31 December 2005

Finest Hour

I'm 31 and this is the 31st day since The Diva Series found it's breath. 360-something days have past. Tonight will see the world clamour and get caught in traffic to get to the countdown point. Some will pop some pills, some will be working, some will be home watching the stars. All will be with friends.

2006. The Chinese astrologists claim it won't be a great year for most. 2 plus 6 is 8. I would like to remind these astro-people that 8 in Chinese means Prosper(ity).

I began this blog because of my re-education of our musical history (as mentioned in my first post). So, I'd like to close 2005 with a quote.

"...whatever was distasteful or unpleasant or uncomfortable or painful - music could always soothe that. All you have to do is reach out to beauty."
~ quincy jones


To everyone I know and have had the pleasure of meeting (both in body and virtual), clink clink!

See you tomorrow then.

love always,
dween

29 December 2005

homos genos

Okay, promise broken and I'm-a-bloggin'.

As we near the end of another year, we look back (as we always do) and contemplate our doings. Then come the new year resolutions to do no wrong and make the best better. I have tried keeping to my resolutions but things never go as planned. Do I beat myself senseless over these failures? I did when I was younger. Not anymore. I do question myself every now and then. However, living for the moment is so much more attractive. Not forgetting the seductive force that impels you into that moment.

I've been in Theatre now for over a decade of wonderful moments. Satire, drama, fantasy... all everyday matters. I started my company because I want to produce works that deal with the human condition, primarily the issue of individualism. The individual in a conformist society, someone who has the right to choose and learn. I'm not too good explaining it right now. Let's skip to my point of the evening.

As a child, I was conditioned to point the finger when a wrong was done. My father taught me otherwise but I didn't listen. As a teenager, my fingers were so stiff from the pointing. My father spoke, I ignored. In my early 20s, the label 'Diva' was bestowed on me by my closest friends (and this label lives on till today). I blamed everyone and everything. Yeah, at the time, the living was good. Or so I thought.

It's been close to 7 years since the passing of my father. And in these 7 years, my finger still pointing, slowly poised itself in the opposite direction.

The educated human race is excellent at blaming the rest of the world for its woes and shit. But we forget, world leaders, politicians, people, get away because we let them. We refuse to admit that sometimes the fault lies in our own selves. Terminally ill children don't blame their parents or doctors. Villagers in Pakistan don't blame the government or God for the earthquake.

In the cities, when the authorities make new road traffic rules, we are quick to say, "Those bloody coppers!" Have we ever actually sat down and thought about why these rules are made?

If a friend doesn't talk to you anymore, do you know why? A lover walks out. Like the saying goes, it takes two to tango.

These past few weeks, I've been cleaning my house and making it the home that was left me by my daddy. My home. The name on the land title grant is mine. Taking control I guess. Responsibility. So many memories came flowing back with every box of stuff I cleared.

Then the moment came. I remembered he said,

"You are responsible for your actions and your life. If there is any sort of trouble or strife, know that there is only you who can get yourself out of it. Don't expect me to help you because I'm not going to be around forever."

To tell you the truth, I remembered it the day he died. And it has been with me ever since. So now the finger points inwards when it should. Painful sometimes but another gram of chip flies off my shoulder.

We cannot change others if we are reluctant to do it ourselves first. The work I direct and produce is greatly influenced by the teachings of my dad and the personal experiences I have learned from. I'm finally beginning to love the life I've been given. If money wasn't always such a concern, I'd love it even more.

More learning and teaching for me. I love it that we never stop learning.

A long time ago, however deaf I was, I listened. (And still listening my friend.)

25 December 2005

ou topos

As much as I’m resisting the urge to post until after new years day, I can’t help how addictive it is. It’s made worse because of my restless nature. Even led me to start another blog on Opera.

An anonymous comment was posted here recently. If I were a bigger person, I’d take it and let go. I’m just tall. So, here it is.

The comment made me think about some things. This anonymous person made an assumption that I was a Scrooge. I have no idea why. Maybe from the tone of my previous posts. Obviously not from the work that I do. I shudder to think.

My faith in humanity is all but disappeared. I only question the society of today. I do believe in an inherent good that dwells deep inside our core. But what is it doing down there? Come out please.

I’ve done a lot of good this year. Because it isn’t made public doesn’t mean it ain’t there. Some charities prefer to remain in the background.

I don’t ask for you to accept me for what I do. I ask for acceptance for who I am. (I didn’t murder anyone but I’m told my looks can kill). And who I am will always question and challenge.

But we live in a today where most people want to be judged for what they do and who they know. Who cares if you think you’re big time? I only want to know who you are. The ‘celebrity’ is secondary.

However, the anonymous person said that I dispelled her/his initial impression of who they thought I was all because I made a simple gesture of posting a Christmas tree. If I didn’t post it, would it have relegated me back to the dungeon of superficiality? Think what you wish. Bah Humbug indeed.

And there it is, my faith in humanity. No matter how trivial and silly it may be, we live for the moment when people remove the blinkers. The moment arrives when it does (can you tell I’ve just watched the Matrix Trilogy again?).

There is so much more to the universe. The theory that animals and insects will outlive the human race is frighteningly true. In our comfort, we will never evolve and adapt. But in our time here, we can make it a little easier for those who want to make a difference.

I believe in the spirit of Christmas and always will. Most importantly, I believe that one day, the questions will end.

Today, before the rain came, I put my jogging shoes on, took the dogs out for a run and, at the end of it, had enough breath to look up at the evening sky. It was a beautiful hour.

Thank you. May all your corners be lit one day.

(and just so I keep my promise of not blogging till 2006, I'll do it at the other one.)

23 December 2005

Starlight


For the first time since I was in my early teens, we have a Christmas tree up albeit only 12" high. It's not that Kris Kringles is making me go ho ho ho and filling me tum-tum with merriment. No, haven't had the spirit in me. Once my grandma went, that was the end of christmas for my family.

So, still in the process of cleaning the house, I thought I'd put up a little one just so one corner would be lit.

Merry Christmas again!

19 December 2005

count your blessings instead of sheep



Finally, all the 'serious' commitments are done and it's time to clear the webs and enjoy the close of a fantastic year. So far, December feels like a summary of all that happened this year. Just as many ups and downs this month as with the whole year. Now, I just want to finish cleaning the crap at home, attempt having a merry little christmas and make my heart light (and the yuletide will be gay!) My star will be hung on the highest bough. We will all be together.

Blessings of the Universe be with you.

Till then.

15 December 2005

sanctitas refused

I started this blog writing about children. This past week I had a 'friend' thing going on. This, I hope will be the last 'friend' post because the term 'friend' needs a re-look.

This evening, I had the strangest conversation. Well, not really a conversation because it was 2 people on their own one-way street. All this didn't occur to me until after the said conversation. This person, Patrick, who I have (up to this moment respected and never questioned his motives or actions) always considered a friend.

We were performing in a corporate event but he didn't acknowledge me in his usual manner. Aah, I knew why exactly but I wasn't going to ask because it was his business. Maybe he was having a bad day. Who knows? Six hours later, in a very formal manner he says, "Edwin, can I have a moment of your time once the show is done?" So, I thought, it boils down to this.

Rewind: action - reaction.

I have always been known to be vocal about how I view certain things. I make no qualms about it because that is what I do and how I feel. I am not one to put up niceties just so you can feel better about yourself. You can do the same too. I'm not going to bug you about it.

I watched a play that Patrick was in and there came a point where I plucked up the nerve to walk out before it ended. I was told he was incensed. That's how I knew he had something to say to me today. He's also pretty vocal.

Now the conversation. He started with, "I'm talking to you as a friend." Okay, is there any other way a friend should talk to another friend? It was about 10 minutes long this convo that we had but there were circles. There was one funny thing he said,
"Did you know when you walked out..."
"I went to the toilet."
I said.
"Well, anyway, it made one actor trip on stage?"

Now it's my fault that the actor wasn't focused on doing his job and I can never go to the toilet again.

Every other sentence of his began or ended with 'as a friend' and I was waiting for the moment when we could actually talk as friends. It never came.

I can't remember when my friends last told me that they had to speak to me 'as a friend' because we just talk. And if we do something the other doesn't agree with, we just leave it at that because that's how it is with us. It's your own choices that you make. Friends allow you to make these choices. For example, I have friends who have never been to the theatre and never will because it's not their thing. I am not about to enforce subscription to my way of life. If you don't like it, then fine. You do what you want, I'll see you at the bar later.

However, does this work the same way if 2 friends work in the same industry? It does if one doesn't start with 'as a friend.' Patrick's wife came up to me and simply said, "So, why did you walk out that night?"

Do we have to reaffirm our friendships to each other? Why the pussy-footing?

This Saturday, we have another corporate show together. Awkward as it was tonight, I will be talking to Patrick and will tell him how I feel. Whether we talk as 'friends' I don't know. Let's see how I begin my sentence. Inverted commas?

14 December 2005

Birth

I remember a time when I had no joy or passion in everything that I did with my life. An overwhelming numbness would squat rent-free in my head. Those days, I was well-known for, what my friends term, taking a sabbatical. I went on many of these. Always thinking I would come back better, wiser. A bloody excuse for not getting off the ass in my head to tell you the truth.

A lot of my dearest friends think they know me well. Well, some think so anyway. The rest make their own assumptions based on how I behave in certain situations. Without wanting to know more, they just leave it at that. All I can say is this: I'll leave it at that too. Go live your live okay and not make mine harder to live. It's tough enough without having to explain my every move to all and sundry. The remains of the day.

Then came the day when I dried my tears, lifted my head and started to acknowledge my fears and insecurities, and began to accept what was presented me the day I was born.

When my mother knew she had me forming in her, she decided, being an unmarried woman, that abortion was her choice for living. Her father, and mine, had other plans. With their decision king, I was given the gift to breathe.


It is breath that keeps me sane nowadays. I have a temper and an ego you can only read of in raunchy paperback novels. I forget to breathe sometimes and I used to kowtow just to make the 'world' a better place.

Now I breathe and then say, Go fuck yourself 'cos I've got a life to live. I will stop at a redlight but when it turns green, you better not be zebraing across.

I know what makes me happy, I know the sadness. Euphoria is what I strive for. Hey, what the hell?! If it means I have to wear a wig sometimes, I will. AND I've got the heels to match.

Muah!

(picture courtesy of 3 peas in a Pod)

10 December 2005

Like a Dionne Warrick song


This was taken yesterday. Cheng Han came back from Sydney just for a day, so we got together for lunch (the only time we could all find).

Below is something I wrote and was published in the 2005 mid-year issue of a magazine called 5 Senses.


You hit a certain time in your youth when you realize that it’s time to attempt growing up. That time is when you hit 30. I’m turn the ripe old age of 31 this year and as much as I’m clinging on to my childhood, it’s time to take full responsibility for my responsibilities. What a mouthful! Yup, that’s exactly what responsibilities are, one helluva mouthful. I’m not writing about the endless utility bills, filialness to parents and that entire expected-by-society stiff, I mean, stuff.

In last couple of weeks, I’ve had the immense feeling of being struck down by a ton of bricks. This happens to me every now and then. You know how it is. You feel that nothing is going the way you hoped it would and that light at the end of the tunnel was another fictitious thing that people told you to help make you feel better. You carry it with you and the weight gets progressively heavier without you realizing it. I could’ve been the sinking Titanic if it wasn’t for that fictitious tunnel light. Or lights for that matter. Some of us have more lights than others. I have a group of them. I call mine friends.

I don’t see my friends as much as I’d like to. All of us have our separate lives. However, the charming thing about our friendship is we’ve known each other since we were children. Despite growing up in various parts of the world, we held on and today, we have our own little support group. One of them lives in Sydney. She decided to be true to her dreams and left. She makes an effort to come back once a year. And when that happens, we take time off from work, motherhood, the daily grind and pack our bags and drive away for a couple of days to catch up and be stupid. Earlier this year, we did just that. We got into 2 cars and headed for Batu Ferringgi (Penang, Malaysia). We felt the tremors of the second earthquake. We became very stupid. We called our loved ones. We told them we were safe. Finished the beers in the fridge and told each other how much our lives were still intertwined. A couple of days later, she flew back to her life in Sydney and the rest of us, became ‘normal’ again.

I don’t see how my life can be called normal for the everyday person but trust me; boredom is a word I fully appreciate. Going to the same clubs and bars and seeing the same faces and listening to the same music does take its toll on my sanity. It does bore me. I’m always looking for something new and exciting. Occupational hazard I guess.

Then come the bricks. My down days. I allow myself to get trapped in my dark corners. I turn to myself. I ask questions. Why am I doing this? How did I let that happen, again? What do I do now? Do I get answers? No. Do you? We come up with theories that are never practiced.

But there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel (I am a believer of clich├ęs as you’ve noticed.) There’s always light. That’s something I always forget about. I even got myself a tattoo to remind me. Still forget though.

In the last 2 weeks, I’ve seen my friends a lot. I even went to Sydney. (Well, I went to watch Kylie. But that’s another story.) It seems the universe knows when it should intervene and help give you a shove in the right direction. We cooked for each other, karaoke-d on a work night, gave birth to babies. All smiles. I only told them a couple of days ago. And the support I got, only true friends can give you the blood, sweat and tears of joy. As always, through them, I get my renewed lust for life. Botox for the soul. I’ll come down again and sure enough, I’ll get my next injection.

What I’m trying to express, I think, is how we are responsible for each other and ourselves. We need to remind ourselves to believe in what we need to do to help see what it is we have to see. I may be getting older and have more bills to pay, but growing up doesn’t seem so bad when I have my youth and childhood standing beside me.

9 December 2005

CD included

I love Apples. Red not much, green for sure and the white ones are beyond compare. It all boils down to which one I have each day. Each one differs in flavour.

When I wake, have my Wild Island decaf swiss water roasted coffee, read the sports section of the papers, without fail I must have music. Lately, old friends named Blossom, Sarah, Anita, Lena, Billie, Ella have been my day-long companions. Sometimes I read a red book from Texas, and a-ha, it's in analogue.

I never tire for they keep me occupied especially during the nights when crickets and toads bear witness to the aural delights that stream through my study window.

The very thought of you at last, little girl blue, it never entered my mind. Sweet love, they say it's wonderful. I could write a book with a song in my heart. I wish I were in love again. I didn't know what time it was. Nevermind. Cosy prisons.

Strange fruit.

8 December 2005

a review

we have sacrificed the intensity and truth of emotion for the form and structure of a studied language.

words are just words, empty and hollow without the reason of why and where it comes from.

feelings are like the colour spectrum. so many different shades. anger and forced tears are only but two. let's not just leave it at that.

understanding only comes once we accept the emotion that unravels the answers. and even then, more truths will appear, despite the control rein we hold. control is a word coined to ensure that you never step out of line. a line that doesn't even exist.

take the gamble, risk the fear and reach for the unknown.

7 December 2005

surface

if you're careful all the time, then what's it worth?

5 December 2005

life in theatre

" Never before, when it is life itself that is in question, has there been so much talk of civilization and culture. And there is a curious parallel between this generalized collapse of life at the root of our present demoralization and our concern for a culture which has never been coincident with life, which in fact has been devised to tyrannize over life.

Before speaking further about culture, I must remark that the world is hungry and not concerned with culture, and that the attempt to orient toward culture thoughts turned only toward hunger is a purely artificial expedient.

What is most important, it seems to me, is not so much to defend culture whose existence has never kept a man from going hungry, as to extract, from what is called culture, ideas whose compelling force is identical with that of hunger.

We need to live first of all; to believe in what makes us live and that something makes us live - to believe that whatever is produced from the mysterious depths of ourselves need not forever haunt us as an exclusively digestive concern.

...If confusion is the sign of the times, I see at the root of this confusion a rupture between things and words, between things and the ideas and signs that are their representation.

...We must insist upon the idea of culture-in-action, of culture growing within us like a new organ, a sort of second breath; and civilization as an applied culture controlling even our subtlest actions, a presence of mind; the distinction between culture and civilization is an artificial one, providing two words to signify an identical function.

A civilized man judges and is judged according to his behaviour, but even the term "civilized" leads to confusion: a cultivated "civilized" man is regarded as a person instructed in systems, a person who thinks in forms, signs, representations - a monster whose faculty of deriving thoughts, is developed to an absurdity.

If our life lacks brimstone, i.e., a constant magic, it is because we choose to observe our acts and lose ourselves in considerations of their imagined form instead of being compelled by their force. And this faculty is an exclusively human one. I would even say that it is this infection of the human race which contaminates ideas which should have remained divine; for far from believing that man invented the supernatural and the divine, I think it is man's age-old intervention which ultimately corrupted the divine within him.

What has lost us culture is our Occidental idea of art and the profits we seek to derive from it. Art and culture cannot be considered together, contrary to the treatment accorded them!

If the theatre has been created as an outlet for our repressions, the agonized poetry expressed in its bizarre corruptions of the facts of life demonstrates that life's intensity is still intact and asks only to be better directed.

Our petrified idea of the theatre is connected with our petrified idea of a culture without shadows, where, no matter which way it turns, our mind (esprit) encounters only emptiness, though space is full.

But the true theatre, because it moves and makes use of living instruments, continues to stir up shadows where life has never ceased to grope its way. The actor does not make the same gestures twice, but he makes gestures, he moves; and although he brutalizes forms, nevertheless behind them and through their destruction he rejoins that which outlives forms and produces their continuation.

For the theatre as for culture, it remains a question of naming and directing shadows: and the theatre, not confined to a fixed language and form, not only destroys false shadows but prepares the way for a new generation of shadows, around which assembles the true spectacles of life.

To break through language in order to touch life is to create or recreate the theatre; the essential thing is not to believe that this act must remain sacred.

This leads to the rejection of the usual limitations of man and man's powers, and infinitely extends the frontiers of what is called reality.

We must believe in a sense of life renewed by the theatre, a sense of life in which man fearlessly makes himself master of what does not yet exist, and brings into being. And everything that has not been born can still be brought to life if we are not satisfied to remain mere recording organisms.

Furthermore, when we speak the word "life," it must be understood we are not referring to life as we know it from its surface of fact, but to that fragile, fluctuating center which forms never reach. And if there is still one hellish, truly accursed thing in our time, it is our artistic dallying with forms, instead of being like victims burnt at the stake, signaling through the flames."



extracted from Antonin Artaud's 'The Theatre And Its Double' (Grove Press)

4 December 2005

The Diva & The Showgirl


Today, my friend Mikael who's just come home for the holidays, gave me a precious gift: the Kylie Showgirl DVD. It was released last week and recorded from Kylie Minogue's Showgirl tour which was abruptly cut short when she discovered she had breast cancer. She began the tour early this year and was scheduled to close the tour in her home country, Australia, in late May. I am one of millions of her devoted fans.

I remember I first saw her in Neighbours. I must've been about 12 or 13. Like two of her songs, it was love at first sight. Then she released her first single, Loco-motion, which became the biggest selling single of the 80s in Australia. I didn't even know that it was released until one day, my synchronized swimming trainer said we were doing a new routine to this song. I asked who it was and the rest, you know, is history.

Many years on, and I collected every available piece of recorded material she had, but I never had the opportunity of watching her perform live. (I've been on stage with her sister Dannii but I'll leave that for another day.) Till one day, another great friend, Cheng Han, calls from Sydney and teases me about buying tickets to watch Showgirl. She called the ticketing agent but the tickets were sold out. She called the day they released them. She then tried another agent and could only wing us seats somewhere in Siberia. Well, I didn't expect to go anyway. When Kylie tours, her tickets sell out fast. BUT, at the end of the week, Cheng Han calls and says "Guess What?!?" Not only did she get them but she scored seats 2 rows off the stage front! And as luck would have it, the MAS Travel fair came a week later.

Come May 19th, I was ready. I arrived in Sydney 2 days before the show and on that very day, Kylie was admitted to hospital.

My lifetime dream. It will come true. All my dreams do.

Because of Kylie, the statistics of women in Australia having mammogram tests rose by over 200%. The same effect was seen the world over.

Kylie completes her chemotherapy this week. Not everyone is that lucky. For those of us in cities, medical expertise is close at hand. Early detection is better than no detection. Or ignoring pain.

My mother is a cancer survivor but my father, unfortunately, detected it too late. He was gone in 10 days. May he rest with the angels.

You know the moral of the story. Feel yourself up sometimes.

At Large

"Theology,by its nature of presenting absolute answers, makes people insolently arrogant in their relation with the universe."

- Bertrand Russell's "History of Western Philosophy"

3 December 2005

melodramatic

...there is nothing mellow about being dramatic.

I'm tired as hell, my shoulder is aching and this blocked nose of mine is taking away my enjoyment from some much needed couch potatoing with my trusty remote control. So, what does one do? One decided to see how many people have read one's last post.

I send an email out to 80 people asking them to read my last post in hope that all of them would go pick a star off the chrissy tree at the Regent Hotel. One person said definately and she was going to pop-in while she was in the city. Three more replied saying they had a wonderful read. Okay. 82 kids left to make happy. There are 85 stars.

I was just listening to 'What Else Is There?" the new single by Royksopp and having bought the album months ago, i only just listened to the lyrics (usually I'm swaying to it) and realised how apt...

I don't know what more to ask for, I was given just one wish

I believe in dreams coming true. It's my business. I'm not one to sit in an office and wait for that paltry monthly reward. I wanted to be somebody. Oh, come on, who doesn't want to make a difference? I'm doing what I love and you can never question my passion for it. My work these past 11 years can attest to it.

I was recently told I didn't realise how successful I actually was and told to embrace it. It's a small pond we have here in Malaysia. One bit part in a play and you think you're a star. I'm no bit part actor but with such a small pond, I ain't gonna go splashing around. I'm very content to swim leisurely, enjoying my surroundings. I try to be humble when I must but when i can use it for a purpose, I'll use it. I'm not the only one. Damn it! I was the first of my peers who appeared on stage, film, TV, print and radio all at the same time, I think it's about time for some payback. Someone up there made me famous, so, I'll be selling my face, and my gorgeous voice, to help make some kids smile. Anyone for that matter.

I'm tired of talking to adults. Most of them don't listen. They only hear you when you've said something they don't want to hear. Selective Hearing perhaps? Sod off!

I was given just one wish. And the stars shine bright tonight.

The Diva Awakes!



The Diva Series Album of the Night: The Understanding - Royksopp(Wall of Sound Records)

If you're lost, you can look and you will find me...

I wake up this morning in a luscious king-sized bed at the Westin KL after what was a very long but very fulfilling Friday.

At 10:30 am, i was asked to be the Guest of Honour at the Regent Hotel's launch of it's 'Stars on The Christmas Tree' event. In my previous post (Interlude: Addict) I wrote of children whose parents pushed them too hard. On Friday, i met parents who did what they could to ease their children's pain.

The Regent Hotel KL does this event every year. The management put up a tree in the middle of the lobby and hang golden stars on the branches with names of children who suffer from cancer and other bloody illnessess. The purpose of these stars are for those of us who want to make a dying child smile simply by picking a star and giving this child a gift. The hotel plans to collect all these presents and give them to the children by the 21st of December. All these children go through radio- and chemotherapy. Some are only 2 years old.


One little boy, only 2 and a half, came with his mother straight after his chemo sesssion. She brought him because she wanted him to unwind from the stress of chemo and have a chance of playing with the other children, something he doesn't do much of because he's in the hospital at least 3 times a week. She told me he was an active, bubbly child once. The little boy could hardly lift his arm and only managed a smile when i said goodbye to him 2 hours later. His name is Daniel.

Here's a tearjerker for you: Some of them won't live long enough to get these presents. So please (if you're in KL, Malaysia), go to the Regent Hotel KL and pick a star... Make a child smile.

The rest of the day was my corporate emcee event. Fun, Bling-Bling, I get paid lots. Like that lah. Got pissed drunk from the free booze, had strange dreams and here I am now.

Today, I'm going to my friend's 5 year-old son's birthday. He, no doubt, will be getting everything he wants.

Some children are so lucky. Really?


The Diva Series Album of the Morning: Billie Holiday - Lady Sings The Blues (Verve Classics)

2 December 2005

waking up is hard to do

The Diva Series (morning) Album of the Day: Texas - Red Book (Mercury Records)

1 December 2005

Interlude: Addict


The French have a saying, When you do something twice, there will always be a third. This is my third post of the day (and I only just started). But like most things, i wonder how long this 'fix' will last. What is this blogging phenomena? It's going around faster than the flu i caught today. Because of it, I've spent the past hour reading blogs of the world. My brother has one. He tried to get me to start one months ago but I told him I had other 'fixes' to attend to. I then narrowed the search to blogs in my country and I am in awe of some of them. Some people have such strong voices and their words only make you ponder about the mysteries of our lives. Some mysteries are banal, others downright ridiculous.
The one that keeps nagging me in the behind of my bald diva head is this one: The technological advancements of today have led to the lack of personal communication. Yes, I know. Age-old argument many have argued. It annoys me that children are given handphones at an early age and SMS has become the method for saying a simple hello. Then comes the battle of who has the newest, flashiest handphone or gadget. A phone is a phone. Not a status symbol.
A status symbol, in my definition, is when you have a crown on your head and people refer to you as "Your Royal Highness." Some may call me a Queen, thank you so much for giving me a throne, but I prefer you write my name on a cheque. I won't be able to bestow upon you a title but I will buy you a new handphone.
Moving right along.
I was told off for not replying to an SMS that said, "See you in 10 minutes." I was told off 10 minutes after i got this SMS . The person who sent it to me was standing in front of me 10 minutes after i got the SMS. You see where I'm going with this?
Such wonderful values we seem to be instilling in our children. However, not all parents are evil. Just those who don't teach their children the finer points of life.
I work with children when I have the time and it scares me what some parents do with their god-given responsibilties of parenthood. I understand that every parent only wishes the best for their child but sending a 5 year-old to a Mensa class where she has to learn 60,000 new words by the end of the week, then off to a dance class for 12 year-olds and pre-school tuition classes... I'm sorry what? Pre-school tuition?? I met this little girl when I was about to start enrollment for my 7-9 year-old theatre program. I sat in the playroom with this little girl after i told her parents to leave us for a few minutes. They insisted that she was 'mature' enough to join the class. I spent a half hour with her trying to get her use her creative imagination. Most children have a magical forest in their heads and can come up with some wonderful magical creatures once asked. But this little girl couldn't even look me in the eye when she answered my questions. She was talking to me but her eyes were focused on the wall behind me. I asked her if she knew why she was here. She said she didn't. She said came because her mummy said she had to. 5 years-old and without choices.

We have forgotten how to play... getting dirty in the mud, dancing in the rain, life's little pleasures... The tsunami may have hit last year but the waves started washing over us a long time ago.

The Diva Series Album of the Day Part 2: Anita Baker - Christmas Fantasy (Blue Note Records)

Series One: Flying a kite.


This was something done for the play I directed last year. It was projected on a round screen 8ft. in diameter and the actor stood in front of it. It gave the illusion of the kite strapped to his back. I'm posting it because I'm very proud of the person who designed it. Sidney Tan. This is just one of many. Thanks Sid.

Series One: Let's start with...

December 1. World AIDS Day. Okay, there's the awareness created. There's no such thing as Safe Sex. It's just Safer Sex. Be clever about it. Now, on with the show.
I've recently been re-introduced to the joys of the uber-diva singers of our musical history: Sarah, Ella, Billie, Betty, Dinah. the list goes one which leads me to the album I'm listening to at this very moment, Harry Connick, Jr.'s 25 album. No, he ain't a diva but he falls in that category of amazing musicianship.
I listen to a lot of music. I will end each blog entry with the Diva Series Album of the Day. If you'd like to sample it, pop into Victoria Music Centre and have a taste. Yes, still the best place to get your music fix. I don't do Towers. I'll leave the populist culture to the populists.
I love our world. This asian side that is. While the rest of the world is going through a Post-materialistic phase, we in Asia have decided that flash bling-bling is it. A lot of selfish people out there on the streets today. But that's just the way it is. A society, like an individual, has to go through the learning process. Hopefully, we'll come out the better. And that's why I love it so. Just to sit down with some caffeine and watch the daily goings-on of people. I'm prey to it to. I want everything! I don't need it, just wanting makes me feel better about myself. And then when i finally lay my hands on it... You understand, yes?
Tomorrow I do charity work, which balances out this selfishness of mine.
Oh, very important! Please smile whenever you pass someone and see them eye to eye. Don't just walk past. Staring is rude. Just smile. I smiled at someone today. He looked at me and thought I was mad. Well, like that lah.


The Diva Series Album of the Day: Anita O'Day's Finest Hour (Verve Records)
www.vervemusicgroup.com