Saturday, April 29, 2006


Darn you Melina.

You and your five-string bass. Kicking ass like nobody's business. You literally floored me and everyone else, including every (male) bassist who played tonight. Totally. You're like the Fingers of the female muso community. Males too. That wasn't meant to sound rude, by the way.

How do you move your digits so fast?

You have effectively obliterated my theory that girl guitarists / bassists / whatever can't be as fast as guys. I still think there are guys who are faster than you, but then again, there are more guy players, period. What am I to do now without a valid excuse?

Stop slapping and pulling in between bars - you make me and my bass playing look sorely juvenile.

You are one crazy nut.

How did you get so good?

Oh, and you sing while you play. Now that's amazing. The most I can do while spewing out lyrics is play simple notes, let alone a whole verse full of complicated bass riffs. You're da bomb.

You know, you looked so cool today. Absolutely sizzling. It's like you'd kill any band member who played the wrong note or went off-time. Maybe that helps keep them in check. Or maybe the non-smiling schlock heightens the drama of your playing. For a moment, I was tempted to take up the bass seriously; practising, practising, practising at the expense of my guitar playing. I want to look cool on stage too. But luckily, I came to my senses. I doubt I can be as good as you even if I practised solidly for two hours a day (anything more and the fingers would be in a permanent cramp). And it pricks me that you're *slightly* younger than me. Damn.

Melina William of Tempered Mental, you rock my socks. If you're ever looking for a girl band or another singer-songwriter to form a duo, you know where to find me.

An unwilling groupie

Friday, April 28, 2006


What is it about the night that beckons me? Is it the quiet, the solitude, the space and time to think? Thoughts still under its gravity, straying to loved ones past and present. Under the same sky, we are now in our private worlds, connected by an ethereal thread called history.

What is it about the night that beckons me?

Is it the swelling tide? Just like the surging realisation of desires in our hearts? Is it the second chances we give ourselves? Or is it the overdue hour of reconciliation?

Gently, night rests her head upon me and eases me to sleep.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Marilah Mari, Pergi Mengundi

"Marilah mari, pergi mengundi,
Jangan lupa kewajipan pada negara"

I finally registered as a voter last Thursday. It was all a matter of coincidence: I went to Carrefour and so did the mobile registration booth. It took all of one minute. I handed in my IC, signed a form and was free to go.

Why did I do it? After all, I missed the last two elections for various reasons.

Do I really care that it's a 'kewajipan pada negara'? No. And what's one vote anyway? Well, multiply that with the number of virgin voters and people who use that as an excuse and you'll find that it's quite a lot.

To me, being a registered voter simply means:

  1. My option to vote is open, just in case there's an emergency and EVERYONE'S vote counts.
  2. Anwar's coming back into politics. UMNO's becoming more Islamic, cosmetically at least. Perhaps (in a lofty dream), there will come a day when some heroic opposition party upholds a vision of Malaysia that I believe in and will vote for. They'd need all the support they can get from sensible and progressive people like me.
  3. Even if the party I vote for loses and Malaysia becomes further entrenched as an Islamic state (God forbid), at least I know I tried and won't be cursing the day I didn't register at the mobile booth in front of Carrefour.

So really. Do yourself a favour and register as a voter so that you don't set yourself up for sleepless nights or complain about the country's governance without first exercising your rights to vote. The country's future is partly in our hands. Or so we'd like to think.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

A Tribute to a Friend

He had wrinkles at the corners of his eyes from smiling too much. “I should use more moisturiser,” he once said, grinning, as though sincerely apologising for the natural ravages of time. He sang along heartily to 'You’ve Got A Friend' at his first Double Take gig, hitting the high notes with his tenor while I self-consciously paused to check my pitch. His encouragement to me, a stranger, before and after I nervously performed a self-penned song at my sister’s wedding was unexpected strength to a wavering heart. I appreciated the wisdom, maturity and sensitivity he brought with him; byproducts of what I imagined were hard lessons from a previous life.

We shared a few brief moments together; several occasions of acquaintance: a casual dinner, a guitar lesson, a jazz gig, a visit to a warehouse sale, a coffee. Nothing really extraordinary or consequential considering our many years of existence. We talked about life, our interests, our dreams. I asked about his family. He asked about mine.

As a photographer, he once told me how he strived to capture ‘the moment’ when a person is at their most beautiful. The moment when they are unaware that they are most exposed. I observed that his easy smiles and encouraging words helped in taking pictures, drawing out the best things in the person opposite the lens.

He showed me his portfolio of work. There was commissioned work—weddings, portraits—and then there were pictures from mission trips in sun-bathed, disease-laden lands. The latter was simply amazing. The colours were rich and vivid; the stories in each were real. He paused at one: of an Indian girl holding a bottle. His missions team had been de-licing the hair of the villagers, he said. Right after he snapped the shot, the girl in the picture passed him the bottle, then fainted from the fumes.

He encouraged me to go on a missions trip. I did, and taking pictures of the Orang Asli there was one of the most rewarding things I’ve done.

Through God’s grace, our paths met. In a few small ways, my life was changed. Yet until heaven beckons me, he will never know.

*Laurence Thong departed earth and arrived in heaven on 12 February 2006. This was posted in an earlier blog.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Many times we start something with the best of intentions. We hang on to Hope - that most courageous thread; that most convenient outcome. We suspend our doubts for just as long as is needed to ground our feet in mud. It is dirty, it is sticky, but it is where we will plant our next step.

Blog, I charge thee to take root here and grow.