Sinfonia da Vita, Op. 1
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Damn I forget to update the previous notification... that there are stuffs over at the Wordpress site.

Monday, September 14, 2009
Am trying out Wordpress, I am quite attracted by it due to the possibility of pasting text directly from Microsoft Word, which is my real writing platform, it's nicer writing there before having the text transferred over. I have used Wordpress once, when my project team for one of the history modules I took decided to do a debate over a blog, and the classmate who helped set it up used Wordpress. I was quite pleased to find the 'Paste text from Microsoft Word' function there, and even more delighted to find out that it maintains the styles and formats I used in Word.

Here's the link to the new site:, though nothing is posted there at the moment...

Friday, August 21, 2009
The 12 most annoying types of Facebookers
August 20, 2009 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
By Brandon Griggs, CNN

Facebook is a great tool -- and a reminder of why some people get on your nerves
Too many status updates read like navel-gazing diary entries, or worse, spam
A dozen of the most annoying types of Facebook users listed
Among them: bores, shameless self-promoters and people who send you quizzes

(CNN) -- Facebook, for better or worse, is like being at a big party with all your friends, family, acquaintances and co-workers.

There are lots of fun, interesting people you're happy to talk to when they stroll up. Then there are the other people, the ones who make you cringe when you see them coming. This article is about those people.

Sure, Facebook can be a great tool for keeping up with folks who are important to you. Take the status update, the 160-character message that users post in response to the question, "What's on your mind?" An artful, witty or newsy status update is a pleasure -- a real-time, tiny window into a friend's life.

But far more posts read like navel-gazing diary entries, or worse, spam. A recent study categorized 40 percent of Twitter tweets as "pointless babble," and it wouldn't be surprising if updates on Facebook, still a fast-growing social network, break down in a similar way. Take a CNN quiz: What kind of Facebooker are you? »

Combine dull status updates with shameless self-promoters, "friend-padders" and that friend of a friend who sends you quizzes every day, and Facebook becomes a daily reminder of why some people can get on your nerves.

Here are 12 of the most annoying types of Facebook users:

The Let-Me-Tell-You-Every-Detail-of-My-Day Bore. "I'm waking up." "I had Wheaties for breakfast." "I'm bored at work." "I'm stuck in traffic." You're kidding! How fascinating! No moment is too mundane for some people to broadcast unsolicited to the world. Just because you have 432 Facebook friends doesn't mean we all want to know when you're waiting for the bus.

The Self-Promoter. OK, so we've probably all posted at least once about some achievement. And sure, maybe your friends really do want to read the fascinating article you wrote about beet farming. But when almost EVERY update is a link to your blog, your poetry reading, your 10k results or your art show, you sound like a bragger or a self-centered careerist.

The Friend-Padder. The average Facebook user has 120 friends on the site. Schmoozers and social butterflies -- you know, the ones who make lifelong pals on the subway -- might reasonably have 300 or 400. But 1,000 "friends?" Unless you're George Clooney or just won the lottery, no one has that many. That's just showing off.

The Town Crier. "Michael Jackson is dead!!!" You heard it from me first! Me, and the 213,000 other people who all saw it on TMZ. These Matt Drudge wannabes are the reason many of us learn of breaking news not from TV or news sites but from online social networks. In their rush to trumpet the news, these people also spread rumors, half-truths and innuendo. No, Jeff Goldblum did not plunge to his death from a New Zealand cliff.

The TMIer. "Brad is heading to Walgreens to buy something for these pesky hemorrhoids." Boundaries of privacy and decorum don't seem to exist for these too-much-information updaters, who unabashedly offer up details about their sex lives, marital troubles and bodily functions. Thanks for sharing.

The Bad Grammarian. "So sad about Fara Fauset but Im so gladd its friday yippe". Yes, I know the punctuation rules are different in the digital world. And, no, no one likes a spelling-Nazi schoolmarm. But you sound like a moron.

The Sympathy-Baiter. "Barbara is feeling sad today." "Man, am I glad that's over." "Jim could really use some good news about now." Like anglers hunting for fish, these sad sacks cast out their hooks -- baited with vague tales of woe -- in the hopes of landing concerned responses. Genuine bad news is one thing, but these manipulative posts are just pleas for attention.

The Lurker. The Peeping Toms of Facebook, these voyeurs are too cautious, or maybe too lazy, to update their status or write on your wall. But once in a while, you'll be talking to them and they'll mention something you posted, so you know they're on your page, hiding in the shadows. It's just a little creepy.

The Crank. These curmudgeons, like the trolls who spew hate in blog comments, never met something they couldn't complain about. "Carl isn't really that impressed with idiots who don't realize how idiotic they are." [Actual status update.] Keep spreading the love.

The Paparazzo. Ever visit your Facebook page and discover that someone's posted a photo of you from last weekend's party -- a photo you didn't authorize and haven't even seen? You'd really rather not have to explain to your mom why you were leering like a drunken hyena and French-kissing a bottle of Jagermeister.

The Maddening Obscurist. "If not now then when?" "You'll see..." "Grist for the mill." "John is, small world." "Dave thought he was immune, but no. No, he is not." [Actual status updates, all.] Sorry, but you're not being mysterious -- just nonsensical.

The Chronic Inviter. "Support my cause. Sign my petition. Play Mafia Wars with me. Which 'Star Trek' character are you? Here are the 'Top 5 cars I have personally owned.' Here are '25 Things About Me.' Here's a drink. What drink are you? We're related! I took the 'What President Are You?' quiz and found out I'm Millard Fillmore! What president are you?"

You probably mean well, but stop. Just stop. I don't care what president I am -- can't we simply be friends? Now excuse me while I go post the link to this story on my Facebook page.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
  Someday / Esmeralda's Prayer (deleted sequence from The Hunchback of Notre Dame)

From Youtube: This is the original never used demo of Someday sung by Heidi Mollenhauer you can find on the German DVD of HoND and on the laserdisc

If you apply the following rhetoric to Singapore, most likely the answer would be, yes, we would like live music, but the timbres we can employ would be exceedingly limited. Because, in the first place, most productions don’t have big budgets; meaning the music department is just as affected as sets and costumes; even if they have, the size of the band is also limited.

Imagine doing a fantasy-based musical with just a single piano accompaniment…

Can you have a musical without live music?
Cellist Adrian Bradbury successfully sued the Lowry in Manchester

Charlotte Higgins reported last month that cellist Adrian Bradbury was suing the Lowry in Salford because having paid to take his family to see Pele Productions’ version of The Wizard of Oz, there were no live musicians, and the whole thing was performed to a backing track. As Charlotte said, Harrison Birtwistle was called as an expert witness in the case, saying in his testimony that ‘without the orchestra or MD, a performance of The Wizard of Oz is best described as karaoke’, rather than as the ‘most magical family musical of them all’, in Pele Productions’ words. In an astonishing victory for common sense, the judge agreed with Sir Harrison and Adrian, ordering the Lowry to refund the cost of Adrian’s tickets, and his legal costs. Total cost? £194.50. But it’s the principle that counts.

Here’s what Adrian says about his day in court: ‘I am over the moon that a court of law has recognised the importance of live interaction in a musical performance. A pre-recorded track cannot react musically to live singing or dancing, so has no place in a musical theatre. Karaoke must stay where it belongs – away from the professional stage.’ I’m not so sure about the last bit of Adrian’s statement: where would stadium pop gigs or Britain’s reality TV stars be without a bit of professionalised karaoke?

The Lowry, for their part, aren’t taking the judge’s decision lying down: ‘Whilst we respect the judge’s decision we are disappointed with the outcome. The judge based his decision on whether he thought that Mr Bradbury’s individual expectations were met … We are grateful for the judge’s acknowledgment that he was not offering opinion on the sector as a whole, but that he was calling the decision based on Mr Bradbury’s personal response following his visit to this show.’ Which means you can expect more pre-recorded instrumental parts in musicals that tour to the Lowry.

Alas, the judge’s decision probably won’t set a precedent for live musicians being a necessity for any show advertised as a ‘musical’. And the case of Oz in Salford is only an extreme example of what happens routinely in the big shows in London, in which the musical accompaniment is reduced to a handful of musicians, the rest playing on tape (if they ever play at all; often the orchestral accompaniments are made from pre-recorded sample libraries). That’s an interzone somewhere between ‘live’ and ‘karaoke’, but it’s still a situation in which there can be little meaningful interaction between the singers and the musicians, since nothing can really change from night to night, thanks to the straitjacket of the backing track. But that’s also the case for scores of pop gigs that happen every night, and no one kicks up much of a fuss when Take That play to a tape.

In fact, defining the lines between ‘live’ and ‘karaoke’ is becoming increasingly fraught. Obviously, it’s better to have a pared-down band than no band at all for Guys and Dolls or Oliver!, but if everybody sued the West End for not having enough live musicians, the whole edifice of musical theatre would crumble. But at least Bardbury’s victory might mean that production companies and theatres think twice before sacking all of their musicians, and, at the risk of being fined up to £194.50, that they’ll try to preserve some semblance of live music in their shows. Here’s hoping.
Monday, July 27, 2009
  Movies Rock (John Williams and Orchestra)

From Youtube: The segment on this show Williams conducted was famous theme songs from movies in general, not just those he scored.

SONGS: Warner Brothers Theme, Casablanca, Citizen Kane, 20th Century Fox Theme, Star Wars, The Sea Hawk, Spellbound, Titanic, Psycho, Jaws, The Pink Panther, Exodus, Out of Africa, Doctor Zhivago, The Bridge on The River Kwai, Patton, Rocky, The Magnificent Seven, The Natural, Cinema Paradiso, The Godfather, E.T. and Gone With The Wind.

This segment was from a CBS special "Movies Rock". John Williams and Orchestra performing famous movie theme songs. This special aired on December 7, 2007.

Sunday, July 26, 2009
It’s a small world after all...

12 July 2009
– The Emperor’s New Clothes (ENC), by the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan Arts and Cultural Troupe, ends its run this afternoon, with a final matinee performance beginning at 3pm. Thereafter the craziness reaches to an uncontrollable apogee that affects the young ones, and the old old-but-young-at-heart. Of course, not neglecting post-production blues after the hard slog and the prospect of the familiar routines of rehearsals cum post-and-pre-rehearsal socialisation being disrupted of their regularities.

Ironically I have only grown to know the cast better at a late stage in the production, largely after the show actually opened. At this stage I recognise faces but I don’t know their names well. Otherwise I have heard a couple of names but I am unable to match them with faces.

This production is what I will really call a ‘small world’, because: (a) I run into people I have met before; (b) I meet new people whom both of us have vaguely heard of the other’s names before but never crossed paths; (c) I meet people whom we both share common friends; (d) these people are connected with their own degrees of separation. Intriguing connections.

1. The director, Jalyn Jie ('Sister' in Mandarin), had seen the re-run of Buddhist Fellowship’s Passage of Time in January 2008, she was a guest of Swee Lin’s, who played the protagonist in the musical. So she had heard my work. How I came to be involved in ENC was through a recommendation from Darren, whom I had worked with on SRT’s The Gingerbread Man as well as last year’s Tooth Fairy. Darren was once a member of the Hokkien Huay Kuan Arts and Cultural Troupe and had also done music for them in the past. At our first meeting, the connection suddenly clicked: so I was the same guy from Passage of Time, Jalyn realised!

2. I had run into Cheryl, one of the vocal coaches, on two occasions: (a) in December 2007, she guest-performed with the SMU Chamber Choir which I also guest-performed for as pianist; (b) in July 2008, she was the coordinator for some ASEAN Youth event in which our gig ensemble comprising of Rit, Moses and myself played for – she was Rit and Moses’ classmate at NAFA. No wonder her name looked so familiar on the roster of creatives.

3. Renhui actually knows Ah Foo of KMSPKS temple, and she, with Cheryl, know Kenji, my colleague at Stereo Image Productions, because all of them were once from SOMA. And Renhui had once been engaged by Wenfu to sing in one of his recordings, and had been to Stereo Image.

4. Cheryl and Renhui have been close friends since their Secondary School days yet they had no idea that both of them were to be involved in ENC as vocal coaches, they only found out from one another until their appointments had been confirmed.

5. Hock Hoe knows Michael and Stereo Image as he knows that there is the place where Wenfu goes to do his recordings.

6. I had no idea that Christina, from my neighbouring class when we were all at TJC, was a member of the performing troupe! When I came for my first rehearsal with the cast, the first impression I got of her was, ‘My gosh, she looks just like Christina – albeit a younger version.’ I only realise that she IS Christina when, after recording at the centre had finished for the day, did Christina tell Chee Guan, ‘I am closer to August than you, I knew him from JC days…’ And that is when it hit: ‘Christina! So it IS you!’ And the both of us have a mutual friend – Qianyi – who is from my class and in my JC clique.

7. Chee Guan knows Loh Wei, my fellow company mate and music enthusiast, and Joyce, whom I was once in the same group called Contego at UAN (Marcelly, who is now one of our Soracco singers and whom I worked with in musicals back at Five-Foot Broadway days, was also a member of this group). All of them (except Marcelly, so as not to pique confusion) were members of the AJC Choir.

8. Loh Wei himself knows Fu Lai Lao Shi (the guy who plays the Big Storyteller in the show), who ‘used to read him stories when he was a child’. His mum had been a member of some artistic troupe that included Fu Lai Lao Shi and Shoo Peng Lao Shi (who plays the Emperor in the show).
Saturday, 25 July 2009 – The mention of Ion Orchard reminds me of one of the sketches from this year’s Chestnuts. I cannot remember the exact words in the exchange but this is roughly the gist of it:

Mum: Son, where are you now?

Son: I on Orchard

Mum: What are you doing there?

Son: Watching movie.

Mum: What movie did you watch?

Son: I-on Man.

Mum: Have you ironed your clothes?

Son: Yes I i-on already.

So the four of us – Ronghan, Thow, Miaohui and myself – are supposed to watch ‘Public Enemy’ but discover that it is difficult to get seats for the 6-plus-pm shows; the next shows take place at 9pm and that is a little too late for us because, by the time it finishes, we would all be running for the train. Or we might run and then miss it. And then we would have to cab home. You might probably suggest, ‘Take the Nightrider!’ Unfortunately meritocracy is not in the vocabulary of the bus companies and you don’t get twilight bus services to your area if it happens that, for one, SMRT (the company that operates the Nightrider) does not dispatch any of their buses to these areas in the first place. That includes areas where SBS Transit – the other major player in the provision of public bus services – dominates the supply of rail and bus services to your area.

Enough about trains and buses; anyway I shall finish the backdrop as to how we come to end up on Orchard Road and later Ion Orchard – wait, we are ON Orchard anyway. What I-ONIC-sense is this?

Right, to summarise once more before we move on properly: we are supposed to watch a movie entitled ‘Public Enemy’ but the cinema halls are not big enough to accommodate another four of us, so we decide to simply hang around and talk. (And I just realise this is a new chapter in the narration. Moving on…)

So we decide to check out the newly-opened Ion Orchard. Yes, the much-hyped Ion Orchard on Orchard Road.

Goodness, that place is like a clone of Palais Renaissance, which stands a little further up Orchard Road, next to the Thai Embassy. Enter the ground floor and you are greeted by shops with names that would put your tongue to shame in an oral examination. Seriously we could have a competition whereby the contestants would prattle off the names of shops found in Ion Orchard.

One of our observations tells us that this is the epitome of window-shopping. The reason being: the passageways are crowded but the stores are starkly empty…

We decide to check out the basement. There’s an express escalator that brings you all the way down to the lowest of the basement floors. As we descend through the underground atrium, we get a glimpse of the shops. Aahh, greater familiarity – shops we actually know whose names are pronounceable!

This building has become a metaphor of class: lower class on the lower levels; upper class bling-blings on the upper levels.

* * *

After a while, many buildings tend to resemble another on this same island.

Of late, several trends have sprouted on many recently-built commercial buildings – particularly those for shopping:

(a) Wordy glass facades – wordy because they are piled with the names of retail outlets that wish to get spotted from the outside.

(b) Lengthy exterior escalators. The exterior escalators of Orchard Central and Wisma Atria look similar – both, in turn, resemble the escalator layout on the Georges Pomidou Centre that hugs the façade of the building.

Above: Georges Pompidou Centre (Paris). Exterior escalators!

Above: Wisma Atria (Orchard) . Exterior escalator sliding underneath Food Republic.

Above: Orchard Central (Somerset). The diagonal structure that slices through the vertical plane of the facade is the escalator.

(c) Lighting mounted on exteriors: the lighting design on the façade of Orchard Central resembles that of Iluma (located across the road from Parco Bugis Junction), in that both employ remote-controlled lighting to produce shapes and patterns. Ion Orchard is bedecked with little white light bulbs that make it look like some diamond-encrusted mass (I cannot think of the right word to describe the physical manifestation of Ion Orchard – except it does resemble neither an ion nor iron. Or are those light bulbs meant to supposed to represent ions…?)

Above: Orchard Central (at Somerset)

Above: Iluma (at Bugis)

Above: ION Orchard

(d) Protruding structures: many buildings are trying to jut out onto the main Orchard corridor as much as possible. The Heeren is building a massive egg-like structure onto the pavement. Perhaps these are the new manifestations of the historical ‘five-foot-way’? According to a recent newspaper report about a makeover on Orchard, the management of Lucky Plaza is awaiting approval to build a ‘jut-out’ façade for its building as well.

So the façade of Orchard Central – I say the façade only – should probably receive the reputation of ‘great imitator’ for its similarities to other buildings that appeared before it.

Even the buildings are joining a so-called rat race with regards to design. Come on, developers need to open up and architects and designers should try something more fanciful! Quite obviously the buildings aren’t meant to be functional, they’re also flashy. So why not go for something even more outrageous, but really make it stand out rather than persuade Tweety-Bird-like thoughts of ‘I thought I saw… this kind of façade somewhere else…’

*All comments are sorely (no this is not a spelling mistake committed subconsciously or unconsciously…) mine. Comments are welcomed. Please refrain from the use of swear language though; that’s all I ask. Much thanks.
Monday, July 20, 2009

I see that my mum had received this from some source over the Internet, printed it out and then posted it on our fridge. Whether or not these methods really work, there’s no harm in trying them out because most likely nothing is going to be seriously damaged as a result of experimentation. And if you face success you could broach credibly to your contacts: ‘I’ve tried it, and it works! Try it too!’

Beneficial Things in Daily Life

When ants become pests in the household…
Place the skin of cucumbers near the trouble spot(s) or ant hole.

To get pure and clean ice:
Boil water first before freezing.

To make the mirror shine:
Clean with spirit.

To remove chewing gum from clothes:
Keep the cloth in the freezer for an hour.

To whiten white clothes:
Soak the clothes in hot water with a slice of lemon for ten minutes.

To add shine to one’s hair:
Add one teaspoon of vinegar to the hair, and then wash it.

To obtain the maximum amount of juice out of lemons:
Soak the lemons in hot water for an hour, and then juice them.

To avoid the smell of cabbage while cooking:
Keep a piece of bread on the cabbage in the vessel while cooking.

To get rid of the smell of fish from your hands:
Wash your hands with a little apple vinegar.

To avoid tears while cutting onions:
Chew gum.

To boil potatoes quickly:
Skin only one side of a potato just before boiling

To boil eggs quickly:
Add salt to the water and then boil the eggs in this solution

To remove ink from clothes:
Put a generous amount of toothpaste on the inked spots, let the toothpaste dry completely and then wash the affected clothing.

To skin sweet potatoes quickly:
Soak in cold water immediately after boiling.

To get rid of mice or rats:
Sprinkle black pepper in places where you find mice or rats. They will run away.

DISCLAIMER: I blog on MS Word - and I frequently backlog because I don't have the time to write everything on the same day, so please ignore the TIME of post.

Location: Singapore

Joker who spends his free time milling around NUS pretending to be a student...

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My Musical Works
sibelius_2's La Scrivere, Op. 2
sibelius_2's More Than Words, Op. 3
Gerald/Proko's Blog
Emz/Dvorak's Blog
Composer Emily Koh's Music Website