Runs on food and music, will sing for chips and pasta.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

M, MIFA and My Mind

I think the tallest person at MIFA (Malaysian International Fashion Awards) on Sunday night has got to be Ling, our home girl who makes good in international catwalk...

Personally, I was disappointed at some of the frocks I saw on some `celebrated people/females' in KL. My favourite was Soong Ai Ling in a discreet black knee length dress, three quarter sleeves, absolutely plunging neckline with a vintage (looked vintage, though I sat two tables away) brooch. Another low-profile but gorgeous dress of my favourite that evening was this one-shoulder knee-length dress, Saree-patterned, silk (I think, noticed from far also), green and gold...

The rest were either unmemorable or, predictable...tell you when I see you ok.

Me? I did not get the red carpet treatment of having paparazzi gone mad snapping at me but my steal-buy at Metrojaya ages ago got me plenty of compliment -- a black satin-like (M costume designer Dominique said it wasn't satin) corset with matching pencil skirt, toe-peeping stilettos, with my new hair, blunt cut and shoulder length...

sigh -- all these descriptions -- I ran out of films fast that evening...but here's one..of the gorgoeous people in M...

I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend on Sunday itself, I attended on half-official assignment, media rep for M. Half official because it turned out there wasn't any official media table for me to slot myself into. I ended up taking the seat of an editor of a known publication...not a bad table -- I was seated next to a table full of Tattler faces, radio DJ cum celebrity, top models (that's why they were not doing the walk that night), top hair stylists...who obviously had a lot of fun laughing and taking pictures of themselves.

Upon arriving at the still quiet lobby of Hall 5 in the convention centre, I went straight to the backstage to check out the magnificent team of the evening opening act cast, from M!. They were in Melinda Looi's very funky gear, in Dominique's very theatrical make-up -- gold lips, green drawn-on motives on forehead, stick-on gold and red tattoos. Slick hair with big tight curls of hair-pieces...everyone was transformed.

Our act finally started at round 9.15pm...the music blasted the hall with elegant bodies lined under the material placed on stage. Cindy looked regal on her high platform, though singing from a hand-held mic, her delivery didn't lack the magic of both her vocal prowess and Saidah's ingenious music. The audience quietened (finally) and watched the performance. Judi's choreography complimented the sponsored wardrobe so well I hope the collection is making a comeback...Sygo G's work on the high-tech turntable (apparently he only need to wave on top of the machine to create the eclectic sounds) was quite amazing.

The MCs took some time to start the introduction of the M excerpts, I would like to think that they are in awe with it so much that they took some seconds to recover :)

The preparation and hard work paid off, the cast and production went to the cocktail area for well-deserved drink and photo-snaps. I skipped my main course and joined them...lamb is not in my diet anyway.

Aside from the opening act excitement that got me that evening, I managed to greet many models I knew from my agency days...though I will need to spend more time in getting some singing models (they would be very useful in the cast of M too).

And so this year's fashion week has sailed through its second year, with the usual suspects and a new winner at MIFA emerged. I was less excited about it all than I would imagined less than a year ago...I'd say it has something to do with my 4-month eye-opening experience at the agency. I have been wondering about the world-wide phenomena of celebrity-worshiping, I think most of us have lost the real meaning of celebrating a person's existence.

I quote Cleo Glyde's article in Nov issue of Australian Vogue that echoes precisely my wonder:

"You used to have to discover penicillin, hit high C or reinvent drama to be world-famous. Now it's more about the bling. The explorers, inventors, composers and Nobel Prize-winners glorified as pillars of of societies past did deeds that echoed through the ages, their renown rippling beyond circle and time. This stuffy, rock-of-ages fame is being eroded by the quick-fix culture of a modern celebrity whose mantra is rich and famous, LA style."

That might be describing the land across seas and contingents but look around here in KL and open any glossy magazines and you'll understand what I mean.

We worship some people for the mere fact that they look good on cameras and TVs...??

I would close by saying the M team did a great job (with their talent, not looks) at MIFA and I wish some of the audience who were very engrossed with their own beauty saw that too.


Saturday, November 26, 2005

Gudang & Socialites

Last night's rehearsal was held in an art exhibition, at Gudang, a warehouse turned art space.

I braved the traffic from KL Convention Centre in Jalan Ampang to Damansara Jaya. Left MIFA (Malaysian International Fashion Awards) to M's rehearsal...from slick tall bodies who sat around waiting for catwalk rehearsal to start (yes, it felt like work again except I wasn't their booker anymore, it felt good), to sizzling and pungent Char Keoy Teow being served outside the warehouse while art took place inside.

There were big blocks of ice being stacked up in one corner, a small mountain of hays (wood stripes???) in a circle, two TVs showing ONE game of tennis (clever), a hammock being finished, and many other activities that I couldn't begin to describe. There were mainly scruffy looking bohemians, familiar looking theatre people, preppy-looking folks, and there was even a Tattler couple...

It was humid inside, you perspire, from staring at a light bulb doing its thing two inches off the ground, or from eating the extremely delicious and freshly fried Keoy Teow, or from an engaging discussion on who should try out the tempting hammock now done...

One of us, a girl with balls attempted climbing onto the huge hammock....she was short and very determined, second Signal Master followed suit and got in with some pronounced effort. I was very eager and very worried about not being able to get my skinny ass onto that scary but fun-looking thing. With some reassurance and encouragement, I got onto the damn thing quite easily (jaw-dropping easy for me as the third one up) and posed some idiot poses at the camera...hope it turns out.

Then a voice came on a mike announcing a musical performance that was about to start. A flute, a guitar and a violin. Three men. No amplification for the live performance. I tried shooshing the slightly noisy crowd (my favourite thing in public) -- reminding them what the host just announced -- don't make a sound -- performance.

They started playing, it was still a bit too warm in there, I sat on a brick out next the ice blocks...a couple of my M fellas followed. We didn't stay too long....the cast left in one group and helped each other got out of the `car-park'.

Then at the director's house I had my third gin-n-tonic for the month. We watched Buster Keaton on film and were highly entertained, inspired (I hope) and energized...WHAT TALENT!!!! Rehearsal ended with us playing and experimenting with saying lines and words from Allan Cummings' Cabaret...saying everything with conviction and with zero laziness in the mouth and jaw, exhausted at the end of exercise.

After those exercises it was chill out time, director was in her sociable mood so we chilled and chatted for quite a while, with her unfriendly-but-curious cat and the very sociable dog milling about among us.

That was a very unusual Friday evening and I'd say, damn happening Friday night. Where were you? Jackie Cheong's musical??


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Blowing trumpet

I might be going through a I-hate-my-voice phase, but I think I'm getting over it...JW said I just need to learn to appreciate the uniqueness of my own voice (same thing they say about `unique beauty'?).

Well, fortunately that maybe some people who don't really hate my voice. I will document every single soul who thinks something of my craft, from now on. I need these to help my daily appraisal :)

Life as a `free-lancer' has been great, minus the talk about money ok?

My mind is more active and I sometime eat pretty healthy stuff because I have time to make it, sometime I'm a slob with time I eat a slice of cheese in my car. This morning I realised I have been a slob with my to do list, I cancelled lunch with girls and stayed home and got some work done, and the rest of the day is supposed to be productive too...

Voice lesson at 3pm
Media meeting (volunteer work) for M at 5pm
Dinner with my brochure designer

Oh yes, please go check out my new temporary site for my baby singing career...any feedback?

Labels: ,


Friday, November 18, 2005


When I was driving home last night from the M rehearsal, I realised I know a handful of great 27-year-old females who are incredibly talented.

They are all a little prettier than me, a little more talented than me.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not totally consumed by jealousy fact I was planning to read more about the workings of this feeling of jealousy.

Haha, actually I'm more overwhelmed by the fact that I know these wonderful and talented 27-year-old females myself and I get to see these talented beings at work. I'm overwhelmed with the fact I'm friends with very very beautiful and smart females. Did I repeat myself? I'm so overwhelmed I can't be manage cohesive speech here....

They are great entrepreneurs, musicians, singers, teachers, dancers....they are high achievers and yes, I will always be impressed and overwhelmed with people doing great things under 30 years of age. I'm still amazed at these things even though you'll say "Halo...this is the 21st century la, so many things have happened for and to the women since the 80's.."

21st century or not, many old school people are still around and many young people are still being brought up old school style...I treasure everything that are perhaps, being expected too much by some.

Like, it's rare finding a man who's totally supportive of his girlfriend passion.
Who is not threatened by her attractive dressing (or sexy wardrobe).
And still does the dishes.
And end of the day, still carry bags, open doors for me.

Yes, am talking about my lover.

I treasure the fact that my women friends are worldly and successful, and I cherish men who can live with that and love them for it.

I'm 28, I have great friends who are 27 and female.



Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Wedding Singer

My new bed arrived on Monday, ended my days of sleeping on my quilt and bed sheets, with no air-con at night – it was too cold to sleep on the floor with the air-con on. It’s a super single bed, I had to buy new sheets…I splurged on my two new sets, 330 thread count…not knowing whether it is the highest available in Aussino but it kind of maxed out my budget so I stopped at 330 thread count, this is the best I have ever owned all my life.

On a separate note, speaking of material achievements…when sweet J presented me with these gifts I thought it was the most romantic thing – he had bought me a 2006 annual planner and a note book to go with the planner. “This planner is for you to record all your singing activities and your plans for singing in 2006, the notebook is for your to keep a diary of your singing exercises everyday.”

And speaking of singing, my first wedding gig (a gig, basically one that I was hired for, and not appearing as a singing guest like one I did at SM’s beautiful wedding in June. went extremely well after a nightmarish sound check. I thought I sounded like Nina Simone with my nose all blocked with bad flu, except it was more like a Nina Simone gone bad. By performance time my nose cleared up and I was more comfortable with the mike and the monitor helped a lot.

Although some of my new repertoire, ok, definition of the word repertoire:

The stock of songs, plays, operas, readings, or other pieces that a player or company is prepared to perform.

Although some of my new repertoire that evening did not go as badly as I dreamed about, I certainly thought I did `ok’…which explained why my jaw dropped totally when the couple repeated their thanks and happiness on my `fine performance’. I stayed back to nibble on the dinner they served my accompanist and I after the party and the bride again reminded me how happy they were that I sang that evening. I couldn't’t think of anything more rewarding to me as a singer, than what she told me, “You’ve made our wedding so beautiful.”

Now I just need to make sure that I get their elaborate reference/testimony in my bio next.

And how can I not talk about my wardrobe that night! I avoided the sexier collection I have and opted for my ever so safe and elegant Ala Audrey-Breakfast-At-Tiffany’s evening dress I bought from my Sydney trip years ago, at a King’s Cross Sunday flea market. This time I updated the dress with my new corsage that went on with an organza ribbon as a belt.

I guess I could still get intoxicated for a while with making some couple genuinely happy (or appreciative) at their wedding parties…though I know singing at weddings is not just about singing for the marrying couple, you have to face their excited, intoxicated parents, uncles, friends, hungry guests…etc. Good thing for now I have plenty of enthusiasm in singing my heart out in front of strangers, indifferent looking or distracted. I noticed people turned to look at the singer when I started on a popular ballad that gets lots of airplay.

I walked away from this gig and back onto the full swing M Opera rehearsals that are enjoying its high momentum at the moment with renowned Roland Peelman conducting intensive week long vocal workshops. The acting rehearsals have been mind blowing and stimulating; the music is…simple electrifying and a real killer. You can literally smell the eagerness of the cast when you walk into the rehearsal, how much we want to put this show on and burn on our passion for creative things.

Look out for M! The Opera, the most exciting project...coming to the theatre near you.



Sunday, November 06, 2005

Box of Delights

Am having one of my longest break this weekend, I can't recall a weekend like this one for the longest time.

All, i mean, ALL my appointments from Friday till today were all cancelled, or postponed. Wedding gig rehearsal postponed, dinner with girlfriend in IKEA cancelled, acting workshop cancelled, shopping with SM @ Amcorp flea market cancelled, it didn't help when the market was closed for Raya.

Looked into my yellow box stored in J's house, in his bedroom...old music sheets from my Operafest days, some of his guitar books, old theatre program books from years ago (Dangerous Liaisons, Hiphopera, Box of Delights, A Flight Delayed, Art, Mountain Language... ), empty file pockets, and among them i found my orange paper folder, it's rather thick...its content makes me smile and drift into nostalgic mood.

on top of everything else in the folder is a big stack of tore out magazine pages, from the old Men's Review, Day & Night & Asia Magazine. Am sure some of you know these columnists:

Kam Raslan, Men's Review (You Are Here, 2000)
Kam Raslan, MR (Being A Man, 1998), also found was a cut out of the same column by Sohail Khan, and Roland Takeshi
Kam Raslan, MR (Say What? 2, 1997), with Amir Muhammad in the seat in 1996
Puvan J Selvanathan, MR (Urbane, 1997)
Ida Nerina, MR (Being A Woman, 2000)

and then of course there was the
Fay Khoo, MR (Tongue In Cheek, 2000)

I had cut-outs that I don't remember Sharaad Kuttan's feature piece tittled In Search of Democracy in the May 1997 issue, but then again, 1997 is 7 years ago...

Off with Men's Review (it was one of the better mag back then with local columnists who entertained well), before MR, Kam Raslan was Shooting Blanks in Day & Night mag.

These guys were the celebrities for me back then, I remember meeting these people in person meant so much for me, I had diary entries of those `events' I believe. However my self-introduction to Ms Khoo was vividly disappointing, maybe I lack confidence or some x-factor, but I remember I got a half-hearted smile and nod and my awkward walk-away from her. Whatever happened to Ms Khoo, I used to nod to her writings...and you know, there were not many sexy ones who keep only white shirts n blue jeans in KL.

Later I have (sadly) grown out of my starstruck days, I say it's sad because SM loved my wide-eyed innocence back then when I would go up to Amir Yusof shamelessly and ask for a photo taken together, or scream when Jit Murad was in the same room....Jit is very much still larger than life for me but I have somehow grown shy these's a real shame.

I have a few hand-written drafts of cover letters for a few job applications, I was hoping to get into SONY I think, the recording company. Then there was a few `emails' I wrote down before I sent the emails, back then I wrote my emails before I get to the cyber cafes.

Then I have these thick print-outs of emails from my first love....this is before Gmail ok. Reading them can literally transport me back to the year MalaysiaKini first had its anniversary dinner where I met him.

Anyway, that's it, I have obviously kept only these few items in this folder for a reason I can't remember now but I know I will archive these `memoirs' of the years gone by....1996 and 1997, what were you doing then?


Friday, November 04, 2005

Dr In The House

Sweet J is highly-regarded Dr Love, by two women. That's me, and my girlfriend. Ok, maybe Dr Love sounds too severe, it's more like, Dr How-not-to-be-depressed.

I would say that Dr How-bla-bla is a good mix of being well-read and intelligent. He has a fine brain that digests input fast (but he will not, ever, understand my need to shop constantly, he knows that it's my happy food but he doesn't know why I need variety in my wardrobe) and a good heart that is rare in this time n age.

He is capable of making most topics interesting, he can explain things in the most simple and easy-to-understand for laymen. He will open your eyes, make you think outside the box.

He is good with kids, he used to have astronomy sessions for kids where I was the telescope carrier. Kids used to ask me questions about the sky thinking I was just as knowledgeable.

He buys very good books, he has been my book supplier for the past few years. He reads mighty fast too. I would say that MOST of the great reads I have had in the last few years came from him:

The Curious Incident of A Dog In The Night-Time
How I Became Stupid
Eleven Minutes
The Pleasure Of Finding Out Things (Richard Feynman)
Catcher In The Rye
Demon-Haunted World
list goes on...

He is so many things but he is not flamboyant and all showy like some people we know. He sees the best in people, he makes me see the silver lining in everything and he helped me learn how to cope with disappointments, and turn them into my strength.

He told my girlfriend that men are essentially creatures who struggle (an eternal struggle maybe) and juggle between their socially-received conscience and biological-make-up (which make up their natural desire to be polygamous. He explained why it's harder for single women to stay depression-free and happy in the society...

He explained common sense (that is ironically not very common) so well that later you wonder why you never thought of it before....

Anyone needs a session soon?


Springtime & Shopping

I had the pleasure of going shopping in the big 1-U on first Raya day. It was spring in Redrummerder (how the heck do you spell that again?) and Tangoo. I don't recall the last time I walked into Red-whatever seeing something new, they were SAME for months and months, and Tangoo, for months and months it was on some kind of perpetual sale and you get the occasional new arrivals on two racks, of imported Korean fashion of not-so-cheap tags.

But last night when I was in Tangoo for that few minutes (I was rushing to new wing MPH to buy that complete Teresa Teng collection, tell you why later), I remember vividly the magic I felt when I first discovered Tangoo in 1-U. Those days I walked in just to admire and feel those glorious (and expensive), bejeweled Indian skirts in my hands....and then wham, the store went from Magic to sometime-tragic, like Red-whatever, Tangoo had a long winter but it ended last night when I walked in to find its store-wide new arrivals, ALL NEW ARRIVALS (except for one very small miserable rack of Value Buy or WHO-WILL-BUY-THAT!) and it was rhine-stone and sequin all the way.

I spent less time in Red-whatever because I didn't need more than 20 seconds to check out what was new in the store, it was half new and half VERY old stock, but it was just such relief to see at least some new dresses and boots. I remember those days when they only had one store in Sg Wang and I used to spent carefully there, I loved their stuff.

Anyway, I got my Teresa Teng collection, a new underwear from Pink Pussy Cat (!!!!) and a Gypsy-blue scarf/belt with sequins, some first non-flea market shopping in a long time.

On ya, the carnival/fun-fair next to the 1-U is open now, go there and get some lung-hurling going...I went on Monday night with a 8-year-old and nearly flew out of my chain-seat, I didn't know it the bloody chair was going to fly so high in the air. The kid was fine, so was I, in fact the kid wanted a 2nd round.

Happy Raya.


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Educating Chorus Girl

One pack of St Ives facial wipes, four pairs of panty hose and one pair of fish nets later, Pygmalion bumped out from the venue on Sunday.

After approximately 3500 bums on the seats of KLPAC Pentas 1, many heated debates on Kakiseni, we are drawing the last curtain call tomorrow.

I have gotten wiser with make up, at least I would like to think so; with time management - always start with foundation and some blusher before getting mic up, get fully dressed before doing the few touch ups before going on stage, do not waste your sound engineer's time by wondering what to say during sound check (duh)...

Things I learn:

If you want sleek n smooth hair, use a comb instead of hair brush.

Shut up when the director gives notes to cast, whatever, actually, just shut up when the director speaks...any kind of director, or stage manager.

Stage acting is more than just about being in characters, it's also about STAYING in your character the entire time when you are on stage, whether you have one line to deliver or zero.

If you have to stay in a pair of fishnets for hours in a performance, put a pair of panty-hose before the nets, it's magic.

If your lousy pencil eye-liner isn't gliding on your lids, wet the tip of the pencil and try again...tired? Then master liquid eye-liner.

Don't skimp on those lotion and moisturiser on your face, it help soothes your skin after the heavy make up and the make up remover later.

Watch your language in the dressing room, if you are in the presence of larger women, don't complain that you are fat, especially when you are actually under weight...(nope, I didn't do that)

If your costume consists of accessories like hats/caps and necklaces/chokers/corsages, stuff the smaller items into the hat when you hang up the clothes up, it saves trouble of looking for lost earrings, necklaces, ribbons...

St Ives, Clean n Clear wipes rock!!

The company parted with laughs and lots of silly snaps on camera...some emails staggered in with some endearing messages. Surprisingly this time I didn't suffer from any withdrawal syndrome, perhaps my bleak-or-bright future has something to do with it...well then, that's another story.