Cryptic messages or an excuse to pimp Boyce Avenue

My new obsession: Boyce Avenue and their stripped down cover versions. Favourite so far is this slow keyboard version of Ne-Yo’s Because of You.

This version takes the crassness of the original and turns the song into a bittersweet song about lust and obsession.

I got a problem and I don’t know what to do about it
Even if I did I don’t know if I would quit but I doubt it
I’m taken by the thought of it
And I know this much is true
Baby, you have become my addiction
I’m so strung out on you I can barely move
But I like it and it’s all because of you

The problem with being addicted to emotional stimuli is that you get so wrapped up in the whole notion of feeling, feeling something is better than nothing.

Emotional high junkies.

When do you go to rehab and how do you call cold turkey?

Forget Jai Ho, listen to Nahin Samne instead

I think I’ve only really watched three Bollywood films in my life. Watched as in really, really watched. There are only so many hills and trees to run around before I quickly lose interest and switch channels. But the recent Oscar win by A R Rahman got my curiosity piqued. Was Jai Ho, his winning anthem, all that award worthy?

After listening to it, the movie versions and the remixed PCD cover, I still say that my favourite Hindi song is another A R Rahman classic: Nahin Samne from the film Taal. It was sung by the vocally spectacular Hariharan. The man has pipes! So here’s Nahin Samne as heard in the film Taal. I had no idea what it meant when I first heard it but it’s got the kind of melody that will stick in your head forever – catchy yet layered, tuneful but not run of the mill.

No wonder Roger Ebert was enamoured of Taal.

dekho chhodke kis raste vo jaate hain

Watch what road she takes after abandoning me!

saare raste vaapas mere dil ko aate hain

All of them lead back to my heart.

nahin saamne

Your absence

nahin saamne yeh alag baat hai

In your absence, such a strange thing happens.

nahin saamne

Your absence

nahin saamne yeh alag baat hai

In your absence, such a strange thing happens:

mere paas hai

You’re close to me.

mere paas hai tu mere paas hai…

I have you here with me…

mere saath hai…

you’re with me.

tera naam main ne liya hai yahaan

I have called out your name here, and

mujhe yaad tuune kiya hai vahaan

there, you have suddenly thought of me.

tera naam main ne liya hai yahaan

I have called out your name here, and

mujhe yaad tuune kiya hai vahaan

there, you have suddenly thought of me.

baDe zor ki aaj barsaat hai

the rains are heavy today

mere paas hai tu mere paas hai…

I have you here with me…

mere saath hai…

You’re with me.

bichhadke bhi mujhse juda tu nahin

Even separated, we are not apart.

khafa hai magar bevafa tu nahin

You’re angry, but you haven’t lost faith.

bichhadke bhi mujhse juda tu nahin

Even separated, we are not apart.

khafa hai magar bevafa tu nahin

You’re angry, but you haven’t lost faith.

mere haath mein hi tera haath hai…

Your hand is still in mine…

mere paas hai tu mere paas hai…

I have you here with me…

mere saath hai…

You’re with me…

mere paas hai…

You’re so close to me…

What kind of fool am I

No, not an emo post. Just an old song that’s been covered by Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and, funnily enough, James Brown. It’s from the musical Stop The World – I Want To Get Off.

The musical’s rather tragic – the main character searches for an elusive happiness that drives him to find solace in the arms of many a woman. But in the end, he finds that what he wants he had all along in the love of his wife.

Aren’t we all fools sometimes? Without the wisdom of discernment, hanging on to the unnecessary and letting the important slip through our fingers. I’m good at dishing out annoying unsolicited advice, but I’m always a fool when it comes to love. My career path has been just as tumultuous as my affairs of the heart, but I wouldn’t change a thing. If even the smallest thing changed, I might not know the people I do now or done the things I’d never imagined doing.

One painful lesson I’ve learned is that sometimes you do get what you want, and it isn’t what you imagined it to be at all. That it can sometimes hurt you more than it gives you joy. Or sometimes you find the joy was an illusion and the reality more painful than you ever imagined.

I’ve learned that I don’t have all the answers, that I can’t always go it alone. But if I trust and believe in the One who does have all the answers, I’ll find them. And if I don’t, that’s OK too.

What kind of fool am I
Who never fell in love
It seems that I’m the only one that I have been thinking of

What kind of man is this?
An empty shell
A lonely cell in which an empty heart must dwell

What kind of lips are these
That lied with every kiss
That whispered empty words of love that left me alone like this

Why can’t I fall in love
Like any other man
And maybe then I’ll know what kind of fool I am

What kind of clown am I?
What do I know of life?
Why can’t I cast away the mask of play and live my life?

Why can’t I fall in love
Till I don’t give a damn
And maybe then I’ll know what kind of fool I am

That old burning feeling

I sense a flu or high fever coming on.

I blame the damnable weather. Came home today from a morning-long gathering, after stopping at Kinokuniya for a bit. Slept from 3.30 to 8.30 and woke up feeling not refreshed, but worse. I suppose it came from lack of sleep, a terminably hot morning and afternoon followed by cold, cold rain in the evening.

But I did take a little time to muck with the 4-octave Yamaha synth my brother brought over. It’s a fun little thing, an ancient PSS-470. Not the best thing to be learning on, due to its smaller keys, but I’ll probably upgrade down the road once I can afford it. It’ll mean relearning finger placement once I get full-sized keys but right now am taking time to learn note positions and beef up my music learning. I can read the treble clef passably; the bass clef eludes me right now.

So when I do get a full-sized keyboard, at least it’ll be more a matter of getting used to the large keys, relearning finger positions and functions. I don’t intend to be a full-fledged pianist. Music-wise, I’m a singer first, a lousy guitarist second but hopefully a passable keyboardist in…two years? I’m a slow learner at anything needing hand-eye co-ordination.

Which makes my getting a bicycle seem idiotic. Why didn’t I use the money and get a decent keyboard instead? Because I already have a guitar. Because I need the exercise. It’s cheaper than a gym membership. And it’s getting less safe for me to walk around to the places I usually do, like the 7-11, the mamak, my laundromat. Getting a car right now isn’t really an option because who knows when I’ll get my darn license. I’m just very leery about committing to a car when three people I know got into rather nasty car accidents already this year and it’s just March now!

I despise cars, I’ll be frank here. I think too many people own them, but too few drive them well. Malaysians don’t think about the costs to the environment every time they drive. Look at global warming, for pete’s sake, how the weather is screwy and wildlife is suffering. Look at the traffic jams, the motorists dying in perfectly preventable accidents (like, not driving like an idiot). But in Malaysia, I’m seen as a fool for choosing consciously not to drive.

Why should I support a car industry that thrives on selling overpriced, poorly made cars?
Why should I add another vehicle to the already congested roads?
Why should I be another person using fossil fuels and contributing to the environment’s deterioration?

I’m going to learn to drive but I’m going to try and figure out a way to still survive without a car. A moped? Cycling? Combining either with trains?

Gandhi said that we must be the change we want to see in the world. I want to see less damn cars. Less idiots. Safer roads. Let’s see if I hold to that resolution.

Making room by letting go


What a lot of us don’t learn is, that to make room for some things, you have to let other things go. For the harder you hold on to the old, it becomes nearly impossible for the new to come in.

Part of embracing my new path in life means letting go of things that could prove to be a conflict of interest – like my contributing to Blorge. I’ve officially resigned as a senior writer with the site and it makes me sad, really. Yes, I’ve had difficulties trying to get with the flow of the site and juggling my hours around getting my posts done, but I did learn a lot and will miss the odd camaraderie going on there. And with all my heart I do wish them the very best.

Plus it would be difficult to report on anything. “No, I can’t blog about X! I do PR for them! No, not Y either. They’re X’s competitors!” Let’s just say that one of my clients is such a force that a reverend I know jokingly calls it the Almighty. Though David Lian does blog about his clients, but with full disclosure and stressing that his words are merely personal opinion, I again must err on the side of caution. Though I made passing reference to my past employer as The Mag, I’ll likely never refer to my (new) clients in any form or any way.

I’m on sketchy ground, after all. Wet behind the ears or in gamerspeak – a total n00b. It’s not quite easy shaking off my journalist/editor skin to embrace the persona of a Public Relations person. Where before I’d be more of a risk-taker, this year I’m going to spend more time reflecting before I do things. No, I’m not suddenly going to become indecisive. Just less impetuous.

And today I stumbled upon a video by one of my favourite YouTube artists called the Mario Kart Love Song. It’s the cutest thing ever and would definitely strike a chord with any Mario Kart lover. It made me a little wistful because it reminded me of the last guy I broke up with, such a gamer him. But like he’s said before, it all works out for the best in the end. All the messy complications would be the last thing I need this month as I try to reorganise and realign myself this year. So you did me a favour, baby. Though part of me will still miss the crazy fun we had for a long, long time, I’ll be OK and hopefully we’ll be OK.

You be my princess
I’ll be your toad
I’ll follow behind you
on rainbow road
Protect you from red shells
wherever we go
I promise.
No one will touch us
if we pick up a star
If you spin out
you can ride in my car
When we slide together
we generate sparks
in our wheels and our hearts
The finish line
is just around the bend
I’ll pause this game
so our love will never end
Let’s go again
The blue shell is coming
so I’ll go ahead
If you hang behind
it’ll hit me instead
but never look back
cause I’m down but not dead
I’ll catch up to you
Don’t worry about
Bowser or DK
Eat this glowing mushroom
and they’ll all fade away
to the mushroom cup
and the flower cup
and the star cup
and the reverse cup
Music and Lyrics by Sam Hart

The danger of surrender

It is a dangerous thing to say to God, “Here is my life. Do what You will with it.”

You invite trouble, hardship, challenges and nothing short but change that you might, or might not, be prepared for.

It takes every ounce of trust, every bit of faith you have. Because you’re giving over control and finally understanding that the life you give over was never yours in the first place.

But what you get in return is a reminder that He will not leave you alone or lonely. That He will give you comfort, if you just reach for it and more love than you can ever imagine. The world is the way it is, broken and imperfect, full of suffering and evil. But His love is perfect, His grace is real and if accepting Him means that I should expect my world and my self to constantly be torn apart, I will live with that. Just as long as He puts me back together again.


Worlds Apart – Jars of Clay

I am the only one to blame for this
Somehow it all ends up the same
Soaring on the wings of selfish pride
I flew too high and like Icarus I collide
With a world I try so hard to leave behind
To rid myself of all but love
to give and die
To turn away and not become
Another nail to pierce the skin of one who loves
more deeply than the oceans,
more abundant than the tears
Of a world embracing every heartache
Can I be the one to sacrifice
Or grip the spear and watch the blood and water flow

To love you – take my world apart
To need you – I am on my knees
To love you – take my world apart
To need you – broken on my knees

All said and done I stand alone
Amongst remains of a life I should not own
It takes all I am to believe
In the mercy that covers me
Did you really have to die for me?
All I am for all you are
Because what I need and what I believe are worlds apart

I look beyond the empty cross
forgetting what my life has cost
and wipe away the crimson stains
"dull the nails that still remain"
More and more I need you now,
I owe you more each passing hour
the battle between grace and pride
I gave up not so long ago
So steal my heart and take the pain
and wash the feet and cleanse my pride
take the selfish, take the weak,
and all the things I cannot hide
take the beauty, take my tears
the sin-soaked heart and make it yours
take my world all apart
take it now, take it now
and serve the ones that I despise
speak the words I can’t deny
watch the world I used to love
fall to dust and thrown away

I look beyond the empty cross
forgetting what my life has cost
so wipe away the crimson stains
"dull the nails that still remains"
so steal my heart and take the pain
take the selfish, take the weak
and all the things I cannot hide
take the beauty, take my tears
take my world apart, take my world apart
I pray, I pray, I pray
take my world apart

The awesomeness that is David Phelps

Formerly of Southern Gospel group Gaither Vocal Band, David Phelps went solo and has recently released an album of secular covers.

But I think the man’s real heart and soul lie in spiritual songs as can be evidenced in this song:

It’s the well-known hymn, O Love That Will Not Let Me Go and he does a rendition of it that makes his audience weep. It’s a very controlled, nuanced performance where usually he makes a lot of his exceptional range.

The song is comfort on this dark night as I despair yet again. I’m so tired, sometimes. Of somehow managing to make most of my life work, but where my relationships are concerned I have no power at all. I can’t choose who I love, when I love or how the course of my relationships go.

I want the whole, simple, wham, bam, end of story, uncomplicated arrangement. “But you wouldn’t be happy with simple, Jeeq,” is what my friend Elizabeth (Jay to me) said. And men who can’t commit/are undecisive/who appreciate me only when I dump their sorry arses makes me happy? No.

What good is my capacity for empathy, compassion and devotion is when it always ends up with my being tired, brokenhearted and despondent? Not to mention an annoying bugger who is lonely and just wants a bedwarmer keeps messaging/calling me all the time. I know him too well. I know he’s just no longer the serial woman puller he used to be, and thinks I am easy prey. That he’s finally tired of sowing his oats and wants the comfort of familiarity.

I just want him to go away. He had his chance 5 years ago, and he squandered it. At least, all my pain’s taught me that some things are definitely not worth it.

O love that will not let me go
I rest my weary soul in thee
I give thee back the life I owe
That in thine oceans depths its flow
May richer, fuller be
O light that foll’west all my way
I yield my flickering torch to thee
My heart restores its borrowed ray
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be
O joy that seekest me through pain
I cannot close my heart to thee
I trace the rainbow through the rain
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be

Monday Music: NIN’s Something I Can Never Have

I think it’s the human condition: we want something we can’t have. We always want what is just beyond our reach. It doesn’t matter how much is already in our keeping – we want everything.

I just want to stop wanting. Or stop feeling wanting.

I still recall the taste of your tears
Echoing your voice just like the ringing in my ears
My favorite dreams of you still wash ashore
Scraping through my head till I don’t want to sleep anymore
You make this all go away
You make this all go away
I’m down to just one thing and I’m starting to scare myself
You make this all go away
You make this all go away
I just want something
I just want something I can never have
You always were the one to show me how
Back then I couldn’t do the things that I can do now
This thing is slowly taking me apart
Grey would be the color if I had a heart
Come on tell me
You make this all go away
You make this all go away
I’m down to just one thing and I’m starting to scare myself
You make this all go away
You make this all go away
I just want something
I just want something I can never have
In this place it seems like such a shame
Though it all looks different now, I know it’s still the same
Everywhere I look you’re all I see
Just a fading fucking reminder of who I used to be
Come on tell me
You make this all go away
You make this all go away
I’m down to just one thing and I’m starting to scare myself
You make this all go away
You make this all go away
I just want something
I just want something I can never have
I just want something I can never have

Music to one of the greatest stories ever told

Was bitterly disappointed when I found out about the LOTR Symphony at the MPO too late to get tickets. But as luck would have it, a friend of mine had spare tickets to the open rehearsal where I would at least see the symphony conducted.

I was also surprised that soprano Ann De Renais would be a soloist. I hear her voice everyday – she’s the voice on my David Jones vocal CDs. She did a wonderful job on Gollum’s song, but when she closed the show with her rendition of Into the West I was in tears.

Tonight and tomorrow, Malaysians will be able to see the full performance of Howard Shore’s composition at the MPO. Though I’m a wee bit envious, I still got to see the MPO play and Ann De Renais sing, so I’ll be happy with my lot. Better than not being able to hear/see it at all.

All things considered, I’m still a very lucky girl.

My favourite parts had to be the Rohirrim themes, as well as Ann’s solos. It made me want to go back and reread the books, as well as watch the films. It’s been a year since I’ve read Tolkien. I suppose it’s time to revisit Middle-Earth and the story that’s inspired me with its themes of love, friendship, loyalty, honour and hope. Narnia, seriously, had nothing on it, as I found C.S. Lewis’s utter lack of compassion for his own characters as nothing more to push his ‘Godly’ message distasteful. If God were to see us as nothing more but pawns in His divine game, then life really would be meaningless.

Monday Music: Brokenhearted ~ Wanya Morris/Brandy

I miss 90s R&B. When Boyz II Men still hummed their ways into our minds on the radio, Jodeci still mixed bad boy style with sensitivity and you didn’t hear Rihanna every frickin’ day.
One of my favourite tracks of those times was a lesser-known duet by Boyz II Men, Wanya Morris, and the then up-and-coming starlet Brandy. Brokenhearted was a sweet duet, which mixed bittersweet reminiscing and hopefulness after the end of a relationship. A far cry from the usual “I’ll die without you if you leave me please don’t go” genre of breakup songs.
The lovers in the song speak candidly about their grief for the ending, but still try to find some solace in friendship. It’s rather novel to me because I’ve never been able to be friends with my exes.
Only brokenhearted, life’s not over
I can start again
It’s a hopeful way to start the week, though my heart still feels scarred over from the events of the past few months. But good comes with the bad. After weeks of working on my week middle range, I’ve finally solved one problem area and finally know how the whole Italian ‘inner smile’ works. It just happened, the note just came and it was just so freeing emotionally to be able to sing happily without fear, in my upper range, without chickening out into head voice.
My voice is ‘heavy’ with a stupidly large range – which means 15 minutes a day won’t cut it, so I have to spend a longer time exercising it. Singing every note in a 2.5 octave range gets very tiresome, very quickly. And the entire range sounds very different – down in chest voice I’m very husky while all the way in head the notes sound airy-fairy. Pretty but just…too much of a contrast.
Also heard from my father and the Norwegian – which brightened up my evening as well. It’s nice to know people are thinking of you from across the miles, and just making sure you’re OK. Opening yourself up to people leaves you wide open to pain and heartache; but it also allows you to embrace all the love the world has to offer. So I’ll take the occasional broken heart over closing myself up to the world.

Only brokenhearted, life’s not over
I can start again
While I’m lonely, brokenhearted
Its a hurting, thing to get over

Why don’t you tell me about it?

I’m young but I’m wise enough to know
That you don’t fall in love overnight
That’s why I thought if I took my time
That everything in love would be right
Oh, oh
But as soon as I closed my eyes
I was saying to love “good-bye”
But I guess I’m only… brokenhearted
Life’s not over I can start again
While I’m lonely brokenhearted

Its a hurting thing to get over
No more empty conversations
Next time I will be totally sure, oh
Don’t want the pain of falling in and out of love
Its more than my poor heart should endure
So I’ll listen to all advice
And remember each time I cry
Da, da, da, da, da-ha whoa..
Think about you all the time
Bridge 2:
Never thought I’d be alone again
That’s why I asked you to be my best friend
You know you’re always on my mind
Think about you all the time
You know what I’m saying?
Oh baby