Saturday, July 26, 2008

The closing chapters

Woke up this morning to the drum beats of the VS lion dance. Saw this white light shining thru the window. What a wonderful and beautiful day I thought. Made me extremely happy for some unknown reason. Haha.
Gave my melody to Ming Yao to write the lyrics.

Anyway I just came back from College Day. I got an award for topping Music last year.
As I was sitting there waiting for the event to start, my mind started to wonder and so it flew back some eleven years to the Chung Hwa Presbyterian school hall. Well, it wasn't exactly a school hall, my primary school didn't exactly have a hall. I was just a few classrooms with the walls in the middle removed making it one long room. I sat there on that beautiful morning, on small primary school wooden chairs waiting to get an award for getting second place in class. Lost to first place Xiuling because she got 100 for all subjects and I got 100 for all subjects except 1 which I got 98.

Yeah so that was the very beginning of school life and little would I have imagined that 11 years later I would find that the white shirt and dark blue shorts have changed to beige shirt and pants, in a whole different country, quite different culture, totally different friends and very very different setting, a performance theater with huge comfortable chairs full of comfortable paddings waiting to get an award from some senior minister of some neighbouring country that was Singapore and dreaming of studying music and having a career in music. I wanted to become a lot of things when I was seven, among them a gardener, a rubbish collector, a scientist, an astronaut, a computer technician and an engineer.
I never got another academic award between those 11 years so I think its apt that I started and ended my school life with an academic award.
Of course back in those days, the award just didn't mean too much to me. It was just another thing in life but today, this music award means so much to me due to this highly competitive environment that I've landed myself in where everybody competes for all that papers.
But I'm not thinking about it in that context. This piece of paper is very much to me the zenith of my pathetic VJ life that has been filled with countless failures from the extremely huge disappointment in failing to get into ODAC, watching them have so much fun amongst themselves, failing to achieve anything for myself in Guitar, for having made so many wrong choices and of course most importantly for failing my studies so badly. I've indeed dropped so low.
I guess when I leave VJ, I'll bring with me all the lessons that I've learnt from this countless failures and of course all the friendship that I've made in VJ. I dare say that I only started having great Singaporean friends in VJ and I now have more than 1 hand worth of Singaporean female friends. Haha.
Some how or rather, today's award doesn't really come as a comfort to me because there are many could have beens if Gwen had not fallen sick and didn't take the papers or if Melodie had not written out of point for her essay. I say this because the truth is if I'm like doing very badly for music now. Rock solid bottom of class and at least 2 grades away from the next closest person. I'm not doing my essays properly and of course, my violin is always letting me down. I'm chasing the rest easily 30 marks for my music practical.
So this is such an embarrassment for me and especially with Opus 2 coming up next week and plenty of outsiders coming to watch and even music students from other school, my common sense tells me to pull out from this thing and stop making a fool for myself and showing off the gulf in standard between the violinist and the pianists and soprano and flautist.
But I guess my heart just says go in and just whack. Play all the wrong notes and after that, keep my head up high and just be satisfied and accept my shortcomings.
Anyway just to promote my concert

Opus 2, VJC Music Students' Concert

Friday Night, 1st August

Performance Theater.

Watch out for the live ad on Monday.
Please do come. If you are not there to support me, at least you can enjoy the music presented by the rest.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ass Fetish

Yes, its Ass Fetish in 07s44 this month. Check out the class blog here and vote for your favourite ass.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Over and over again

Got the guitar farewell videos from Patrick today.

Realised when I sing, I sound like I've my nose squeezed.

Anyway the video was super high with audible background comments by Hai and Edward. And they were like Aiyo IAN!!!! WRONG CHORD!! or Woah.... or Where's your song Waihong or Wah not bad leh and LOUDER WAIHONG!!! Louder lah!! or even I LOVE JAY CHOU...

Anyway it was hilarious and fun and sentimental watching that video and I loved it so much I watched it 2 times and mind you it is half and hour long. But it was amazing. One of my first and amazing medley arrangements like 17 songs into 1 whole long song although at some parts there were perfect cadences ending the song, but I was quite satisfied with it. Thinking back, we when thru like 5,6 keys? Started off with A minor, when thru C,D,E,G,A major. Covering songs from classical Tico-tico to jazzy Fly Me to the Moon to Cai Hong to bluesy Wonderful Tonight to pop-rock Jenny and The Great Escape to self composition Song For You. WOAH. I guess the best part was between Secret and Wonderful Tonight where Hai and Edward went WOAH!!

Amazing. I loved it so much I would love to do that again haha.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Midnight Insomnia

I dunno what the f*** am I doing being awake at this hour. I was incredibly lethargic for school today. Its like 1 am now and tomorrow's a school day!!

Gosh, just wrapped up my physics lasers tutorial. Been on some kind of physics inertia today. Once I start, I can't stop unless acted upon by an external force. (Not even sleep)
When thru 7 freaking periods of Physics today. Thats like wat? 3 hours? 1 period tutorial, 2 periods practical which essentially nowadays is tutorial. Then 2 periods personal remedial with Mr. Lee. Then after that 2 more periods cohort remedial. Ended school at freaking 5.30. I think I just set the record for the latest time I ever ended school with official lessons. Gosh. All in my final year of school. Phew phew phew!!!

Have had a few songs shuffle up on my iTunes. Jay Chou's Yuan You Hui and Wu Ding just came up. Reminds me of the post PMR pre-Singapore days when I was still with her.
Then Clapton and his Change The World came up which reminded me of the big dude and his relationships 101 thing that he has got going over at his blog. Some parts of it are quite true though but then again who am I to say what's true and what's not when I'm quite a failure in this field myself.

Finally decided where I was going to place the Guitar Farewell plate. Its been sitting pretty on my desk of the past 2 weeks and I realised some of the envelopes got stuck to the writings and when I forcefully peeled it off, the words sort of peeled too.. OOPS..
Used blue tack and stuck it to the wall and NEARLY broke it when the blue tack gave way. In the end decided the best place was the top shelf where it will collect dust until I pack to go back to Malaysia.

Then read thru all the emo farewell letters and photos one last time before putting them in an envelope and burning them.

Nah, just kidding. Put them in an obscure corner of my drawer and told myself that yes, that period has ended. A whole new chapter now.

Performed with a perk at canteen today for racial harmony day. Played his self-composition. A very standard song. I had to figure out the chords for him which was easy peasy. Took away a period of chem lecture from me but I was rewarded with this opportunity to listen to other people's composition and learn from them.

Anyway, I promised something about CHMA the last time.

Well, CHMA stands for Catholic High Music Awards. Its Cat High's version of VJ's musicfest. And for me CHMA is the total benchmark for any school organized concerts. I attempted to replicate that benchmark for Perfect 5th but was far from the standard but still I guess we didn't sound too bad.
Anyway, for anything that CHMA lacks in in terms of performers skills and techniques (come on, they are just kids), it makes up for it with its lightings and sound.
To get an idea, the lightings for CHMA are somewhere like those used for the dance concert but bigger and better and more cool. All the flashing strobe lights and laser lights are just awesome.

The sound without a doubt trashes Musicfest. I counted 2 Marshall stack amps, this super huge 4 speaker bass amp, a drumset with double pedals, 2 crashes, ride and splash. And the best thing of all, every single thing was miked up to house speakers.
I remember when I was in the Finals 2 years ago, the speakers they used were taller than me, like 3 speakers stacked on top of each other for each side of the hall. Mr. Wang said, 周华健 used those very speakers 2 weeks ago.
This year the speakers got smaller but the sound got louder. That's what I call advancements in technology. The hall floor was seriously vibrating and by the time the 4 bands finished their stuff, I was half deaf. Kinda reminded me of the Mayday concert.
And the stage crew are just amazing people. All the guitarist has to do when he comes on stage is to bring himself and his guitar up on stage. Two guys assigned to him will take care of plugging his guitar in, switching on his amp and pedal plugs and everything. Awesome and really professional.

That said, I don't think the bands lose out to VJ bands either but unfortunately for me, there has been a tendency towards heavier and heavier metal songs as the year pass. Cat High is like turning into a mat school. Since's my year's Qing Tian, last year had Hotel California but this year, all 4 bands played noisy songs. Pooh... What a metal fest with the moshing and everything going on.

Sadly didn't win any of those fantastic lucky draw prices (iPod Nano, PSP)

Best of all, CHMA class A tickets were only 12 bucks and class 2 were 10 bucks. How much was Musicfest without all those equipments and professionalism?

To check out the CHMA video made by iMedia Club which again totally trashes anything infocomm has been able to produce, check out here.

Bye, Goodnight.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Guitar Lessons 101: Cheena Pop

Delivered my first guitar lesson to pigmei yesterday and I was immensely happy and satisfied with her progress.

I decided to tackle this lessons from a classical musician point of view because I personally am a strong advocate of classical basics combined with modern music as much of today's pop songs are based on classical theory anyway.

So started off with teaching chord triads and key signatures. Those simple stuff is only a matter of memory work and I guess after getting used to it, there won't even be a need to memorize it. After that moved on to chord progression and of course I started off with my favourite chord progression sequence, the almighty Circle of 5ths.

I refused to blatantly vomit out chords of songs she wanted to learn because I feel that with the full understanding of chord progression theory the learn process will be exponential so even though things seem very hard and slow now and you finish a lessons without learn a single song, after you have fully mastered the progressions, you will be able learn almost any cheena pop songs you want.

After teaching chord progression I realized that it would not be possible for her to further figure out other stuff at home if she didn't know how to play the chords so I had to move on and teach her the 6 strings and 5 strings bar chord shapes. I can't remember which of the CAGED shapes are they already. Darn!! So with that, she could play any diatonic major and minor chords of the chromatic scale.

Challenged my very brilliant student to begin TRANSPOSITION!! Yes.. amazing. I simply gave her roman numerals chord and she figured out everything and slowly was able to play Secret on C major and G major and I figured out that was enough for the day. A lot of things to process and pigmei had done very very well.

I'm very glad for her that she has this opportunity to learn all these things. Took me more than 3 years since I first started to play the guitar to figure out the link between classical theory and modern music myself through sheer coincidence and trial and error and luck and this for me is still an ongoing process and she gets to learn almost everything in one day.

Personally, I've been always reluctant to teach people because I know that with my temper, I would most likely end up shouting and scolding my student, but yesterday went better than I expected. The only thing I am worried about is that she might because stuck like me in this classical conservative theory box and be unable to get out of it which kinda limits a person's creative expressions. I don't know how much of yesterday did pigmei managed to absorbed but I'm always around to re-teach and ask questions.

Yay. So I guess I've this career option as a guitar theory teacher teaching Cheena Pop.

Anyway, I'm going off for CHMA already. More about CHMA later.

As always, here's a video of another old growing up boy band that I found.
Check out Madison Square Garden man, the number of people watching this concert is mind- blowing. I swear to myself, one day its going to be me on that stage. With hundreds of thousands of fans screaming at everything you do.

Here is N Sync with I Drive Myself Crazy

Friday, July 18, 2008

Anywhere For You

I realized that music affects me a lot. Visited the juniors during their practice the other day and I must say that they still have a long long way to go. But I guess they've got some good players inside that could help them.
Anyway, since the guitar farewell I've been constantly listening to some very emo songs. Ballads and all. Like Sunshine in the Rain slow version by Alexander Klaws and other similar stuff. Tear inducing stuff.

And the thing was my mood, like these songs turned for the worst. I became angry and frustrated. And during music class on Wednesday I was already showing signs of cracking when I started beating up the bean bag getting frustrated over my violin practical stuff. And that night during dinner, something Stephanie did really blew me off my limits and everything just went downhill from there and I totally lost control of myself. I didn't know what the hell I was thinking but I accidentally let lose some undesirable words at somebody very close to my heart.

The next morning, after waking up I still wasn't doing very good. When I was using the computer the school, I received this offline message that mei had sent last night but apparently I didn't receive and it said I should stop listening to emo songs and something clicked. Back came Mayday's song. Back came the highness in me, like somebody had just switched on this light inside my head and I realised wat a dork I had been.

Anyway I though I should let you people listen to this very veyr inspiring Mayday song but try to understand Hokkien though.

Some music have the ability to suddenly at any point of time in the music to suddenly make my body go cold and cause the hairs on my back to stand up. I realized these music are so good that the melodies or the lyrics induce certain strong feelings into me.

Thanks to Justyne, I had to dig thru my old CD collection and decided that I should take a few out for a listen, see if they are still working or not. Some of these CDs have been abandoned for super super long. The first one I listened to today was....


Wow, imagine that, the BSB. Growing up band. Stuff that had been with me since well... super long... There were a great number of songs inside that I remember very fondly and well, I've chosen to present one very very old

Anywhere For You by The Backstreet Boys

This song is like from WOW, 95/96? Amazing. Haha. A little more insights into growing up in Malaysia.

I realized that whenever I start to like somebody, I started doing all sorts of weird things like attempting to make conversation out of empty air and start to embarrass myself and then things start to go downhill for me especially when I get no response and start hating that person for no reason and I end up finding it difficult just to be friends with that person. It has already happened to me once last year..It seems like its going to happen again now... WTF is wrong with me....

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A moment of missed opportunity, a lifetime of regret

Hello folks, just woke up and decided I should write down this funny dream or rather nightmare before I forget about it. Well, last night I dream that Jasmine was trying to hit me when I was playing the siren thing for the Torn song...Tsk tsk...

Anyway, Guitar Farewell was yesterday and lots of mixed emotions associated with it. As the title suggests, it was a moment of missed opportunity, a lifetime of regret. But I guess that's the way I'm going to remember guitar farewell for the rest of my life even though it's in a bad way.

The speech I was going to say was actually very simple but I dunno why I made such a big fuss out of it. Maybe I gave it a lot of thought over the days, but now it seems stupid to me.

The thing was although I didn't go around giving souvenirs like everybody else but I very much like to say thank you with music because music is such an important element of my life and my greatest show of appreciation is to share that huge part of me with all of you wonderful people.
Well of course I would like to thank the Junior Exco for giving this one half of Csus4 what I feel would be the last performance ever. Although many people say that we can always get together and play but the feelings not the same as performing in public and delivering our message through music and getting all that high feeling. Maybe one day in the not too distant future we might be famous and have many more chances to perform together until we are old. LOL, imagine this

Old Andrew: Ian (coughs coughs), eh, we going to perform Jenny today...(coughs coughs), you still can jump at the chorus there or not?

Old Ian: (hobbles around), hand(coughs)some, I try my best la, I scared my legs give way..

Old Waihong: Eh we take half the tempo do emo version can? My hands if move too fast might fly out... Aduh, pain sia.. Got deep heat?

Of course the first great big thanks goes to my favourite juniors from my cheena group, I love you guy and girls a lot.. We had a great time together..
Big thanks of course to the entire Csus4, Ian, Waihong, Edward, Jansen and Zheng Whye. Thanks for making Perfect 5th the most perfect concert in my life as of yet.
BIG BIG thanks to PRIME 1 and PRIME 2, especially my SL Justyne, one heck of a job, one heck of a SL.
Thanks to Senior Exco, Ian, Sharon, Jasmine, Jenny, Waihong for all the behind the scenes stuff.
Thanks to Basses for always being there, the music just isn't the same without all the boom boom boom.
Thanks to Alto 2s. I salute you girls and guy's sheer hard work. From where you came from to where you ended up... Just amazing. I wished I had that patience with my violin...
And of course to Alto 1s, pro as always with all the main melodic lines and tiny frets...
Conductors too, thanks for generously sharing your wisdom and knowledge with us.

Always been proud to be a VJC Guitarist although there have been its painful and sad moments for me which I shall not elaborate at this point of time. But yeah, CHEERS to a great many years ahead.

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Monday, July 7, 2008

Part Of Your World

Hullo folks, well I've been always complaining that some one wasn't updating her blog then she updated already so I've no choice but to update myself.

Well results are already back and its so embarrassingly bad that I've this feeling MOE is regretting renewing my scholarship last year. So yeah. For the first time in my school life I'm resolved to completely study each and every chapter through and through by the next prelims. It's going to take a lot of effort on my part by I can see the 4 A's gleaming brightly. Laugh and smirk all you want but this is the moment of reckoning.

Anyway I've been preparing the Guitar Farewell performance. I cannot believe I'm going to sing. Hopefully I can pull it off without any pitching problems and be able to hit the high notes without breaking my voice. Just have to work hard on it you know and give everybody good memories to bring home. Well actually I've been thinking that it isn't such a bad thing to zao sia, at least that's something people will remember me for. I can imagine like 20,30 years down the road I meet like Ian on the streets with his wife (*****) and kids then he's going to point at me and tell his kids, that's the guy that sang so horribly during my guitar farewell. Truth is, names will be forgotten but zao sia stays forever. Hahaha.

Well post common tests have been rather traumatising and depressing for me. With record low after low being set. But I've been up to my self-soothe thing again. Seriously I think any other teenager going through the kind of stress I've been going through alone without the help of family and friends would have commited suicide.

Found this great buffet place over at Excelsior Hotel at City Hall MRT. Basically ala-carte buffet which means u can order anything from the menu unlimited times. There was crabs and shark fin soup and all the other amazing things that the Jar Jar Binks gang would never have remotely dreamt of eating during our time in Singapore. For the first time we didn't have to decide should we eat this or that or can we afford it. For the first time, we just ordered till our hearts contend. I suspect the restaurant made a loss off us that day. Haha. Maybe we've been blacklisted forever by them.

Watched an incredible amount of movies this week. YES!! I'm a movie buff. My GP teacher was so correct about me when I wrote that first essay on 'Is the book or the movie better?'

Watched Wanted, Hancock, 21, P.S. I Love You, Warlords and part of Initial D.

The best was 21. Totally blew me away with all those tricks and memory power and maths counting.

Anyway went to Kbox. I was very satisfied with the choice and songs. Even managed to sing 祝福 and hit all the notes.

Here's the video of a very good song that totally reminds me of all the childhood things. I remembered after watching The Little Mermaid how I felt as a 5 year old kid that how free the mermaids were swimming underwater and just gliding around like there was nothing to worry about and your hair just suspended in water and your body suspended in the middle and you really could just lay back and watch the world stop. Even tried submersing myself in a bathtub to turn into a mermaid and thank God I didn't drown.