pardon me, I have this problem of not knowing what to do with gifts, flowers especially.

Anyway, above is the flowers HJ got for me. I reckon this would help make the flowers last for a longer time in the blogosphere. Images could last longer than the real thing. Maybe next time, I should just request for softcopies of photographs as gifts. Just joking in the middle of the night.

Also, thanks to SH for coming to support. I greatly appreciate her support. She was very nice to pass me several of the brochures that she has gotten when she was in London about a month ago. She even gave me a list of the travel itinerary that she has came up with after hours of research. This would definitely served me well when I plan for my trip to London. Thanks SH.

One of my colleagues SD also came. I am greatful that she came even though she had to attend the concert alone tonight. Another colleague was supposed to come with her, but this other colleague could not come at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances. I hope all would be well for this other colleague.

Before I end this post, I shall once again, thank you for your well-wishes and support.

I shall turn in now. Tomorrow I have taken slightly more than one hour of time-off in the morning, so I could wake up a little later, and only need to report to office at 10 a.m. A wise move, I hope.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Finally in "his" arms

Today I took time off from work since I have worked extra hours last week. I left office just before 4 p.m.

I went to the money changer to exchange for pounds. Afterwhich, I went to have a hair cut. Actually, it was more like a trim.

It has been a while since I took time-off from work to do something other than attend orchestra rehearsals or see to orchestra-related matters. As such, today's time-off from work felt a little different.

When I am back at home this evening, I spent about slightly more than one hour on the double bass. It felt nice to be finally back in the embrace of my dear "husband", the double bass. I went through selected passages from Mendelssohn's Fingals Cave and Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. I find comfort playing the double bass.

Finally. It has been a while since I last played on this double bass. I felt I have neglected my husband. The past week I was so busy with work and orchestra that I did not spent much time with my husband. I spent more time with my boyfriend for the past week than with my husband.

I shall rest early tonight. Tomorrow's the day of the concert. I keep my fingers crossed that it would be a successful concert, in that we would play well and the audience would love our sharing of the music.

Finally, I just hope we won't have to play to an empty hall. But I doubt we would have to. Friends have been nice to offer their support by agreeing to attend the concert and helping to publicise for the concert.

Then again, I didn't dare to disappoint myself by asking the person-in-charge of the tickets how many tickets have been sold. Whatever the number of people who turns up tomorrow, we shall play our best anyhow. Of course, it would feel nice to have more people to share the music with.

If you like, check out the details of the concert here:

Wednesday, 27 July 2005, 7.30pm

Wednesday, 27 July 2005, 7.30pm
University Cultural Centre Hall
National University of Singapore
Tickets at $10

What's Your Hidden Talent?

Your Hidden Talent
You are both very knowledgeable and creative.
You tend to be full of new ideas and potential - big potential.
Ideas like yours could change the world, if you build them.
As long as you don't stop working on your dreams, you'll get there.

I am feeling complimented by the analysis. So I suppose I shall keep working on my dreams, even though I haven't found out what exactly they are.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Paper can be heavy

Today I did not arrange to have any sessions with clients at all. My morning was spent on retrieving information required for the data-entry personnel to key in to a database cum application system.

Even though I am not employed to do administrative job, I shall do it anyway. Time is tight, and this project has to be completed soon. Furthermore, I am the person-in-charge to oversee this project.

Thank goodness that the authorities were understanding in giving us more grace to complete this project more effectively. I do not like the idea of rushing to get things done and end up compromising on the quality. I suppose the authorities realised that we do have some limitations in our resources to be able to complete the project within such short time-frame. The fact is: data-preparation took up a lot of time compared to data-entry. I reckon that the authorities had not realise that data-preparation could take more time than they had expected.

So the entire morning was spent doing paperwork and administrative matters. I am not quite an administrator. If you put me to do administration for a year, I may end up sullen and bored. But I guess I won't mind doing it occassionally, if seeing to administrative matters is an inevitable part of the job.

I was scheduled to be the officer-in-charge of providing Information and Referral Services for the afternoon. In short, the officer-in-charge has to attend to enquiries that our centre receives. This includes walk-in, phone calls and referral letters.

The nature of the duty is different from answering phone calls and directing it to the relevant staff. The job of answering phone calls and redirecting the calls is done by our admin assistant. On the other hand, the officer-in-charge of the Information and Referral Services for the day (for my case, half the day) may need to provide information and even professional consultation to those who have made enquiries. We make preliminary assessment about the needs of the caller, and then try to link them to the appropriate services where possible.

After handling each enquiry, the officer-in-charge will enter and record the enquiry (into an online application system). The information are kept confidential with limited access to certain professionals (e.g. our director). My goodness, there were a total of six enquiries that I had handled within the span of about four hours this afternoon. So in the end, my entire afternoon was spent handling enquiries. Six enquiries for half-a-day is considered quite a lot. There are times whereby there are no enquiry for the entire work day.

Paper can be heavy. If you have weighed a stack of paper, it can be heavy. In this case, I am referring to the point that paperwork can be a load for one. I spent ten minutes talking to a caller over the phone, and I spent just as much time (ten minutes) trying to record the enquiry.

In the evening, after the official office hours had ended, I stayed in office to clear work. I was not even seeing any client. I was just doing paperwork.

Halfway in the evening, I had conversations with a few friends over MSN. That was a pleasant short break from work. Then I had to stay focused on continuing with what I have been doing this morning. I am relieved that progress for the project has been satisfactory. If not, you won't probably find any sense of relief in my writing.

That is it, remember that paper is heavy, and remember to save enough energy to carry the load from the paper. Similarly, one may simply need to remind oneself to set some time aside for paperwork. So today, I did. I spent the entire day on paperwork, and some couple of hours talking to callers to answer their enquiries as best as I could.

I don't know if it is the weight of the paper. My left arm is aching. I think it must have been due to my straining of my arms after carrying the instruments yesterday. Next time, I may have to do warm-up exercises before carrying heavy instruments.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Glimpses of London

After today's rehearsals, I met up with JY and SH for dinner at the Mac Donald's restaurant in Clementi central.

It is nice to catch up with friends. Thankful I was not too tired at the start of our meet-up. Please pardon me, yours truly tend to get awfully unfocused when I am too tired.

JY shared about her recent work assignments. Over dinner, we also spoke about London. SH had been in London in late June and early July before the bombing incidents had occurred. She shared about her trip. It is nice to hear about London from SH, she has the skill of describing the details in interesting ways. It seemed that JY had been there before, because she seemed about to relate to the various places that were spoke about.

SH's sharing made me more keen on the British Museum. She also spoke about being able to see a good aerial view of London from the top of St. Paul's Cathedral. I figured after her sharing that three to four days in London will never be enough to satisfy my interest in the culture of London. Anyway, I shall make the best out of my time there.

JY had to leave early for she had an assignment to do in the night. SH shared with me the video clips that she has taken of London using her brother's video camera. As she showed me, she gave me vivid accounts of what makes London so interesting. After her accounts, I wish to visit the Westminister Abbey. Thanking SH for her sharings. I wish I could assimilate more. A pity that by 8.30 p.m., my body clock told me I was just too tired from the day to assimilate more information about London effectively.

During the meet-up, I have also checked with JY and SH if they happen to know anything about how to make bookings for to watch The Phantom of the Opera in London. SH told me that tickets to performances could be brought at Leicester. However, she had tried to buy tickets for The Phantom of the Opera when she was in London, but it was sold out for that night. When I tried to buy tickets this morning via the online source that Emrah had kindly gave me, I realised that I have to state my mailing address for the tickets to be posted to me. For some reasons, the system will not accept mailing addresses of hostels, hotels, P.O. Boxes etc. If I were to state my mailing address in Singapore, I fear that I would not get the tickets (one ticket actually) before I leave for Aberdeen on 1 Aug 2005, and that would mean missing the performance anyway.

Pardon me, I had all along thought that I could order the tickets and then collect them at the door. I was wrong. I did not see such an option when I was trying to order the tickets online. It was probably my fault that I had only tried to order the tickets after my hotel booking in London was confirmed. That had stalled time. Now, I am a little lost if I should persist on getting the ticket for The Phantom of the Opera or if I should just try my luck when I get there in London and simply get the ticket from the ticketing counter? If I can't watch The Phantom of the Opera, I could watch the next best one. (Though I have no idea what that would be.) I shall take some time to gather more information about this ticketing issue.

Meantime, I am looking forward to go to London.

The best weather for transporting instruments

Wednesday, 27 July 2005, 7.30pm

Ideally, the best weather for transporting instruments is a fine day without the rain and the storms. The sun should ideally not be too scorching. The day should be relatively cloudy with occasional breezes. A relatively dry weather will be good for transporting instruments without having to worry that the instruments may get raindrops on themselves.

Unfortunately, this afternoon's weather was far from the ideal. It was a rainy and wet one. But I guess I have to be thankful that there was no downpour. Thank goodness! There was only a drizzle at about 1.15 p.m. when the lorry was here to transport the instruments to the University Cultural Centre, Hall.

Orchestra rehearsal for this afternoon was held at the University Cultural Centre, Hall. This will be the same location where our pre-tour cum fund-raising concert would be held this coming Wednesday. I hope everything will fit well together that night.

Anyway, back to the transporting of instruments, there was only one lorry, and it was drizzling.

This is a list of instruments we had to transport to the University Cultural Centre by 2 p.m: One harp (in a flight case), four double basses, one timpani set (four timpani drums), one gong, percussion instruments, two cellos, two trombones etc. I was helping with the loading and unloading of the instruments until I felt quite exhausted when we finally unloaded the instruments at the University Cultural Centre.

Carrying double basses was not an issue with me since I was so used to it. It was the harp in its flight cases that came a little more tricky. Thank goodness I was just one of the many people who were helping with the loading and unloading.

I suppose having served as a logistic officer of the orchestra several years ago has helped me to empathise with the kind of efforts that a logistic officer has to put in to ensure that the logistics are well taken of. As such, I guess I felt there was always a call in me to help with the transport of instruments wherever time and commitment could allow me. Sometimes I wonder if I should just be less helpful because it can be tiring to help. Then again, I would not be true to myself if I don't offer a hand. In addition, I would anyway prefer to carry my own instrument, I might as well just spend a bit more time and strength to carry a few others.

Back to today. Thank goodness it was only about ten minutes drive to the University Cultural Centre. Still I think we were behind schedule when all the instruments were unloaded. Rehearsal was supposed to start at 2 p.m.

For rehearsals, we started with Butterfly Lovers violin Concerto. Mr Foo is the violin soloist. I could still fondly remember how he shared with us about what the concerto was all about. There was humour in the way he did the sharing.

Then we played the first movement of the Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. We spent quite a fair bit of time on it. I am moved when I played it today. When I played several passages, I have this feeling that life must have been a misery for Tchaikovsky at some points in time. Yet, I seemed to hear through the music that there were also attempts to conquer the setbacks that life has to bring. Reflecting, I wish I could have enough strength to conquer those life challenges that life may bring.

Actually, I enjoyed playing for the rehearsal today. I don't know why, but I felt quite alert during today's rehearsal. As such, I was able to concentrate playing the music. I was so focused that when I hear an orchestra colleague asking me if I had a double bass stopper, I could not respond appropriately. All I knew was to focus on playing. Of course, there were a few times when my concentration levels slipped and I missed a few bars. Emily, my stand partner for the concert, had been nice to give me the needed reminders when I had missed playing because I did not hear the conductor's instructions. It has been a pleasure to play with Emily. It is a pity that she won't be playing during the Aberdeen International Youth Festival, but it is of no fault of hers that she could not.

I am looking forward to share the music with the audience this coming Wednesday. I keep my fingers crossed that the miracle will happen. I saw that we have yet to have enough audience to fill the ground level of the hall, but I know everyone in the orchestra is doing his/her best to make the concert possible.

Special thanks to many people for helping to publicise this concert for us. I wanted to mention names but I worry that you might not like the limelight, so I shalln't. You probably know whom you are. Thanks a million.

Thanks for the memories

Thanks for the memories....

I was tagged by Mistipurple. Though I am not sure if I should be thankful for such a long list, I shall be polite and say thanks for the tag.

(In case you wish to read Mistipurple's replies to the tag, click on this link.)

Actually, I have no clear idea how to act on this tag. I shall do my best to attempt it anyway.

10 years ago today: I can't remember what I was doing on 24 July 1995. I think I should have been in Secondary Four then.

I was probably trying hard to finish my art project back then. In addition, I was probably quite busy attending rehearsals. I used to play the double bass in the Chinese Orchestra during my secondary school years.

5 years ago today: That should be on 24 July 2000. I should have just started the new academic year for my third year in the university. Prior to the start of the third year, I had to serve an eight-week long of social work field practicum.

Immediately following the field practicum, with the rest of my peers in my social work cohort, I had to go for an intensive two weeks of study on this module on Human Resource Management. There was a short exam at the end of the two weeks.

As such, I had practically no time to rest during what was supposed to be school vacation. So when term time started, I was feeling drained.

It was a difficult time. I was both mentally and physically exhausted when the academic year started. In addition, I remember that I was grieving over the loss of a friendship back then too.

1 year ago today: That should be 24 July 2004. I think I was preparing hard for the ABRSM Grade 7 Double Bass Practical Exams. Reflecting, I am glad that I took the major step to sit for the Practical exams. It has helped me to be more diligent in practising scales, and to attempt to develop greater sense of musicality.

Yesterday: That is 23 July 2005.
It was not my working Saturday, but I went back to office for two sessions with my clients. Somehow, I sense that I am getting to enjoy working with clients on counselling-related issues than with clients on casework-related issues. This is probably an evolution of my practice?

Yesterday was also one of my ex-colleagues', Rachel's, wedding. Congratulations. Wishing her a blissful marriage.

Tomorrow: That would be 25 July 2005. I see myself working hard to clear work. Afterall in about slightly more than a week's time, I will be flying to Aberdeen, Scotland to participate in the Aberdeen International Youth Festival. I keep my fingers crossed that I would be clear-minded enough to get my work done properly.

5 snacks I enjoy: I try not to snack too much. Anyway, here's the five snacks that I enjoy (not in order of preference):
1. Muesli bar
2. Fresh organic fruits (already being cut for me)
3. Dark chocolate
4. Raw celery (already cut and washed)
5. The buttermilk biscuit from Popeye, served with maple syrup.

5 bands that I know the lyrics to most of their songs: Actually, I don't listen much to bands. Spare me of this one. I think I know the lyrics of some of the songs by The Carpenters, but I don't know the lyrics to most of their songs.

5 things I would do with $100,000,000: It may seem a lot, but it would finish out soon.

Anyway the five things are:
1. Invest part of it in funds, with medium or low risks to keep the money growing.
2. Buy myself another double bass and a good double bass bow
3. Travel to parts of Europe
4. Treat my grandmother to what she would like, and give part of it to my two brothers.
5. I have promised to invest in Mystic's dream bakery-shop business, as such, I shall.

5 locations I'd like to run away to:
1. An apartment that sits along Singapore River, and I shall just enjoy being close to the museums and places of interest that I love.
2. Italy, but I have yet to think about which part of Italy I wish to run to.
3. Switzerland, I think I would love to see the sceneries there.
4. Belgium. Kunstemaecker had once offered to be a good host if I were to go there. I hope the offer would still be on when I could afford to travel to Belgium.
5. Can't think of one now. A peaceful and quiet place, I suppose?

5 bad habits I have:
1. I do not like to tidy my rooms, but I like it to be relatively dust free.
2. I hate to do the laundry so I leave it to others to do for me wherever possible.
3. I may get obsessed with things that I like to do, and may talk constantly about those things. (e.g. my dear "husband")
4. I don't like to help with the household chores so I try not to be around at home when my parents will be doing the household chores.
5. I will start to hum tunes (at times aloud) in public when I feel bored or need to stimulate my tired mind. I also hum aloud when I am feeling stressed.

5 things I like doing:
1. I like looking at visually pleasant works of art or objects.
2. I like to play the double bass when I feel competent at playing those works on hand.
3. I like to be able to lend a listening ear to a friend. Somehow, doing so helps to expand my understanding of the friend.
4. I like to gather information especially when I have the luxury of time.
5. I like to have a task done well. It gives me a sense of satisfaction and achievement.

5 things I would never wear: It would be easier to start with what I would tend to wear. Anyway, I will avoid wearing clothes whose textures feels uncomfortable . I will not wear too fanciful clothes. I will not wear clothes that would take me hours to put on properly. I will not wear heels that would subject my feet to lots of discomfort and pain. I don't think I would wear a mini-skirt. I hope these would pass?

5 TV shows I like: I hardly watch TV shows nowadays. I shall skip this question. I generally like TV shows that are informative, and relate to my areas of interests. I crave for knowledge more than entertainment. But it would be nice to watch informative programmes that are just as entertaining.

5 movies I like: Similarly, I hardly have a craze for movies. But I do remember liking Finding Nemo, and Bill Elliot. These are the few movies that I have watched and have enjoyed.

5 famous people I'd like to meet:
1. Johannes Brahms. (I love his symphonies.)
2. Leonardo da Vinci (I am impressed by his versatility, and wish to learn from him.)
3. Tchaikovsky (Since I quite like his Fifth Symphony of late)
4. Ding Shaoguang (I like his prints.)
5. Vincent van Gogh (One of my favourite artists.)

5 biggest joys of the moment:
1. Enjoying the satisfaction of playing well on the double bass, especially when I play the double bass with the orchestra.
2. Being awarded an award for one of my art works. This happened when I was younger.
3. Being praised and complimented that the photos that I take are nice.
4. Completing an important piece of work, and getting it done well. I think I have a need to strive to reach my own standards.
5. Finally being able to resolve and work out a very challenging and difficult problem or situation. Doing so tends to give me a sense of achievement, and I find joy in it.

5 favorite toys:
I don't know if I should refer the double bass as a toy. It is not. But I play the double bass as a hobby, and it is one of my favourite possessions.

I also like to see the Personal Computer as one of my favourite toys. I spend much time on it everyday.

Ny latest favourite gadget, and if you call it a toy, is the digital camera. It is a pity that due to my busy schedules for the past few weeks, I have not been going out for photography field trips to take photographs.

I used to have a couple of toys when I was younger, but at my age, I have outgrown them. I quite like Tetris. I also like to play checkers (I hope I have gotten the name correctly).

5 people to tag: I would rather not tag any. If anyone wishes to try this, please tag yourself on your own. Please also drop me a note if you have tagged yourself, so that I could go and read your entry.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The world does not feel safe anymore

Taken from Yahoo! News:
Blasts kill 83 in Egyptian Red Sea resort.

Somehow, with all the bombings that has been going on, it just feel that the world would never feel safe anymore. I wonder what is most important in this world such that there are people who would be willing to put the lives of others at danger?

I have thought that life is precious?

Friday, July 22, 2005

News from London

I read the newspapers this morning and was informed that there was a latest round of bombs, occuring on 21 July 05 lunchtime, over in London. The incident has caused chaos but killed no one.

I was browsing through the online sources for more information, and I found one article from Independent Online Edition:

Here's an excerpt from the article titled The urge for copycat attacks is hardwired into us:

There is evidence that terrorism is a copycat phenomenon. In the weeks following a terrorist attack there is a greater likelihood that there will be further terrorist incidents in that area.

Here's another article that gives updates about what has been happening in London: London alerts: At-a-glance

For now, I just hope that I would be safe and sound when I am there in London. Wish me safety.

Anyway, I will still travel to London anyway. It is hard to give the British Museum a miss given the fact that I will be in the United Kingdoms in about less than two weeks time. The travel management company has confirmed my bookings for a hotel room at Russell Hotel. I hope I would find the hotel room to be satisfactory.

Meantime, I hope Emrah, one of my blog friends, is safe.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Cheering you on

It could be the month of July, everyone in office seems quite stressed up because there is so much things to do. The best I could do is to cheer the folks on in my own subtle way. I am sorry that I find it hard to fully express my encouragement directly through verbal means.

It seems that several of the friends in blogosphere are having either some health issues or are working terriby hard to create miracles. I wish them the best of health, and best wishes in realising their vision.

By the way, in case Mystic visits this blog in the next couple of days, here's some cheers and encouragement for her. Jia You. I am sorry that I won't be in Singapore to cheer Mystic on when she is going through a transition in early August. If it would help, may this post shall serve as a source of comfort that a friend does care to cheer Mystic on.

Thank you

Wednesday, 27 July 2005, 7.30pm

I am touched by the support of blog-friends like Mistipurple, Kelly, and Pinkie for showing their support to the above-mentioned concert. Thanks to many others who have also helped publicise for the concert or have offered to come and support the concert on 27 July 2005.

I look forward to play and share the music with you.

Here's the details:

Wednesday, 27 July 2005, 7.30pm
University Cultural Centre Hall
National University of Singapore
Tickets at $10

NUS Symphony Orchestra ::


Now I guess the orchestra is waiting for a miracle to happen.

I understand that there is 800 seats in the concert venue. As of today, I heard from reliable sources that there were only 120 tickets sold. We have about six more days to concert. Now, we have to work intensively towards getting the miracle to happen.

Cheer us on please.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Counting down

Wednesday, 27 July 2005, 7.30pm

Counting down to the Aberdeen International Youth Festival.

I have been slogging hard at the workplace for the past few days, and today, I decided I shall reward myself with a break from work. I took time-off in the afternoon to go for lessons with my tutor, and for orchestra rehearsals.

Yes, as I have mentioned yesterday, I asked my tutor to ask for help with The Elephant. He said that for the ritard section, it should be the string quartet who would be the one initiating the ritard. Then he spent quite a fair bit of time enlightening me of various possible ways to play that particular transitional passage.

Then, much of the time was spent going through the first and second movement of the Marcello's Sonata in G minor. These were the two movements that I had played when I attended a double bass masterclass earlier in May. My tutor spent quite a fair bit of time trying to get me to be more relaxed when I bow using my right hand. I was pleasantly surprised that the tone that I produced sounded much better after I worked on the right hand under his patient guidance.

I think I would still need to work on my vibrato. I seem to need more help in sustaining the use of the vibrato technique throughout various passages.

After the double bass lesson, I went for dinner alone. I felt quite energised by the lesson.

Double bass sectional started at 6 p.m. Today, QH was able to join us for sectional. It is nice to have her around.

During sectional, we went through the difficult passages from Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony and Mendelssohn's Fingals Cave.

(I am feeling quite tired by now, so I shall keep whatever that follows short.)

Orchestra rehearsals started at 7.30 p.m. We played the Butterfly Lovers' Violin Concerto. I think it would be quite a well-loved piece with audience?

We got to play the fourth movement from Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. Often, I wish the double bass section could have a larger strength. We have four players playing for the Aberdeen International Youth Festival, and I felt it would help to have more double bass players.

We were told that when we are in Aberdeen, most of the orchestra members are expected to play for the Festival Orchestra's concert. I have already set my time aside for this matter. I just keep my fingers crossed that there would be double basses available for our use when we are in Aberdeen.

Guess what we would be playing for the Festival Orchestra's performance? It's Brahms' Second Symphony. We sight-read Brahms' Second Symphony during tonight's rehearsals. I love Brahms' symphonies. Somehow I felt I could relate to his symphonies. It isn't an easy one to play though. I shall look forward to playing Brahms' Second Symphony.

Meantime, counting down.

By the way, the orchestra will be giving a concert on 27 July 2005. Click this link for more details:

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Rainy day ramblings

The past few days have been rainy ones. Right here in Singapore. At least it has been rainy in the Northern part of Singapore.

It is about two weeks more before I will be in Aberdeen. I am looking forward to it. Of course, one part of me fears that there won't be a decent double bass to play on. I also fear not having chance to practise on the rented double bass before our opening concert held in Aberdeen.

It must be the rainy days. They tend to get me down a little.

It must have also been due to the rainy weather that all three of my clients who were scheduled to see me this afternoon did not show up. So I ended up using the time that had been intended to see client to write social reports instead. I am pleased to say that I have cleared several social reports. I felt more relieved after completing the social reports.

There is still more amount of work to be cleared. I hope I would be able to remain sane and clear-headed while I try to clear those work within these two weeks. Please cheer me on. Thanks in advance.

Occassionally, I try to take short breaks to try to recharge. Taking short breaks has helped.

Today is quite a long day. I reached office this morning at 8.35 a.m. and left office at 9.30 p.m. I intend to be in office early tomorrow to work on some work-related matters. To be kind to myself, I have decided not to sleep too late tonight. I needed to prevent myself from dying of fatigue.

I am looking forward to tomorrow. I will be having double bass lessons with my double bass tutor and I hope to go through "The Elephant" with my tutor. I pity my dear "husband" lately. I have been so busy with work and rehearsals recently such that I don't have much time to spend with him, practising. Tomorrow is also the day for the orchestra rehearsals. I might not post tomorrow if I get home late.

Meantime, please keep safe, and take care.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Farewell and best wishes

A short post before I sleep for the night. The article in the papers says that lack of sleep can be detrimental to a person's health.

Today is the official last day of field placement for the social work intern who I am supervising. It has been quite a good experience being a field supervisor. This was my first experience being a field supervisor, and I survived it quite well.

Thanks to the intern for being such a good student who is keen to learn. That has helped me make my job easier. Thanks to her for being a diligent worker, and for her good work put in. I think she has done well for the placement.

So this is a short post of farewell. Here's sending her my best wishes.

It might seem a little strange to bid farewell to her now, because I would still see her for the next few days in office because she has offered to render her service for some data-entry work after her placement period. Anyway, I guess I am someone who needs some form of closure.

Will the double bass be there?

Emily wrote in her post dated July 08 2005, titled .-*Vienna: Day 1+2*-.

She wrote of one of the woes of a diligent double bassists: There is no double bass to practise on!

I shall quote her:
For the first night, we had rehearsals at the hotel basement in preparation for the competition. We had no basses, hence we just sat around, listened, gave moral support, and when needed, took down some notes. I really hate it when I have to sit around when not playing, but it makes the most sense since I was supposed to play, and times where bassists get to rest are quite rare because not every composer is like Iskandar who loves to leave out the basses. Thank god for the rarity of such a breed, or I would be jobless by now.

Meantime, I have not heard from the organiser of the Aberdeen International Youth Festival about when we would be able to gain access the double basses when the orchestra is in Aberdeen. I am not the person whom the organiser would liaise with directly regarding the rental of the double basses. So I could only effectively wait to hear from the organiser through the orchestra committee members.

Maybe life is a series of taking lots of risks? Here I see myself taking the risks of agreeing to rent double basses over there, and not knowing what kind of double basses to expect.

My fear is that I am no professional player. I fear I may need quite an amount of time to get used to a new double bass. I fear my intonation would suffer when I don't have enough time to practise on an unfamiliar double bass before the orchestra rehearsals and the concerts. I have no intention to hurt my awfully weak ego.

If I could have the luxury of funds and the choice, I would have choosen to partner with my "husband" or "boyfriend". Occassionally, I won't mind the company of a double bass that would cost one million US dollars. One that has a lovely seasoned sound that would melt everyone's heart.

So I shall keep my fingers crossed that there would be double basses available for yours truly and my fellow double bass section-mates, preferably 24 hours around the clock, when we are at Aberdeen.

The workaholic in me is telling me that it would be good to have a double bass with me all-round-the clock. I will be miles away from home when I am in Aberdeen. I will miss my husband, my boyfriend, and the many people in Singapore. So I would need a company in a double bass when I am in Aberdeen to console my lonely soul. I reckon that since I will be in Aberdeen to play music, I might as well find time to play music all-round-the-clock. I would rather have a double bass to play on all-round-the-clock than to have no double bass to play on there.

So I shall hope very hard that the answer to the title of this post will be a "Yes".

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The folks are getting anxious?

After today's rehearsals, I had dinner nearby Holland Village before making my way to my maternal grandmother's place. I had decided to visit her since I was nearby her place. I reckon I might be too busy for the next few weeks to be able to visit her before I go for my trip to Aberdeen, Scotland.

When I was there, I took time to have a conversation with my grandmother. During the conversation, she asked if I have a boyfriend. Well, if she meant the one I always hug at the orchestra rehearsals (the double bass), then I would say "Yes". Unfortunately, she was not referring to that one.

Then when I went home and informed my mom that I would not be at home this coming Saturday because I had to attend an ex-colleague's wedding dinner, she asked if I have a boyfriend.

I also remember that earlier this year, my dad placed an advertisement of one of those match-making agencies on my PC workstation. What a hint.

I wonder if the folks are getting anxious? I am not though.

Sometimes I think it might be nice to have a companion to care for and to love. It might be nice to also have someone who would accept and love me for whom I am. At the same time, I shall believe that love comes when one does not force it to happen. I am happily single, and happily married to the double bass for the moment.

So to the folks: Please just let things come naturally.

I think I am a feminist. I believe females are as capable and deserving of opportunities as males. I guess I will not like the traditional males who think that females should be the ones in charge of domestic affairs. Anyway, I guess I will not be attractive to these males. For those who know me, I do not care much about domestic affairs. I often find it a chore to clean my room. So I don't and I allow my room to be cleaned without much of my interference (except an occassional attempt to tidy things up in my room). Sometimes, I think I do not fall well into what constitutes feminine in terms of my general lifestyle and preferences.

So the above paragraph is to put a "No" sign on me so that I won't attract males who insist on finding a girlfriend who can take care of the domestic affairs in the household. Forget me, I don't. In fact, a super ideal boyfriend should be one who is willing to take care of those domestic affairs for me.

Question: What can I do as a girlfriend?

Well, I can play the double bass. I can sketch. I can be a fairly good companion going to museums with. I can listen fairly well. I can write encouraging words. I can carry my own double bass on my own, so prospective boyfriend need not worry about having to carry the double bass for me. I have good sense of direction, so I don't really need someone to send me home. I can get home without losing my way.

So the point is that unless one can accomodate my love for the double bass and whatever else that is part of me, my apologies that reciprocity from me would not be present at all.

In retrospect, I think I might have disappoint a few people. I am sorry if I did. But I will disappoint them anyway. I can't please everyone, so at least I have please myself by being true to myself.

Please tell the folks to take things easy. *winks*

The Elephant

Wednesday, 27 July 2005, 7.30pm

I decide that for the next two weeks, when I write about orchestra rehearsals or any practices related to the orchestra, I shall post the above image. The image is linked to my earlier post Care to Support, so you may check out for more details. This shall remind me that concert is drawing near. Hopefully this time, there will be someone who would listen to us play. For our last public performance, I was so worried that no one would listen to us play.

This afternoon we had orchestra rehearsals. Prior to the rehearsals, I met up with JZ and his string quartet team to rehearse the double bass solo (with string quartet) of Saint Saens' The Elephant. The Elephant was originally scored for double bass with piano accompaniment. This version with the string quartet is arranged by N. Ludwin.

Firstly, I thank the string quartet for being so gracious to accompany me, and being so patient with me.

I shall keep my fingers crossed that the string quartet did not curse me or get frustrated with me for a not-so-steady rhythm at that transitional passage where the music goes from ritard to a tempo. I think I would need to give a better cue. As such, I think we went through The Elephant many more times than we did the previous week. I shall get better. My readers, please pardon me, I don't get many chance to play solo in front of audience, so I am still trying my best to learn to be a good soloist.

Special thanks to QH for sitting through my practice with the string quartet and later even went through the solo passages with me. I quite like QH's interpretation of The Elephant.

Just for entertaining purposes, let me attempt to give you the programme for my version (after getting inputs from QH) of The Elephant . (Maybe I should go and write the programme notes for this? The orthodox way?):

It is morning, and one elephant by the name of "The Elephant" hears some nice rhythms. The Elephant is cautious. He tries to listen to the rhythms to get the beats right. Then he starts walking and tapping to the rhythms. Mind you, The Elephant like all elephants can't race like a cheetah. It walks at its most graceful and dignified pace, to the rhythms. Occassionally, The Elephant sings to the rhythm and soon a tune evolves.

The Elephant starts to gain confidence, and as the tune evolves, he turns and swings to the evolving melody. This is the time that you would see The Elephant at his most graceful moment. After one turn, he decides to make another turn. He says to himself, "Life is so beautiful". Yet, it seems that beautiful moments are not meant to last. Nevertheless he shall still cherish the memories. Then he blows his trunk and makes a call. Then a subtle one. Then he muster his strength and makes yet another one. The Elephant is getting a little tired by now. But he decides that he shall make an attempt to dance once more. So he picks himself up and once more, he dances.

This time, The Elephant is more confident and he takes more risks in his dance steps. He decides he shall not be restrained. Instead, he shall just dance and have fun!

Then he decides to do a different dance step to surprise his fellow audience. He leaps with the music and then up he goes. Next he gives a cry before he finally wraps up his dance with a forceful bow forward.

Do you like my story of The Elephant? Anyway, I think those who study music must have laughed their wits out at my story?

Rehearsals started later, and I was delighted that we got to play almost the entire Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. We played all the movements except for the third. That was fun. Furthermore, I like melancholic tunes.

At certain points, my left hand had cramps. I think more warm-ups would be needed. There is so much leaps and jumps to be done on the left hand, it is a test of one's left-hand technique.

We also played Mendelssohn's Fingals Cave. Fingals Cave is actually not a good piece to start a concert with for the double bass section. There are much more left-hand techniques required here than Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. It is certainly not a warm-up piece, so we are expected to warm-up with something else before the concert. Anyway, I like the challenges. I just wish I would be able to play as good as my tutor. With time, I shall get closer to that wish.

Counting down to 27 July, and to the trip to Aberdeen.

Could I still move forward?

I am feeling exhausted. I don't know if I would still have the energy to move forward. I could only try to muster as much strength to do so.

There is still a lot of work to be done. Work has been overwhelming to some extent. Yet I can't say that it has been unfulfilling. Several of my sessions with the clients I had seen last week have been good ones. I could sense that they have learnt something from my sessions.

At the same time, it seems that the paperwork to be completed is like neverending. It is. But now, my energy level is not as good, I fear compromising quality in order to meet up with the expected quantity of output.

I have so much to give, but only so much. Could I still move forward?

I could only hope that I would not die from fatigue by the end of the month.

Meantime, I shall try to rest and to recharge.

My Blogging Personality

Your Blogging Type is Kind and Harmonious
You're an approachable blogger who tends to have many online friends.
People new to your blogging circle know they can count on you for support.
You tend to mediate fighting and drama. You set a cooperative tone.
You have a great eye for design - and your blog tends to be the best looking on the block!

That's Service

Some time ago, in my post dated 6 July 2005, I wrote about double bass padded bags that did not fit.

Later, I was informed that S**WIN had offered to come down to measure the double basses.

On the recent Wednesday, the personnel from S**WIN came. The boss of S**WIN came down with the delivery man. I am starting to think that good customer service comes when the staff who would come into direct contact with the customers could have more autonomy and decision-making powers. Things were so different when the boss was around. He could actually make the decision on the spot to take back whatever padded bags were not satisfactory and make new ones at no extra charge. That is what I call service.

So it turned out that the boss said we did not measure the double basses in the right way. I guess we have to admit that we aren't professionals when it comes to measuring double basses, even though we are able to play reasonably fine on the double basses.

The only not so good thing is that we would have to wait for another one to two months for the padded bags to be ready. This is because the bags would be shipped. We were advised not to deliver the bags by air freight (the bags will be made in China) for that would cost at least $500 for the air freight alone.

The lesson learnt is that next time when it comes to tailor-making things, please strongly consider getting the help from the supplier to do the measurements. Maybe suppliers could also learn from this and offer to do the measurements.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

My boyfriend's photo

He's suave. He is charismatic. He has a nice deep voice that pleases the ear. He is huggable.

In the vocabulary of yours truly, a double bass player, here's presenting to you my boyfriend's photo. This is the double bass that I would regularly use when I attend orchestra rehearsals.

Please help spread the word around

Time is getting tight. The fund-raising concert held on 27 July 2005 was only confirmed about several days ago as it took a while to ascertain that the costs of holding the concert was reasonably within means.

While I heard that the venue was sponsored and provided free to the orchestra, the orchestra would still have to pay for the technical crew and other miscellaneous expenses.

Hopefully we could still get enough audience despite the weird date (a Wednesday evening) and short notice.

If you could, please help spread the word around. You might have readers living in Singapore who might read about the concert and they might be ardent music lovers who don't mind supporting the concert.

So meantime, you may wish to link to

Wednesday, 27 July 2005, 7.30pm

Slogging on a Saturday

Today happens to be the Saturday that I was to report for work.

I am feeling tired by the end of the work week. I shall reward myself by giving myself a few cheers. I must have worked pretty hard for the week. There are still more work to be done. I wish I could have more time and a workload that is more reasonable.

Officially, the time to knock off from work on a Saturday is 12 noon. But I had only left office at slightly after 5 p.m. My lunch break was short because I decided I had to rush eating my lunch when I realised that I had overlooked writing a report that was supposed to be due preferably two days ago. I felt upset that I had actually overlooked that. When I am happily efficient and productive, my memory hardly fails me. It did today, so that seemed to be some form of indication.

After I left office, I decided to go to a shopping centre (Northpoint) nearby my office to browse for long sleeves shirts, pants and a pair of walking shoes. I got myself two long sleeves shirts.

Actually I had wanted to go to the town area. However, I was too tired to wish to travel there. I decided that I had to be kind to myself and be easier on myself after work.

I came across a money-changer and saw that the rates of Singapore dollars against UK sterling pounds. Sometimes I wish that Singapore dollars could be stronger, then travelling and living in Europe countries would have been more affordable. If I could, I hope to further my studies in one of the countries in Europe. I have yet to decide what course to take. If I have lots of money, I would not have to think so hard. I would have taken a three-years programme in visual art or photography, a two-years Masters programme in counselling or social work, and maybe sign up to study in one of the music conservatories.

Maybe I should not have been a social worker. My job pays me alright but I will not dream of becoming a millionaire if I were to remain in my current job. Now, I am lost. I do not know what life has install for me. I could only try to allow the mystery to unfold by itself.

I have slogged for the past few days of the work week. I shall take it easy and try to find time to rest this weekend. I still have to attend rehearsals tomorrow but rehearsals have often been pleasant (despite being tiring) so I still look forward to rehearsals. Maybe I have been counting on rehearsals as a way to recharge myself?

Meantime, I shall end this post before I end up talking nonsense. I am feeling a little tired now.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Care to support?

Finally, the details for the upcoming concert that yours truly have been talking about are out. Your support would be greatly appreciated.


Wednesday, 27 July 2005, 7.30pm
University Cultural Centre Hall
National University of Singapore
Tickets at $10

Featuring SSO first violinist Mr Foo Say Ming, the NUS Symphony Orchestra presents the perennial Chinese classic: The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto. A pre-tour cum fund-raising concert for its August trip to the Aberdeen International Youth Festival in Scotland. Conducted by resident conductor/music director Maestro Lim Soon Lee.


Felix Mendelssohn - Overture to Fingal's Cave, Op. 26
Chen Gang and He Zhanhao - The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Symphony No. 5 in E minor, op. 64

The NUS Symphony Orchestra first participated in the Aberdeen International Youth Festival in 1998 and was praised: "Something special from Singapore." As the only group from Singapore this year, the Orchestra has been given the honour to perform in its Opening Concert. NUSSO therefore seeks to raise funds for its members, who are mainly students, to participate in the Festival.

For tickets, please contact Ash at 9380 1727 or visit for more information.

Directions to University Cultural Centre:


NUS Symphony Orchestra ::

An evening away from work and rehearsal

Today is a Friday, and I had made arrangements with Mystic to meet her to see the Journey of Faith exhibition held at the Asian Civilisation Museum. The museum is open till 9 p.m. every Friday so that gives me a chance to catch the exhibition after work.

I met Mystic at one of the card shops along Citylink Mall after office hours. She had wanted to get a card but did not find any that was up to her satisfaction.

I had looked forward to the evening. Afterall I have made it a point to take a break from work and rehearsal this evening. For the past few evenings of the week, I was either in the office working or in the rehearsal venue rehearsing. Even though I had spent the evening with Mystic, this evening was still considered a time for myself, to chill out and relax.

I think I needed some time to chill out, even though I was feeling a little tired when I was making my way to the meeting place.

For dinner, Mystic and I ate at one of the Sakae Sushi restaurants. I am growing to like soft shell crabs. The soft shell crab crepe has suit my taste. I like the taste of the crepe. The soft shell crab handroll tastes good. I like the mayonnaise sauce that was used as a filling inside the handroll. I also thank Mystic for recommending the "sushi with sotong" (though I have no idea what its Japanese name is), the sotong has a nice texture that goes well with the sushi. Mystic claimed that she would treat me to dinner since I would be leaving for Aberdeen for vacation soon. It is not as if I would be away for a long while. Anyway, here's thanking Mystic for the treat, although she shouldn't have.

After dinner, we treated ourselves to ice-cream. Mystic had banana crunch flavour ice-cream; I had macadamia nuts flavour ice-cream. Mystic reminded me that I shouldn't be eating cold food. Anyway, this was a temptation that I would like to give in to. I needed to treat myself to one for working so hard for the past few days of the week.

While we walked towards the museum located within the Empress Place building, we saw the newly opened Supreme Court structure. Could anyone tell me what is the function of the "space-ship looking" structure that sits itself on the rectangular structure of the Supreme Court's building? It just looked a little out-of-place with the rest of the structure. But I shall give it the benefit of the doubt that it does serve a particular function. What that would be, I don't know.

It was already several minutes past eight o'clock when we reached the Asian Civilisation Museum (Empress Place). There was a charge of $4 per adult for entry. As a member of the Museum Season-Pass, I was able to enter with no charge at all. Of course, I will have to pay an annual subscription for the membership, but I think it was worth it.

The Journey of Faith exhibition had a pretty large crowd this evening. There were several groups of people in the exhibition, and each group has a museum guide with them. I wish I could have a museum guide. Anyway, I don't like crowds. Crowds hasten me to view the exhibitions. I did not have the mood to read most of the explanatory notes for each of the exhibits because of my perceived feeling of lack of space due to the crowds. I quite like the artefacts of the clothings worn by popes. I like some of the paintings shown during the exhibition too.

Mystic found the exhibition a little boring. Furthermore, she was not feeling very well this evening. She kept complaining of having a backache. She said she would have preferred viewing paintings to three-dimensional artefacts. Quite a fair amount of the exhibits consists of the latter. Whatever it is, I thank Mystic for her patient company. It might be a while before I get to meet her again. I could wish her well meantime.

After viewing the exhibition, Mystic and I left the museum. Mystic left for home while I took a walk about the area. I walked towards the Merlion Park, and then the Esplanade Park. Afterwhich, I tried to walk about the shops to browse about for a pair of shoe. I did not find one pair that has met my expectations, so I did not get any in the end.

I feel a little more relaxed this evening as compared to the past few ones. It does help to set time aside to chill out.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Rest I shall

There is several things I could write about on this blog, but I feel too tired to wish to put time in doing so.

About an hour ago, I had just reached home from work. I have been working till 9 p.m. on this Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Last night I did not have to work till that late, but I had spent quite a fair bit of yesterday's afternoon attending to some errands related to the orchestra's double bass section. Last night was spent rehearsing. We rehearsed the first and fourth movement of Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony and the Butterfly Lovers Concerto.

Now I am exhausted. I had work beyond the official office hours today because there was a session with one of the clients in the evening. Afterwhich, I stayed behind in office to write my case recordings. Not that I had finished all the recordings on hand, but at least the load had been lessened with my attempts to clear the backlogs.

Anyway, since the title of this post had suggested that I shall rest, so I shall. I hope I would still have enough energy to travel to the United Kingdoms in August.

Meantime, I send warm wishes to whoever reads this post. Take care and I am wishing you well.

That nagging thought that bugs one

This must have been the plight of the folks who needed closure to things. When time fails to be on one's side for matters to be completed as fast as one would like, it seems like there would be a constantly nagging thought that would bug one.

The mind would even attempt to race at night when it is meant to be sleeping hours just in hope to think of a solution to manage time and to ensure matters could be completed as fast as one would like to.

The fact is, it is sleeping hours and not working hours. But the mind cannot seem to differentiate. It probably seems to see life as a journey to find closure, and gets matter done?

Too much things seem to have to be done. Time seems short. The mind would attempt all its way possible to work things out and to organise all possible information. Even at the weird hours.

And that nagging thought is bugging me.

Suddenly, my mind gets what I call a "wake-up shock" in the middle-of-the-night, because the mind is working so hard at the back of itself, that it suddenly wakes its owner up from dreamland. Too much thoughts have been bugging the mind that the mind just gets too active to be able to stay in "sleeping mode".

It is as if the mind is racing, perhaps erratically.

When this happens, all attempts to hush it down and get to sleep fail. Even when oneself has been having a long tiring day, physically and mentally.

And all these, is happening to yours truly right now.

If you want to find out why yours truly is typing a blog entry at this wee hour of the night, I can tell you it was not that I had chosen to be awake. I was awaken. By the nagging thought.

I had tried sleeping at 11.30 p.m. and managed to get some winks until the nagging thought strikes. The pent-up feelings is building up. The mind is so awfully alert that I had to realise that I needed an outlet to release what ever pent-up feelings had been built up. Otherwise, there would be no peace of the mind, and I fear, no further good sleep till the next day.

This must have one of yours truly greatest weakest. To find difficulty in managing that nagging thought and the racing mind. Or is the weakness being that of acting stronger than one is, such that the result is that workload keeps coming until it gets beyond one's capacity to cope?

Whatever it is, it is as if my mind has been programmed to get things done, and it would do so, at the cost of my sleep.

Sounds like a woe and it is making me cry.

I could only ask for comfort and support, while I chose to blog to find a way to ventilate, in hope to find a little solace and peace of the mind.

Would I ever find that needed way out to deal with the weakness? I fear I have not enough strength and assertiveness to see me through. That entire thought brings me down. I don't know what. But I think I have to ask for some help.


I needed some release, but I fear typing a post on my blog still has yet to help me find an outlet to do so.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Abdominal discomforts

I wonder if I had eaten the wrong thing, or if I am having problems with my digestive system? I am feeling several instances of abdominal discomforts throughout today.

Could it be stress?

Could it be early symptoms to a major problem?

Could it be that I have not taken my medication properly, hence causing abdominal pains?

I don't know.

I wish the discomforts would just go away.

If lyrics could tell

Rainy Days and Mondays by the Carpenters.
Produced by Jack Daugherty.
Written by Payl Williams, Roger Nichols.
Published by Almo Music Corp. (ASCAP)

Talking to myself and feelin' old
Sometimes I'd like to quit
Nothing ever seems to fit
Hangin' around
Nothing to do but frown
Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down


Then I decided the lyrics were too depressing, so I found this other one in hope to remind myself that tomorrow may be brighter, and I dedicate this to my blog friends and my "husband":

Only Yesterday
Produced by Richard Carpenter
Written by Richard Carpenter, John Bettis,
Published by Almo Music Corp./ Hammer and Nails Music (ASCAP)

Only yesterday I was sad and I was lonely
You show me the way to leave the past
And all the tears behind me
Tomorrow may be even brighter than today
Since I threw my sadness away only yesterday

May music soothe

I have a love for the melancholic tunes.

I had wanted to spend time practising on my dear "husband", the double bass. In fact, I don't intend to practise as much as I intend to make noises with it. I needed a source for expression and, ventilation. But I decided not to, it's quite late at night, and I am feeling too tired to set up my instrument for playing.

Pardon me, I am getting less clear-headed from the act of attempting to get things done at the work place. I am trying to find a balance between quantity and quality. I have to remind myself, I am a human-being, not a "human-doing".

Playing right now on my CD player is Carpenters' Yesterday Once More. I am playing the compiliation album containing a series of the Carpenters' hits. Music shall soothe, I hope.

I ask for a clearer mind to face the days ahead.

I ask, how can what I am doing today bring me closer to my intended future? I don't have a definite answer. I just hope moving on with the flow would not be an act of blind faith.

Blogger seems to be giving problems

I am finding it very difficult to view my blog. I wonder if Blogger is having some problems?

Quite a busy day at work. In fact overwhelming. I am losing my clear-headness soon if this were to go on. Thank you for cheering me on.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Support Needed

I am trying to clear off some of my load, and I fear I may lose track of the big pictures. Could I ask for some support, please?

Maybe support are fuel to steer me on. Yet I have to be mindful that the "engine" has its limits and no amount of fuel could make the "engine" work beyond its capacity. Things are a little better on the work end, as I am gradually clearing some work.

I suppose I shall take this chance to offer my friend, Mystic, my moral support too.

Maybe I should have told her verbally, but I know I would prefer to write. I would hope she could take care of herself better so that she won't feel so drained at the end of the day, and not have much energy left to attend to friends.

What could I say to her to be thoughtful if she were to ask how am I coping with things around me, knowing that she is showing clear signs of being tired? I would rather risk not saying anything much than risk not being attended to. I suppose I have to take the responsbility of being overly conservative in my assessment of risk.

Whatever it is, cheering Mystic along in her endeavours, and in her attempts to work on her case recordings and workloads. Maybe I should remind her that some work are just ongoing and will keep coming in, even till her last day of work.

The reminder above-mentioned shall serve as a reminder to myself too.

I ask myself why I work so hard, and I think it is because I like to believe that I do find some sense of satisfaction in getting a job well done.

Now the concerns are: Am I at risk of over-stretching myself? How could I slow down, while being effective?