September 22, 2008

Life Goes On

Posted in Music, Personal at 3:59 pm by egalitaria

Amidst the madness, life still goes on I suppose.

A weekend of weddings, good friendships and fellowship. Congratulations to my dear friends who took the plunge and got hitched.

One of my favourite Billy Joel songs is, “Vienna waits for you”. Dedicated to all the heated politicians in a big mad rush to the top. And maybe to a lot of us folk too, rushing around like equally headless chickens.

Slow down, you crazy child
you’re so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you’re so smart, tell me
Why are you still so afraid?

Where’s the fire, what’s the hurry about?
You’d better cool it off before you burn it out
You’ve got so much to do and
Only so many hours in a day

But you know that when the truth is told..
That you can get what you want or you get old
You’re gonna kick off before you even
Get halfway through
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

Slow down, you’re doing fine
You can’t be everything you want to be
Before your time
Although it’s so romantic on the borderline tonight
Tonight,…
Too bad but it’s the life you lead
you’re so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need
Though you can see when you’re wrong, you know
You can’t always see when you’re right. you’re right

You’ve got your passion, you’ve got your pride
but don’t you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

Slow down, you crazy child
and take the phone off the hook and disappear for awhile
it’s all right, you can afford to lose a day or two
When will you realize,..Vienna waits for you?
And you know that when the truth is told
that you can get what you want or you can just get old
You’re gonna kick off before you even get half through
Why don’t you realize,. Vienna waits for you
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

September 18, 2008

Tribute to Kickdefella

Posted in Malaysia, Music, The Cause at 12:57 am by egalitaria

    And yet another of our fellow bloggers has been taken in for sedition. Apparently because of his entry calling for the flag to be flown upside down. I am worried for him. And Teresa Kok. And Raja Petra. These are the heroes of our generation. Let us not forget these names.

Sometimes music is the best balm. This is from one of my recent favourite musicals, Spring Awakening (winner of 2007 Tony Awards): “Those You’ve Known”… Dedicated to all the ISA detainees, all 65 of them in Kamunting. And a tribute to Kickdefella.

Those you’ve known
And lost, still walk behind you
All alone
They linger till they find you

Without them
The world grows dark around you
And nothing is the same until you know that they have found you

Those you’ve pained
May carry that still with them
All the same
They whisper: “All forgiven.”

Still your heart says
The shadows bring the starlight
And everything you’ve ever been is still there in the dark night

When the northern wind blows
The sorrows your heart holds
There are those who still know –
They’re still home
We’re still home

Those you know
You’ve left them far behind
You walk on by yourself, and not with them –

Still you know
They will fill your heart and mind
When they say there’s a way through this

Those you’ve known
And lost, still walk behind you
All alone
Their song still seems to find you

They call you
As if you knew their longing –
They whistle through the lonely wind, the long blue shadows falling

All alone
But still I hear their yearning
Through the dark, the moon, alone there, burning

The stars too
They tell of spring returning –
And summer with another wind that no one yet has known

They call me –
Through all things –
Night’s falling
But somehow I go on

You watch me
Just watch me –
I’m calling
From longing

When the northern wind blows
The sorrows your heart’s known –
I believe…

Still you known
There’s so much more to find –
Another dream, another love you’ll hold

Still you know
To trust your own true mind
On your way – you are not alone
There are those who still know

Now they’ll walk on my arm through the distant night
And I won’t let them stray from my heart
Through the wind, through the dark, through the winter light
I will read all their dreams to the stars

I’ll walk with them now
I’ll call on their names
I’ll see their thoughts are known

Not gone –
Not gone –

They walk with my heart –
I’ll never let them go

I’ll never let them go
I’ll never let them go
You watch me
Just watch me
I’m calling
I’m calling –
And one day all will know

August 15, 2008

Death Cab for Cutie

Posted in Music, Personal at 3:12 am by egalitaria

   Someone thought I was going for a Christian concert, until I mentioned the band’s name was “Death Cab for Cutie“. Nothing very spiritual about that, although one could beg to differ.

The four-piece band started with the first song “Bixby Canyon Bridge”, from their latest album, Narrow Stairs. Their next song was also the first entry “The New Year” from an older 2003 album, Transatlanticism. Both were great introductions to an even greater night of music.

I’d been waiting for the longest time for this amazing band, since their music has accompanied me throughout the past two and a half years over various periods. I think some of the best renditions were “Title and Registration”, “I Will Possess Your Heart”, and “I Will Follow You Into the Dark”… maybe because these are my favourite songs anyway.

Kings of independent music they are. Ben Gibbard is pure genius in writing lyrical songs that transcend this earth, really. And I love watching musicians who put their whole heart and soul into playing. Bassist and drummer, spectacular. Every pluck of the guitar string and precise tap on the tophat that I’ve memorised whilst driving and listening became a reality on stage.

The solo by Gibbard on “I Will Follow You into the Dark” was truly one of the best, personally – a strange, surreal love song about death and attachment. The lighting, silence of the hall, unordinary words, simple strumming and clear voice created your hush ambience of a concert that anyone would have loved. Reminded me of Kings of Convenience.

Love of mine some day you will die
But I’ll be close behind
I’ll follow you into the darkNo blinding light or tunnels to gates of white
Just our hands clasped so tight
Waiting for the hint of a spark
If heaven and hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the no’s on their vacancy signs

If there’s no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I’ll follow you into the dark

In Catholic school as vicious as Roman rule
I got my knuckles bruised by a lady in black
And I held my tongue as she told me
“Son fear is the heart of love”
So I never went back

If heaven and hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the no’s on their vacancy signs

If there’s no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I’ll follow you into the dark

You and me have seen everything to see
From Bangkok to Calgary
And the soles of your shoes are all worn down
The time for sleep is now
It’s nothing to cry about
Cause we’ll hold each other soon
The blackest of rooms

If heaven and hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the no’s on their vacancy signs

If there’s no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I’ll follow you into the dark
Then I’ll follow you into the dark

 

Music keeps me sane whilst politics rages on in Malaysia.

December 11, 2007

The Sound of (Malaysian) Music

Posted in Malaysia, Music, Tricia's Writings at 1:19 am by egalitaria

The Sound of (Malaysian) MusicTricia Yeoh Much of my Mondays at school was spent at morning assemblies. The order was sacrosanct: stand, queue, sing, pledge, sing, sit, listen, sing.  We were required to sing three songs in total: the national anthem (Negaraku), the state song (Selangor), and a fully patriotic one chosen and rotated every now and again. Assuming each song lasts between four to five minutes each, 15 minutes would be spent each week on singing. Multiply this by the number of weeks a year, times the number of years in primary and secondary school, (minus holiday months) an average Malaysian would have spent 6930 minutes, or 115 hours, or close to five full waking days singing patriotic songs about our nation before reaching the age of 18 years.  So I’ve often wondered what thoughts exactly run through the minds of Malaysians, young and old, each time such songs are played or sung publicly. (The Namewee episode was of course indicative of a particular group’s sentiment in this regard.)   Read the rest of this entry »

July 31, 2007

Free the People

Posted in Music, The Cause at 4:48 am by egalitaria

After the presentation I gave on Sunday, I twanged on my favourite Big Baby Taylor, a song I wrote 3 years ago on freedoms and justice. Basically, it is premised on the issue of how people are continually trapped in a system of injustice, systemic evil that corrupts the mind and soul. Oftentimes we do not realise how we ourselves are trapped in its cyclical movement as well, and so the song calls for us to wake up and liberate ourselves, in liberating the rest of society. It is all too idealistic I know, but hey, what else do we have to work towards if not for ideals eh? Here you go.

Free the People 

V1: Clipped wings are not wings at all,

Try to fly, babe, and you will fall.

Who cut your feathers when you were asleep?

What made you think them real?

They say the sky won’t be conquered by the weak and the frail.

V2: What if false tomorrows frame your nest?

What matters if you try your best?

If the web that surrounds all you live for abounds,

They say you’ve been put to the test.

Chorus:

Free the people so what they believe is free,

Free the people so they can be free to see,

Free the people so what they believe is,

Free the people so they can be free to

Be the people who choose to forever be free…

Choose to forever be free…

July 26, 2007

Rainforest World Music Festival 2007

Posted in Malaysia, Music, Personal at 8:04 pm by egalitaria

I recently returned from a wonderful weekend at the Rainforest World Music Festival 2007, in Kuching, Sarawak. It was a wonderful affair, particularly because this year happened to be its 10th year anniversary as well. I have been wanting to visit their cultural village and Festival for many years now, and finally got myself there.

It was a fantastic amalgamation of cultures and languages, both from the stage and its audience. I had Australian friends telling me that they never have these kinds of performances in Australia, where such a wide range of music can be feasted upon. Indeed, we had artistes from Afghanistan, Scotland, Vietnam and of course Malaysia. Highlights for me were the massive crowd moving together in love for music, celebrating their passion for music and life, yet differentiated enough in their backgrounds and cultures.

What I liked about the Festival was that it was exotic in nature, right in the very heart of the Rainforest. The stage couched within the forest itself, backdrop no fancy schmancy stuff but with nature’s pure raw energy that drives you to feeling whole. The cultural village also offers a glimpse into the indigenous Sarawakian world, where each home is labelled and furnished appropriately with its respective cultural heritages – Rumah Melanau, Melayu, Kelabit, Dayak and so on. I played on their guitar – equivalent (not quite the same), and played the bamboo stick game. Fun.

The final night was amazing personally because I had an extra mini concert, having followed my friend back to the hotel in which most of the musicians stayed. By the pool, all musicians whipped out their respective instruments and played the night away as if there was no tomorrow. They came together, colour and language aside, just with their guitars, double bass, banjo, percussion instruments, and made music all night long. Till the sky turned a shade of light blue and grey. And then I went to bed.

Here’s to June 11-13th Festival next year, 2008! All you people who have been wanting to go but never made it, please I implore you – go for it! It’s an experience not to be missed. Only in Sarawak. (The Sarawak Tourism Board better be paying me. But then again, do I want Taib’s money? I don’t think so.)

Sing Song

Posted in Literature, Music, Reflections at 7:49 pm by egalitaria

I’m thinking of presenting a song I wrote, during the Social Justice talk. Not sure if it’s appropriate, but it is about freedoms and the choices people make in life. It is about the imagined freedoms people think they have, but in reality do not experience. Abundance of life is taken away as a result. The freedom to choose, believe, see. Related to justice and the social order. But the philosophy of freedoms is a tricky one.

What really sets someone free? What frees an individual? Does total freedom truly encapsulate a freed life? Living a life that is free and unencumbered? This is related directly to human rights and the freedom of conscience, thought and belief.

Extracts from the song’s lyrics: “free the people so they can be free to be the people who choose to forever be free” – I am using the word free here with multiple-layered meanings. In literature we are given poetic license to play around interpretations, subtleties in language and so on, and all these make for interesting readings.

April 2, 2007

How Long More

Posted in Music, Personal at 12:44 am by egalitaria

Someone asked what the purpose and role of someone living in abject poverty, with no hope and access to education, is in this world. It’s easy enough to respond that the rest of us who do have access and material goods should shoulder the responsibility to provide aid and capacity building to the rest. Aside from receiving input from the other privileged beings, what should their identity be formed upon? Perhaps the answer comes in the form of viewing society as community and not as isolated individuals.

As we enter the week towards Easter, and as I try my best to contemplate the reason for looking to the divine, I remember a beautiful song, lyrics and music both raw and real. They epitomise the cry of humanity when all else fails. And, when there are no easy answers, an inexcusable remark to make but I can only echo the words of David the Psalmist.

Psalm 13 (How Long O Lord) Brian Doerksen

How long O Lord, will You forget me
How long O Lord
will You look the other way
How long O Lord
must I wrestle with my thoughts
And everyday
have such sorrow in my heart
Look on me and answer
O God my Father
bring light to my darkness
before they see me fall
But I trust in Your unfailing love
Yes my heart will rejoice
Still I sing of Your unfailing love
You have been good
You will be good to me

April 1, 2007

Kenangan Terindah

Posted in Malaysia, Music at 3:23 am by egalitaria

Currently craving this song:

Kenangan Terindah, by Samsons

Aku yang lemah tanpamu
Aku yang rentan karena
Cinta yang t’lah hilang
Darimu yang mampu menyanjungku

Selama mata terbuka
Sampai jantung tak berdetak
Selama itu pun aku mampu
Untuk mengenangmu

Darimu kutemukan hidupku
Bagiku kaulah cinta sejati

Chorus :
Bila yang tertulis untukku
Adalah yang terbaik untukmu
Kan kujadikan kau
Kenangan yang terindah dalam hidupku
Namun takkan mudah bagiku
Meninggalkan jejak hidupku
Yang t’lah terukir abadi
Sebagai kenangan yang terindah

Darimu kutemukan hidupku
Bagiku kaulah cinta sejati

Note: In my mind’s eye I envision a Malaysian multi-racial band, with a Chinese singing a Tamil song, Malay singing a Chinese song, Indian singing a Malay song. We talk about a multi ethnic society but attempt little effort at engaging the cultures of different groups. Once we tear down barriers bit by bit, we realise that we more than merely tolerate, or even appreciate, but love fully and embrace holistically, the other in our midst. This means a deepset desire to drink in, absorb, experience another’s identity and culture – because we are equally confident of our own and need not feel insecure about its loss.

Plus, the guy’s voice absolutely rocks. Swoon..

October 14, 2006

Clipped Wings

Posted in Malaysia, Music, The Cause at 12:19 am by egalitaria

If you have a pair of clipped wings, do you still have the freedom to fly?

In a song I wrote some time ago, I said

“Clipped wings are not wings at all,

Try to fly babe and you will fall,

Who cut your feathers when you were asleep, what made you think them real?

They say the sky won’t be conquered by the weak and the frail…”

Is it worth compromising integrity for a watered down version of the truth? To get SOME sort of truth out rather than no truths at all? Is it worth working hard at something you believe is right to get a half-result, instead of no result if you decide to stand up?

What is the meaning of freedom? (again, I beg the question) Is bounded freedom truly freedom, or should we just call it something else instead of trying to give it a false label? Can you truly fly if your wings are just for show?

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