Saturday, April 25, 2009


This is a sort of long-overdued post. At the time of writing, showtime had been over a week. Nevertheless...

After having slept late 3 nights in a row due to rehearsals, I dragged myself out of bed 6 in the morning to make it in time for a 3-hour class starting at 8. It suffices to say that by that evening, I was exhausted beyond reasons. It would my first time performing on stage with a full orchestra; in a real, proper concert hall; with a real, paying audience; and I started the evening by ramming the car door into my face. It happened so fast - I swung it open and it whacked me just above my eye socket, somewhere at the middle of my right eyebrow. Thank goodness the bruising was in a spot I can nicely cover with make-up, and thank goodness it wasn't too serious, though it rattled my brain and gave me a good headache for the rest of the evening.

Did I mention it was my first time having a full, 75-person orchestra in accompaniment? And to say it was exciting would almost be an understatement. Strangely though, I was not the slightest bit nervous - not when, sitting there on stage, I saw the audience filling up the venue; not when the orchestra played the first piece; not even when we sung the first note of our first piece. The only thing I found hard to keep up was the required constant smiling. Pardon my saying this, but some songs simply weren't smiling-songs, and it would be extremely silly to have a smile carved onto your face throughout singing them.


This is the ruins of a colonial building on the way to the concert venue, which I saw and admired every time I drove past it. I was told photographing it is not allowed...

The orchestra rehearsing, with the (according to our lovely host) dashing, charming, sexy conductor, in the still empty concert hall.

The brightly coloured seats. Some of the choir members say they look like jelly-beans.

This is where they served us (awful) dinner. Actually, no one served anyone anything. All the packed food were unceremoniously stacked in a corner, and everyone just helped themselves.

The scary steps leading to our first-floor dressing room.

The dressing room! No, I didn't manage to snap photos of people in the process of dressing / undressing.

Backstage. Yes, it was that dark, all the time. I was terrified to walk in that extreme lack of light, and kept worrying about tripping and landing on my nose.

The stage during performance. I obviously couldn't had had possibly taken this shot - it is a screen capture from a recorded clip.

And that's all. I would write more, but I'm simply too tired right now...

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Traffic was a little slow along the lane I was driving, and I was looking for an opportunity to switch to the fast lane. From the corner of my eye, I thought I saw her lift her water bottle to her lips. It just didn't occur to me she'd still be drinking when I spotted a gap in the torrent of cars on my right, and stepped on the accelerator to take advantage of it. The car went forward with a considerable jerk and I was in the fast lane. From the corner of my eyes, once more, I thought I could see someone's searing stare.

I turned, and there on Mee Mee's face, was a look all at once incredulous, bewildered, and infuriated. It took me several seconds to realize that the sudden, forward movement had caused water to splash onto her face, up her nostrils and down the front of her shirt. I felt all the guilt I ought to feel - but that look on her face - I simply couldn't stop laughing! Admist abdominal-cramping laughs that tickled tears out of my eyes, I must've said I was sorry 10 times or so.

I am sorry, Mee Mee, I truly am, though I still find it funny - I am laughing right now as I recall that look on your face. Like I said just now, you can splash water back on me tomorrow after our last show.


20th April edit:
The day after the above described incident, it was Mee Mee's turn to drive. As we passed the same stretch of road, at the almost exact same spot the incident happened, she turned to me and said "OK, you can drink water NOW"

I did, and she did - though perhaps not seriously enough - step on it while I did, but it didn't result in any splashing. Then she said "You don't have to wait for me to accelerate to make the water splash out. You can just splash it all over yourself by yourself! Hmmmph!"

Hee hee heeeee. Next time lar :P

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Walking in the Rain, Part 2

It does rain a lot recently, doesn't it?

This time, it wasn't me walking in the rain. I was in the car, Mee Mee was driving. It wasn't just raining, it was pouring. And walking right in it, was a young couple.

It was an odd sight, because the girl was holding an umbrella, while the guy had several sheets of soaked-through newspaper plastered to his soaked-through head. They were walking side-by-side, but about a foot apart. Mee Mee made a comment on how the girl wasn't sharing her umbrella with her friend. I thought they probably were strangers to each other, who just happened to be walking together in that really heavy rain. But, no - they were sharing a conversation. Mee Mee also observed that it would had been very difficult for them to share the umbrella, because of the obvious height difference. It was true - the petite girl didn't reach up to the shoulders of the guy, and if the umbrella was held high enough over the guy's head, the girl would had been splashed wet all over anyway.

We concluded that the guy must've been a real gentleman, letting himself get drenched, so the girl could stay as dry as possible under the umbrella. Of course, it could had been the girl who'd declined to share her umbrella with him, but we prefer to think the former.

And what a sweet sight it became :)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Walking in the Rain

People may like or dislike it when it rains - depending on whether they were sleeping, going to sleep, having to wake up to go to work, or having just finished work and having to walk an open-air distance to get to their cars. It had been a long time since I got wet in the rain - wet as in really wet, droplets and splashes don't count.

I used to not mind getting drenched, soaked to the skin, back in the days when I cycled to and back from school. Though, like many of the girly girls at the time, I mastered the "art" of cycling while holding an umbrella over my head, most of the time I didn't care much about the weather - the scorching sun or pouring rain.

Of course I didn't like getting wet on my way to school, which was very seldom - I only remember one particular ocassion when I arrived at school early in the morning, rather wet from the rain. I ran into the headmistress on the way to class and got a disapproving "You're all wet!" from her. However, getting wet on the way home - now that was something different. I can't even remember how many times I'd cycled home in the rain. I had this huge yellow rain coat which I'd wrap around my bag and books, while I myself braved the torrent of raindrops.

I was out today. It started raining while I was inside a building, and my car was parked several streets away. I didn't have an umbrella with me, I didn't want to wait to see if the rain would stop, so my only option was to walk in it. It was rather weird, though it felt good, to be the only one walking without an umbrella or raincoat - just walking, not running or scurrying or dying to get out of it.

I like walking in the rain. I miss getting wet in the rain! It's fun, it's crazy, it's romantic and it never hurt anyone. Well, of course, if I come down with a cold tomorrow, you can sneer and say to me padan muka*.

*translates literally to matches your face, but really means serves you right

Friday, April 3, 2009

25 Things

(about me that you probably aren't interested to know anyway)

This is absolutely a copy-and-paste post. Social networking sites have brought narcissism to a whole new level. We can now write brilliant pieces selling ourselves like celebrities do, and make sure friends are made aware through the process of tagging them in the pieces! I never thought I would actually spend time writing such stuff, but then I was tagged. And well - what the heck! And since I'd already written the (very long) piece, why not publish it here as well?

The ctrl+c and ctrl+v text begins hereafter (names edited to protect identities, formatting and links included to increase dramatic effect):

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

1. I was dying for someone to tag me on this one so I can show the world what a great personality I am... no, that's not true. In fact, I think, although a little less absurd than those FB Quizzes that everyone seems to be taking these days, this is still a very silly thing to do. But I do indulge in being silly every now and then.

2. My mouse pointer moves very fast. One of the first things I'd do to a new PC is to adjust the mouse pointer speed to the highest, the keyboard repeat delay to the shortest, and repeat rate to the highest.

3. 3 is my favourite number. I don't know why.

4. I am not a born attention-seeker. Not when I was growing up, not when I was a young grown-up. But having been in the teaching profession for this long, I can't stand it when people don't pay attention when I talk - both inside and outside of the classroom. I feel this acutely especially with my mom, who has a habit of not listening to me. These days, when she does that, I simply merajuk and shut up, and let her do all the talking.

5. I love writing, as is probably obvious from the length of the previous point. I started writing short stories and essays as early as when I was 9 or 10. I'd once seriously considered making a living out of writing, but of course, if you love doing something so much, you shouldn't destroy that passion by trying to make money out of it. As it is, I write to humour myself. If I needed to feed my family using words, I'd need to write to humour the reading market. It won't be as fun.

6. When it comes to writing, I'm an idealist (not a perfectionist, mind you) - that is, every piece has to be the way that I want, that I love. I still write with a dictionary next to me, and very often use it to confirm the words I want to use accurately represent the idea I want to express. I take unusually long to complete and publish the pieces on my blog because they'd have to go through several iterations of proof-reading and editing before I am satisfied that they are fit for publishing. After publishing, it is common that I continue to edit a piece several times, to correct errors, restructure certain parts, and rephrase certain sentences.

7. Probably 90% of my friends and acquaintances know that I teach. About half of those who knew thought I teach English. I never taught English formally in my life. I don't know why people perceived that I do - perhaps I do have an acceptably good command of it.

8. I didn't actually speak English until I was 12 or so. Before that, my main language for communicating with friends was..... Bahasa Malaysia!

9. Every day since 2006, I would read Bee Ree's blog in the mornings. It is to me like newspaper is to some people. Sometimes, I'd dig up the earliest posts and appreciate how far she'd come in terms of style and presentation. I do the same to my own blog, and realise I'm still the same long-gas from 2005.

10. Despite loving to read and having read lots, I am actually a slow reader. I don't and can't do speed-reading. I want to take the time to savour the words, the meaning they carry, the emotions they evoke. Laugh if you will - when I read a sentence or passage that is exceptionally beautiful or moving, I'd re-read it once or twice, there and then, like an instant replay when you're watching sports. Of course when it comes to long reports and boring documentation, I don't read - instead, I "review" and "go through" them - at the rate equivalent to your regular "speed-reading".

11. The first unabridged classic I read: Jane Eyre. It is still my favourite. To date, I must've read it 7 or 8 times over. Maybe more. At first, I couldn't understand why Jane would choose the old, blind and lame Rochester over the young and handsome St John. Later, I couldn't understand why I was so stupid and didn't read the book properly the first time.

12. My favourite Charles Dickens is David Copperfield. My favourite David Copperfield is Hugh Dancy :)

13. Random thought: I can't believe I'm at the 13th item only. Must I go all the way to the 25th? Should I stop now and change the title from '25 Things' to '13 Things'? But 13 isn't that nice a number...

14. OK - how about this? I love my height, or the lack of. My fellow Penguin, who gloats excessively upon the fact that she is a GRAND 2cm taller than me, disagrees. She insists she wouldn't mind being a couple inches taller. Well, I wouldn't mind being a couple millions (preferably USD, but RM will do better than nothing) richer.

15. In contrast with the height, I am not crazy about my weight. Mind you, I am aware that I am not fat (so spare me the "you are not fat larrr" drama) but remember, no woman is ever thin enough, and I am a proud member of the fairer sex.

16. The only down side of being not fat (and therefore not heavy) is that people can very easily throw me around in the dojo like a rag doll. You must also realise that this point could had been a part of the previous point, but I'd purposely separated them to help fulfill this 25-point note.

17. The darnest thing someone said to me about my height: At what age did you stop growing?

18. The darnest thing someone said to me about my weight: Girl, you are slim, but your legs are quite fat, eh?

(and that's two more points down on the topics of height and weight!)

19. I love to sing because my father loved to sing, and loved good singing. I grew up listening to his Chinese classics and English oldies. I never really listened to contemporary music until I was almost out of my teens. And thanks to my father, I only like to listen to artists who have quality voice, who can sing very well, and who pronounce the lyrics clearly (which explains my obsession with Sarah Brightman and Jason Mraz). Other qualities such as incredible song-writing capability and amazing showmanship (ie. Mraz) are bonuses.

20. I actually don't recall my father ever having thought I sang well. The first person to praise my singing voice, even before I found it, was a trainee teacher in my school, when I was 11. I remember his name - Cikgu Azman. Thank you :)

(and that's two more points down on singing! woo hoooo!)

21. I have never scratched anyone's car on purpose. Never! Well, once or twice I did leave a mark on the car parked next to mine when I swung my door out too hard - but those must be categorized as "accidental".

22. I don't eat beef. Notice the word "don't". Most others would say they can't eat beef. I don't eat beef. There is a significant difference.

23. I don't eat raw cucumber. Anyone who'd had meals with me before knows. And I eat very slowly - first to start, last to finish. My bestfriend and Big Eyes love to mention this whenever we meet for food, and I appreciate them paying me that sort of attention.

24. I've been told I'm funny. I don't mean to be, or perhaps I do - I like it when I make people laugh.

25. I've also been told I'm spoilt, stubborn, unreasonable, demanding, fierce, self-opinionated, bossy, and definitely a you-do-this-my-way-or-else person with the memory of an elephant (ie, I remember what you said to me 10 years ago, especially if it wasn't something nice).

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


One More Walk Around the Garden

That old April yearning
Once more is returning
And I have a longing to wander.

The leaves may be falling,
But April is calling
And the prim roses beckon me yonder.

For one more walk around the garden
One more stroll along the shore.
One more memory I can dream upon
Until I dream no more.
For one more time perhaps the dawn will wait
And one more prayer it's not too late
To gather one more rose
Before I say goodbye and close the garden gate.

That old urge is saying
It's time to go straying
Where no one but April can find me.

To try and recover
The heart of a lover
That I left lying somewhere behind me.

Just one more walk around the garden
One more stroll along the shore.
One more memory I can dream upon
Until I dream no more.
For one more time perhaps the dawn will wait
And one more prayer it's not too late
To gather one more rose
Before I say goodbye and close the garden gate.

One more rose before I close the garden gate.

Music: Burton Lane
Lyrics: Alan Jay Lerner
From Carmelina (1979)