29 January 2006

in memoriam

"goodnight sweet prince.
may flights of angels sing thee to thy sleep."

Godbless you Richard. Gucci forever.

25 January 2006

you'd be so nice to come home to

I was driving along, as I usually do, when it struck me, 'what the hell am I waiting for?' I want to do it and I've earned enough this month to pay for it. One phone call and it's set. It took me all of 5 minutes to make the decision. Why so long? Because I was playing with the idea of how it should be done.

Sumunda heads into the world of music. A little bit of jazz, a bit of pop, a dose of Soul, and West End musicals thrown in for good measure. And I'm calling it Moodswings: Edwin Sumun - A Love Life in Song featuring the David Gomes Trio.

Oh yes, if mohammed can't go to the mountain then the mountain comes to him (is that right?).

The idea for this show is welcomed solace to my restless and sleepless nights. The only thing I have to battle against is publicity. I can't advertise it. Why? Because the place I want to do it in hasn't got its licence approved yet. So, it's all gonna be done via email and sms, and hopefully 100 friends and their friends will come fill the 2 nights I want to perform. Oh, and I ain't gonna see a return in profits either. I'm pumping in my own hard earned dosh because I want it done. Thank heavens it won't cost much. I would love to get sponsorship. However, it would be impossible to 'put their names in lights' without advertising. Who knows maybe some philanthropist will come along?

All that's left is to figure out the songs with David and Junji (his wife and the most talented Jazz singer in our country) and get them transcribed. I already know which musicians I'm working with: Vincent Ong on bass, Charles Lim on drums, David on the ivories and guest appearances by Julian Chan on Sax, Junji Delfino and Maya Tan on vocals.

Another rub. PGL the Musical goes on February. So does a show thats being planned by Sean Ghazi. Then in March, is M the Opera. Moodswings either happens in the middle of all that or I wait till April, which doesn't seem that far away now. April 1st perhaps as it will be Sumunda's second birthday.

I'm writing this because I want feedback from you. My ardent reader and I would like you to be there so I'd like to book the day when everyone can come.

Let me leave you with this. Hopefully I'll be doing an original as well as standards. And a teaser shot of what I may look like. I'm getting so excited!

Do you want beauty and grace
Do you want to find another place
Do you want to live a life in love
Do you think that really is enough

Can you try and take it all away
Can you try to make a move to play
Can you really live a life in love
Can you say it really is enough


"The arts cannot thrive except where men are free to be themselves and to be in charge of their own energies and ardours."
- Franklin Roosevelt

23 January 2006

hallmark stronghold

You have angered Zeus and Hera will not answer your prayers. Three hours later, I watch the re-run of Hercules on the Hallmark channel. It wasn't a very good show but I'm tempted by the tales of Greek gods. As a child, I made my parents buy me books on mythologies of ancient worlds. I read of the great Egyptian pharoahs, the superhuman tales of the gods of Rome and Greece, the legends and myths of Ancient China. There were a great many tales that lulled me into fantastic dreams. Stories of Hang Tuah and Mahsuri didn't fascinate me as much. Pity. The curse bit was fun though.

In retrospect, I now see that maybe it was these childhood readings that sculptured my perceptions of life. Great stories of mortal men who become heroes battling all that the angered gods unleash. Very Barbara Cartland, don't you think? I think so.

Now the bestseller lists list books by Danielle Steel, that Da Vinci code and a million other thriller paperbacks as the words for the mortal man of today. How do we live our dreams if they are filled with conspiracy theories, shopaholic confessions and a really bad movie version of a geisha's ramblings?

We dream anyway. No matter what. I dream of being a father. I don't think that'll come true. The world I frolic in doesn't allow such dreams to come true. However, mentioned in my previous posts and in my daily steps, some do come true. Sometimes luck plays a part, sometimes I become the luck and make my dreams come true.

You have greatness in you. Time will reveal it.

That's a line of dialogue from Hercules (which I watch as I write) and it's been said to me by two people I hold very dear.

I believe greatness lies in all of us. It (greatness) is interpreted however you feel fits your walk of life. I want to learn and share these lessons with as many as I can and be remembered for the presence I've left.

Don't fight for what you believe you deserve. Fight for what you believe is the truth. And that is another way of explaining greatness.

Hercules now begins his first task.

20 January 2006

quando quando quando

I want to experience wisdom. What is it exactly? I mean even wise men seek jesus.

According to the dictionary on my computer, Wisdom is the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise. I looked up wise and it came up about the same.

Is sound advice wise? What makes someone a wise person? I don't know. A lot of people tell you things. All sorts of things, from the inanely obvious to downright ridiculous.

I was recently asked by a fellow director to return to a production I walked out of a year ago. It'll be a groundbreaking show (I think) and I've been talking to friends about it wondering if I should walk back in. But something in my gut says I shouldn't. My head and my ego say otherwise. Since I started Sumunda, I've lead my life by my gut feeling and it has never failed me.

Is it time to let the twain meet? How do I decide? Something about the show doesn't feel right. When I walked out a year ago, no ties were broken and I walked away with a load taken off my shoulders. However, I've always had that nagging feeling of what if. I left one of the leads and I've been asked to return to fill a smaller one. This is where ego kicks in. With a career and reputation driving in high gear, it is a quandary for me. I have 5 days more to reconsider my involvement in the production.

As I listen to keroncong from Indonesia, soothing as it is, my heart and mind are torn asunder (how diva-ly dramatic!).

Agar hati rindu, ku kan senyum.

I think I will stick to my guns. Decisions must be made. Decisions made on gut feeling always lead me to the appropriate place, and I wonder where it'll be this time.

Success has a price and I've misplaced my chequebook. Will cash do? Or can I write an I.O.U.? Should I do it?

I'm going to watch people hit fuzzy yellow balls now.

18 January 2006


These past 2 weeks have been great! A wonderful start to the year. I guess that's why I haven't blogged about the things that happen around me. Well, I could if I wanted to. There have some minorly annoying people that I had to deal with but nothing that warrants a full-on blog post.

So, where does that leave me, the Diva? I'm still observing the world but this time I've flipped the coin. I wonder what I'll find on this side? People who don't return a smile still annoy me. Hey, I don't think people will change anytime soon. Their need for 'speed' overwhelms their internal need for whatever it is they need to live a contented life. The Australian Open is on so I'll be spending most of my days watching the baselines and volleys. I'll pay attention when someone steps up to the net and takes that risk.

Godbless the little miracles.

I leave you with another set of lyrics from my now very overdue album. Maybe this will be the year. Who knows?

Back to Mine

I’m waiting for that day
When the rain stops and the clouds roll away
Ushered to a faraway place by the winds of time
Waiting for that day when I get back to mine.

I’m waiting for that day
When I can walk proud on the streets and say
That I braved it all, no longer pine
Knowing I will smile when I get back to mine.

Now I’m hiding alone in my halls
Seeing the light only when it calls
Only on stage do I stand tall
Back in my room I cry and I fall

Back in love with you
Everytime I hear your name I do
In love with you
There is only me
Cuddled in my room
Wondering of you
Come back to mine.

Now I know hiding is no longer right
All we did in love was fight
But here I am
And once again
Dreaming of your smiles

Back in love with you
Everytime I only wish the best for you
You know I do
The very best of me
Is what you need but
It’s yet to be until
I get back to mine.

13 January 2006

la la la...

Been a whole week since my last post. And the week has been financially rewarding. So good in fact I'm considering purchasing a new desktop computer for my work. Considering being the operative word. And what, I hear you ask, is the lucky item? The newly unleashed Intel Core Duo 20" iMac. It's a beauty and a bloody excellent piece of hardware. I've been eyeing the iMac for a couple of months now and with the Intel processor I'm ready to make the leap.

I've been a Mac user for just over a year. Before that, like the billions, I was on a home-built desktop running Windows XP. 10 years of crashes and headaches, I decided I was migrating to a system that only a select few claimed was THE system to use. Okay, Apple products have always been things to things your saliva drips on and owners are people who don't mind burning holes in their pockets. One fine day, I walked into the store with my chequebook and got myself an iBook. I must admit I got a Mac because I knew it was a status symbol more than anything else. It looked good but never in a million years did I think it could do so much. In the 13 months that I've loved it, I've managed to do more work on it than the 10 combined years on my 'other' PC. It all boils down to the OSX user interface. Many people have said it was daunting but after a couple of days of getting used to the system, I found that it was literally one click of a button to get the job done. I have since convinced 3 of my friends to 'Mac' up themselves.

So, now with Intel on their side, Apple has built the most powerful home-user computer. Soon will come the professional editions.

The world where form meets function.

And if you think this is a shameless free plug for Apple, you're right!

Beauty isn't always skin deep.

7 January 2006

philatelic society

What is it about first impressions? Some of us are first attracted to how gorgeous the person is. I used to be like that. Nowadays, I wait. The first impression is made when I meet the person, we have a brief conversation and then we part ways. Based on that first encounter, I'm 'impressed.' On first impressions, people I meet say I'm funny, intriguing, enigmatic, commanding. Depending on perception, they then say I'm physically attractive. I wonder sometimes what goes on in the minds of men.

There is no right or wrong way of making an impression. You do what feels right. I enter a room and you know I'm there. I never make it a point to be seen. It just happens. We shouldn't force something to happen all because we want it to. Someone once said that I had an aura. Well, everyone has an aura. I think it boils down to personality and confidence. Knowing who you are.

Then in walks the most good-looking person you've ever seen. You jaw drops and you start behaving like a lovestruck little schoolgirl. You forget your senses. And the game of mental cat-and-mouse begins.

It doesn't hurt to allow first impressions to guide your perceptions. You may find out later you were wrong about a person. I sure as hell know I've trusted the wrong person but it's all part of what you need to go through. The lessons take you to another part of your journey. I'm still on it and not planning to find the final destination. I'll get there when I get there. Maybe you do know where you're going to. But you'll never really know how you'll get there. Either way, enjoy the experiences that your life has granted you. And if you like roller-coasters, you're in for one helluva ride!

6 January 2006

sense & sensibility

If Jane Austen was alive, she would be extremely pleased with how her words have been reinterpreted for the modern day reader.

My friends and me went to watch Pride & Prejudice. We were expecting just a good movie. But we were captivated. The cinematography was breath-taking, the performances compelling and the screenplay was, to say the least, astounding. My humble words will never do justice if I were to describe it to you. Never in recent times has a movie been so engrossing. I have a bladder problem but it had me gripped to my seat for close to 2 1/2 hours. I am in love with Mr.Darcy (yet again).

The language was music to my ears. Then after that we went for a late night sup. Nevermind the language heard then.

The Brits just know how to make a great movie. I guess, unlike the Americans, they aren't driven by the market of posterity. Great actors come first. I have had the great pleasure of seeing many of my idols on stage, Dames Judi and Maggie, Ian McKellen, Rhys Ifans just to name drop a few. The magic of their performances never fail to renew my hope of one day being an actor of unrivalled presense. I've come pretty close I think.

Anyway, it's not that I'm knocking the Americans, but looking back at the history of American cinema, you understand why beauty reigns supreme. Talent a very close second. Up till this very day, looks sell the tickets. A handful of actors make it past that veneer. However, the world subcribes to the universe of stars that make you drool when they appear, a world created by Americans unrivalled by any other movie industry (Bollywood excluded).

I would like to thank the Aussies for Cate Blanchett. Good on ya!

Beauty is the word. How we have fallen for it. We don't often see an 'ugly' actor on film, TV etc. The theory I have is this: The Americans use beauty to mask the crap that happens in their country. Maybe Bush Jr. could learn a thing or two because the mask he wears is downright pathetic.

And now, all we ever dream of is Prince Charming (who looks like Tom Cruise) and Amelia Erheart (Angelina Jolie). Unless our chosen partner for life fits this bill, no one will have a chance in hell of coming close.

Anyone watched Carnivale? Great series (and everyone in it isn't drop dead gorgeous). American, of course, so there may still be a chance for us.

4 January 2006


One of my favourite things to do is to sit somewhere with a hot cup of coffee, my headphones on and watch the people around me. Sometimes, I make up little stories about them. Sometimes I write my silly poems. Yesterday was one of those days. I would like to thank Telekom for this. If it wasn't for my crappy broadband service lately, I wouldn't have started again. I used to write a lot. It complements the writing I do for theatre. Now it's back. I ended up writing into the wee hours. To tell you the truth, I'm writing lyrics. I'm hoping this will be the year when I begin recording.

My personal writes usually deal with love (boohoo me!) but here's one I'd like to share. One of those 'people-walking-past' type of poems. Bear with me.

Staring out the window
Is it worth it all?
All the pain imagined
Just to stand up tall

Looking at the people
Living out each day
Second best decisions
Still waiting for that call

Glaring at the mirror
Smiling for myself
Until I see the camera
My smile broadens again

Wanting needing breathing living
The world is a better place
Just keep on believing
The mess is just a phase
Gifts we are receiving
Are simply thrown away
Where are we going?
The day begins again.

copyright edwin sumun 2006

2 January 2006


The second day of the year. Has a nice ring to it. Some noticable changes and some that will never change. Like my broadband service. For the past few weeks, it's been on the blink. Goes off when the rain gets too heavy. Today was the worse. I'm crossing my fingers that it won't get cut off before I have a chance to post this.

Living in a semi-developed country does have its perks. What are they? Well, if you were educated abroad or have parents that stressed the importance of learning English, then it'll be easier to travel. If you weren't as fortunate, then I hope you listened to your teachers in school. However, Malaysians still speak the language...no no no, they don't speak it. They pretend they don't understand you and speak in Malay. Funny isn't it? You can walk straight up to the counter at McDs, place your order in English, the girl behind the counter feigns indifference, looks at you funny, answers you in Malay and still manages to give you exactly what you ordered. The expats here must be having a whale of a time!

But, for those of us who have had the amazing opportunity of seeing the world, we understand that language is never a barrier. Children don't care what you say to them as long as they know the care and love that comes from you when you hold them. Hello is hello in most languages.

I have some 'friends' that constantly complain of dealing with malaysians that don't properly, or can't, speak English. Okay dude, get a grip on yourself. We were lucky we had parents that helped. The education system only encourages teachers to teach the kids of today. But we all know for a fact that English isn't as important as Maths, is it? It's that whole Borrow-Lend debacle that gets my goat. And let's not even start on grammar.

Well lets. A little girl named Judith showed me her homework book. Her teacher made the class draw a series of pictures and then describe them in words. Not only that, they had to write this descriptive sentence 5 times for each picture. The picture Judith drew was of a tree sprouting from the ground. Her sentence was, and she was given a 'very good' marking, 'The tree still not grow yet.' I told Judith it was incorrect. She was puzzled. "But my teacher said correct what? Can you borrow me your pen so I can write it down properly?"

I told her mother and we both had a good laugh. It seems she's at tethers end explaining to her kids about the borrow-lend concept.

Yes, it's tearjerkingly painful what our kids learn in schools in Malaysia. Why? Because they're not going to understand the Aussies and the Brits. Have you seen a Malaysian struggling with the man behind the deli counter at the market in Selfridges? It's a sight to behold.

And what is this 10 subjects minimum for SPM (our O Levels)? Oh, I don't know anymore. We, the system, stress the importance of education. And what is this stress really for I ask you?

Tomorrow I'll be calling Telekom about my broadband disruptance. It will be a very long call. The operator will be speaking in Malay and I will be speaking in tongues.

So, as long as I get my Happy Meal, I'm happy. Ya, large boleh...Large lah...LARGE...Besar? That's all.