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

Monday, August 27, 2007

No Mall, No More

I know I am a shopping creature but I guess I'm just not a mall creature, not a mall crawler. Of late the malls repulse me to the point that today I couldn't stay there any longer after I discovered the only joy I have in Midvalley is gone -- the little store on lower ground that sell good old chee-cheong-fun with just soy sauce, seasame oil and chili sauce.

Out I went heading home during the peak traffic jam hour. I needed to get away from all....the people there, the loud speakers, the festive stores selling mountains of over-priced moon cakes, the perfume salesmen, the boutiques with stifling air-con (that don't work), the SALE signs all over, the labels, the queues at the check-out counters, the queue in the car park, the tastelessness of the crappy food in the food court (chances are you may find good food there but high chances of paying for second-rate quality food also).

While walking in MNG and then Zara and then TOPSHOP, I was half purposeful while browsing through the racks of clothes on sale. I walked out of there quickly after I reminded myself that I haven't received any new bookings for shows yet so it's mere greed if I were to snoop my nose for another on-sale show gown...after all my wardrobe is already bursting with all that dresses.

After walking up and down of lower ground and found my chee-cheong-fun store gone I just couldn't stay there any longer.

That, couple with the reminder of upcoming bills for September, and the soon-outstanding fees for my coming music camp next week, and that I have too much clothes at home to be wanting more, and at the point of my career where I should be putting more time in thinking about securing more jobs, reading up on my music repertoire, learning Italian, cutting down my monthly overheads, go running on regular basis, saving up for the new apartment renovation....

That just gross me out totally, that I could be found wandering about in a mall under these circumstances, that absence place of materialism.

Of course now am sitting at home safe with my music scores and books, am reminded that malls are useful if I know how to manage it, after all, I only went there earlier to change some money for my Bangkok trip this week.

But it was wonderful to feel that I don't need to shop for clothes in a mall :)

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Of stage fright, the concert and the photos

I could feel my body heaved a huge sigh of relief this morning as I woke up with coarse voice, itchy throat and phlegmy cough, today. The morning after the concert.

So, we survived our first concert at one of the best-looking galleries in KL, Wei Ling Gallery.

Whye Mun and I went from picking a date for the event to finalising the repertoire to finally performing to a rather full audience at the gallery last night.

I must say I had one of my most unforgettable stage fright attack before the performance for this one, not wanting to say that it's my worst...wanting a more positive-sounding tone. But one thing though, I couldn't be more positive than this -- for wanting to do more of this nerve-wrecking exercise even though this felt like a near-death experience.

My repertoire wasn't that intimidating for this concert but I found myself nearly couldn't stop living my fear during my every free minute, for close to a month. Whye Mun and I shared this emotion together and I think it did us both good. There was nothing we could quite do to control the phobia, I tried the best I could to focus on the music instead giving too much air time to the fear.

So I spent the one month rehearsing the lines in my bathroom, reading dictionaries, watching myself in the mirror while I mouth my lines in German/French/Italian, talking to friends about the freaking phobia and staying awake at night in my bed thinking about it.

Anyway, here are some pictures from the concert, on J's NIKON D70s, taken by none other than J himself, much love :)

Joseph Leow accompanied us on keyboard
before show...."If you are afraid to make eye contact, focus on that point over there, or over There..." the teacher's tip

Introducing a song...
View from the other room in the gallery

Whye Mun sings the blues (O mio babbino caro)

"I want to be a prima donna Donna DONNA!"

Thank you :)

Curtain call..

yay, show over! Cheers to all the work...

After the show some of us posed sillily for the camera, three of us reprised the `Three Little *itches' concert (Nic, myself and Zal)

Joseph tryin to get out of posing as agent 007

The shoulder-smothers

My contribution to the works of organising the concert -- getting us the most dedicated front house gal, Zal...and she brought her gal, Erin who refused to be my back-up dancer for the she smiled n waved shyly from audience instead :)

The Vocal Talents Music company, from left - Cha Seng Tiang (VTM Principal and our vocal coach), myself, Whey Mun, Eric Keoh (VTM partner) and Lianah, VTM manager and Mrs Cha

The gallery showcasing Ivan Lam's work...I like

Eighty percent of the concert proceeds went to SPCA while half of my share of the concert proceedings went to the Independent Pet Rescuers, Nicole Thomas will be using the cash to house more strays, spay more canines and feed more cats.

Till the next one, here's to more stage fright blues and the fight against it, fellow performers of the world....

Thank you friends, for coming to listen to us. We loved it...and whether you like or not, we won't stop singing :)

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Two sopranos in an art gallery: Of Arias & Art Songs

....finally, life is now a beautiful maze of learning German words, singing stories of love-lorn songs, teh-tariks with pianist and lots of singing. What more can I ask for? Singing, singing and more singing, practise, practise and more practise. Come join me and my soprano friend Whye Mun next week at...

Of Arias And Art Songs

Cheong Whye Mun

Janet Lee


Joseph Leow
on piano


Wei Ling Gallery

in support of SPCA
on Aug 18, 2007
Saturday, 8pm

concert program

Die Nacht --- F. Schubert
Zueignung --- R. Strauss
Allerseelen --- R. Strauss
Les chemin de l'amour --- F. Poulenc
Nuit D'estoiles --- C. Debussy
Si mes vers vaient des ailes --- R. Hahn
Come Ready And See Me --- R. Hundley
When I Have Sung --- E. Charles

La Zingara --- G. Donizetti
La Promessa --- G. Rossini
Porgi Amor --- W. A. Mozart
O mio babbino caro --- G. Puccini
I Dreamt I Dwelt In Marble Halls --- M. Balfe
With Verdure Clad --- F. Haydn
Song To The Moon --- A. Dovark
Art Is Calling For Me --- V. Herbert

Wei Ling Gallery
No 8, Jalan Scott, Brickfields
Map here

invitation and booking:
Janet @ 012 378 3730
Whye Mun @ 012 2877 368

donation per entry
min RM 60

About the performers


Whye Mun joined the Kuala Lumpur music scene in 1996 singing with the Selangor Philharmonic Choir ("SPC"). To further her burgeoning passion for music in its vocal form, she began voice training with renowned baritone, Cha Seng Tiang in 1998.

Since 1998, her love of music theatre has seen her in performances including playing SISTER MARGARETTA in the SPC's 1999 production of The Sound of Music, MARY in Oh, Brickfields, by Chin San Sooi. Singing in Rep21's No One Is Alone: In Conjunction With World Women's Day 2000 and Sunetra Swish Sings Sondheim – In Concert and Aspects of Broadway: Love Songs in 2002 (in which, her peformance earned her a nomination for Best Solo Performer and which show won the Kakiseni Audience Choice Award, both at the inaugural Cameronian Arts Awards 2003).

She has also sung a cappella with The Choristers and subsequently with The Wicked Pitches, an a cappella group she co-founded, in their sell-out productions, Thank You For the Music, Boppin' Along and Funkappella and Mostly We Moon in November 2006 (which earned her a second nomination for Best Solo Performance in the Music Category at the 2006 Cameronian Arts Awards).

She also sings occasionally in venues like Alexis Bistro at Great Eastern Mall and The Attic. Of Arias and Art Songs will see her first classical recital since her debut in classical singing in The Three Sopranos plus One concert in September 2002.


Janet's operatic appearances include Tosca, Turandot, The Merry Widow (as Syvianne), Magic Flute (as Papagena & Lady 2), and Saidah Rastam's M! The Opera. Musical credits are Pygmalion The Musical and Butterfly Lovers The Musical by Dama Orchestra where she sang the role of YinXin.

On the classical singing championships front, Janet emerged as the 3rd runner-up at the 2004 District level 30th National Art Song Singing Competition. She was also awarded the Trinity College of London's Outstanding Achiever's Award and earned a Distinction in the Trinity College of London's Performer's Certificate exams.

Her performances at concerts include Winter Journey III, A Concerts of songs, arias, and Cosi Fan Tutte ensembles in Bangkok, Dinner With Mozart at No Black Tie (2006), `Tis The Season of YTL 50th Anniversary Concert of Celebration (2005), Divit, Divet, Diva! (2005), La Serenata Musicale (2005), the All Women's Action Society's fund-raising concert Crescendo (2003), The Young KL Singers in their debut concert in 2002, followed by their second concert, Music Brings Us Together. She also make occasional appearances singing jazz and contemporary repertoire in piano bar like The Attic.

Janet is training under baritone Cha Seng Tiang for her classical repertoire. She has worked with the renowned Austrian paper artist Tone Fink at the Austrian Embassy's Euphoria. Janet also appeared in the acclaimed documentary, The Last Communist by Amir Muhammad. Her latest musical-film appearance is Fergus Ong's Red Street Diner. Last seen reprising her role as YinXin in Butterfly Lovers The Musical at His Majesty's Theatre, Perth, Australia to three full-house performances in June 2007.


Joseph started playing the piano at age 14, learning from Ms Lee Besie and subsequently, Dr John Sharpley and obtained his LTCL - Piano Performance in 1997. He also received vocal training from renowned vocal coaches Cha Seng Tiang, Cecilia Yap and Chi-Choong Woon.

He has played as a piano accompanist in many vocal performances including in the Asia Vocal Competition (1996), Malaysia Art Song Competition (since 1998) and has accompanied The Malaysian Three Tenors in their series of concerts in 2003, Ms Ang Mei Foong and Ms Josephine Lim in their respective solo recitals.

Joseph has been studying vocal teaching and honing his skills as an accompanist at Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris and La Schola Cantorum in Paris since 2004 and will be completing his training in another 9 months.

Currently back in Kuala Lumpur on term break, Joseph will be accompanying Whye Mun and Janet in their first classical recital Of Arias & Art Songs.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Max the godson


arrived July 17, 2007

Me and me godson, Max Tong hour before the delivery, July 17

Proud father, Sim and his sister, Timmy smiling down at Lil Max, three hours later...

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