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

Friday, June 29, 2018

Letters number one hundred and thirty-three: The days go on

Dearest J,

I was at an event yesterday, scheduled to sing at a WWF project launch...when in the holding room, I met someone we used to know (I've forgotten that this person knew you even), Dr Ong Kian Ming.  He is now a politician and member of parliament with DAP and Pakatan Harapan.  While in mid conversation about the new government, he paused to ask me about you.  "I wanted to ask you if you know what happened to that friend of yours, that guy who used to do the Food Not Bombs work with you.  Where is he now?  Still in the country, etc?"

It interesting experience - to tell an old friend...(ok, perhaps more appropriate to call Kian Ming an acquaintance) who knew nothing about us, what happened to you.  I just realised now that I told him nothing else yesterday - other than the fact that you had a fatal motorbike accident...and that you had attempted a few times, some rehab work with a few addicts we met at Food Not Bombs.

Guess I was caught off guard, and I wasn't sure what else to share with him.  Anyway, Kian Ming gave a wonderful speech at the launch.  It was a collaboration project, [Wedding Without Fins], between WWF and Association of Wedding Professionals.

I am getting more and more used to the fact that I can tell that I am forgetting more things about you.  There are days when I think of something about us and wanted to dig up a piece of information and I just cannot recall... like now, I cannot remember what I couldn't recall about you, the other day.

This getting used to is not a great feeling, it's a bit of a pain - the kind you can't do anything about and you are too sad to want to linger any longer at it.  So I would scurry off, busy myself with other things or thoughts.


I was hanging out the laundry just now when I had this thought:

'A dream come true', on papers and in writing in a sentence, looks like a fantastical thing that happens to someone.  I realise in my life, I have had a few dreams came true and in real life, the actual experience of the 'dream come true' is nothing like how it sounds like when you put it in a sentence like that.

Here I was doing the laundry, and in less than a week I would be on stage, playing and singing a role in an opera.  This is a dream coming true for me.  A year ago I wouldn't dream of doing what I am doing now - not the doing the laundry at home bit - to play a principle role in an opera.

Living out a dream in real life has an almost sloth-like sequence and quality to it - the millions of seconds of doing a million of different tasks that may eventually lead up to the moment when you pause and gasp, "Wow, I think my dream just came true."

Take this opera singer dream thing for example, the first second of the millions that took place was when I decided to accept the invitation to audition for the role.

What happened after that were hundreds of boring, some scary, some frustrating, many thrilling, nauseating moments - printing out the audition scores, making appointments with pianist to work on the music, meet the pianist, record the music I need to learn and memorise, getting distracted while trying to learn the music, realising the music is hard, fearing the music, getting over the fear and frustration, getting the music, enjoying the lines finally, memorising the lyrics, forgetting the melodies, remembering it, attending vocal lessons for the song, being nervous about the audition, paying the pianist, trying to stay warmed up before the audition, singing at audition, enjoying the passages, feeling awkward at some points, feeling shitty about certain high notes, feeling relieved that it was over, leaving the audition behind with other distractions and not giving much damn about getting the role or not, feeling proud of myself for auditioning, feeling proud of myself for having learned a difficult piece of music...

You get the drift - I am narrating the millions of tasks and emotions that lead up to my laundry moment of realising - this is a dream coming true - next week.

The offer came a few weeks after the audition, accompanied by the reminders from the vocal coach that the gig does not pay much.  The next defining moment was when I did nothing to turn down the offer - thus accepting it - knowing the money is little, the work would be tough, I would be stressed amongst other things.  But clearly the pros make up for all the difficulties.  Despite the stress, and my very noisy and busy inner chatter about what could go wrong in my performance - I am pinching myself everyday and saying thanks to the universe for this gig.

I'd go through moments of wondrous gratitude in the most mundane times of the day, sitting in a traffic jam, getting dressed to appointments/rehearsals.  It moves me to no end that in the height of my weariness about my quiet and down times in the booking calendar, I am living in full sobriety and being aware of the gifts I have in this life, at this moment.

I have music, I perform music, I have a roof over my head, a car that takes me to and fro rehearsals and home, I have food on the table and in my fridge (cabinets, drawers...).  I have more than just music in my life, I am such a privileged being to perform beautiful musical works, and much more than that - I have my endless fascination and admiration for these exquisite things of life.

Anyway back to the 'dream come true' - dream-come-true is made up of a millions of mundane-scary-stressful-frustrating beautiful things.

I want to make a diary or a list of my past "Dreams Came True".  But now I best whip some dinner and prepare to go to the sitzprobe rehearsal for the opera.

Hansel & Gretel, next week :)

Love, Always,


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