Sunday, December 26, 2004

Christmas in a barn

I suddenly thought of a reason why the roof of the church is painted red! So that it looks like a barn?! (think: barn, manger, farm animals...) The choir singing was great! We were still rehearsing until the last minute, literally, with the congregation already seated, it was actually quite funny... (they apparently knew the practice of coming early on Christmas; the seats were filled probably half an hour before the service started). But once the real thing started, everything fell into place, and it was quite wonderful. Hopefully the rest of the folks enjoyed it too and had a blessed Christmas service... Some pictures here.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Silent night

Silent night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright Round yon virgin mother and child. Holy infant, so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace. ~Mohr & Gruber
I'm not at Orchard Road wearing a Santa hat this year, figured it'll be more appropriate to stay at home and listen to Christmas songs and revising for tomorrow's morning choir singing. Silent Night seems to be the only song I know that talks specifically about the humble circumstances of Christ's birth; it's so very different from the crowds, mad shopping rushes and stress that we usually feel at this time. If I've been at the zoo tonight, it probably would have felt more similar to what happened that silent night. Jesus was born in a stable (because all the hotels were full); there were farm animals, sheep and probably cattle. There were angels too, and the three wise men who appeared later. By the looks of the humble manger and animals, this seems quite a low-key affair, except to those who knew what really was happening; it was the most wonderful thing that happened... Merry Christmas!

Writing slowly

I was just cleaning up my room and came across this homework for art class in secondary school. The teacher gave me 77%, then corrected it to 70%. It's 'calligraphy' on a folded A4 paper, and as I turn the next page, I think I know why she did that LOL. Very inspirational, hor, the first page. The second page says this :)

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Product endorsements

I enjoy reading product endorsements in print ads because most often than not, they're quite funny. The layout guy usually puts at least four things onto the page: the product (space-shuttle-technology swimming trunks), the picture of the person endorsing it (Ian Torpedo), the person's autograph (Ian's signature that can actually be used at the bank to withdraw money), and the person's claim to fame (Olympic Gold multiple-medal holder). The byline is a hard thing to write. For example in a quarter-page ad in the newspapers a few days ago, Tan Kheng Hua (of UOR and PCK) decided to lend herself to Kenwood electronics (hifi and stuff), and her byline was Tan Kheng Hua - Celebrity. And I was thinking, couldn't the copywriter have written something more substantial?! Like TKH - mother, theatre specialist, television comedy superstar etc. It is very cheesy, and things don't get better for other local 'stars'. I remember Ms Tan to be a kind lady; our school's video club organised an outing to attend a live filming of UOR many years ago, and Ms Tan took the time to explain things for us... So sometimes despite the fact that the person is supposed to be famous, I have to read the claim to fame (hey it rhymes!) to understand what the fuss is all about. Jennifer Testudo - national rower. Orhhhhh, so that's who she is. I think I'll have the cornflakes she's having, thank you. I'd like to row as fast as she

Friday, December 17, 2004

Party hats

I don't think I'll be going to those huge new year countdowns that folks usually go to party the night away. I've just found out that Corrinne May is coming back to Singapore and performing for free at the Esplanade on new year's eve and day. So I'll be going to listen to her instead of joining the mass parties. Quite bizarre really, first she puts out her entire album on her website, and she's now letting people bootleg her live performance for free. The RIAA should raise a ruckus about that! Oh wait, maybe Ms. May understands that file sharing does not necessarily result in decreased CD sales... A little more about her voice, which I think have the rare quality of being 'bittersweet', I'm not sure of a better word to describe it. Like my favourite movie Lost in Translation and the Japanese Love Letter, punches you in the stomach and doesn't let go for days... In other news, I've been spending most of my afternoons volunteering at a 'drop-in' centre for folks who are recovering from mental illness. The place really has improved quite a bit since last year, there seems to be more people dropping by; some whom I've known and others who have recently started going. One advice from the social worker: put aside your textbooks, for they don't necessarily apply always. I get to see a little of the real difficulties that they face daily, the effects of their medication and so on.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Kangaroo on the tail

I was walking along Orchard Road with the others and the big screen on the wall at Heeren was showing Qantas' I Still Call Australia Home ad. But it's not the same as the first one, it's version two! And it's still as brilliant as ever. The first time I decided I liked Qantas was because of the ad, and they used the same song but didn't let the choir sing it. The marketing department has it easy. Just use this same song forever...

Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Fundamental attribution catastrophic blunder

It's interesting when you return home from an overseas trip, once you disembark from your ship (or plane), the 'home country feeling' will come flooding your brain in less than 30s. At least it works for me. I've since learnt that there's research into a related issue, and I thought that if one is able to 'reframe' or reverse the process, the quality of life of that person can possibly be improved by a great deal. So on my way to the airport I had a chat with the shuttle bus driver. Turned out that he was born in Singapore but had lived in Australia for decades. And the funny thing is everytime I have this 'on the way to the airport' chat with drivers (the previous one was a political refugee from Eastern Europe), they always tell me the same thing: "What makes your happy? Your destiny is in your hands." In other words, move to somewhere like Perth! So naturally I asked him about my thought experiment, and he doesn't have much advice about that. But I've been wondering about this problem for years now, and practising the scenario for days. I've been staring into the Swan River and imagining that I'm not in Perth, but in Singapore. How do I achieve this state of mind anywhere in the world? I'm unable to tell you exactly how, but I think I'm making progress. But it has to do with the catastrophic blunder. It really helps. The other thing that helps is to let everyone board the MRT first before strolling slowly in. If it's filled, wait for the next train. That really helps too. Anyway, I just signed up to sing with the church choir at Wesley on Christmas day. The ad mentions people who sing in bathroom and asks for people 'who can hold a pitch'. So I guess I could take a shot at it; there's nothing to lose, and I love hymnals and Christmas songs, which I usually sing in the middle of June. So during yesterday's first practice, a fellow newcomer asked me what choir I was from. And I said, the bathroom choir, I even hold concerts there. That probably made the newcomers become relaxed since some of them can't read music. And I said, no worries, just go with the flow, and your gut instincts. The choir director kindly asks the newcomers who are the one who don't know whether they're singing 'high' or 'low'. I was the only one to put up my hand. Later I remembered that my singing teacher told me years ago that I'm a tenor, so it should be 'high'. There were a lot more women than men, and the director remarked that it was only recently (actually, just a hundred years ago) that women were allowed to sing in the church choir, so it's probably 'pay back time'; I guess it's good that the church as progressed since that time. The practise was so fast and efficient, the guys separated from the ladies to do their respective parts; and it was quite wonderful when everything came together...