Saturday, June 30, 2007

Week 26 of year 2007 on the double bass

24 Jun 2007, Sun: I decided to work on sight-reading today. I started out with playing the G major scale. I felt there was a tinge of anxiety in me as music exams is approaching.

Afterwhich, I sight-read Mixolydian from Milton Weinstein's Contemporary Modal Solos. It is quite an interesting piece of work and it is not too difficult to play.

Then I went on to work on Capuzzi's Concerto. The edition that I sight-read was not in the usual D major that I had played on from the Yorke edition. I was sight-reading the edition that was edited by David Walter, and the 1st movement is in the key of F major. The F major version sounded clearer and brighter than the D major version, and I love it despite it being more challenging.

27 Jun 2007, Wed: I practised on the double bass in the afternoon, working on Faure's Sicilienne and I read Haydn's Symphony No. 99.

In the late afternoon, I had lesson with Mr GM before the orchestra rehearsal start. It was an enlightening lesson, and Mr GM has been very fantastic in drawing me to play Faure's Sicilienne in a way that would be musically sound.

During the orchestra's rehearsal, I got to play Haydn's Symphony No. 99, and the 3rd and 4th movements from Mahler's Symphony No. 1. I quite like Hadyn's music.

I've probably spent at least 4 hours practising on the double bass on this very day.

28 Jun 2007, Thu: I was feeling drained and in pain, but I decided to play the double bass to seek some comfort for my soul. I spent about 20 - 30 minutes practising Rachmaninov's Vocalise. This is a lovely piece of music with quite a number of notes in the higher register. I had surprised myself that I was able to play the entire work by the end of the short practice session.

To listen to how Rachmaninov's Vocalise sounds like, you can check out this video recording of Gary Karr performing Vocalise.

30 Jun 2007, Sat: I started practising the first half of Rachmaninov's Vocalise, focusing on getting the rhythms right.

Afterwhich, I spent time practising Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro. Next week, I will be meeting my friend who has so kindly agreed to accompany me on the piano to practise together for our first time. I am looking forward to the practice.

Another week of reaching my target of practising at least four days per week, 15 minutes each day.

Video of: Youtube and beyond

I've missed Kevin's talk Youtube and beyond: What you want to know but never knew who to ask.

Yet, thanks to technology and Kevin's thoughtfulness, I get to watch a video recording of the talk. Here's sharing the video recording of the talk with you: Video: Youtube and beyond @ National Library (director’s cut)

It is worth a watch. Even if you don't have much time, do catch the first 15 minutes.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Lukewarm responses? Or a case of diligent readers?

About six days ago, I had put up a post titled: 50 posts published on, and was asking for my readers to give me feedback which is their favourite post out of the 50 posts that I have posted on

I met Shaun this evening at one of the Friends of's gathering, and he expressed disappointments that no one seems to be responding to my post last Saturday other than himself.

Well, I hope I would be right to say that my readers may just be diligently reading all the 50 posts that I have posted so far. As such, it would take them to read and to respond?

Meantime, if you were to ask me, here are my favourite seven posts written for, in no particular order:

- Back to the ancient world (Part I and II)
I had spent quite some time working on this post, and I have had some fun at the exhibition.

- A Colonial District Walk
I have a personal liking for the civic district and many of the buildings mentioned in the walk.

- Take a walk of Katong/ Joo Chiat area (Part I and II)
I like the photos and it is one of those special times that I have taken a walk about the Katong area.

- Memories of the MPH Building
This post has brought me nice memories of the building.

- At the Asian Civilisation Museum: Mystery Men
Somehow, like the name suggests, I like the Mystery Men, shrouded in mystery.

- Convergences: Chen Wen Hsi Centennial Exhibition (Part I, II and III)
It has been an enriching experience for myself trying to share about the art of Chen Wen Hsi using the medium of blogging.

- Combining lifestyle with heritage at Kampong Glam
It was an attempt to be less serious in my writing, and I like Kampong Glam.

Now that I have shared with you my personal favourite, I hope I can hear from some of you what's your favourite one post from the 50 posts that I have mentioned.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Today and Tomorrow

Headaches have been bugging me on and off today. In addition, I do not like wearing my pair of spectacles with transition lenses to read and play music because they just weigh quite a bit.

Nevertheless, there were some things that make today a pleasant day. Today, I met up with a friend and ex-colleague for lunch. I probably did not say much, yet I appreciate the time together to catch up with one another. Prior to meeting her, I spent about an hour at a private library reading. Having quiet time and the luxury to sit and read without interruption is a fulfilling experience.

Next, I've finally found a block of time this afternoon to practise on the double bass. I had taken time-off from work for the entire afternoon. Despite not being at the best of my health, some time spent focusing on playing music and practising did wonders.

Then, in the late afternoon, I had lesson with Mr GM before the orchestra rehearsal start. It was an enlightening lesson, and Mr GM has been very fantastic in drawing me to play Faure's Sicilienne in a way that would be musically sound. Many thanks to Mr GM. It pleased me to hear for the first time ever since I have started working on Sicilienne, my rendition of Faure's Sicilienne was not a mere technical performance, but is starting to make some musical sense to me.

For orchestra's rehearsal, we rehearsed one of Haydn's symphonies, and the 3rd and 4th movements from Mahler's Symphony No. 1. Actually, I felt very tired by the time we rehearsed Mahler's, but strangely, my fingers just had the urge to continue playing. Maybe my fingers were fascintated with how they could make interesting sounds and music simply by the way they touch the fingerboard of the double bass. Anyway, I still need more practice. It was still a challenge to play some very difficult passages.

In short, today has been quite a meaningful day.

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As for tomorrow, Emily and the rest of Les Six du Singapour will be showcasing their works at the Esplanade Concourse.

Here are the details:
At the Concourse: Superstring
All Sound Out by Les Six du Singapour
Esplanade Concourse
28 June 2007
7.15pm + 8.15pm

I was there this Monday to support them. .

Last but not the least, there is a new post up on d'Bassists official webhome: My encounter with L'Orchestre de Contrebasses. It comes with a cool video of double bassists playing on the double bass. Please check it out.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

More singing

I feel like singing
And pitch various melodies
High and low
Nevermind that I shouldn't be
Singing in buses, trains and public spaces
The outlet for expression is more important
Than the stares and disapproval that I get

I feel like singing
To get in touch
With what can't be said fully
And only in music
That there is a medium
To convey the deepest thoughts and feelings

And if I should sing
Right in front of you
Whatever is the time and place
It is my way to share my world
With you

Updates: I broke the spectacles-frame of my favourite pair of spectacles last evening, and I am trying to get used to wearing the spectacles with transition-lenses to do work. Gosh, it now feels heavy to keep wearing spectacles.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Today: Listened to All Strung Up

Today, I went to catch two sets of performances featuring the works of the composers from Les Six du Singapour. As said by the emcee, the works are aural representions of Joshua Yang's Superstring - a series of single continuous line drawings. Meantime, I shall let the photographs do the talking.

Carcar kindly took time to catch the second set with me, and we had supper after the performance. Carcar makes a lovely company.

By the way, I seem to give people the first impression that I look very serious? I am sure that Eastcoastlife would be among the first to say Yes.

If you have missed tonight's performance and you would like to listen to the works of these budding contemporary composers, here are the details of their next performance:

All Strung Out
Les Six du Singapour in collaboration with Joshua Yang
28 June 2007 (Thu)// 7.15 pm + 8.15 pm
Esplanade Concourse
Free admission

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Singing in cries

Darkness has its energy
Melancholy has its beauty
Melodic singing
And actually
One is crying.

Rachmaninov's Vocalise. Performed by Gary Karr.
(Special thanks to Jason for pointing me to this video.)

Nominees for are up is a meta blog for Singapore bloggers.

In May 2007, I registered ,myself as a user of Now, when there is a new post on d'Bassists official webhome, I will usually ping so that it will be featured there. However, you won't see posts from this blog up on I would prefer a bit of privacy.

Now for the news, congratulations to Eastcoastlife, Veron, and Kevin. Their blogs and/or blog-posts have been nominated for 1st Anniversary Blog Awards. Voting starts now, and results will be announced on 1st Anniversary Party at 070707.

Eligible registered user of can now cast your votes for those whom you think are deserving of the respective awards. This is the link to vote:

Week 25 of year 2007 on the double bass

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d'Bassists. Photo taken by Carcar on 30 May 2007.

17 Jun 2007, Sun: In the earlier part of the day, I practised the entire Marcello's Sonata in G major, taking time to practise the more challenging parts for at least several times.

Later in the afternoon, I practised Faure's Sicilienne. The goals were to improve the intonation and to have a steady sense of rhythm. The minor seventh melodic interval was one of the more challenging leaps to make on the double bass.

19 Jun 2007, Tue: Less than an hour after I returned home from work, I started practising at abou 10.10 p.m. I continued to practise Faure's Sicilienne to work on the intonation and the rhythm, but this time I practised a different section from the one that I had practised on 17 Jun 2007.

I also spent some time practising the double bass solo part from the third movement of Mahler's Symphony No. 1. I can now play it much better than when I had played it about three years ago for my ABRSM Grade 6 double bass practical exams.

20 Jun 2007, Wed: Prior to double bass sectional, I practised Faure's Sicilienne, focusing on yet another section.

As XM was attending to some matters at the start of the double bass sectional, I have had the privilege to play Faure's Sicilienne for Mr GM since the scores were anyway right in front of me on the music stand. Mr GM has a very wise and insightful way of looking at the rhythm and at the phrasing that instantaneously brought me to see more light in this piece of music. More work on the intonation and the rhythm.

Then, when XM joined us, we practised the third and fourth movements of Mahler's First Symphony. I beg your pardon, aside from that double bass solo in the third movement, I don't remember playing anything composed by Mahler in my entire nine years with the orchestra. It was a refreshing sectional since it was my first time playing two movements from one of Mahler's Symphonies. There was a sense of primitive energy in his music, I felt.

Then for orchestra rehearsal, I had my chance to play the double bass solo!

For the orchestra rehearsal, we managed to sight-read much of the third and fourth movements from Mahler's First Symphony. For a first reading, it was commendable that the orchestra did not break down at some of those awfully difficult passages.

22 Jun 2007, Fri: I practised selected passages from the first movement from Keyper's Romance and Rondo. The goal was to work on improving the intonation and to practise keeping to the time. While the practice was only about 30 minutes, it was quite a fruitful one for I've found my intonation improving to some extent. I was also more expressive in playing the selected passages.

23 Jun 2007, Sat: I continued from yesterday's practice, and played selected passages from the first movement from Keyper's Romance and Rondo. Afterwhich, I practised the second movement from Keyper's Romance and Rondo, at a relatively slow tempo so that I can focus on the intonation. I am looking forward to play Romance and Rondo with my friend who have kindly agreed to be my piano accompanist for my upcoming exams.

In summary, I have managed to achieve my target of practising at least four days per week, for at least 15 minutes per day on each of these four days.

There is a bugging thought that I would like to have time for more practising, until I start to wonder if I should consider taking up a degree in double bass performance. I am feeling ambivalent.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

50 posts published on

Some of my readers may probably realise that I have been actively contributing posts to, the blog on Singapore's heritage, history & museums. Furthermore, it is in my interest to do so as one of the Friends of

I am a Friend of

I just realised this morning that I have already contributed 50 published posts on since Feb 2006. That means on the average, I contribute 3 posts per month to

To allow me to gather some feedback on what readers may enjoy and like, I invite you to check out this link: and then click on the link "View all posts by this member" so as to view the links to all my posts on Then please share with me by commenting to this very post and let me know which one of these 50 posts is your favourite, and why. I will love to hear from you.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Throw the towel

The feeling today
Of course work never ends
Yet excessiveness
Can lead one
About to throw the towel

I had felt like screaming
In anguish
To let out the steam
Yet music is a nicer tune
So I sang in high and low pitches

I ask
For space
To recharge
To find myself
To act from within
With the strength and wisdom

Finding my solace
To keep my sanity
So that there may not be
The need to throw the towel

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Next week: Listen to Emily's new compositions

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Emily not only plays the double bass, she is also known for her compositions.

Next week, there will be two free performances at the Esplanade Concourse and you will get to listen to the compositions by Emily and a few of her friends. Compositions that will no longer be just prints on the manuscript, but will come to life and be performed live! Do check this performance out especially if you want to support contemporary music by local composers.

All Strung Up
Les Six du Singapour in collaboration with Joshua Yang
25 June 2007 (Mon)// 7.15 pm + 8.15 pm
Esplanade Concourse

All Strung Out
Les Six du Singapour in collaboration with Joshua Yang
28 June 2007 (Thu)// 7.15 pm + 8.15 pm (Timing to be confirmed)
Esplanade Concourse

Note: The programme differs for each of the four sets of performances listed above.

You will get to listen to two of Emily's latest compositions at the above two performances:

Zero Amplitude
Yuan Peiying (soprano sheng), Emily Koh (double bass) and Diana Soh (piano)

Yuan Peiying (soprano sheng) and electronics

And there will be several other works that will be showcased at the above-mentioned performances held on 25 and 28 June 2007.

If you would like company, I will be there on 25 June 2007 for the 7.30 p.m. set of performance. Hope to see some of you there.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Played the double bass solo today

In Mahler's First Symphony, there is a double bass solo at the beginning of the third movement. I have written a post on The double bass solo in Mahler's First Symphony last week on d'Bassists official webhome.

Today isn't the first time I have played this double bass solo, but it was the first time that I have played this solo with the entire orchestra. Thank goodness it was passable. I needed to work more on the intonation, and my rendition of the last two bars of this solo. There is a challenging shift in the last two bars of the solo. More practice to get it to sound the way I want it to.

Another thing I may need to learn is to still play the solo as if it were any regular passage. I can say I would prefer to feel relaxed and alert while playing that solo than to find a tinge of pressure that I have everyone's eyes and ears on my solo. Relax and be alert.

If you wonder how that double bass solo would sound like, maybe you can check out this link to a video clip of conductor, Claudio Abbado, rehearsing the third movement of Mahler's First Symphony:

I heard that our orchestra will be playing the third and fourth movement of Mahler's First Symphony for an upcoming concert in September 2007. Details to be confirmed.

Related post:
The double bass solo in Mahler's First Symphony

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Emily and the art of making of rice dumplings

Rice dumplings. Photo credit: The above photo is taken from Emily's blog

Today is Dragon Boat Festival, also known by Chinese as Duanwu Jie

Duan Wu Jie is a day to commemorate the Chinese patriot and poet, Qu Yuan (屈原). Falling on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, it is a day to remind oneself of one's duties and obligations to the nation. (View source here)

If you are like myself wondering how rice dumplings are made, please check out Emily's post, Rice Dumplings... to get the gist of the processes behind this. It is quite interesting to read about how traditions are being passed from one generation to another.

(The contents on this post has been posted on on 18 June 2007.)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Unwind and have fun!

Courtesy of Tony Osborne and David Heyes/ Recital Music.
Tony Osborne's Blues-Style. Performed by Emily, PY and XM from d'Bassists on 31 May 2007 at Esplanade Concourse, Singapore. Esplanade Presents At The Concourse: Basso Bravo!
Video URL:

I think I am quite well-known for being quite serious most of the time. While I don't know how to play X-box and many games that my peers may enjoy, I love playing the double bass.

Blues-Style by Tony Osborne is one of my favourite pieces from d'Bassists' recent performance at Esplanade Concourse. Here's to share a recording of Blues-Style with you.

For more information, please visit d'Bassists' official webhome and read: Tony Osborne's Blues-Style (1981)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Yesterday at Singapore Tyler Print Institute

The Mystery of Picasso (1956)(trailer)
Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot
Source of video clip:

Yesterday, I visited the Singapore Tyler Print Institute. I think Emily may like what I will be sharing in this post.

The main reason that has gotten me to visit the Singapore Tyler Print Institute yesterday was to catch the exhibition Pablo Picasso: The Vollard Suite held from 3 May to 7 July 2007.

I had the pleasure to catch a free video screening of the 75-minutes movie The Mystery of Picasso directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot. Cinematography by Claude Renoir. Georges Auric composed the music for this film.

I quite like this film as it allows me to see the processes that Picasso created a piece of art-work. It can be quite a suspense for audience like myself to sit at the audience seat not knowing what is the next step that Picasso would take with his art-creation process. I think Picasso is quite a genius when it comes to art.

In this film, I witnessed Picasso executing each and every stroke with confidence and mastery. There was a narrator who narrated what goes on in the video, and I agree with the narrator that one can understand the creative processes behind Picasso's mind if one were to watch the film more than once.

One concept that stuck in my mind while I was watching the film was that of the process of metamorphosis. For example, I watched Picasso starting out with what seemed to be a plant, but he continued drawing and transformed the initial image to what looked like a fish. However, in a few moments, with the additions of a few more brushstrokes, what appeared on the canvas became the image of a chicken. That was not the end. With the use of black ink, Picasso ended up with a canvas depicting what looked like a devil. Seeing the process of metamorphosis was intriguing. It reminded me that there are more processes that one should be mindful of than the final end-product.

The video screenings of the films The Mystery of Picasso and Picasso: The Man and His Work are only available on Saturdays. Please visit for the details. For your convenience, please find a You-Tube clip of the 2-minutes trailer of The Mystery of Picasso at the beginning of this post.

After the show, I went about viewing the exhibits. From the prints by Picasso, I can also see that Picasso is very confident in the art of print-making. One print that has caught my eye was Blind minotaur led by a little girl at night. Apparently, from what I have read from a publicity material, The Vollard Suite contains many themes which reveal Picasso's obsessions. To find out more, please visit:

In addition, somehow some of the prints from the exhibition reminded me of Picasso's famous work Guernica done in 1937. The themes of the bull and the horse can be found in both Guernica and the prints from the Vollard Suite.

If you would like to view this collection of Picasso's prints, do visit the Singapore Tyler Print Institute by 7 July 2007.

Singapore Tyler Print Institute
41 Robertson Quay, Singapore 238236

Tel: (65) 6336 3663
Fax: (65) 6336 3553

Admission : Free
Gallery Opening Hours :
Tuesday-Saturday: 10am-6pm.
Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.
Mondays by appointment only.

Please also visit:
Pablo Picasso: official web site
Vollard Suite
Singapore Tyler Print Institute
Ambroise Vollard

Week 24 of year 2007 on the double bass

10 Jun 2007, Sun: The earlier part of my practice session was spent practising a study from Bottesion's 24 Exercises for Double Bass (edited by H Samuel Sterling). Afterwhich, I took a break for dinner. After dinner, I practised the Rondo movement of Keyper's Romance and Rondo at a tempo of 50 beats per minute.

11 Jun 2007, Mon: I started practising from 10.55 p.m. to 11.20 p.m. to practise one of the pentagonic scales from Charles Hoag's The New Scale Book: Foundation Studies in 20th century music for double bass. It was a good work-out. Thanks to the hot and humid weather, and the fact that there is no single fan near where I had practised, I was sweating all over after the practice session. Yet, it felt great playing the double bass.

12 Jun 2007, Wed: Prior to double bass sectional, I practised a set of pentagonic scale. Then I went through Danse infernale du roi Katschei from Igor Stravinsky's The Firebird. However, my tummy was giving me the runs, and I decided to take a break.

Double bass sectional was enriching and insightful. Mr GM is a brilliant player and tutor. He demonstrated new ways to play Danse infernale du roi Katschei effectively. I was impressed by how he outlined the story behind the work. I was also impressed by the effectiveness of the fingerings that he had suggested. The fingerings were very sound. It took some unlearning and relearning for me when I had to practise using the fingerings that he had suggested, but the fingerings do make playing this work so much easier.

After that, Mr GM discussed and gave demonstrations on the various ways to interpret and play the double bass solo from the third movement of Mahler's First Symphony. It was an eye-opener for me. He also gave an account of what the music is about. By the way, Jason Heath has put up a post on the double bass solo from this very symphony. You can read his post here. And if you read Jason's post, you should strongly consider reading Robert Oppelt's online article titled My Approach to the Bass Solo in Mahler's First Symphony.

Also see my post titled The double bass solo in Mahler's First Symphony

15 Jun 2007, Fri: I had planned to practise on the double bass. However, I was feeling too exhausted when I reached home at night, and I did not practise in the end.

16 Jun 2007, Sat: This evening, I spent about 20 minutes playing more pentagonic scales from Charles Hoag's The New Scale Book: Foundation Studies in 20th century music for double bass.

In the later part of the evening, I spent some time practising excerpts from Keypers's Romance and Rondo and the first and second movements of Marcello's Sonata in G major. My vibrato technique has improved slightly. Cheers.

I have reached my minimal target of practising at least 15 minutes per day on at least four of the days of the week. However, I think I could have been more productive and effective if not for a spell of fatigue that has struck me since the middle of the week.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Museum of Shanghai Toys' blog

Image credit: The above header-logo's taken from Museum of Shanghai Toys's blog

I shall dedicate this post to SH. Earlier this Sunday, I met JY and SH to visit the MINT Museum of Toys. Several days later, SH disclosed that it might have been the Museum of Shanghai Toys that she had initially wanted to visit.

Whichever museum she would like to visit, I think it would be good information for SH to know that Museum of Shanghai Toys has started its own blog some time ago.

For anyone who is interested in toys and collecting toys, you may wish to check out this blog:

For those who would like to take some glimpses of the toys from the museum, enjoy the following video clip:
Explore Singapore Episode 5 - Clip 4

Related posts:
Explore Singapore! - Museum of Shanghai Toys
Museum of Shanghai Toys is blogging!
IMD 2007: Singaporean Childhood Exhibition
Museum Hoppin' - A Sneak Peek

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I've passed with Merit

I just received my results and certificate for the ABRSM Music Theory exams (Grade 6) this evening when I went for music theory lesson. I have passed with Merit.

I did pretty well for the fourth and fifth sections of the Grade 6 exams. I almost scored full marks for these sections. However, based on the results, I would still needed more work on harmony and melody-writing. While I do acknowledge I needed more work on melody-writing, I had thought that my foundation in harmony would be reasonable enough to score me better marks. It looks like I have to study harmony in greater depth.

Whatever it is, I have passed with a merit. My tutor said one has to score from 80 - 89 to earn a merit, 90 and above to earn a distinction. I scored 82 marks.

It looks like I have to work smarter and harder to earn myself the Hedy King Robinson award when I take Grade 8 Music Theory Exams sometime next year. Cheer for me please.

Related posts:
Music Theory Exams
Hedy King Robinson award
Ups and downs of studying music theory

A public talk on online video sharing

I find this upcoming public talk by Kevin Lim to be interesting, and would have attended the talk if not for the fact that I have to work till at least 9.05 p.m. that day.

In this upcoming talk, Kevin would be sharing his personal experiences on online video sharing. For example, when one should use Youtube, Google Video, Revver and so on. He will also be sharing basic tips on how to shoot and encode video to get the best-looking clips on the web.

Below are more details:

“Youtube and beyond: What you want to know but never knew who to ask”
A public talk on the present and future of online video sharing by Kevin Lim

Tuesday, 19 Jun 2007
7:00PM - 8.30PM

Multi-purpose Room, Central Lending Library
(Basement of National Library, Victoria Street, Singapore)

Youtubers, Videobloggers, Video podcasters, or anyone who wants to get started with sharing videos online, this interactive session is perfect for you! Here are 5 reasons why you have to join in:

* Explore the world of free video sharing services -> going beyond Youtube
* Learn tips to producing great video for web -> high quality, small file size
* How to protect yourself by staying legal -> copyright, Creative Commons
* See the future of online videos -> Lifecasting and searching within videos
* Make friends and show your clips with fellow video bloggers!

If you would like to find out more, please read Kevin's post: Youtube and beyond: What you want to know but never knew who to ask, and of course, attend the talk if you are available.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

J.S. Bach's Air

One of my favourite items from d'Bassists last performance was J.S. Bach's Air. Emily plays the double bass solo for this item, and I accompanied her on the double bass.

To view the video, and to learn more our rehearsals for this item, please visit d'Bassists' blog:
Performed on 31 May 2007: Bach's Air

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A valued friendship

Foreword: This is a post that I have wanted to post earlier. In the end, I decided I shall send a similar copy of it to my friend first by post. I guess I shalln't wait too long to post this online. Life's short. I guess any time can be good time.

To my blog-friends, thank you too for your friendship and support.

To Mystic:

Maybe I have not been
Your most ideal kind of friend
During many times of interaction
My weakness starts to show up:
That I can't fully verbalise
What goes on in my own world
And my means of communication
So subtle
Most can't even read
Between my lines

Yet thank you
For being patient with me
For showing me acceptance

Thank you
For lending me your support:
My music exams, concerts and more
For being there for me
Some of my darkest moments

Your friendly gestures
Have touched me
Gestures such as: meeting me
Early in the morning
at the airport
When I was flying all alone to China

I appreciate your willingness
To accompany me to museums
To concerts
To my awfully long-distance walks
To wake up very early so that
We can meet for breakfast together

I'm not sure what's the best way
But I hope to let you know
That I value you as a friend

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Weeks Kampong Glam

Haji Lane. Kampong Glam area. Singapore.

It was a few weeks ago, I met up with JY and SH. They were very thoughtful to arrange for the get-together to celebrate my birthday. Our meeting place was at Bugis MRT station. Being someone who dislike crowds, I did not suggest having dinner at Bugis Junction shopping mall which was very near the MRT station. Instead, I suggested having dinner at Kampong Glam area. JY and SH were very nice to oblige to my request even though they had to endure a 5 minutes walk from the MRT station to Kampong Glam area.

I think I am falling in love with Haji Lane. While the shophouses there aren't very lavish, I love them for they somehow looked simple and unpretentious.

Being me, my first instinct was to record the scenes of Haji Lane using my digital camera. I was fearful that several years later, Haji Lane may lose its flavour of authenticity. I am thankful that JY and SH had been patient with me. And thanks to their patience, I was free to take photos to post for the blogging world to see!

I knelt down to take this shot. Somehow, I like the tranquility of this little lane.

I find these cushions and carpet lying outside one of the shophouses to be very interesting.

We initially had wanted to consider the Egyptian restaurant located along Haji Lane. However, it was playing loud and what SH and myself considered "unbearable music" when we were just outside its shop. As such, we decided against having our dinner there. Maybe food establishments need to bear this lesson in mind: good music attracts customers; poor choice can repel the customers.

The shop looked like it has been around for ages.

After spending quite some moments at Haji Lane, I led SH and JY to Baghdad Street and Ambrosia Cafe looked as if it was not opened for business yet. As such, I very gladly recommended SH and JY to have dinner at Alaturka. The music was acceptable, and so we had our dinner venue decided. The truth is, I was biased. I have a personal liking for Alaturka. The food and decor there is simply good.

As yours truly believe that no visit to Kampong Glam area would be complete without visiting the Sultan Mosque and the Malay Heritage Centre, it was quite a predictable move for me to suggest that JY and SH take a stroll to these two landmarks. I gave JY and SH a quiz along the way. See if you can answer the question: Look at the dark-green-colour base of the dome of Sultan Mosque. Guess what it is made of?

Sultan Mosque.

Malay Heritage Centre (also known by many as the Istana Kampong Glam). Istana Kampong Glam was the historic seat of the Malay royalty of Singapore.

Gedung Kuning.

On our walk about Kampong Glam, SH reminded me to take a photo of the shophouses right below. Compare the design of the shophouse below with that of the shophouse in Haji Lane, which would you prefer? Whatever your preference is, my choice is rather clear.

After quite a lot of walking, JY, SH and myself treated ourselves to Turkish food at Alaturka. I personally think that Alaturka serves very nice mutton. Do try its mutton dishes. SH finds the restaurant a little hot but I think I was too happy with the food and the company to be bothered by the lack of air-conditioning at the place.

Apple Tea.

Meze Tabagi. Assorted mixed salads.



Kunefe. Nice, but very sweet. It is wiser to share this dessert among a few people.

Turkish & Mediterranean Restaurant
16 Bussorah Street Singapore 199437
Tel/Fax: 62940304

It was a good day for yours truly especially when food, lifestyle and heritage combine. Do check out Kampong Glam area, and be pleasantly delighted.

Related posts:
- The Kampong Glam Walk
- To view the Singapore Biennale 2006 site at Sultan Mosque
- To attend Cultural Clubbing at the Malay Heritage Centre
- Dinner with Emily
- A place to while time away
- An afternoon at Kampong Glam

Saturday, June 09, 2007

New post on d'Bassists

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Whether you have attended d'Bassists' most recent performance or not, you may be pleased to find photos and a recently uploaded video of a short segment of the performance at d'Bassists' blog:

Week 23 of year 2007 on the double bass

3 Jun 2007, Sun: Before I left home, I spent close to half an hour practising the first, second and fourth movement of Marcello's Sonata in G major. Much time was spent practising the fourth movement at fairly slow tempo.

4 Jun 2007, Mon: I was feeling pretty tired. However, I decided to just practise for at least 15 minutes. I am loving the double bass. It brings some relief to my slightly depressed soul. So without realising, I had spent close to half an hour practising the Romance movement of Keyper's Romance and Rondo.

6 Jun 2007, Wed: Prior to the double bass lesson with Mr GM, I spent at least half-an-hour practising a study from Bottesion's 24 Exercises for Double Bass (edited by H Samuel Sterling), and Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro.

Then I had an enriching double bass lesson with Mr GM. It was quite a fulfilling lesson as I have practised Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro sufficiently enough that I wasn't sight-reading that day. As such, more time could be spent working on performing the work more musicially, than to figure out the technical aspects. I am loving double bass lessons.

9 Jun 2007, Sat: I spent close to half an hour working on a study on pentatonic scale from Charles Hoag's The New Scale Book: Foundation Studies in 20th century music for double bass. I hope that playing this set of studies can help train me to play contemporary music better. From the way my practice today has been, it seems to be good practice to work on these studies.

Afterwhich, I spent another close to half an hour practising Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro. I felt pleased that my rendition of Introduction and Allegro is starting to take some shape.

In conclusion, I have managed to reach my set targets for this week, i.e. practise at least 15 minutes a day for at least 4 days of the week. However, I wished I could have practised as often as last week.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Noises, stay away

At about 5.10 p.m. this evening, I was back at my seat in the office, and I heard this loud "thumbing" noise. In fact, the vibrations from the source of the noise was so strong, I can feel them in my bones.

It took me a while to realise that someone was playing with a drumset, and the sound was badly amplified by loud speakers. As my office was located at the void deck area of a residential flat, I had thought that the noise came from one of the residents living above my office units.

I tried not to be bothered by the sound of the drumset, but really, the rhythms played were boring, and more importantly, the amplification was totally horrible. Imagine muffled sounds, unclear amplication, and too unbearable bass sounds. By 6.15 p.m., my ears could tolerate no more! I decided I shall not continue to stay in the office. Anyway, the official time to end work was 5.35 p.m.

When I left office, I realised that the source of the noise was from a temporary ge tai (stage). There was a function in the evening, and a temporary stage had been set up. There was a person playing the drum on the stage. Indeed the speakers produced pretty poor amplification. I could only hear muffled loud noises and not a single interesting sound from those speakers near the stage.

It was an unwise move when I later decided to have dinner at the coffeeshop located nearby the stage. That meant that I had to bear with more noises.

Noises, please stay away. My legs have been hurting and aching, and my health hasn't been at its best. One of the things that I would hate to face would be noises. If music inspires and recharges; noises agitates and can kill.

Jason's post: Musical Entrepreneurship

Jason Heath has written a series of posts covering the hidden costs associated with freelance work as a musician. The reality: The prospects of being a musician can be quite uncertain. Do read Jason's most recent post, Road Warrior Without an Expense Account Part X—Refocusing (Musical Entrepreneurship) to find out some of the challenges faced by classical music musicians.

So why do people still want to be and continue to be musicians? I quite like how Jason had things phrased:
We musicians know the value of what we do. We know that our art can change lives, create happiness, inspire greatness in others, and simply make the world a more beautiful place. We would sooner die than give up on this amazing language and means of communication.

Read his post.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Reading Eastcoastlife's life experiences

Earlier this week, Eastcoastlife has been awarded the prestigious Most Commendable Blogger Award for the month of May 2007, by yours truly.

I suppose one of the most valued prizes that Eastcoastlife would be delighted to receive for the above award would be my continued support and readership for her blog? I am far from being a star blogger, but I am quite a selective reader when it comes to reading blogs. *ahem*

If you are care to find out what I have been reading, one good place to start with will be Eastcoastlife's blog. For her recent posts, she has been sharing about her real life experiences. There are some good writing on these posts, and her posts got me thinking. For the past few days, my mind has been urged to think of issues from a more macro and systemic perspective. One of the questions: How to put seemingly small forces together to win the battle against some of the ills of the society? Maybe I am yet a wise one, I am still searching for clues. Eastcoastlife has won my respect with her determination and strength.

Do check her blog out:

If you like her writings, you can make her blog one of your favourites by clicking on this link. (Note: You'll need to be a registered member of Technorati to do so.)

The brochure and map of Joo Chiat that Eastcoastlife had kindly given me.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

d'Bassists: The blog

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In case you do not know, here is the link to the blog of the double bass ensemble, d'Bassists:

It seems like orange has became the unofficial colour of d'Bassists. To view more photos, please visit d'Bassists' blog.

Loving the double bass lesson

Today I had an hour of double bass lesson in the evening with Mr GM. It has been quite a long while that I have double bass lesson with Mr GM. Emily has been writing so often about her lovely double bass lessons with Mr GM, and I can say double bass lessons with him is simply fabulous.

I also support Emily's views that Mr GM is a genius. In one single hour, he guided me to better appreciate and understand Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro. He shared about the harmony, the form, the interpretation and more. I find the fingerings that he had suggested to be pretty sound too. My favourite part of the lesson was when he discussed and shared about the form of Introduction and Allegro. It made the entire work come alive to me, and I finally started to understand it. Contemporary works hasn't been easy for me to relate to, and when I was able to do so with Mr GM's guidance, the experience was like a blissful form of revelation. Now I finally realised why Emily says Introduction and Allegro is a more interesting piece of composition than Ridout's Concerto for Double Bass and strings. Many thanks to Mr GM.

It is an exhilarating experience to be able to learn so much within one lesson what I had been struggling with for the past weeks, i.e. appreciating Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro. The pleasant experience had helped brought me some temporary relief from the leg cramps which had been bugging me on and off since last Wednesday evening. I don't quite understand why my legs have been hurting. The day before last, my left thigh was aching. Yesterday, I experienced cramps on my right leg. Today, I just felt the cramps are affecting both my legs, especially the right. It is hurting right now. But thanks to the wonderful double bass, I had some relief from the pain.

I shall use Emily's words: Double bass lessons rocks! Three cheers to Mr GM!

Meantime, I ask for relief from the pain, and lots of good health.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Theory.isthereason: International Museum Day 2007

Due to work commitments, I felt rather disappointed that I could not attend the Launch of International Museum Day 2007 even though I had received an invitation to attend it.

Kevin Lim of theory.isthereason makes my day with his post on the launch.

If you ask me why it took me so long to post this post, my apologies, I had been too focused with practising, work and d'Bassists' performance that I did not have much energy left to surf blogosphere and to post.

Whatever it is, do check out Kevin's post titled Meeting Minister Lee Boon Yang @ International Museum Day, and find out about Singapore Collections Online - the first virtual repository of its kind featuring close to 6,000 artefacts and artworks from National Heritage Board's collection.

Last but not the least, I have a feeling that my friend, Emily, may wish to take a look at the internal view of the Rhino bus and Kevin's post has two such photos. So Emily, I have written this post with you in mind.

Week 22 of year 2007 on the double bass

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27 May 2007, Sun: I spent part of the morning practising on the double bass.

In the afternoon, I met XM, QH and Emily for the double bass ensemble rehearsal. We spent about 2 hours rehearsing.

More about the double bass ensemble rehearsal held on 27 May 2007 can be found below:
Emily's post: Rehearsals, dinner and shopping
d'Bassists behind the scene

28 May 2007, Mon: Before the double bass ensemble rehearsal, I attempted to play Marcello's Sonata in G major and Keyper's Romance and Rondo. Aloysius who was present did a sight-read and accompanied me on the piano.

The double bass ensemble rehearsal follows thereafter, and a good more than one hour was spent rehearsing. Aloysius lended us his ears, and we played for him what might be considered a preview of the programme for our performance on 30 and 31 May 2007.

29 May 2007, Tue: I took leave from work that day. I remember that I spent the day time practising, but alas, I can't remember what I had practised.

In the evening, I met my tutor, MJ, for double bass lesson. For the lesson, I had a work-out on Keyper's Romance and Rondo. MJ, who grew up in Poland, also shared with me tips on playing Polonaise. The key to it is that the first beat of each bar is important and needs to be emphasised.

For the lesson, MJ also spent a good 5 minutes at least to debate whether Capuzzi's Concerto in D major should be played an octave higher.

30 May 2007, Wed: In the late morning and early afternoon, I practised on the double bass, going through all the key parts that I would have to play for d'Bassists' performance At the Concourse: Basso Bravo.

Then in the evening, as part of d'Bassists, I rehearsed our programme during the sound-check, and then played the double bass for two sets of 30-minutes programme.

I felt very touched that several friends and supporters came to support the concert. Thanks folks.

31 May 2007, Thu: In the day, I practised on the double bass for more than 15 minutes. Practising scales was a necessity. Then in the evening, two more enjoyable sets of 30-minutes of performances on the double bass. The programme was of fair level of challenge, and certainly was fun. Double bass rocks!

1 Jun 2007, Fri: I didn't quite practise much on the double bass on 1 June. My hand muscles felt strained and so I did not want to overwork them. Nevertheless, I hope I have approximately spent about 15 minutes practising Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro.

2 Jun 2007, Sat: I continued to work on Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro. I hope I can master it soon.

This week seems like a double bass week for me. I have been practising or playing on the double bass for at least 15 minutes, every day! I realised this was probably possible because I took several days away from work, and only had to report for work on Monday.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Zonked Out Guntrain’s: National Museum

National Museum of Singapore

While I was at, I came across a link to a post written by Zonked out guntrain. His post brought back fond memories. Stamford Road and Waterloo Street are places that hold sentimental and nostalgic value to me. Check this post out: Singapore National Museum.

Here are links to related posts about Stamford Road and Waterloo Street by yours truly:
Memories of the MPH Building
A tinge of melancholy
Stairway to Heaven

Friday, June 01, 2007

Thank you for making Basso Bravo! a success

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On behalf of d'Bassists, the double bass ensemble based in Singapore, thank you for making Basso Bravo! a success.

It was a very interesting experience to facilitate the hands-on session. Given the limited duration of the session, the challenge was how I can best share with people the fun of playing the double bass. The next thing that I had to be mindful of was to make sure that the double bass did not fall on anyone. Safety first.

Meantime, to view photos of the performance, and what had went on behind the scene, please visit d'Bassists official webhome:

Muscles are tensed

The muscles of my thighs, upper arms and lower arms have been feeling tensed and aching since last night. Maybe it was due to too much lifting of the double bass over long distances? Or is it due to other reasons?

Remedies are welcomed.