Sunday, June 21, 2009

Stories from Malaysia.

tadaima~ back from a tour around west Malaysia, yet again, so typical of my little family of three. It was my cousin's wedding that brought us back to Kelantan, the old, backward 'ulu' sleepy town where the supermarkets have paying counters separating the masculine and feminine.

Of course that's all for show, they don't really follow it nowadays, but the blasting of 5 prayers a days routine carries on, no escaping that in a PAS ruled state.

I love the slow life there, yet I'm missing everything fast, active and happening in Singapore. Funny how I loathed the fast-paced life initially, where people squeeze in the MRT and buses everyday on their way to work- probably wanting to save on personal transportation because owning a car in Singapore probably equals up to owning a gas company in Sarawak.

Somehow, sitting in a sardine-packed car listening to ramblings of senior relatives- in a somewhat foreign tongue, Hainanese that is, my inherited dialect from my dad's side, one which I can only understand the word 'jiak - eat' because eating accompanied my fellowship and blathering is what they do the whole day. They love it, I would love to love it too, but somehow, alienated because of my handicap.

As usual, the drive up to Kelantan would have to pass through Pahang and Terrenganu state before reaching the east-northern tip of Malaysia before crossing the border to Thailand. Pasir Ris to Joo Koon probably takes only an hour and twenty minutes to reach end to end; and if Lee Kuan Yew still possesses the strength to further reclaim land for the inhabitants of the nation, probably another 15 minutes from end-to-end, nothing more. JB to Terrenganu takes a full day's drive- but I love it. Its lovely how the scenery and sun position changes from the morning till the evening. By night, we would have found a quaint chalet by the mesmerizing eastern coast, enjoying the vermilion sunset chewing Keropok Lekor.

That's always the part I love most on my annual journeys to Kelantan. Always the stipulated time granted me to observe, appreciate, contemplate nature and the beauty of Creation. Last year, I spent my time at the beach studying the characteristics of waves. Crests, troughs, wavefront, source, superposition etc.

ripples in the lake.

Spot the camou crab.

Dad, would be on his toes, ready for any movement of wildlife to be captured in his D90. Real Photographers are always in odd positions, positions you can hardly think of- when they are at Work. Mum gets pretty pissed off with this obsession of his sometimes when dad dashes off in the midst of doing something to 'Capture the Moment'. I understand. X)

Then came the day Symphony 92.4 dropped me a message saying that I won the Father's Day dedication and they cannot get through my Singtel line to record my voice to be aired on radio because I was 'out of reach'. True, I was miles and miles away from the island, but absolutely thrilled at the same time because I hardly, or never won anything like this before, let alone on a radio station altogether. Of course I called back. Spoke to the Dj, Shelwin, I think, and then recorded my voice reading the dedication. And then I'm getting a free CD hahahahaha.

Awesomely-mad struck.

And to pay for my time in my uncle's house, mosquitoes bit me so frequently that I'm certain I'm going home with rich legs. Gold coins on my legs, ah God forbid. Free fluctuating internet connection was almost secondary, but at least it helped me kill time having nothing better do to at times- other than tossing a tennis ball on the wall repeatedly, reading Nicholas Sparks' 'THe Guardian' until I fell asleep on the bed too often, or simply too frustrated with my uncle's white, traumatized, nerve-wrecking dog ever. She's a pretty dog, having similar features as Russ- my missing dog, but it hides behind the trees and bushes every time I try to get near and render some 'love' to this over traumatized dog. It was no use though, at the end of my stay at the mosquito-infested house, the dog still has its tail in between its legs, head hanged low, with fear in its eyes. Poor thing.

Uncle's traumatized white dog.
Its rare to get a shot like this without having her hiding in the bushes.

After nearing a week in Kelantan, it was Finally time to move on to Penang Island- Land of the best Hawker Food. Stayed in my cousin's little cosy 'just-married' apartment, rallied tennis with my dad a bit and realized how much physical training I lack having just continuously stuffing my stomach with Kelantan and Penang food. Certainly its an ominous sign that I'll be dead in the next Tennis training back in SP. Group mate says Lunges are now full court + push ups. My St John muscles has turned into fats, no wonder.

Mountain King Penang Hill Monkey.

Your long lost poser cousin.

Gotcha! Squirrel dashing accross the overhead cable, taking a peep into the camera lens!

Met up with old-timers, as usual, more food.
Durian in the backseat emitted rather putrefying scent I would say- in that sense, I'm zero Malaysian. I'm no fan of Mr Durian thank you. =P

Rode to Taiping, then KL, catch up on another old-timer who's now inventing some sort of hydrogen/water fueled power generator thingy. Quantum physics involved, I didn't quite understand the electrons turning into gravitons, acting as mass part. heehee. Interesting project though.

And then Home.
How I miss Home.

(and also wished badly for the lost chance to attend the Awesome Campo, so I heard.)

Turned on my radio, and still didn't get the chance to catch myself on radio but the most unlikely person did - Hui Yen. Didn't know she listen to classical. Woots. Form 6 must have forced her into classical to sooth her nerves. Quite plausible. =D

Flip the piano cover and tinkled the ivories, eek, my fingers had become rusty a little.

And I wonder how I could dream of myself, in the busy poly week, I had a notice from somewhere that Mr Yundi Li requested me to play a duet with him. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Surprisingly, I got the score in the midst of my busy schedule, sight read it a bit and realized it was only a page of notes. A few notes, probably grade 5 stuff. And I didn't bother to practice, informing the performance committee I could sight read straight away on that day. Probably Mr Li's master class or something. Then I woke up.


The thought of a well-known pianist, family name 'Li', could have originated from the YouTube video I watched earlier on in the Taiping gardens that day; a video of little George Li playing Chopin's Grande Polonaise Brilliante and I personally thought he would become like Yundi Li when he grows up- then the Yundi Li really appeared in my dreams that very night. The human mind is a fascinating one.

Saturday I took advantage of the laser printer my dad brought back from his office just for awhile, and printed Andante Spianato preceding the Grande Polonaise Brilliante. So dreamlike, a reverie preceding the polonaise; and as easy as it sounds, Chopin's easier pieces doesn't gets much easier with those odd number notes on the melody part, not fitting the rhythmic left hand at all, plus all the tricky ornaments I thought Yundi Li played it as ornate and with much nuance as it could ever sound. What an enchanting piece, enchantingly played! He was 18 when he won The Competition, Eighteen. I feel greatly underachieved.

Just when I thought I had extra money to spend on concerts (Dad's oldest brother rewards me for my SPM ;D), checked SSO's Gala which Mr Li supposed to perform with on 24 July, Singapore, yes Singapore, up and happening, but its fully booked. Fully booked and still more than a month away! T.T Should have known earlier.

Con Fuoco came out of my file, just for the heck of it, the Torrent Etude which I could barely play in the right tempo- simply because I was tired of the Clementi piece I have been playing for monthsXD

Actually, I haven't been listening to piano music, especially Chopin, in high concentrations for half a year or so. So happened my iPod played me a whole list of Chopin the other day on my way back to JB, I couldn't help but enjoy the Music, with wave of emotions flowing in once again, after playing CPE Bach and Clementi for such a long period of time. Haha!

Next on my list for the last week of this holidays before I start on another brain storming, model making, glue tasting, documentation writing, monitor staring et cetera:

Schumann- Traumerei. :D

One page, very ornamental piece. Gee.

Happy Fathers Day,

My impromptu note, sent in 92.4fm, and didn't expect to win anything in the first place. Teehee!

Photo Montage coming soon. Stay tuned.

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