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

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

thank you ladies :)

I have an inspiration tonight while watching two incredible ladies singing at the slightly smoky (than usual) No Black Tie.  

Thank you ladies, Elvira Arul & Ida Mariana.  Tonight you are the soul doctors in our hearts...and my inspiration every single time I watch you sing. 

Ida & Elvira  

Then Zal got dragged on stage to render her rendition of Summertime with them.  By then it further reminds me of this idea that I have known but never really worked on.

So thank you ladies, for reminding me tonight :)

Zalina Lee
Ida has always reminded me about the uniqueness of all us, as a person and singer.  Tonight I realised eventhough I remember what she said to me, I have never remember to work on using the Uniqueness of my OWN voice to create a voice pacakge that is my own....

Life is such for me... Am that lucky that from the start of my singing career, I have always been surrounded by very verycompetent and talented peers and seniors (mind you, seniors not by their age but by their work).   

During my classical singing competition years, I was always just good enough to make to the final round.  Always in awe with all the younger singers who have been training years before I even know what forte & pianissimo means.  Sopranos who were still in their teens would sing their Juliette & Gilda arias to the back of the competition hall where I struggled with my Voi che sapete. (of course later on my teacher and I both agreed that I'm no mezzo...)

Then I went singing full time, boy, what an experience it has been.  I mean the experience of meeting and seeing so MANY fabulous peers.  I look around and hear a voice better than the next, their sounds all bold, brassy, deep, rich, rounded, husky....Haha, yes, I actually mean richer, bolder, huskier, deeper, rounder than my, I call it, the squeaky clean Chinese soprano vocal.

So...some of you, the smart ones (the likes of Ida & Cher Siang my pianist) will say, then use it! Just use it.  Use the Chinese soprano vocals and make the best of it.

Yes, some voice types are more popular than others, but I think this world is big enough to accommodate all kinds of shapes, sounds and colors.   I will remember this from now on and will hope to be reminded of this in future.

In the meantime, I just blackled "jazz singer + squeaky clean light voice"  and will go out and buy some Bloosom Dearie CDs if I can find them in our local pathetic CD retail, then I will come home and find my voice...

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Monday, May 18, 2009

a dog heaven?

(I visited the farm on Sunday, as a volunteer in the Pulau Ketam rescue mission secretariat, I went there to educate myself on what the situation is like at the farm and the same time, see how the new dogs from the island are doing after the rescue)

Sights from Furry Friends Farm, a dog heaven on earth.  This (no-kill) animal shelter needs the support from public.  Sabrina work selflessly to provide a sanctuary for the abandoned animals, for the weak creatures...her work tireless work, created this humble and VERY lovely home for these souls.  
a happy place to be :) 
I hope all of us remember this, the dogs didn't ask or wish to be born without a home, we, the so-called civilised human sapiens are responsible for their plight.  Ex-dog owners who abandoned their dogs/cats because they grow tired/bored of them are the reason why we have so many strays all over. 
sharing a love = happiness
wound spray is also much needed on the farm besides the obvious - food, and moooore food..

mini dog spa with Pheonix & Janice

a picture of happiness (Linda & Honey)

cool officer, Jojo
I have a few more pictures uploaded on a FB album here...

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009


If you don't know me well, and I tell you that food & eating is one of the my biggest hobbies, you might not believe me (I'm a bit skinny).  But am telling you, since I started living on my own, food and I have a very special relationship.

...this entry is inspired by a new book I bought for myself, for my own, private pleasure (I was shopping for some cook books for my sister and saw this one nearby the cook books and how can I say no to a book with a title like this one...)

Alone In The Kitchen With An Eggplant
Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone
edited by Jenni Ferrari-Adler
Eating became a special thing to me only after I left home where my mom used to make most of my meals (I never ever cooked when I was still in school and back home), all of them vegetarian since I became one at the age of 14 (that's another story all together).

When I first arrived in the capital city after high school in home town, I lived with my sister and attended college.  My sister would cook for all of us and I helped with the washing.  Meals & eating were just a mundane thing for me, not because vegetarian food is not exciting, but because (I realised now) I was always being served all my food, I was never involved in the process of making food.

Not until I left my sister's house when I got out of college and got a job in Citibank.  I moved halfway across town from Subang to Pandan Indah where I rented a room in a flat from this very fair-skinned engineer named Looi.  Looi is a typical old-school Chinese guy in the kitchen, it means he doesn't do anything in the kitchen, except maybe boiling water to drink.  Though he had no problem if one of his flat tenants decided to cook.

I remember vividly my first trigger, first suggestion for cooking for myself.  It was...I can't remember the year but I remember where and who.  I just finished singing backing vocals (part-time job outside my day job) for a trip-hop act at some noisy disco, and was sipping some free drinks being served to me, and talking to the other back-up vocalist, Mei Ling, over very very loud house music.

Mei Ling is from north Malaysia and is a year older than me, and very very independent and smart.  She too live alone in KL and didn't own a car.  I don't know how we started talking about eating...but she was telling me how she cooks for herself everyday and how she shop for the food stuff and how little money she needed to cook for one.

I was in awed with her creativity, and her savvy in taking care of herself.  I lapped up all the simple recipes she gave me in my head and told myself, I gotta try them out.  Next thing I know, I was making simple pasta out of my flatmates' rice cooker.  Come to think of it, I cannot remember now what the first thing I cooked for myself but I have memories of putting the rice cooker on and leave the olive oil in there to heat up, then I stir in the pre-cooked pasta and added in sauce and stuff.

Suddenly I was a person with a new sets of skills and something new in her life, yes, a new interest.  Not that I was turning into a sophisticated cook overnight, even today I'm far far from being sophisticated in cooking...but having started cooking, or preparing food for myself, I acquired a new sense of appreciation for food and the act of eating.

I never bought any proper kitchen ware the three years I lived in Looi's flat.  I remember cooking a little extra so I could offer a plate of pasta to Looi, he would laughed at my, what he called, "fancy mee-rebus" and gobbled down hungrily.   

Cooking for others is always a bit stressful for me as cooking is truly, still a new and under-practised skill for me.  I have only ever made `safe' dishes for parties so far, potato salads, pasta salads, chunky mashed potatoes and ABC soups.  I guess that is a stressful thing for me because I started cooking for myself, a self-sufficient thing to do.  It started as a solitary activity with only myself to please, to make my cooking a communal food takes a lot I stick to the safe, hard-to-mess-up recipes. 

Over the years since that chat with Mei Ling in the loud disco, I went through many phrases of cooking and non-cooking periods.  There were countless meals that I have skipped due to laziness, mostly also due to the fact I only shop to stock up my kitchen when I'm in the mood, same as when I cook -- I cook when am in the mood -- so no food at home to cook couple with no mood to cook result in many non-cooking and non-eating days.  

These non-eating days of course turned into very unhealthy conditions for my body and I blamed getting sick often for my lazy-to-eat lifestyle.  When I had a bad case of laryngitis and stuck at home with three cancelled shows, I learned my lesson well.  I went to the super markets and stock up my cabinets with canned soups, purees, beans and etc.  

So right now my goal is to make it a point to enjoy making myself a little sandwich even when am at the laziest and my bottom is glued to the computer screen all day.  I try to make sure I always have bread at home, butter, pesto, pasta...and cheese.  

But beyond all that, cooking for myself in my own space has always been a romantic, self-indulgent (however simple my recipes are), fulfilling experience...a satisfying solitary euphoric journey, gives me a sense of independence (in the kitchen found only in my mid-twenties), a sense of real living, being connected to what I put in my stomach.

Cooking for myself is therapeutic, meditative.  Alone in the kitchen with no phone calls, no chat rooms, no emails, just cubing potatoes, skinning garlic, slicing vegetables, watching the soup bubbles and as good as a session at the spa, what more, at the end of this session, I get to to eat too!  

Yes, try this yourself.  Kick off your shoes, turn off the TV...get off the chat rooms and just busy yourself with making food in your kitchen.

...actually, maybe you ought to read the book too, a real taste teaser it is.

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Thursday, May 07, 2009


So many people care...

Since TV Smith's first report on the tragic situation of the abandoned strays from Pulau Ketam on May 2, there have been a wave of action & happenings in the media, public, NGOs and the newly set-up rescue team.

The Three Little Bitches (Zal, Nicole and I) were added onto the rescue team as the secretariat on Monday, we set up a designated email account to communicate with the public.  Literally within minutes after the secretariat contact details went live online at the rescue mission update site, calls and emails started coming in, ...yes, overwhelming rate.

It warm the cockles of my heart to see that in this human effort to help these sad abandoned dogs (at the risk of sounding extremely racist), whose tragic situation were placed by villagers from a Chinese village, we see so many Malays coming forward to give support.  

Many of the earliest donors who contacted me thro the secretariat email & contacts, were Malay students and working people from all over, inside and outside of Malaysia.  All of them saddened by the fate of these dogs and all wanting to make a difference by contacting us and offering their help, cash & time.

Compassion knows, and has no race...

A lady was crying (after seeing the pictures of the starving & dying dogs on the island) while she spoke to me on the phone, confirming the banking details so that she could make donation to the mission.  Many offered help with labour & ground work to help at the Furry Friends Farm.  
The Star published a main desk feature on the situation today.  The Sun too...China Press also.

As TV Smith said on his report, there is no use in pointing fingers now about how this terrible case of discrimination happened, we ought to work together to put humanity & compassion back in place.

If you like to make a contribution, cash or in kind, please write to the Pulau Ketam Dog Rescue Mission secretariat.

Funds can be banked in or transferred to: 

Furry Friends Farm account at CIMB 1457-000-1182-05-6 

You can also transfer via PayPal to

Please retain transaction record / slip for verification and audit purposes. 

Update...the rescue team went back to the mangrove island this morning with hope to rescue more dogs, they managed to rescue the `poster pup'  (see poster above).  Do stay tune for more updates here.



Monday, May 04, 2009

Anyone who has a heart...

Read & SEE the full details here, reported by TV Smith