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

Friday, April 28, 2006

A 29-year-old monologue

This came in on my mobile in the middle of a recital...

"Happy belated birthday, old girl! Enjoy your last year as a 20 something....we got you pressie from.."

Of ourse as a responsible member of the audience my mobile was switched to silent mode.

Sitting at home now with Mahler playing on my laptob I suddenly remember the sms and POW! Yes, it's my last fucking year as a 20-something!

There wasn't much reflections or thinking of any kind near there on my birthday...I was surviving Times Square on Sunday!

But now, in the silence of my room and the sms staring in my face -- finally.

Really, age has always just been a bloody number. In month's time I would literally step onto the other side of Sweet-young-thang.

Hmmm, what a journey it's been! My short twenty-nine years! So many memories seem like yesterday and some light years away. Next year, 3-0, a whole lot of difference?? Thirty, what's is it like over there?? Thirty-something.

Does turning 3-0 means keeping away my flare minis?

Does it mean anything?

I have accumulated no wealth in my years of employment except wealth in the form of friends, songs to sing, music sheets...countless photographs, stories and, a whole wardrobe of kooky clothes.

And if I were to spread out an appraisal sheet over my life, what would my score be? Would I get a promotion or a bonus? Would my achievement list be longer than my de-merits?

Hahaha, nervous laugh* --- this is not the doorway to heaven you know.

Well, maybe I should make a list of some sort anyway...some nagging issues?

1. when are you ever going to sign up for a dance class?
2. why can't home trips to Taiping be more often?
3. life insurance?
4. learn to read music damn it!
5. buy a goddamn umbrella for the car ok!
6. grow up

No way, I equate growing up to knowing what you want in life....if being grown up means knowing what you REALLY want then I guess the world is over-run by Peter Pans. Right?

I'm not afraid of going up to the 30-something, I guess I have long felt older..? These days in the city being a 40-something, 30-something or a 20-something really makes no difference, moolah makes all the difference.

You can be 35 and have tighter skin than the 22-year-old next to you, you need the right doctor and beauty consultant.

Back home you will be in for more nagging on settling down...the day your old folks are there. Once you get have the worst thought in your mind about how you will survive your old folks and your heart cringe at how frail and aged your parents are. I don't have even my own pad so where would I put my parents when they need my care?

Who would be here with when I'm old and wrinkled?

Hang on, before I even get there....audition rooms will soon be getting more and more unfriendly, I could be the only 29-year-old there. Then tomorrow I will be the only 32-year-old, then...soon...

Oh shut up!* You said -- I'm fucking 33-year-old and I'm fine!

....I changed my backdrop...change of music on my laptop, now it's Silent Noon by Vaughan Williams.

Maybe I will grow up soon and, there will be sunshine at the other side of the 3-0.

I will not stress over things I cannot change.

I will be kinder and more understanding...with your help.

I will take my supplements when I should.

I will eat more fruits...

I will sing everyday.

I will be happy growing older, but not really older



Monday, April 24, 2006

Enormously Blessed

I know this sound really crappy but it may serve as a reminder to all of us, to never take everything we have for granted.

Was at my GP's clinic this morning and reading some articles in a copy of Marie Claire. One on young Nepalese girls from poor families who got sold by their parents to circus owners in India. The girls often have to eat food infested with worms, get beaten by men, raped by the circus owner, etc.

I left the clinic feeling enormously blessed to be where I am, what I have. Later in the day everything seemed glittery and nice...I went grocery shopping in Tesco and while I pushed the trolley walking through rows and rows of neatly lined fresh foods and supplies I think of people in other places who might never live to see what I saw, or enjoy the food I eat.

The world would be a better place if we all start to love a little more of what we have. Be it our job (no matter how crappy), our old car (rattling like mine? But it's working), our bed, our parents, boyfriends, dogs...

Boyfriends, yes...wonderful thing in life, lovers.

My man dropped in to see me before he rushed to office for work. He picked up some earrings from the airport this morning, couldn't feel anymore feminine wearing the dangly pearly ones he picked.

"I looked for the two longest pairs and bought them." he quipped, he who tolerates my habit of changing a few times before going out.

I told him I feel so incredibly lucky to have his love and I wonder what I have done to deserve these good things in life.

I sure hope to get my voice back so I may resume singing, the singing soul doctor.



Paul's Mossy brain...

I'm 29 now and I got a BAD cold. Memorable birthday this year...simply memorable.

Look out! One In A Million is a...replacement of Malaysian Idol, different name, same show. While it doesn't say anyway in its ads, website, etc that it's a pop singing competition, it is.

Ok, here's the story in short: I went (with Nicole), sang for the judges, we didn't make the cut; I made a bunch friends, irritated Paul and humoured myself.

Paul Moss was a bully to many, Syafinaz has been, talking very little. He was on a roll in giving nonconstructive and unrelated remarks to some people, I trust Nicole will blog about her moment with him SOON. He asked me how do I plan to market a million ringgit album if what's on it it's Opera singing, so they turned away blues singers, jazz singers, theatre voices and other intelligent material -- to make room for yet another, pop superstar in the making.

Consolation is that I think one of the four who made it in the end (from the KIV list) has a lot of soul in her and she will fly, and shine. So maybe there's hope yet, in this (YET ANOTHER) pop singing competition...something safe for the mass public.

No where on its website does it say that this is a singing competition for pop singers, they have no room for people over 30 (then why did they set the age limit to 16-32?) and they are not accepting styles that maybe too foreign for our simple-minded TV viewers.

I went back yesterday for `second' audition because I got on the KIV list (btw KIV is short for Keep in View -- which I thought the whole world knew what it meant but now I know not everyone knows what is KIV because in two days I have about 3 persons asking me what KIV meant). I made the list because judges wanted me to go back with a proper pop song. After thinking long and hard I said, Fuck it, I will stay true to what I like...I picked His Eye Is On The Sparrow.

After I got out from the results announcement, Adam (who made it and btw, he is this tall, handsome, Il Divo-ish lad who sang a mean You Raise Me Up) consoled me and said I should have tried on a Celine Dion number. I suppose it's going to take more than one million ringgit to get me to grow a fancy for mainstream pop music.

With that said, I'm happy I took the chance at the competition and meet all those good, shiny happy singing people...

People I met from the KIV list include...

Zeqhty the master of giggle from PGL

Sue who sang as Mei Li in Flower Drum Song (with Peter Ong!!!!!!!!!!) in Operafest Choir when she was 8 -- a leading lady at 8!!!!!!! Sue can play a mean guitar and she is a song writer who sings, better than Jewel

Izham from Young KL Singers who was in all the YKLS concerts I been to and the two concerts I sang with!!!!!!!!!

Hot soul mama Ann who blew me off with her Ain't Nobody -- it's really their loss for not having her in the line up

Handsome Adam, can sing too!!

Yana (yay -- the KL Christina Aquilela)
Shue, hot from East Malaysia

Mus who babysat us from 4pm till 10pm, I give my hat off to the man whose job was to create suspense in reading results to all the hopefuls.

" guys, the only person who made it to the level is no....1, 1, 3....0---------4. The rest of you, sorry, no hard feelings, try again next year."

"11296, 12045, ...448, 056, please step forward, only one of you will go to the next level, and the person iiiisss.....issss, sorry guys, I have to do this, it's my job to read the results like this ok? ok, the person issssss........"

Nicole and I would like that job.

At interview after we got results, I told the camera that I got bungkus (out) and it's ok because I'm too talented for this stage, don't know where that came from but I like the sound of that. Yes, to all the talented bunch (you know who you are) who didn't make Paul's list, we failed him in either

age -- welcome to an industry that celebrates youth, and slight the matured souls (like those who are 32, or 29)

looks & package -- this reconfirms that the marketeer feeds the market with lookers, I hope we find talent too

substance -- it's not what they want, they want something safe, easy to sell, easy to digest...sounds like local theatre audience too

So guys, though we didn't make the cut as one of the potentials to instant fame (read Shannon Shah's interview in April's Off The Edge), I hope we all continue the uphill climb to show business, the old fashion way, the hard way, the real way.

And for those who made it and you know you are GOOD, yay, will be watching you all on TV!!! --- time to get a TV la.

And I pray that Malaysians grow some substance in the next few months so that may the best talent wins, not best popularity. Malu la when your winner can't sing.

Think about it voters, vote for substance and talent, we have enough already posers in our show business -- the real thing please.



Thursday, April 20, 2006

Going solo

To be out on my own, my own person, not an employee of any organisation, has proven to be a growing-by-the-minute experience. Growing in aspects of my emotions, and mental strength.

With so much going on with myself...I sure hope my entries don't become self-indulging and boring overnight.

I made a clear and conscious decision to move on and up, I turned down an offer for the first time, to sing in an ensemble. It's a weird feeling, mixed feeling, to know that I will be out of my comfort zone of singing in a group.

Cindy said we are only as good as our last performance, it means no going backward. Let's hope less jobs means more career advancement.




Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Embracing it....everything

If rejection had a taste, then the one on Sunday would have been of hot green tea. One of the best quotes I heard recently is "Rejection is common, darling." -- Peter Ong.

Anyway it took me (only) two days to get over screwing up my call back audition for Magic Flute. I'm happy (I think) I'm over but am sad that I have live with the fact that I screwed it, and not being able to play Papagena...this year.

I bought a mop for the pad, finally. I can't wait to mop floor.

Sunday's gathering at Kak Yan's was needed....more parties this year will come, for M folks.

Sister bought me Eric Taylor's The AB (what's AB...I think it's Associated Board) Guide to Music Theory, Part I. I have Part II from a few years ago because See Ming bought me that from flea market.

Am re-reading Mark Haddon's A Curious Incident of A Dog In The Night-time. My brother now has a copy too, for his birthday. Oh yes, I spent his birthday with him....we have never done this before, the three of us, sis, bro and I, we have never spent anyone's birthdays with each other, before....not for as long as I can remember, since we came to KL.

It's funny how I feel that this should be my prime chasing after fame, money and all things shiny, but there are so many moments where I feel that I just crave to be loved (I am) and love people around me and I can't tell you straight in your face what my goal in life is. I'm asked that every other week and though M is over barely two weeks ago...I feel like the world is screaming at me, "Lazy fat ass, what the hell are you going to do now, for money, for living? Sing? Are you kidding me?"

I guess it's easier to hiss at a jobless person with no goal in life rather than someone who earns a decent living who has no goal.

Anyway, these are my short-term goals, action plan, missions, objectives, whatever you want to call it:

Mop floor
Read music theory book
Play keyboard
Learn Una Voce poco fa
Practise my exam songs (if I do well then there's a chance for me to to actually register to do ATCL at year end and actually pass)
Read books (from my book shelves)
Plan and practise recital repertoire
Make M photo albums

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

We are family

The It girl in my family, my sister Yvonne Lee, author of The Sky Is Crazy does it again, this month she is on the cover of....

Some friends would never have guessed that we are sisters, I will leave the whys to you.

Must look up those cranky old pictures of me and her in our shorts and slippers posing in my mom's garden...I was five and she was...



Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Life in a ....cell

" how's life after M?"

So far it's been a mixed ball of feelings, and activities. It's a bit like sitting around in a jail cell (my pad), sleep here a lot, planning my life from my desk, then I get to go out and party, then come back to the cell, sleep when I want to, chat online, read news and articles on internet, eat when I have food here, sing here a lot, go out quite a bit...dream a lot about M, average once a day since I get to nap when I want.

There's something new in my pad, a keyboard, Yamaha, 71 keys, god knows how many songs in memory, nice chair from IKEA. I will have to stick those theory papers on my wall to re-internalise. I realised yesterday I can't read anything on the bass clef anymore...before I pick it up again I can still play right hand notes...super slowly. J was more excited than me once he set up the keyboard, he said he is reviving his music career...and would come round more often if I fixed the air-con in my room -- but the keyboard is in the hall.

love life (all is good) aside :)

I have updated my portfolio, and my database, will I be able to revive or update, or switch on my marketing charms now?



Friday, April 07, 2006

Perserverance, thick skin....

Am writing this to remind myself again how lucky I am to be doing what I love, singing. The strength of an artist shows when she is going up stream, not when she is succeeding in a roll, or when she basks in a glorious applause by appreciative audience.

The catch 22 situation of my busier singing schedule is that the more I among with highly qualified singers, the more I'm reminded (and comparing) of how late I started to sing, and how many of my peers are blessed with what some of us called `the golden voice'...

"But you have to stand up straight, before an audition panel..."said Nicole who is consistently at her best in all situations.

It's only human nature that we tend to make comparisons, I have been told numerous times to stay focus in my own performance. It's not hard to see that the more matured young singers do that, they do their best with what they have instead of fretting over others.

Another sure way of encouraging myself is listening to recordings and watching a live performance or DVDs; by watching how Renee Fleming talk about well-written music, how she delivers the pain in a great tragic aria, or how she croons love in a Broadway number.

Most of the time you can always be charmed by a great piece of music, how beautiful the text is and how gorgeous the lyrical line goes...these are superb ingredients for a great performance. A perfect performance by a singer is never an easy task, precision couple with good technique, not forgetting singing with the best color (of voice), sincerity that will sure get to the audience.

Strength also lies in how thick your skin is, perseverance. There were times I thought I would die from heart sick for losing yet again in a competition, or audition. Now I tell myself the picture is clear and simple, I will do it to my heart's content, trying, singing, kicking and screaming till I get sick of it. Maybe if I get sick, I will recover, and do it all over again.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The way we were...Jan 2005 to April 2006



After Curtain Call

Taufik was sobbing uncontrollably the moment we walked off stage after our last curtain call for M!

Pretty soon a shocked cast joined him, we are a family who survived many uncertainties and pretty damn good memories for the past one year. The passion to create something bold and different never burn out in both the cast & creative team.

The cast party saw some serious action on the dance floor, half the time we spent on signing more souvenir books. There were tons of food left on the buffet spread, many glasses and bottles were emptied. Goodbyes lasted hours, from outside of Cochine to mamak down the road.

While I still read the free-for-all forum on Kakiseni, I realised that people will stop talking about the opera soon, the debate will cease and people will eventually start another senseless bitching on another production. My prayers are that some sector of the industry benefited from the production and that more artist will take on bolder productions and that Saidah never stop creating.

I have told myself to start planning my life and try out things (to do), while I cruise many upcoming gatherings by the cast who is having withdrawal symptoms. Some think I will have it worse for I don't have a day job now...I hope not, with all the things I hope to do's now or never.

Sent myself an email on the action plan of Life After M...

in no particular order:

write, pitching to editors
learn up new arias
make photo albums of M pics
make contact database
jumble sale - make space in wardrobe
meet old friends from M