Thursday, September 29, 2005
In Singapore, most of the working Singaporeans and their employers make monthly contributions to the Central Provident Fund. In short, the Central Provident Fund (CPF) is known to be a comprehensive social security savings plan for many working Singaporeans. You may read more about it from: http://www.cpf.gov.sg
According to the sources (under "Nomination"), one should make a CPF nomination when:
- One starts working and contributing to the CPF.
- One marries, as marriage makes any previous nomination invalid.
- One re-marries or if there is a change in one's marital status.
If a person does not make any nomination, one's CPF savings will be transferred to the Public Trustee for distribution in accordance with the written law.
Since I had not made my nomination, I decided to do so. For one thing, I don't know the written law (for non-Muslims, Cap 146) to know how those savings will be distributed in event of my demise, so I would rather claim my right to have the final say on the issue.
Actually one reason I had delayed the nomination was because I had thought that it would be a time-consuming and tedious process. But it proved much easier than I had thought.
I reached the Central Provident Board's main office at about 4 p.m. and there was hardly any queue. In about less than 10 minutes wait, I was attended to. It took about 5 - 10 minutes to have the nomination completed and checked through by the CPF Board officers. Then I realised that the CPF Board officers could act as the witnesses, so that saved me the hassle of looking for my witnesses. It was also not compulsory for oneself to bring the identification documents of the nominee/s, so that helped made it more hassle-free. All I need was to bring my own identification documents and go personally to any of the Board's offices.
After I have made my nomination, I went on my walk for the day. I treated it as a sight-seeing walk, and took a few photos along the way. But good observations of the surroundings, in my opinion, should always come first before any photo-taking. Good observations help one make judgements on what makes a good composition and good photo-effects.
I could not believe that I was walking for about close to one hour and a half before I really sat down for dinner. Some time after dinner, I still took some time to do an evening walk, though that was much shorter in terms of distance covered. I did not realise how tiring it could be until I settled myself down at home. Tiring, but it was good to take some time out from the daily routine.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Today is Wednesday and the day of the last orchestra rehearsal for this season. The orchestra being a student orchestra, will be having exams-break for the next two months. I will miss playing in the orchestra.
Anyway, since I reckon I would not be productive, and I shalln't worry readers unnecessary with heartfelt posts, I shall post a quiz here. A quiz that seems to have an interesting result generated for my responses. I wonder if the big tragedy was to be in a world not quite meant for me?
You are Bosnia-Herzegovina
You've just been through a big tragedy. You weren't sure you were going to make it at all. Now that you have, there's a lot to pick back up in your life, and not enough people are helping you. You just wanted a little more freedom, a chance to be away from those who thought poorly of you. Now it's time to build up some confidence, and it looks like you have a good chance at that. But you'll need a lot of therapy.
Take the Country Quiz at the Blue Pyramid
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Enlighten me please. What does "Ultimately, you signify nothing" mean?
You're The Sound and the Fury!
by William Faulkner
Strong-willed but deeply confused, you are trying to come to grips with a major crisis in your life. You can see many different perspectives on the issue, but you're mostly overwhelmed with despair at what you've lost. People often have a hard time understanding you, but they have some vague sense that you must be brilliant anyway. Ultimately, you signify nothing.
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
I don't know if you could call these flowers, but I found these plants to be unique. I saw them in Aberdeen, near the Marischal College. If you could, find some time to smell the flowers here.
Monday, September 26, 2005
Walking in this journey of life
At times find moments of solace
At times moments of turmoil
As if ups and downs are merely part of life
Even with a compass
How does one navigate with certainty
That the path ahead would be the way to go?
Perhaps unexpected paths
May lend greater adventures and insights
To make one wise
Afterall who knows what is life
What the masterplan would be
Until one truly experiences and lives it
I did not feel drained immediately after the session, but I felt the effects about more than a hour after the end of the session. Then, I realised I could no longer hold a coherent conversation with the external world. I am writing because I hope to find a voice through writing. A way to find some coherence in a incoherent world.
I remembered that I felt awfully exhausted too last night after returning home from my maternal grandfather's birthday dinner at his home. I supposed it was due to my long walk yesterday afternoon.
Yesterday I walked for almost an entire 45 minutes from Ang Mo Kio MRT station to Bishan MRT station. That was done under the scorching sun, at a leisure pace. Maybe I was searching for an answer that would not be found, and I decided to use walking as a means to find a way to connect to that unknown and seemingly unattainable source of truth. Along the way, I took a short break at one of the bus-stops. It took 45 minutes partly because I had to stop at the various traffic lights to wait for my turn to cross the roads.
I checked out the SMRT home page, and I found out that if I had taken a MRT train, it would just take me about 3 minutes ride from Ang Mo Kio MRT station to Bishan MRT station. Imagine how much time I could have saved. But saving time was not the issue at hand, I merely wanted to walk and to walk.
By the time I reached Bishan MRT station, it was close to 3 p.m. I went to walk about the shopping complex next to the Bishan MRT station. At close to 4 p.m., I left for home. This time, I decided to take a train ride.
I shall learn to appreciate how an effective transportation system could help me save time in travelling from places to places.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Special thanks to the loyal patronage from readers like Mistipurple. It makes me feel more motivated to continue writing.
In the morning of 15 Aug 05, I visited the Westminster Abbey.
As I have said in my last post, I was glad that I requested to join the verger tour. That was an extra 4 pounds but was well-worth it. I might have missed the important highlights of the Westminister Abbey if I did not join verger tour.
Now, what is a verger? "A verger is a committed lay minister within the Church who assists the clergy in the conduct of public worship, especially in the marshalling of processions." Source: http://www.vergers.org/default.php?page=whatis
The verger gave us a brief account of the history of the Westminster Abbey. By the end of the account, I know that there are two important persons I should associate with the Abbey: King Edward III (later known as St Edward the Confessor) and King Henry III.
In short, the historic Abbey was built by St Edward the Confessor between 1045-1050. Its construction originated in Edward's failure to keep a vow to go on a pilgrimage; the Pope suggested that he redeem himself by building an Abbey (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westminster_Abbey). The Gothic style part of the Abbey which we now see was rebuilt between 1245-1517, with the first phase of the rebuilding organised by King Henry III. To find out more of the history of the Abbey, you may refer to the following URLs:
The north entrance of the Westminster Abbey
After gaining insight to the history of the Abbey, we started the tour proper. If it helps, here is an online floor map of the Abbey: http://www.westminster-abbey.org/tour/.
For now, we have to count on our imagination. No photography is allowed in the Abbey, as such, I have no photograph of the interior of the Abbey to show you. But if you check out the Westminster's offical site, you should be able to view some pictures of the various parts of the abbey.
The Edward the Confessor's Chapel was under conservation works when I was there, so I did not get to view the shrine of St. Edward the Confessor. The tour group also walked past and paid respect (I wonder if this was the right word to use?) to the tomb of Queen Elizabeth I.
We also visited the Lady Chapel. It is a magnificient piece of architecture. To view and read more about the Lady Chapel, go to http://www.westminster-abbey.org/tour, and click on "The Lady Chapel".
We also saw the Coronation Chair, and I stood pretty close to it. It is such a shame to see that the Coronation Chair shows signs of being vandalised. In the past, the security was loose, and people could even sit on it. Some vandalised it by carving their initials on it. While we were looking at the Coronation Chair, the verger also gave us an account of the Stone of Scone. I have this conclusion: it is the meaning that we have bestowed onto a piece of object that would make it invaluable. What may seem an ordinary stone to a layperson is transformed to an object of great significance because of the story that man has told of it.
One should not miss The High Altar when one is at the Abbey. If I have remembered correctly, a platform known as the theatre of coronation would be extended from near the High Altar of the Abbey during the rare occurrence of a coronation. The verger told us we were standing very close to where the coronation would take place. The Choir which was nearby the High Altar was beautifully too.
The Abbey is not just about Kings and Queens. There is a Poets' Corner. Some of the most famous to lie and rest in the Abbey include the poets John Dryden, Tennyson, Robert Browning and John Masefield. Many writers, including William Camden, Dr. Samuel Johnson, Charles Dickens, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Rudyard Kipling and Thomas Hardy are also buried here. (Source: http://www.westminster-abbey.org/tour).
The tour ended, if I am not wrong, with the grave of the Unknown Warrior. Thereafter, we could choose to continue following the verger to the Abbey's Museum. I did. He led us through the Cloisters and to the Museum.
A rewarding trip to the Abbey, I must say. I felt I have learnt a lot about the Abbey in the few hours that I was there. I spent a little longer than I had wanted to, but that was fine. It was slightly past lunchtime when I left the Westminster Abbey. I chose to eat a piece of muesli bar to keep myself from feeling the hunger pangs.
Rise and shine. For the morning, I proceeded to Fitzroy Doll restaurant in Russell Hotel for breakfast.I decided to treat myself to a full English breakfast instead of the regular continental breakfast. That meant an extra 2 pounds.
A treat I suppose? The sausages tasted nice. It is the thought of eating a full English breakfast in London, the lands of the English, that makes the breakfast even more enticing. Of course, the choice of ingredients by Fitzroy Doll was pretty good. Overall, however, I would still prefer breakfast at Conrad Centennial Singapore's Oscar's Cafe. At this rate, Oscar's Cafe should enlist me as one of their cafe's ardent fans.
The fruit juices at Fitzroy Doll is not as comparable to Oscar Cafe's, but they did fine. By the way, when you are in London, please be careful when you see red or green colour juices. Usually, in Singapore, a red colour juice would most likely be watermelon juice. A green colour juice would most likely be guava juice. But in London, my perception of juices left me totally mistaken. In London, what I had mistook as watermelon juice and guava juice turned out to be grapefruit juices in the colours of red and green. I did not like the taste of grapefruit juices. They have this bitter taste (whether red or green) which my tastebuds failed to like.
After breakfast, I took a short walk about the Russell Square Park. Parks in London are enticing places to go to in the summer. It was lovely being out in the nice smmer sun and the open spaces of the park. The lush green grass made it even more charming.
Thereafter, I reckoned that I would do a lot of travelling that day. As such, I bought myself a day-ticket. Because I had bought it during the peak hours, the day ticket cost 6 pounds. Public transport in London seemed comparatively much more expensive than in Singapore if I were to convert pounds into Singapore dollars.
Anyway, I headed to Green Park and then transferred to Jubilee line and alighted at the Westminster tube station.
When I walked out of the tube station, I saw the Big Ben and British Airways London Eye.
I walked on and passed by the Houses of Parliament. I decided to walk across the street to start my tour of the day with the Westminster Abbey. I requested for a verger guided tour and I was glad that I did.
Stay tune for more.
There was no intermission during the performance, and the symphony itself is about 82 minutes long in duration.
I personally do not know very much about Gustav Mahler, and as such, I find myself taking quite a while to know how to appreciate his music. I was on half-awake mode for the first movement. I was able to stay alert at the beginning of the second movement but towards the middle of the second movement, my concentration dwindled. I found myself more able to enjoy the fourth movement possibly because my mind had slowly found ways to appreciate this particular symphony?
This post is not meant to be a review of the concert, it simply is meant to serve as a documentation of my experience. Perhaps I needed more work to heighten my ability to appreciate music? Perhaps I should have listened to the recordings of Mahler's Symphony No. 6 prior to attending the concert. Maybe that might help?
It was untimely that I attended the concert after a long day of work. It was Saturday yesterday but I had worked in the office from 8.45 a.m. till about 5.35 p.m. The good thing is that I managed to get some things accomplished, though I still have more work awaiting to be done. You could guess I was very tired when I was at the concert hall.
The untimely part of the concert came when people were clapping in between movements. Even though I think the conductor had tried to give signals using his hands to remind audience that they needn't clap, part of the audience still went on clapping in between movements. It felt like a lost of momentum when audience clapped at the untimely moments. But nothing was more untimely, in my humble opinion, than the clap from a particular member of the audience, who clapped even before the fourth movement ended.
Enlighten me please, is it a practice for audience to clap by the last four or five bars of Mahler's Symphony No. 6? I really doubt that this was the case. I read from the programme:
One very important aspect of Mahler's world was tragedy, and much of Mahler's music seems to be preoccupied with death, yet it is the Sixth Symphony which is labeled, apparently authentically, as the 'Tragic'. The difference with this symphony is that the conclusion has an unusually pessimistic and negative tone....here it is death itself which ultimately proves victorious.
As such, I infer that rather than giving applause immediately after the end of the symphony, it would most suit the nature of the symphony if we were to observe a minute of silence after the end of the symphony before giving applause as a form of appreciation. As such, I found the much too early applause very untimely. Tell me if I was wrong, I won't mind being corrected on this.
In the finale of the Sixth Symohony, there were three points that a large-size hammer struck an anvil. Those three hits of the hammer at different points of the finale caused an impact. I could not describe it. But I felt as if the world's voicing its anguish with an impact.
After the concert, my feet unconsciously went into a slow march. In the rhythms of the slow march, I took about 15 minutes to take a train home.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
To express the overwhelming thoughts and emotions
That are held within
Trying to mask the message
Hidden within by the sheer quantity
Yet I must have been contradicting myself
I actually hope for otherwise
That someone discerning would have
Read between the lines
And hear my cries
Have left the mind heavy
And one's morale down
The world's too heavy to bear
Hoping to write something light and bright
But the moods dictate otherwise
Hoping to find the strength to smile
But fearing it was simply a mask
No words to describe
That turmoil within
As if one's locked in a prison
Finding ways to break free!
Remembering that all feelings are merely temporary
I shall look for a voice
For them to be expressed
So that the heavy ones would one day be easier to bear
Yet the road has been rocky
How could one find the power
To steer through
That rocky dark road within?
Now playing on the CD player is Joi Chua's latest album. I bought it from one CD shop after I have heard one of the songs in the album and was moved by it. I think she has quite a good voice and I like quite a number of the songs that she sang.
Maybe I shall drown myself in the beauty of the music. Hope that doing so would help me find the solace that I have been seeking.
Then after dinner, we went back to one of the studios in the Centre for the Arts to prepare for double bass sectionals. Double bass sectionals have always been something worthwhile for yours truly to look forward to. We asked (or rather, I asked) our double bass tutor to give us some insights to developing good posture. The trick seems to be simply that of being natural. That's about all I could remember, and if Emily would care to fill me in, I would be grateful.
I was fascinated that I was able to bow the bow quite effortlessly after our tutor gave some tips on how I could place my right hand on the bow in the most natural posture. That cheered my spirits up a little. It's fun to learn. During sectional, we went through Sibelius' Second Symphony. One entire hour on the double bass was spent during sectional, but was my favourite one hour of the entire of yesterday.
Later, we had orchestra rehearsals. There were some people who came to view the new auditorium and to listen to the acoustics of the new auditorium. We played the third movement and the fourth movement of the Sibelius' Second Symphony. We also went through part of Sibelius' Third Symphony. Sibelius music seemed less alien the more we rehearsed it. Nevertheless, I would appreciate it if someone could guide me on how to play those syncopated notes with greater accuracy and confidence.
During the orchestra break and after the orchestra rehearsal, I had the honour to play the Marcello's Sonata in G minor with Emily. I played the parts transcribed for the double bass while Emily played the parts meant for the piano on her double bass. I marvelled at how Emily could sight-read parts meant for the piano and play those on the double bass. My favourite was the fourth movement. Fun. That helped to make the day a little more delightful. This was much needed when I have been feeling quite low since the beginning of the work week.
After rehearsal, Emily brought her double bass to the conservatory, and I followed along. The conservatory seemed impressive in that there were studios everywhere. I quite like the tall locker that Emily had kept her double bass in.
About 13 hours ago, I started the work day. At times the head felt heavy. What would be needed to find that break-through at work? I only ask for feel more rejuvenated. There were moments at work where there's learnings and it helps lift the moods of the time. However there were moments when I wonder if I could not live up to accomplishing the workload in time because I have my own limitations or if I was just not being smart in getting work done. Such thoughts seem to make one feel dismay. I don't know if I should just ignore them, or to entertain them in hope to find ways to resolve those bugging issues on my mind.
About 2 hours ago, I collected my pair of frameless spectacles which now has a pair of new prescribed lenses on it. Maybe having two different pair of spectacles is a reminder that there can be different ways to view one single issue? I am clueless in this seemingly dark world.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
JY is now in Birmingham. It is very nice of her to have sent a postcard. I suppose she had done so before she left for UK? Thanks for the thoughts, JY, I am touched by your gesture.
Friendster updated me some moments that JY has updated her friendster account, and presto, when I logged in, I saw her Friendster Blog. So I spent time to read her post as if I have been deprived of a few days of her writing. Good to hear how she is doing.
By the way, I don't check Friendster very often even though I have an account. I must have been adopting such a closed door policy with Friendster that I only have five friends in my Friendster account. Please don't get upset with me if I hardly check my Friendster account.
Request for technical help
To side track, if anyone of you could help JY to get her Blogger blog working again, I would greatly appreciate it. JY said that when she logged into blogger using her laptop, "most letters appear as squares." Anyone has any clue why this is happening?
Anyway, a photo dedicated to JY, to bring her some fond memories of Singapore. Hope she would like it.
Postcards are nice. Today, I realised that I would prefer sealed cards or letters during some circumstances.
If anyone of you wanted to choose between sending me a postcard versus a letter, I would prefer a letter (or a sealed card) if you have written words intended for me other than simple greetings.
I found out today that I have my own sense of insecurities and would not wish to have too much private words written on postcard. Never know who's prying out there to misinterprete the contents.
I am now feeling awfully tired after work, double bass lesson and orchestra rehearsal. Long day, but the evening was fruitful especially the double bass lesson.
Earlier today, I had to present a clinical review to my colleagues. This meant that I have to show a tape of video-recording of a session with them. (Clients have given permission to the video-recording). The clinical review was meant for them to comment on my skills so that I could get feedback to enhance them for the benefit of my work with the clients. I found it quite helpful though I felt very drained mentally and my mind felt very heavy after the presentation.
Am now physically and mentally tired, so I shall end here.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
And since tiredness has overwhelmed, I shall make not much attempt to write too much. Remaining silent may help me hear more clearly the answers that I have been seeking?
Meantime, I rest early and hope tomorrow would feel better.
Singapore Art Show 2005
23 September – 23 October 2005
THE BIGGEST CELEBRATION OF SINGAPORE ART!
A new national platform that celebrates Singapore visual art, the Singapore Art Show 2005 is set to captivate people from walks of life. It will be an exciting event showcasing a wide range of distinctive and outstanding artworks by Singaporean artists. From the traditional to contemporary, from works of pioneer artists to those being produced by emerging artists today, we salute Singapore’s finest artists and curators in the biggest curated local arts show to date.
For more information, please check out:
Monday, September 19, 2005
Very much deprived
Sometimes too proud to ask
For dear rainbow to touch its edges
Then when the storms too hard to bear
Threaten to crack it apart
It asks for sunshine and rainbow
Whose encouragements would give it the support
Sunday, September 18, 2005
To face the everyday's ups and downs?
How does one find
To overcome the world's tribulations and trials?
At times feeling one's strong to face the world
As if all problems could be resolved within one's powers
Then circumstances proved otherwise
And humility would need to rise
Where failure to lower oneself temporarily before the larger forces
May render one more vulnerable to the storms
Like the grass that resist the forces of nature
Tend to wither so much faster
And yet at times
One feels so inadequate
To rise up to life's challenges and the daily trials
So one would wallow in the shadows of darknes
Where failure to see one's hidden strength
Denies one's access
To that power
That could improve one's fate
Left clueless at times
To face the world
At times delightful
At times discouraging
Yet to possess
Still searching for the answers
May one find the strength
And the faith
The unknown ups and downs
14 Aug 05:
My first morning in London. I had breakfast at the Fitzroy Doll restaurant in Russell Hotel. The breakfast tastes good. I had continental breakfast. It would cost me an additional 2 pounds to have my breakfast upgraded to the full English breakfast so I decided to make do with continental breakfast which was already fully paid with my room charges.
Breakfast tasted good though I still love the variety and the breakfast at Conrad Centennial Singapore's Oscar Cafe. I helped myself to cereals, fruit juices, bread and yogurt. The choice of food was similar to the breakfast that I had at Aberdeen's Hillhead Hostel, but the ingredients were definitely of better quality. Pardon me, I am a critical person where it comes to food. I was offered to tea or coffee but I decided to decline it for the day. I was hoping to avoid caffine for the day.
It was Sunday. I would meet my new-found temporary travel mate XR at about 8 a.m. or so. She is an undergraduate of the university and one of my fellow orchestra-mate. Just a few days before I left for London, I found out that she would be in London on 14 Aug 05 so as to catch a flight back to Singapore. Her travel schedule was much different from the rest of the other orchestra members. She took Royal Brunei Airlines from Singapore to London. Along the way, the plane would stop over at places such as Dubai, if I had remembered correctly. Then she would get a coach to take her to Aberdeen. On 13 Aug 05, when most of the rest of the orchestra-mates took KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, she took a coach from Aberdeen to London and would continue her journey back to Singapore in the reverse direction that was above-mentioned. She was scheduled to leave London on the Royal Brunei Airlines in the early morning of 15 Aug 05. I heard it was much cheaper to travel like that. I doubt I would wish to try. I prefer time-saving and convenient methods of travel.
Whatever it was, I arranged to meet XR in the lobby of Russell Hotel. She arrived at about 8.30 a.m. I showed her up to my room in the hotel so that she could leave her baggage in my room. Thereafter, we walked to a nearby convenient outlet called Tesco Express so that XR could get food for her breakfast.
We then proceeded for the British Museum. The travel guide said that the opening hours of the British Museum is from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays. However, I did not notice that the galleries would only open from 10 a.m. So when we reached the museum, most of the galleries were closed and we found ourselves walking quite aimlessly along the corridors of the British Museum.
The British Museum
The British Museum is fascinating. There is just so much diverse exhibits to be seen. In the same building, houses exhibitions under these main themes: Ancient civilisation, ancient world, Britain and Europe from prehistory times to present, Asia and the Islamic world, and Africa & Americas. I wished I had the time to view everything, but it was not possible for a visitor who wishes to spend time to appreciate and look at each of the exhibits.
The Great Court has appealing design, and left me a sense of astonishment. I particularly like the galleries on ancient civilisations. The ancient world somehow intrigued me, but I still have difficulties understanding it. I also got to see the Egyptian mummies. I saw the Rosetta Stone too!
The Rosetta Stone caught the attention of a lot of the visitors. It may seem a worthless piece of stone to ignorant visitors, but it is a stone of historical significance. The Rosetta Stone is a stone with writing on it in two languages (Egyptian and Greek), using three scripts (hieroglyphic, demotic and Greek).The Rosetta Stone led to the modern understanding of hieroglyphs.
I was also drawn to the Easter Island statue that was excavated from a sacred house in Rapunui in 1868. According to The British Museum Visitor's Guide, Rapanui was first sighted by Europeans on Easter Day in 1722 and was later visited by Captain Cook. The islanders had carved the statue which is now exhibited in British Museum from basalt. Later, this statue was presented as a gift to Queen Victoria, and somehow, it ended up in the British Museum. Even the story behind how it ended up in the museum sounds interesting.
I would have wished to spend a bit more time in the museum, but I reckon I would do my travel companion more justice if I could go with her to other parts of London. Afterall, she had only that very day in London, but I had a few more days in London to do sightseeing.
Close to noon, we decided to head for Leicester Square because XR had wanted to visit the Chinatown of London. I must thank SH and JY for the information that Leicester Square was the Chinatown of London. I had met them before I left for Aberdeen and this was one of those useful information that they left me with. Leicester Square is a lovely place. I decided to buy myself a day-ticket which would allow me unlimited travel on the tube, buses and trams within the London's Zone 1 and Zone 2 districts on non-peak hours. That cost 4.70 pounds but was worth it because I had foreseen we would be doing a lot of travelling about.
We reached Leicester Square. XR had better impression and liking of Leicester Square than the Chinatown of Singapore. She felt that the Chinaotown of Singapore did not seem to attract many teenagers and young adults but Leicester Square was able to do. In fact, Leicester Square felt as if it was a cosmopolitian district.
We looked around for affordable place to have Chinese food. XR had been missing Chinese food for some time. For me, I reckon I was still alright with Western food. I love Western breakfast especially, if you have yet to realise. Anyway, we settled for a Chinese-style buffet lunch. It was alright, edible but not the most delicious of food around. But well, life is a matter of taking risks to find out what is good, and so was eating lunch at Leicester Square.
After lunch, we walked about the district. Leicester Square is so full of life. The rain fell and we had to rely on umbrella and shelters to keep ourselves not too wet. Along the way, I realised I was nearby Coventry Street where I was supposed to pick up my ticket for the Phantom of the Opera for the show held the following day. Since I was already near Coventry Street, I did not see why I should not pick up the ticket there and then.
Along the way, we bought a few postcards. XR liked the image of the Trafalgar Square that she saw on one of the postcards, and wanted to see it in real-life. We walked to the nearby tube station which was the Piccadilly Circus, and we saw the Eros. From the Piccadilly Circus tube station, we took a tube train to Charing Cross tube station which was near Trafalgar Square.
Trafalgar Square and National Gallery
Once we set our foot out of the Charing Cross tube station, we were welcomed by the magnificent Nelson's Column and the four giant lions at its base. I read that the Column itself is some 170 foot high , with the statue of Nelson himself being some 18 foot high. Then I realised from the map that the National Gallery was nearby. The travel guide recommended the National Gallery as one of the top ten places in London to visit. I have heard that the National Gallery houses a few of the works by Monet and Vincent Van Gogh. How could I miss it?
We headed for the National Gallery after taking photographs of the Trafalgar Square. The trip to National Gallery was fruitful. I particularly like the gallery containing paintings from the years 1700 to 1900. I saw some masterpieces there. Now, I could boast myself to have seen the following paintings:
- Leonardo da Vinci: The Virgin of the Rocks
- Van Gogh: Sunflowers
- Cézanne: Bathers (Les Grandes Baigneuses)
- Seurat: Bathers at Asnières
- Monet: Houses of Parliament, Sunset
Marvellous. I wish I could spend more time there. Anyway, I graciously obliged to move on. Our next stop was the Victoria & Albert Museum. We took a tube to South Kensington station from Charing Cross station. There were a lot of magnificient exhibits in the Victoria & Albert Museum. The only pity was that it was already close to the end of the day, and we hardly could have enough time to view even the highlights. Anyway, we could proudly said that we have set our foot there and saw some of the exhibits.
Thereafter, as if life was meant to be a mad-rush, we rushed to the Natural History Museum which was about five minutes walk away. Unforunately, while the Natural History Museum opens till 5.50 p.m., last admission is at 5.15 p.m. We were refused admission. We could only take photographs of the exterior of the building of the museum. It was disappointing. So the lesson learnt was that if you were to visit a place of interest in London and if you do not know the time of its last admission time, please make sure you visit the place at least an hour before its closing hours to avoid disappointments.
Then we headed for the Science Museum which was also nearby, less than five minutes away. We managed to enter. I was intrigued by the hologram exhibits. Since it was close to the Science Museum's closing hours when we were there, we were forced not to have much time to view around the museum.
After an entire day of walking and travelling on the tube, our spirits remained strong. We decided to head from Covent Gardens Piazza. It was less crowded that I had thought. Everywhere on the tube trains along the Piccadilly line were posters that reminded commuters that Covent Gardens would be crowded on weekends. But it was really not as crowded as the posters had claimed. Maybe it was our lucky day that Covent Gardens was not crowded that day. I hate crowds. Most of the shops there were closed by 7 p.m. and we reached there too late to check out most of the shops. XR paid for a ride on the Merry-Go-Round. It looked fun, but I had no delight in Merry-Go-Round then. But I know it was fun. Quite a number of adults also took the ride on the Merry-Go-Round.
After feeling that we have combed enough of the Covent Gardens, we tried to find places for cheap dinner and we ended up eating Mac Donalds. After dinner, we took the tube back to Russell Hotel.
XR took her luggage and left for Heathrow Airport after having a shower in the bathroom in my room. The least I could offer her before she were to board the plane for Singapore. As her flight was very early the next day, and that the tube services end before midnight that day, she had to head for Heathrow Airport by the tube before midnight in order to reach Heathrow Airport in time before the tube services end for the day. She said that she would be staying overnight at the airport. Not something pleasant in my humble opinion. I recalled that Heathrow Airport does not have many comfortable seats to sit on, and one cannot check in until about two to three hours before one's time of departure.
After XR left, I took time to look at the map of London and the travel guide to plan for my trip the following day. I was enjoying my stay in London. The following day, I would be travelling all on my own. It can be delightful to find joy in travelling alone and enjoying the company of oneself. Of course, I would miss out on having someone to exchange pointers with.
A new double bass. Shall I term it as "my new husband-to-be"? Even though I doubt it would be in the near future that I would get myself a "new husband".
Lemur Music has an online gallery of double basses, and it is fascinating to look at so many handsome double basses. Maybe one day when I work hard and good enough, I would deservingly own a "a new husband".
Actually, it probably won't matter whether or not I have a "new husband". It is nice to have but not a necessity. "My husband" has sentimental value being a gift from my mother. Furthermore, I don't know if I would have the room in my heart to accomodate one more husband.
When I spoke of my hopes to have a "new husband", Mystic proposed that if I could find a real husband, then I could ask for a "new husband" as my real husband's token of love. So I jested and replied, "What a great idea. If any man would be willing to get me a a new husband of my liking, I would seriously consider (him)".
Certainly sounds an interesting idea. Hopefully readers would feel amused by this post of wishful thinking. Anyway, my words were meant as a jest. Marriage and relationship are not meant to be taken too lightly in the first place.
I have no potential candidate for the position of the real husband now, but that is fine, I have "my husband" to delight in. "He" is really sturdy and nice. *winks*.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
I played F major scales and tried the "universal" fingering that my tutor had taught me a year ago. I focused on getting the various shifts right and that took quite a fair bit of time.
I also played the F harmonic minor scales. I find harmonic minor scales easier to play than melodic minor scales.
Scales felt more manageable than before. Perhaps P. guidance on the posture has helped me find it physically more effortless to play the double bass?
I also tried going through the F melodic minor scales. But did not spend much time on it for I realised I was losing concentration.
So I went to just play a few passages from the fourth movement of Sibelius' Second Symphony before ending my practice. I figured that I may not be able to be productive if I were to practise when I was losing focus.
Nice feeling to be practising on "my husband". I must have over-personified him?
Your Brain is 46.67% Female, 53.33% Male
Your brain is a healthy mix of male and female
You are both sensitive and savvy
Rational and reasonable, you tend to keep level headed
But you also tend to wear your heart on your sleeve
Hmm...a healthy mix. I am female but my brain seems to be more male?
Good news for my vision woes, I got my new pair of spectacles frame and prescribed lenses yesterday. Last evening, I have also sent my previous pair of frameless spectacles for a change in lenses. I actually like my pair of frameless spectacles, it was meant to be light-weight such that I could hardly feel I was wearing a pair of spectacles. For now, I hope I would see things more clearly with the new prescription.
Imagine me with my new look on my pair of half-framed spectacles which came with transition lenses. I am still quite fascinated by the technology. When I was out for lunch this afternoon, I found myself going outdoors on purpose so that sunlight would fall on the lenses and make them change colours. How fascinating. I understand that transition lenses become darker when exposed to ultraviolet light and become lightened when removed from the ultraviolet light.
Hopefully, the transition lenses would come handy when I am outdoors taking photographs. The sun can be pretty bright at our part of the world. While I do not like the glare from the bright sunlight, bright sunlight has proved to be a good source of natural lighting for photography.
Meantime, I wonder how my perspective of the world might change with my new lenses?
More only woes is that some of the photos I have posted onto blogger seem to have went missing. I hope this technical fault would be resolved by the time readers view them.
- Participating in Aberdeen Internation Youth Festival
- The Flower of Scotland
- Plans to visit London
- Whisky and More
- London's Museum
- The Elephant's on my mind
- The Elephant
- Counting down
- Will the double bass be there?
- Pre-tour concert
- Pre-tour concert: 27 Aug 05
- Brahms' Symphonies
1 - 13 Aug 05:
- 1 Aug 2005: At the airport
- 2 Aug 05: On the plane and then presto in London
- 2 Aug 05, part two: Arrived in Aberdeen
- 2 Aug 05: At the hostel
- 3 Aug 05: Parade Away and the Concert
- Streets of Aberdeen and the Festival Parade
- AIYF Opening Concert
- 4 Aug 05: Edinburgh
- 4 Aug 05: Train journey to Edinburgh
- 4 Aug 05: At Edinburgh
- Edinburgh Castle
- 4 Aug 05: More of Edinburgh Castle
- Visual Recap
- 4 Aug 05: More of the day
- 5 Aug 05: Travelling Northwards
- 5 Aug 05: Photos
- 5 Aug 05: Sightings on the train
- 5 Aug 05: Sightings on the train part 2
- 5 Aug 05: At Keith
- 5 Aug 05: Huntly
- 6 Aug 05: A day of ensemble performances
- 6 Aug 05: At Stonehaven
- Aberdeen: Fascinated with Seagulls
- Retreat to the room of a double bassist
- 7 Aug 05: Sunday and Free Day
- Marischal College
- 8 Aug 05: First day of festival orchestra's rehearsal
- New Kings
- 9 Aug 05: Fourth generation?
- 9 Aug 05, part two: The Elephant in Tarves
- 10 Aug 05: A stronger double bass section
- 10 Aug 05: Beach near Beach Ballroom
- 11 Aug 05: Music fills the whole day
- 12 Aug 05: Festival orchestra's concert
- 13 Aug 05: Saying goodbye to Aberdeen
I woke up for breakfast, my favourite meal of the day. I was probably one of the first to be at the canteen for breakfast that day. Before the breakfast, I ensured I have packed my luggage.
Ate breakfast. I thought to myself that I would miss the generous portion of breakfast at the hostel. Though personally, I still find that Conrad Centennial Singapore's Sunday Breakfast is my favourite by far. Yet, back in Singapore, it would be rare that I would be able to treat myself to cereals, fruits, fruit juices, yogurt and croissants for my regular breakfast. I make do with toasts usually because I won't like to spend too much time preparing breakfast.
After breakfast, I met my junior, XM, at 9.10 a.m. to take the public bus to the City of Aberdeen. Since we were both early for the bus, I took the time to find out British Airways' Aberdeen office's phone number. I phoned. Much to my relief, I was told that "everything's back to normal" and that I would be able to leave Aberdeen for London on British Airways as scheduled.
Anyway, back to the public bus. The public bus as I have mentioned would cost 1.10 pounds for a single trip journey of about 15 minutes. For this reason, I heard that some people would choose to walk an hour from the hostel to the City of Aberdeen. Anyway, the scenery along the way was probably nice, so if one had the time, one could take the walk as a leisure stroll cum exercise. But since I had not much time then, I chose to take the bus.
On our way to the music shop which was our destination, XM and I passed by the Clarks shoe-shop. We visited it. There were discountes offered. Some of the Clarks shoes sold at discounted prices were much cheaper than Clarks shoes sold in Singapore. This was so even when I have converted the prices of the shoes (in pounds) to Singapore currency. I would have bought myself a pair of shoes if I could find a pair to my liking.
Thereafter, we headed for the music shop. I bought myself Giovanni Bottesini's Method for Double Bass, Part One and Two. A pity that it did not sell any of Bottesini's double bass concertos. The shop personnel was very nice and she offered to order it for me and have it sent to Singapore, but I declined. I feared that the cost of air freight would make it not cost-effective.
I wished I had bought my catalogue of double bass related publications. At the shop, I had thought that I already have Cimandor's Concerto in G, so I decided not to purchase it. But when I was back in Singapore, I realised I did not have a copy of it. It was quite affordable, I remembered that the Cimandor's scores was no more than 8 pounds. A pity that I did not get myself a copy. Pardon me, I must have been having the craving of collecting double bass related books and scores.
After the music shop, both of us went around to check out a few other shops.XM was gentlemanly to accompany me to check out a few of the sounvenir shops. I got myself some shortbread, done the Scottish way. Then we headed back to the hostel for lunch.
In the afternoon, I prepared to set off to Aberdeen Airport with the rest of the folks from our orchestra. Our double bass tutor for the festival orchestra, P., was very kind to make time to see us off. He helped us load the luggage up the van. By the way, I have yet to mention that other than being our double bass tutor for the festival orchestra, he was in-charge of coordinating the transportation for the festival. MC, XM and myself wrote him a postcard to thank him for his guidance.
We then head for the airport from the hostel on the festival bus. Most of the orchestra members would leave Aberdeen via KLM airlines. Only myself and another person would take British Airways, but we would be on different flights.
At the airport, I heard from XM that a few of our fellow orchestra mates taking KLM airlines would not be able to board the plane due to bad weather conditions. What a shame, in the end, I understand that XM and two others were stranded in Aberdeen for a day because they were not allowed to board the plane. I understand that they were given some compensation but I wonder what good a compensation would be to someone eager to return home?
The airlines was also not willing to allow our orchestra's flight cases containing large instruments to board the plane, despite the fact that I had heard that we have already gained clearance from the Singapore's KLM office. If anyone has the luxuy of time, perhaps he or she would like to invent a flight case protective enough but yet light and compact enough for air travel? Our orchestra just seemed to be having problems with the flight cases with the airport authorities and airlines. I wonder if other music groups had that problem?
Much later, after I was back in Singapore, I read from MC's blog that another two of our fellow orchestra mates got stranded at Amsterdam because of misprint of their travel pass and because of the delay in the KLM flight from Aberdeen to Amsterdam which left them little time to amend the misprint in their travel passes when they reached Amsterdam. What misadventure.
For me, I depart on one of British Airways' flights. While the strike by British Airways staff have stopped, the strike by staff Gate Gourmet (British Airways food supplier) continued. As such, there was no in-flight food. I was given a food coupon which I could use to redeem for light refreshments (mineral water, potato chips and sandwiches). Actually having no in-flight food did not seem that bad because I was only taking a short-distance domestic flight to London. In about an hour and a half's time, I reached London's Heathrow Airport.
At the airport, it took me a few minutes to figure out the directions to the tube station from the arrival hall. I headed for the Russell Square tube station on the tube. I was very thankful that the tube services for the Piccadilly line has resumed. It was closed shortly after the London bombing's incidents. Taking the tube is a much cheaper form of transport than taxi. It took about 40 minutes to get to Russell Square tube station from Heathrow Airport tube station. Taxi would have been very expensive, I heard it would cost about 50 pounds to get to Russell Square from the airport. The exchange rate is approximately 1 pound to 3 Singapore dollars. I started becoming thankful to our affordable taxi services in Singapore.
Russell Hotel, which I would stay, was within walking distance from the Russell Square tube station. I am thankful for my dad for sponsoring my hotel accomodation in London. I would not have want to spend money to stay in a hotel if I were in London. A three-star hotel in London would cost at least about 90 pounds if you want en-suite facilities.
I was issued key to a room, but that room had faulty air-conditioning unit. When I went to the reception desk for help, the courteous and helpful staff helped arranged for a room check, and when the fault was ascertained, he offered me another non-smoking room. So I proceeded to check the second room and all was in good condition. I like that second room better. While the size of the toilet was smaller than that of the first, the bedroom's area was much bigger. I would prefer a greater bedroom area for you must have guessed that I would end up spending more time on the bed than in the toilet. The second room had a better view too.
I was hungry by the time I had settled down in the second room. I walked to the nearby streets and bought Subway sandwiches for dinner. After unpacking, and having a nice shower, I slept.
Before sleeping, I said thanks to my dad for sponsoring the accomodation. I knew I would have preferred to stay in a hotel than in the hostel, but if I were to pay for my own accomodation, I would have chosen the latter.
sponsored by Singapore Press Holdings
Date: 18 September 2005, Sunday
Time: 6 p.m.
Venue: Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage, Singapore Botanic Gardens
GLINKA - Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla
PROKOFIEV - ‘March’ from The Love for Three Oranges, Op. 33
ANDERSON - Blue Tango
SHOSTAKOVICH - General Dance from The Bolt, Op. 27a
WANG FU LING arr. Phoon Yew Tien - Endless Love 不了情
BERLIN arr. Tomlinson - A Dance Tribute to Irving Berlin
YAO MIN arr. Phoon Yew Tien - Peach Flowers 月桃花
BORODIN - ‘Polovetsian Dances’ from Prince Igor
The Symphony Stage at the Botanical Gardens remains one of SSO's perennial favourite venues for outdoor concerts. Make a date with family and friends to experience the best outdoor music in Singapore.
* Pre-concert Storytelling at 5.15pm (for ages 3 to 7 only) under Heritage Tree along Palm Valley *FULLY BOOKED*
Supported by People’s Association and Lifeskills & Lifestyle @ PA.
Admission is free. Concert subject to weather conditions.
One way to spend the weekend. Tomorrow happens to be Mid-Autumn Festival celebrated by the Chinese.
Friday, September 16, 2005
12 Aug 05 (Friday):
In the evening of 12 Aug 2005 would be the festival orchestra's gala concert. To recapitulate, this was the programme for the gala concert: Sir Peter Maxwell Davies' An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise, Max Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Brahms' Second Symphony.
In the morning, we had rehearsals. My stand partner, K., was not able to attend the morning rehearsal because she has to work.
Our double bass tutor in Aberdeen, P. was very thoughtful to come to my desk to share the first desk with me. It helped. Having P. next to me helped to assure me that I was coming correctly at the various entries of the double bass section. Then he told me, I was sitting on the "hot seat", the principal's seat and he urged me to lead. Instead of following him. That reminded me to have more confidence in myself.
Actually I wasn't quite feeling well that morning. So I could hardly assimilate everything that P. had shared with me. What a pity. He must have been sharing lots of words of wisdom.
After the morning rehearsal, SH told me that British Airways, the airlines that I would be taking for my flight to London tomorrow, went on strike. That was a worrying piece of news, I had already booked my accomodation and I had no wish to have my travel plans delayed.
Afternoon was free time. I had initially planned to walk around the City of Aberdeen to do some shopping and to check out the music shop that was not opened when I was there on 7 Aug 05 but I was not feeling well. Since concert was in the evening, I figured that I needed to do the concert justice by ensuring I have enough rest to feel better by the evening. You would have guessed it, I went back to hostel to rest.
Had lunch at the hostel canteen. Thereafter, I went to buy the newspapers. I wanted to read about the British Airways' unofficial strike. I read the newspapers in my hostel room. Since I could not offer to replicate a copy of the newspapers that I had read that day, I shall offer this link taken from BBC News:
After reading about the unofficial strike, and making sure I have gotten all things ready for the gala concert, I took an afternoon nap. That had helped. I woke up feeling much better. When I played in the evening much later. I was able to stay focused in my playing.
The gala concert went well. I still felt I had not mastered the Brahms' Second Symphony. I know I would still need to practise more to play better. At that time, I wished I had more time to practise!
The festival orchestra's double bass section.
However, overall, the festival orchestra managed to put up a well-received concert.
An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise would probably be seen as an interesting item for the audience. Towards the end of this work, a bag-pipe player strolled in from one end of the hall while playing his bag-pipe. Then he walked while playing, until he was near the front of the stage. It certainly sounded and looked like music from Scotland.
The Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 was perhaps the most well received. The soloist received standing ovation from a large number of the audience. The soloist played very well, I was moved too.
Even the Brahms' Second Symphony received appreciative applause from the audience. It somehow went better than I had thought, though I know that if given more time, I could have played much more better. I believe many people in the festival orchestra would have shared my sentiments. But I suppose that five days of rehearsal was the longest possible length of time that the organiser could provide the festival orchestra to come together and rehearse? It ws not an easy task to bring people from so many orchestras together, so here's cheers to the organisers of the festival and the people who have made it possible.
I wonder if it was a common practice for audience in Aberdeen to clap between movement? I gave this much thought, and I think I would not have mind having audience clapping between movements if the audience were appreciative.
After the concert, we packed up. We waited for the festival bus to bring us back to hostel. This is so that the participants could go to the hostel to change if they would like. Thereafter, another festival bus would bring us to Beach Ballroom for the Farewell Party.
Waiting for the bus.
The roads of City of Aberdeen.
That night was special. Every participant of the Aberdeen International Youth Festival was invited to the Farewell Party held that night.
On the way to the farewell party, I sat beside one of the bus drivers of the festival. He was not driving, but he was taking the festival bus to the Farewell Party. I found out that he actually plays the trumpet.
The team of bus drivers were actually volunteers who volunteered their time and driving skills to contribute to the festival. Imagine how things would have been if we were to have to lug our instruments from the hostel to the music hall without any drivers to provide any form of transport. That would be torturous if you were carrying a heavy instrument. Three cheers to the bus-drivers.
By the way, everyone who was 18 years old and above were each given three coupons that would each entitle one to one drink of either wine or beer. I did not want any drink so I gave away all my three coupons.
Folks, I was being disciplined. I decided I should not drink alcohol or carbonated drinks in the night. Doing so would not be good for someone who had wanted a good night of rest. When I told one of the drivers that I have no plan to drink alcoholic drinks, he said out loud that I was a "boring woman" jokingly.
At the Farewell Party, music was loud and not to my liking. That made me feel like leaving. I heard that there was a reception cum gift presentation to the representative of each of the participating group. I had wanted to watch it but got to realise that one had to be invited to attend that reception. I was not invited. What a pity.
At 11.15 p.m., I asked the bus-driver what time the next bus would depart for the hostel. He said 11.30 p.m.
While waiting, I had a chat with XM. He gave me ideas of what I could do if British Airways' strike were to continue till the following day and affect my travel plans.
I chat till that I did not realise that the clock had struck 11.30 p.m. That bus-driver was very nice. He remembered I was "the boring woman" who needed to be back in my room for an early rest, and he went around looking for me to remind me that the bus would be leaving. How nice. I don't know if I could find a bus-driver looking around for me before the bus departs if I were in Singapore.
Back in the hostel room, I tried to pack part of my belongings as we would be leaving Aberdeen in the afternoon of the following day. That night, there was a meteorite shower in that part of the world. I was tempted to watch the meteorite shower but decided to forgo it. Sleep would be more important when I was in foreign lands.
So while others might be partying away, chatting in their rooms or trying to stay awake to watch the meteorite shower, I was sleeping.
(Anyway, I heard that due to poor weather, many people were left disappointed when they tried to watch the meteorite shower.)
If you say it's boring life that I was living, I can't help but say that sleep was important because I needed to have enough sleep so that I could be alert enough to respond to unknown situations the next day. I had no idea whether I could leave Aberdeen the next day. I have read how many travellers were stranded at Heathrow Airport because of the British Airways strike. I felt I needed energy to know how to respond effectively should I meet up with a crisis the following day.
Sleep tight meantime. Your sleep is precious.
At that time, I was bored stiff from medical leave. I had to be on leave, because I had extracted two wisdom teeth and my jaws were swollen like crazy. I couldn't even speak clearly because of the swelling. Mystic advised me not to practise on the double bass because it would be too physically strenuous. I wonder why I was so obedient that I did not play on the double bass, but I think it must be because I was feeling the pain from the aching jaw to even have any mood to practise. So my main past-time at that time became surfing the internet. And while surfing, I came across this activity called blogging and started on it.
Blogging started as a way to occupy my time, and to self-express. Imagine a patient I was, with swelling jaws. Writing would be at that time, a preferred way to communicate with the rest of the world.
As days came by, I found myself writing in the hope that I won't have to repeat myself too much if friends were to ask me how I have been. Actually that was the intention, but I did not give away my blog's address easily. In fact, very few friends would have gotten my blog's address. But I must have lived in dreamland thinking that if one day a friend truely wanted to be updated of my life, he or she would have the powers to search and find my blog's address. It wasn't too difficult in my opinion, I have a link to this blog on my website. I tend to share with friends my website's address more readily.
Later when I was experiencing the downtimes, blogging became an outlet for expression, to get in touch with the feelings deep down.
It was a pleasant surprise that I could actually make new friends, some who even live miles away, through blogging. Thankful to these friends for they have helped gave me their support and encouragement along the way. I would not have thought that I would even be able to meet a few of these blog-friends who would have been strangers to me if not for blogging.
There was also a point in time when blogging was intended to promote people's understanding of myself. For I am quite a private person such that I tend to keep my thoughts and feelings to myself. Verbalising them have not be my preferred way of self-expression, and with blogging, that sacred and private side could be given a chance to voice itself.
Maybe the next thing I should give thought to is on how I could use blogging to contribute to making this world a little better. I have no clue, but I hope somehow this blog has already been working towards this.
Today is its first anniversary, so it is a day to commemorate. Thanks for supporting this blog for the past year.
Just within today, I have noticed at least two fresh injuries on my palm. I have no idea how they have came about.
Hopefully, I will see no more of such cut and injury in the near future. These are such a pain, since I have depended on my precious pair of hands to do so many things.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Initially I feared I would be tired from work and late nights, so I decided not to buy ticket for tonight's concert in case I would end up sleeping throughout the concert. I certainly do not wish to earn myself the infamous reputation of being the sleeping audience.
Yet somehow in the mid afternoon, I found that I would have sufficient energy to pull myself through the concert if I were to attend it after work, so I gave it a little more thought. Tonight was Emily's first concert with the Conservatory Orchestra, and it would help to give her some cheers and support to set her first concert with them going right. And furthermore, our double bass tutor told us during our lessons held yesterday that tonight's concert was worth a watch.
So I left my office on the dot. It takes about 45 minutes to get from my office to the ticketing booth that was near the concert venue. I went to the ticketing outlet at this place called Raffles City. Thereafter, had a quick dinner. As there were long queues in many of the eateries, I ended up eating bread and soft-boiled eggs at Ya Kun Kaya Toast. Dinner had seemed more like breakfast. The good thing is that I generally like food from the breakfast menu.
Thereafter I headed for the concert venue. The concert was held in Victoria Concert Hall. Perfect timing, I reached the venue in time for the concert.
The programme for tonight was as follow:
- Night on Bald Mountain - Modest Mussorgsky, orchestrated by Rimsky-Korsakov
- Trumpet Concerto in E minor, Op. 18 - Oskar Böhme
- Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36 "Enigma" - Edward Elgar
The orchestra's rendition of Night on Bald Mountain and Enigma Variations sounded commendable and worth a listen to. I quite like the encore too. I experienced that the orchestra has grown and improved if I were to compare this evening's concert with the previous concert by the same orchestra that I had attended. The double bass section sounded better as an ensemble tonight compared to when I heard them in April. They sounded more confident in their playing. Certainly, they seemed more able to relate to Enigma Variations than Brahms' First Symphony. Good work folks.
I am getting envious on the fact that the conservatory orchestra's double bass section sounded relatively more in tune than my own orchestra's double bass section. And while I admit my intonation is not completely perfect, I have done all I could to play as in tune as possible. Woe is that not everything could be within my control. Whatever it is, hopefully my diligent practicing would help serve as a good example for others to follow? I hope to hear a more in-tuned section one day, and I shall do my part to work towards perfection in my intonation. Of course, it is actually unfair to compare us with the double bass players in the conservatory orchestra. Most of the double bass players in the conservatory orchestra major in double bass, but very few of us in our orchestra are music major.
The bassoons sounded pretty good, in my opinion. In addition, I thought that the cello section played well for Variation XII of Engima Variations. Somehow, Engima Variations sounded nice when it is played in Victoria Concert Hall. It did not sound as intimate when I last heard another orchestra played it Esplanade Concert Hall. I considered myself lucky that I got myself a circle seat tonight. Not only did I get a good view of the orchestra, the sound was better when one sits at the circle area of Victoria Concert Hall.
I personally did not like the rendition of the Trumpet Concerto. My ears did not like the way that the tone of the trumpet seemed to clash with the tones of the orchestra. Second movement was alright, but the first and third movement sounded as if the trumpet and the orchestra were not playing as an ensemble. They simply sounded as if they were separate entities. But then again, I am not trumpeter, so I fear my humble opinion was simply an act of being too critical.
Talking about critical, Emily would have been more critical than me. I shall await to hear her reviews of this concert.
For now, I am hoping that soon someone would play a double bass concerto. It has been a while since I have last heard a double bass concerto in Singapore. I am certain that the double bass concerto will turn out great if my tutor were to be the one playing.
Meantime, I quote the words of a nice lady whom I got to meet during the interval. She said that the concert was good. I agree to much extent. Considering that this concert was put up by conservatory students, who had rehearsed and came up with the final end-product within a short time-frame, I must say everyone on stage deserves an encouraging round of applause for the effort put in. The conservatory orchestra did sound like that it has improved. Good work.
After the concert, I found a way to sneak to the backstage to say hello to Emily. Thanks to my tutor.
The way to be more effective
That pile of load that may somehow
Lead me to achieve
I wish I could know
The way to be more efficient
To help me sense
That I am utilising
Every second and minute
To work towards a dream
Tell me if I have been lazy or ineffective
And advise me how to be better
I will listen intently
As if the angels are speaking
Why does time seem not enough?
Or is it that the pace of the world has became too fast?
Such that no normal being could ever catch up?
Or is it that oneself has refused to try to keep up
And so one laze stagnantly?
I would like to think the pace has been too fast
For I have never thought of myself as a bummer
I have thought I have been giving my all
But was left utterly discouraged that I seem yet
Any of my dreams
And I could only console myself
By staying patient
For perhaps in the darkest moments
Soon light would come
Sometimes I would have people who suddenly come up to me, and reveal that they have somehow discovered my blog and read it. Anyway, here in this blog lies mostly the way I experience the world, the world outside and my world within.
At the point of their revelation, it suddenly feels strange how my world within could so easily become so public. Vulnerable, it can be. But hopefully, it isn't that bad, as it could be an opening for me to connect with my world out there, and the kind folks who are out there to care and share.
I trust that fellow readers have appreciated that my world within is vulnerable and sacred, and that they would treat my sharings with due respect. So I offer my words of thanks here. Thanks for sharing my journey with me.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Took time-off in the afternoon. Was officially allowed to leave office by 2.35 p.m. but I ended up only to leave office at 3.30 p.m. because I had wanted to complete writing a recording at hand and a few other tasks. I supposed I was trying to utilise every second that time could spare me, but that has left me drained when I left office.
I was tired and slept on the MRT train on my journey to the university. I have already graduated and the university is far from my home and office, but perhaps it must have been the charm of "my boyfriend" the double-bass that has enchanted me to travel miles to get there to meet him during orchestra rehearsal. And pardon me meantime, a tired person tends to be prone to nonsense and illusions.
Had dinner in one of the canteens before I proceeded to the rehearsal venue. I had dinner as early as 4.30 p.m. Prior to rehearsal, I went for double bass sectional. Only two person attending sectional today. Pathetic, but we managed to go through Sibelius' Third Symphony. My goodness, the Third Symphony has more complicated rhythms than Sibelius' Second Symphony. I felt I was struggling to understand Sibelius. Maybe lots of people out there have also been struggling to understand me? Sibelius and myself are simply from two different worlds. He lived in cold Finland, I live in tropical Singapore. I needed more patience and effort to understand his music. Could this be similar for the people out there?
Anyway, I like sectional. There is always new learnings even though I admit today I am far from being productive and effective.
Orchestra rehearsal followed. We rehearsed Sibelius' Second Symphony. Actually the Second Symphony is so much easier to play than the Third. But again, I have yet to tune myself to be anywhere near competence in playing Sibelius' music. I was struggling to count and get the rhythms right. So I was left, a little demoralised.
But to put oneself down, would mean to downplay whatever positive aspect of one's playing. So I shall be kinder on myself as I continue to practise and appreciate Sibelius' music. Maybe with time and renewed perspective, I would be more able to see the beauty in his music?
Anyway, it was great to play with and share the same desk with QH tonight. One of my favourite desk partners. Counting became less tedious with her around. Shall grab whatever chance to play with her meantime.
With flashing moments of daze
No dead end ahead
But infinite paths ahead that puts one at a deadlock
All hopes used to fuel the search
A life's purpose meant to be sought
Has came to a nought
Vision has became blind
Sanity has lost itself to turmour
Not yet the bleakest moment
So trudge ahead one goes
But in the fear
One would soon lost
The strength and the hope
To continue on
Hence clinging on
To the moments of support
Lended by fellow travellers
And shall urge oneself on
|Your Inner Child Is Surprised|
You see many things through the eyes of a child.
Meaning, you're rarely cynical or jaded.
You cherish all of the details in life.
Easily fascinated, you enjoy experiencing new things.
|Your Summer Ride is a Beetle Convertible|
Fun, funky, and a little bit euro.
You love your summers to be full of style and sun!
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
It could be my walls
That protect me from the dangers
From the rest of the world
You may live in a world where you prefer
To verbalise what's within
But to me
The world within is sacred
And could only be felt
So here you have
A pair of ears that could hear
But I don't need to be heard
I rather be listened and understood
When previous episodes of disappointments
Left me dubious
That even with the most concerned ears
You would have failed to understand my world
For my world closes up tremendously
With the slightness bit of lecture or miscomprehension
Even if you may have a long lifetime of experiences
Not necessary would that make you the expert
Of my world so different
Even if our worlds may seem similar
So even when my world is in the shade of blue
I would rather bear the weight of this depressing hue
Than to speak words that may make myself a little more understood
For I fear risking being even a little misunderstood
And I would end up folded in my closed up world
Even more misunderstood
If you wish to feel my world
Sit beside me quietly to sense it
The world not meant to be verbalised
But could be seen with one's heart
Then you shall hear and understand the story
Of my world, the enigma it has been
Since reliable sources tell me that the orchestra will be rehearsing Jean Sibelius' Symphony No. 3 in C Op. 52 tomorrow, I am now listening to the recording of this very symphony.
I realised that this symphony by Sibelius has three movements:
I. Allegro moderato
II. Andantino con moto, quasi allegretto
III. Moderato - Allegro (ma non tanto)
What I am listening to right now is performed by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Simon Rattle.
I am still trying to appreciate Sibelius' music. My ears still need some guidance. Anyway, what I like is the general mood that seems to be describing the austere and rugged landscapes of the North. Maybe there is beauty in the cold world out there?
Monday, September 12, 2005
Met Mystic for dinner tonight. My first time seeing her ever since I was back from the United Kingdom. Dinner was good because the company was a friend who could bear with me. Where humour in my words was meant to be used to help me see the brighter side of all things. Yet perhaps the humour is, to also be the screen to hide the darkness within.
Whatever it is, I thank Mystic for her thoughtful black hand towel. I know I may pick and fuss over it, but in truth, I hope it would come handy when my palms start sweating in this humid weather when I play on the double bass. I am admittedly a little dubious what difference this towel would make, for I have yet a good experience with a black hand towel, though I would like a towel in black colour. Could one push oneself closer to darkness when one lives in a world full of contradictions?
Parted with Mystic, but the night was too young to head for home. Strangely, there was a need to bathe oneself in the melancholy of the night. In my walk, I saw a friend along the way from City Hall MRT station to Esplanade - Theatres by the Bay, but I have no wish to walk out of my own world, so I merely nod my head to acknowledge that I had seen her and off I walked away. Forgive me, if I were to see you out on the streets and if I were reluctant to say a greeting. Likely I needed space, or at most, a quiet company.
The night brought one the urge to be on auto-walking mode. As if breathing the mysterious forces of the darkness would help one find parallels to that unexplained sense of dismay. Then when one gets in touched with those dark forces from within, one's dismay would be replaced by creative forces that would help one see the beauty and hope in things no matter how dim.
As such, I continued to be intrigued, by the walk in the night. Such that after reaching Esplanade - Theatres by the Bay, I continued my night-walk to Dhoby Ghaut MRT station. Along the way, I saw some new sights and had some new experiences. So there was my walk of at least 40 minutes. A walk in hope to find some glimpses of hope in that darkness of the night.
Now my feet are tired and so is my mind. If the search had not been futile, then all these would be worthwhile.