Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Day is Beautiful Because of You

It was Sunday evening and I was on the way to a dear friend's wedding when I first saw them. Their colours and beauty intoxicating, their elegance and charm irresistible. I made a decision right there and then to purchase some before the day was over.

The shop was about to close when we got back there. There were so many to choose from I couldn't make up my mind which to have. The kind old lady was nice and accommodating, but impatient, as she watched my eyes dart from one to another. With a friendly smile, in a friendly tone, she asked me to make my choice. In my heart, I perhaps knew, from the start, which I wanted the most - perhaps I was lingering only to feast my eyes a little longer on all the beauty spread before me.

At home, I had to clean, prune and trim. It hadn't been that long since I worked with the likes, but I had absolutely forgotten how thorny they can be! It is easy to forget the unpleasantness, you see, when all you could remember is how mesmerizing they were when you were done with them. It was tedious work and the thorns tore the skin on my hands - but I kept thinking of this quote I'd read somewhere:

Do not complain that roses have thorns - be grateful that thorn-bushes have roses.

Indeed I am grateful!

Your presence is such that Monday wasn't as gloom-filled, mundane tasks weren't as insufferable and the fact that there were four more days till the end of the week wasn't as unbearable.

Thank you for blooming so wonderfully. This week will be that much lovelier because of you.

Monday, June 28, 2010

She's Hot

I stumbled across this piece which says that Sarah Brightman is hot, and why. Pages sometimes disappear from the web after I've posted links to them, so here's a copy-and-paste of the text:

Why She’s Hot:

1. The Phantom of the Opera was written for her. No, not just the part of Christine, but the whole entire show. How great of a person do you think she is if the greatest love story of all time was written in musical form and dedicated exclusively to her?

Why, yes! Absolutely! She was his muse. The (arguably) greatest musical of all times was inspired by her. How many people do you know have music written for them? Or even a poem? I've never had anything written for me - not even a 2-line rhyme!

2. While most celebrities butcher their entire bodies to age beautifully (and fail to do so), Sarah never had it on her face. For the most part, she let nature take its course.

And I read somewhere that she takes care of herself by eating healthy stuff and running 6 miles a day... (6 miles?! Is it possible? If it isn't, maybe I remembered that wrongly... )

3. Have you heard this woman sing? And guys, half the time she’s singing, she’s half-naked. And its obvious she loves to be naked. Or at least partially. Who are we to complain either way? Older women are hot.

I've always stuck to the opinion that being as talented as she is, she has no need to be that under-clothed. However, if she wants to be (half-) naked and looks so good being so, I have no complaints. None whatsoever! :P

4. Her eyes. Have you seen them? They’ll hypnotize you, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or guy.


5. Though her first movie may have her looking strange through most of it, hearing her sing with a close up of her extremely kissable lips makes it all worth it, even if her story is a little gory.

Ah yes - Repo! The Genetic Opera - I haven't watched this because it is a little too gory for me (and it has Paris Hilton in it... ugh!), but I guess I could try to skip to all the Sarah-singing-parts...

Yup, she is hot! =)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Adam The Musical

To write about the longest-running Malaysian musical right after it had ended its run is not very efficient of me. There were 35 shows all in all, and I procrastinated till the 34th. I had actually wanted to go for the final show, but by the time we inquired, the tickets were all sold out. I must say, I understand I was very fortunate to get to watch the musical at all.

I had also intended to write about it the very moment I got back from the 19th June show - or the very next day at least... and yet, here we are.

Adam the Musical (the link to the official website I would have posted if it still exists - I don't know why they've already taken it down from is about the girl who comes to know that her fiance is HIV-positive just before their planned wedding. Of course, no one was singing about the virus. The musical is not about AIDS - it's about dealing with it, living with it, how people (family, friends, fellow sufferers, orang kampung, medical personnels, etc) react to it, and above all, deciding that love should overcome it.

Although written by people I've never heard of (sorry, guys - no hard feelings, yea), it had Dato' Faridah Merican in it, and Joe Hasham as the director. That alone quite convinced me it should be a good show, not to mention that Lex Lakshman Balakrishnan was the choreographer, and Tracy Wong the music director. These are actual, real, no-nonsense people that I know, and have worked with!

So, the songs were OK, the music good, and the singing... well, could be better. I've read reviews written by others saying the singing was very good, and that the cast's talents were well above the script and music given to them. I cannot completely agree - though, mind you, reader, that I am not formally trained in music, so whether I find something pleasing or otherwise is based solely on my personal preference. I found that although most the songs were sung rather nicely, none were exceptionally impressive, and none affecting enough to really move me emotionally - except dear Faridah's syair, which was very, very lovely. And though I really liked Maria Yasmin's (who played Sylvia, the female protagonist) voice, several of her high notes made me cringe a little. The ensemble sang pretty well too, when they were singing together, in harmony, that is. The very few solo lines were so bad I nearly fell off my seat.

The dialogs, though mostly fine, were a little crude here and there, and a little cheesy in parts. The choreography, on the other hand, was wonderful. The dance steps by the ensemble were not too flashy, yet, beautiful and engaging. The part they stomped their feet several times in quick succession reminded me of our Lo Lo Re Babu and that really made me smile. Oh, and there were two guys dressed as ladies! It wasn't until quite a bit into the show that I realised they played a couple of transvestites who were also HIV-positive. Outrageously dressed and dolled-up, loud and imposing, they were extremely entertaining.

The one part which quite moved me, was the conversation between Sylvia and her sister Elsa, right after Sylvia disclosed the fact that Adam, the man she would marry, is HIV-positive. Elsa said something like - they don't know what he did to have contracted the disease; Sylvia replied - it doesn't matter, it is in his past! It stuck on me because it made me think of the possibility of unconditionally loving a person, regardless of his past, regardless of the consequences and burdens that followed him from his past, without knowing, and without wanting to know what happened in that past. (Well, recently I've come to conclude that absolute unconditional love, other than that of a parent for a child, can't actually exist - I will leave that for another post)

However, towards the end, it was implied that Adam was born HIV-positive, which I felt had considerably dampened the impact of the earlier plot. Think about it - isn't it so much easier to love a person who is sick through no wrong of his, compared to one who you do not know how he got sick? It's quite disappointing because I felt that the entire musical became so much shallower in that instant. The writers should have left Adam's past as the unsolved mystery, and show us Sylvia's love for the person standing in front of her, without the slightest curiosity nor care for the person he used to be.

The finale was grand - with a song performed by the entire cast (I think). The ending, though, was abrupt and odd. After the finale, all the cast members disappeared from the stage, and one person - the Angel - remained, to casually say a few words to indicate that the musical had ended. I felt it wasn't very Joe-like. Well, maybe it was a side of Joe I hadn't been acquainted with.

So, did I enjoy the show? Sure I did! Would I recommend it to you, reader? Well, I would, really, if it was still running...

Further reading:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hello Crackpot

As I become more experienced as a blogger, I have come to refrain from blatantly bashing people up on my blog (because it is extremely childish) - but then, some people truly deserve it. And the truly deserving are sometimes worth putting aside civility and good manners for. So, pardon my being immature this once.

I was never in any way acquainted with Mr Crackpot prior to the first message he sent me, through our beloved social-networking site, which name I needn't mention. In that message he took liberty to introduce his choir and said he hoped I'd enjoy watching their video clips on their website. A sudden, unwarranted and slightly-crazy message as such, sent by a total stranger, I usually would simply ignore. However, I discovered that Mr Crackpot was somewhat associated with some of the "top" people in YKLS, including our musical director, and so I decided I shouldn't be rude. I decided to be nice and polite, and responded to his message in a nice and polite manner. Have I ever said this, reader, that being nice almost always never get you good rewards? Being nice, patient, understanding etc., means you put yourself out there to be taken advantage of, to be trashed and bullied by the mean and selfish - but I mustn't stray from the main point of this post.

So, I wrote a nice reply thanking him for his message, and said that I was aware of, but did not manage to attend their last production (which in truth, I really was aware of, and was asked by my roomee to join her for it) because it was just prior to YKLS's Rhythmic Roots, during which rehearsal schedules were overwhelming. I don't know how it was possible, but think I somehow offended him by that statement. His next message attempted to put me down in my place by telling me that if I thought our schedule was overwhelming, I should see their rehearsals. He said I should have seen their last production because it was a "full length dramatic musical" (his very words!) that YKLS don't attempt. He also told me to make sure I catch their then-upcoming production.

Well, well! Where did that come from? I mean, really? Was it just poor choice of words or what? At that point in time, I mentally composed at least half a dozen immensely rude and sarcastic replies I could have sent. Alas - I didn't. I only wrote that I didn't know why he needed to compare his choir and mine, and that I appreciate his informing me of their then-upcoming show. And then he said - are you prepared for this? -

"No comparison meant. Just an unsolicited comment made to us by another YKLS member about our rehearsals..thats all."

Speechless? Dumbfounded? Stupefied? I was a little of each when I read that too. At that point, I actually really wanted to compose a long and extremely rude message to him - no point trying to be nice still, when faced with such irrationality! But I couldn't - that copulating anus blocked me! He actually blocked me, so I could no longer send him messages, and could in no way retaliate!

Do you, reader, have the slightest idea what that felt like? Picture this - you're walking along a road, minding your own business, living your own life; someone approaches you, pretends to be friendly, talks to you; suddenly, that someone turns hostile, insults you, then accuses you of insulting him, and runs off before you even knew what was going on. If there is one thing I hate more than an unfair accusation, it is this kind of completely uncalled-for, unprovoked unfair accusation.

So, does Mr Crackpot think he is safe from my wrath now that he's blocked me? Think again, Crackpot, think again. *evil laugh*

Friday, June 4, 2010

Love in the Far East

So, we flew all the way, over the rainbow, to be a part of the celebration of their love.

Bintulu is a small town, quietly bustling and not in the least touristy. We planned our trip such that we would reach the day before the wedding, and I'm sure it would have been lovely to have a day or so to explore the quaint little place leisurely. However, Air Asia somehow decided to delay our morning flight till the late afternoon, so we reached only in time to check in to the hotel, have dinner and turn in for the night. Well, that's what one gets for wanting for fly cheaply, so...

Uncle booked for us rooms facing the river. He said we'll be able to see heavy traffic along it, in the mornings especially, because it's the Gawai holiday and many people would be returning to their villages via boats. He said we would be able to witness the real Borneo way of life. I must say, when I heard that, I felt so very excited! I envisioned watching tough, weathered men, shirtless and tattoo-ful, rowing their canoes loaded with basketfuls of goods through the early morning mist and admist gentle rays of the sun... and -

- I was wrong.

The little harbour was very busy - loads and loads of people embarking and disembarking, carrying huge bags and boxes of stuff - but nothing at all like how I thought it'd be. I guess I got carried away by wild imaginations, being on my first ever visit to Sarawak.

Uncle also told us of this shop right next to our hotel, which serves very good local I-forgot-what mee. He said it's so good that the place is always packed, sometimes to the point of having no place for waiting customers to stand (while waiting to be seated). It's a must-try. Fine, I told Mummy - let's go really early, like 7am! Mummy said OK. That night, we decided we'd wake at 6am the next day. Mummy said we don't need a whole hour to wash our faces and brush our teeth, so we can go down to the shop by 6.30am... (and I thought I was extreme).

We were so early the next day, the kitchen hadn't even fired up. So, we first took a short walk along the riverside, and then sat down for a hearty breakfast of that famous noodles which had people from near and far flocking to it.

It was good - well-worthy of its reputation, no doubt.

After breakfast, we took another walk down a street or two -

And we saw a chicken! Well, not just a chicken, but a steady, stalwart, beautiful rooster. Just as I was wondering why a rooster was pacing around in that part of the town (in a little space between two rows of shops), I notice a chain around its leg.

And I noticed there were others -

At a later time, exploring the town further, we stumbled upon more -

Presently, I was told that they were bred and kept for fighting. Imagine these magnificent, gorgeous creatures fighting! I do not want to criticise cultures and/or traditions, but still, a cockfight wouldn't be something I'd even consider watching.

Moving on to more pleasant sights - the tide was going out (I think) and we saw a fish with legs! What a cute little thing! Mummy said she used to see lots of them when she was young, and that they could even climb up trees. I am too lazy to Google it out, so do just be content with this photo:

We didn't have a lot of time to linger around town in the morning, as we had to be ready and be at the church by 10am.

The church was very beautifully decorated. The wedding entourage were all present and ready, and the relatives and guests pouring in.

It wasn't long before the pews were filled. The groom and his bestman took their places and stood waiting (im)patiently. Then, the pianist started playing.

The bridal procession started with the cute little ring bearers and flower girls, and with that, begun the wedding ceremony.

The pretty little program leaflet which was given to each guest listed ONE official photographer. However, a lot of people these days are very enthusiastic about photography, and often offered to be free freelancers. Thus -

Well, that's OK, I guess - if we guests present couldn't maintain a decent view of what's going on, we could always request to view the "pro" photos later... well, except for guests like me - I don't even know who they were. Oh, well.

By slightly after noon, the newly-weds were done receiving well wishes and congratulations, the guests done mingling cheerfully over a simple luncheon, and the bride done tossing her bouquet to a group of eager single ladies and gentlemen (yes, the guys wanted to catch it too). The wedding reception would be in the evening, so we had some hours to spare.

We got back to our hotel and I slept. I slept like I'd never slept enough in my life. If Sleepology was a real field of study, I'd have completed my postgrad (in Sleepology) before I was done with my undergrad. Fortunately, I didn't sleep the entire afternoon away, so we had an hour or so to explore a little more of the town we're in, before having to get ourselves ready for the evening.

There wasn't much, though - we saw a temple:

We saw a rather big square with nothing in it:

And we saw... (try not to fall off your chair) ...this (seriously ancient) photo of Leon Lai in a grocery shop:

When we first touched down, Uncle mentioned that Bintulu is quite a non-halal place. Eateries serving pork are plentiful - so I was sort of disappointed (ahem!) when I found out that the restaurant where the reception would be held was in fact, a halal place. I was so hoping for roasted suckling pig....but, hey, I wasn't there for the food alone, was I?

The wonderfully decorated stage:

See the multiple-tiered wedding cake? It was a real one! And how did I know that? Well, we were served wedding cake after it was cut! This was the very first time I actually tasted wedding cake at a wedding reception. How very pleasantly extraordinary!

Half an hour past the time the dinner was supposed to begin (which was really quite "punctual", based on Malaysian standards), the wedding party marched into the hall:

There were the little girls, the joyful new parents-in-law, the bestman and bridesmaid, and the newly-weds. See the row of pretty little girls? They presented several delightful dances during the reception. A few other close friends presented songs, both sung and played. The program was planned such that they were just enough, not too overwhelming, and no room left for auditory-nerves-torturing karaoke. It was near-perfect, if perfection in this aspect could be defined.

The couple so in love and so happy:

The cake-cutting:

The "champagne" moment:

I wrote "champagne" because there were no champagnes, really - the reception was completely alcohol-free and the bottles there were actually sparkling juice. That was also my very first time at a liquor-less Chinese wedding dinner. How very peculiar! I wonder when I will get to experience a Chinese wedding reception without sharksfin soup! One can only hope.

We ended the evening by adjourning to a (very distant) relative's home. The men had a few beers and men-talk, the women had their women-talk, the children ran about playing, and I cuddled a (very cute and fluffy) little dog. The little fella was 13 years old - very old for a dog - and was so attached to her best-loved owner that she hasn't eaten a proper meal in days, simply because that owner was not around. How heartwrenching!

Our afternoon flight home the next day ended our weekend getaway, though, not before we had this, that all visitors to Sarawak seek, the Kolo Mee:

Oh, it was yummy alright =P

Thursday, June 3, 2010

To -

It was this day, twenty-plus years ago, that I ceased to be the only daughter. No more being the center of everyone's attention, no more full claim of Mummy's lap and Papa's arms, no more hogging of everything to my heart's desire...

Instead, I got a playmate, quarrel-buddy and someone to hand-down old clothes I'd outgrown, so I'd get new ones :P

Thank you for putting up with a fierce and bossy Jie. Happy Birthday!