Sky Grand Prix 2013.

Image Yes, I have been neglecting this space for the past week or so. I was so busy with my internship and stage managing for Woman Who Cooked Her Husband. After working day and night, I just tend to shut down once everything’s done to rest up.

Anyway, that is not the point of this post. Just clarifying myself. Hahaha.

So, thanks to Fly Entertainment, I attended my first ever F1 event this year at Zafferano. I was really excited considering I have never been to Zafferano ever, and that I got to head out on a Saturday night after all instead of moping over the 1 World Festival cancellation.

Situated on the 43rd floor of the Ocean Financial Building, 75 per cent of the entire F1 race could be seen and the lovely cityscape was definitely a bonus. Singapore is actually really nice to look at when the sun sets and all the bright lights start lighting up one by one.

Singapore is a tiny sea of lights.

I spent most of my time indoors with the drinks, air-conditioning and big screen to check out the timings of the various drivers and to keep up with the race.

The place was pretty cosy with really modern decorations. I was impressed by the lights installed right at the centre of the space. It was really elegant and lighted up the whole place really nicely. However, I probably do not see myself visiting this place any time soon. Hahaha.

Being expensive and really high-end, the event attracted mostly adults that are probably really well-off. And I felt slightly out of place because my dressing was really out of place. It also did not really help the situation that I had no make up on. So I could feel eyes on me and everything which made me a little uncomfortable but I ignored all those thoughts after a while. It helped that I had a friend with me and that we had a table entirely to ourselves so I had personal space to breathe and just enjoy the experience.

With remixes of Taylor Swift, Adele and Daft Punk playing during the race, I was able to let loose and move to the music so that was nice. But once the race ended, the music started catering to the older crowd and playing more classics rather than pop so after a while of chilling, I left.

But I definitely liked the experience as a whole. People watching, soaking in the experience of an entirely new environment that belongs to another class of people, moving to the music and just learning little things here and there. Looking at my background, I will probably never pay the money that was required to attend such an event so I was feeling lucky to even be able to be there. It was fun and a good experience.

And after I left, I doubt anyone from that event actually remembers me until now. And it makes me laugh to think that their judgment sort of mattered to me when I was there. Just serves to remind me that as long as I am happy, that is how the memory will stay in my mind and that I am the one that essentially controls how I feel and react to an event.

So yup. Even though I had some thoughts going in and out of my mind that night, the enjoyment never really left me. I was smiling, laughing and singing. And that was really all the mattered that Saturday night.

And now, I know what I should wear if I ever get the chance to attend such an event again. Hahaha! So the next time, I can feel more comfortable among the crowd.

Anyway, I was glad I got to watch the race live and that Jenson Button was in the top ten.

It was a wonderful night.

Forgiveness.

For a good sixteen years of my life, I was full of angst and negativity. I kept dwelling on the unhappy incidents in my life and kept playing them out in my mind.

I found myself frowning, crying and angry many times. I spent so much time thinking about the miseries of life and plotting revenge on anyone that was ‘harm’ing me in any way.

I was a true believer of ‘an eye for an eye’. I was like a little ball of hatred.

Now, looking at my puppy that is only eight months old, the young me was so silly and naive in comparison. So unaware.

I look at my puppy, and I just have to admire how he forgives so easily.

Call him names, shoo him away and punish him for a mistake and you may hurt his feelings. But a moment later, he will still be running back to you with affectionate licks and an enthusiastic spirit.

That is just how my furry friend lives his life. It comes so naturally to him – giving and loving.

For the past few years, I have been slowly letting go of all the grudges I kept and forgiving all those people that I have despised for most of my teenage life.

“Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself, and not to others.”

A quote I read some time back that will definitely stay with me for the rest of my life. Making me a lighter, happier and brighter person.

Well, I still have much to grow and learn. And Whiskey will always remind me of the various ways I can better myself.

Other than forgiving others, one day, I will have to learn to forgive myself too. For my mistakes and imperfections.

Just like how Whiskey does – always ready to give and love others, as well as himself.

Comedy Masala presents John Moloney.

20130920-220718.jpg Well, I had no plans last Wednesday night and I was pretty prepared to just head home after work. Maybe even sleep three hours earlier or something.

But thanks to City Nomads, I got myself a pair of tickets to my first stand up comedy show ever!

I was really excited since I had no idea what to expect. Would I like it? How does it work? My curiosity caused many questions to pop into my mind during my train journey.

When I got to the Royal Room of the Pan Pacific Hotel, I was pretty surprised to find the cosy bar semi-filled. I was always under the impression that Singaporeans just watch television shows or work overtime on most Wednesday nights.

With a complimentary glass of white wine and munching on a small bowl of fries, the audience enjoyed two stand up comedy acts by Nat Baimel and Es Hill before John Moloney took the stage.

(He arrived late due to the F1 traffic madness with the road blocks and all.)

I really enjoyed myself throughout the 90 minute event. It was more than lame jokes and puns, proving stand up comedy to be more tough than I originally thought.

One thing I really loved about the event was that all three comedians had such different ways of working the stage and making the audience laugh. The variety was refreshing and kept me engaged.

Baimel played around with accents of different nationalities and people stereotypes that are associated with the accents.

Hill, on the other hand, chose to make fun of himself and share with the audience a part of himself that was lighthearted and funny.

As for Moloney, he reacted a lot to the environment around him and it was amazing how he weaves his act so seamlessly with his real time reactions during the event.

Considering that the performance was his first time in Singapore, I felt that he was brave. I mean, different crowds laugh at different things. His comedy act may work in London but it may not work here. Who knows.

He took a risk, definitely.

But throwing himself out there and showing such confidence on stage, the audience reacted warmly and received his acts well. I guess his sincerity and charisma drawn people in.

For me, I appreciated his style of sharing his jokes. It took me a while to get used to it since his act was different to the kind of humour we have here in Singapore, but when I got it, they were funny.

I laughed the night away and gave all three comedians the applause they definitely deserved.

Stand up comedy is no easy thing to do and witnessing it live with my own eyes, I can definitely appreciate it better now. And understand why this craft is still here today, why people are willing to give generously to enjoy such a performance and why comedy clubs should exist.

I am grateful for such a wonderful experience.

Disappointment.

Disappointment is a feeling that is pretty hard to swallow. Okay, maybe not. I mean, you will get over it soon enough.

But it leaves a really bad taste in your mouth.

Anyway, you will have to get over it one day. Nothing is going to change no matter how long you choose to stay disappointed and upset.

You will just end up with more wrinkles on your face and spoiling your mood unnecessarily for the rest of the week.

Well, I cannot help feeling this way at the moment so I will just pour it out for now and let go of these thoughts after.

Feeling like this, all down and sad, reminds me of all those excursions my family would promise me as a kid, and how they would just brush it off at the last minute.

And being young, I would just make a big fuss out of it – voicing my annoyance at the top of my lungs and accepting candy bribes just to make myself feel better.

But I would occasionally catch myself wearing a slight frown on my face, being all too aware of my sinking heart inside me.

Right now, the disappointment in me seems to be still the same. Just that being nineteen, I cannot really ask for candy or throw a tantrum anymore.

Mixed emotions.

Wanting to cry but not wanting to look like a cry baby. Wanting to blame someone for making me feel like this, but not wanting to be unreasonable.

After all, these things happen and there is no one to blame.

These reactions are not over dramatic. They simply go to show how much I looked forward to the event and how the anticipation was driving up my levels of happiness and adrenaline for the past few days. Or even weeks.

But well, life happens. So moving on.

Next To Normal.

20130914-084403.jpg
Let’s just say I am probably part of the minority that do not always enjoy productions by Pangdemonium.

No one company is capable of producing amazing shows all the time. There will always be things to improve on and to look at, which is why plays can be staged again and again and people will still pay to watch them.

Anyway, I caught Next To Normal at the Drama Centre last Tuesday.

(Yea, it is quite some time back but I was trying to digest it and figure out my opinion on it.)

Sadly, I was disappointed by the production. Maybe it was because the amazing reviews by the media raised my expectations? I do not know, but the piece failed to make an impact on me despite the heavy themes involved.

I felt the acting by the cast was fine, but I felt the stakes were not high enough. They were not at the edge of insanity even though the family’s been trying to cope with the mother’s bipolar disorder for the past 18 years.

The mixed emotions portrayed were mild, I think. It was more believable if it was just about the family losing a commodity of some sort, rather than the tiredness of loving someone that sees only her dead son but nothing else.

Other than that, it was nice that I could see the relationships connecting more after the first Act. It started growing beyond just physical closeness and entering another’s personal space, so I liked that.

With it being a musical, the acting had to be supported by the voice presenting the songs to the audience.

It was awesome that the live band followed the actors so well, but at times, the words were drowned out or lost in the music. For some of the cast, their singing voice was tight and constrained, which was a pity.

However, I was touched by Sally Ann Triplett’s rendition of I Miss The Mountains as Diana in that moment. It showed a softer and quieter side of the character compared to the songs before.

As always, Pangdemonium never fails to present an interesting set for their performances.

This time, I really liked the outline of the human brain on the stage floor. It is a strong message that everything is just happening in your mind. The way memories play out in your head, the things you remember may not be the truth because they were only from your perspective.

I really liked that.

Anyway, despite its shortcomings and many things to improve on, I would say that it is daring to put up such a powerful piece of writing onto stage especially when Singapore’s theatre scene is rather young.

And talking about the writing, the piece is brilliant and Yorkey (the playwright) definitely left me with a lot of things to think about. A lot of questions for me to ponder on.

Should mental illness be medicated or should they have food for their soul? And other questions that will stay in my mind for a long, long time.

(Reminds of a mental illness talk I attended earlier this year by Daniel Fisher. Hmm.)

Aftershock (2013).

20130910-181706.jpg
Thanks to Singapore Film Society, I got myself a pair of tickets to the premiere of Aftershock last Monday night.

Directed by Nicolas Lopez, it was about a group of five being stuck in Chile when an earthquake struck, which caused a prison to collapse and surviving prisoners to break free.

Before I watched the movie, I expected a typical movie with loads of guns, crazy sound effects and a lot blood. I am not afraid of gore and I appreciate my horror movies. How bad can this be right?

But I walked out of the cinema feeling scared, sad and small. And learnt that I cannot bear watching the ugly side of human nature.

With scenes of intended hurt being inflicted on another helpless being, I started crying while trying to make the sick feeling in me go away.

I honestly wanted to walk out of the cinema halfway through because of the burning, rape and suffering of the characters. With such tragedy, it really did not help that the tormentors were usually never hurt by the natural disasters while the victims ended up injured most times.

The impact the movie left me was intense and I felt pain. Pain for the wounds and disgust at how cruel my own species can be to another of the same kind.

I guess reading about it and crying over YouTube videos about very real issues never hit me this hard.

With that said, I think the movie succeeded in telling its message, despite poor character development and plot progression.

That the only thing more frightening than Mother Nature, is human nature itself.

Bohemian Rhapsody 2013.

20130910-084446.jpg
I have heard of The T’ang Quartet for many years now, but I have never been to a single of their showcases.

I simply do not have the faith in myself to appreciate classical music, even though I play the violin as well. The last time I went to a string ensemble concert, about four years back, I fell asleep and just could not stay awake.

This time, with tickets given by Actually Singapore, I decided to give it a shot. After all, I would want to have experienced their concert at least once in my life.

The venue and set up was cosy. Very down-to-earth and simple. I liked it quite a lot. With chairs of different styles being displayed on stage behind music stands? Looks like an art installation all on its own.

Also, with each member of The T’ang Quartet on a different kind of chair seems to share something about each of them. Seems to make the performance more personal.

Playing pieces from Erwin Schulhoff, Antonin Dvorak and Bedrich Smetana, composers that they love dearly, the entire night drew the audience closer to the quartet and opened up our ears to their world.

For me, it was more than listening to their music and feeling impressed by their skills.

For me, it was more of admiring their dedication to their craft and their passion for what they have been doing for the past twenty one years and will continue to do so.

Their facial expressions when they are playing the pieces, the way they bounced off each other’s energy and the way their bows moved; they were one with their music and as a quartet.

No need for a conductor or a metronome.

I guess when you really do feel for the music and let it seep into your heart, together with hard work, you cannot go wrong.

I had a wonderful evening of lovely melodies and deep thoughts. Thank you so much, The T’ang Quartet.