Friday, July 31, 2009

Let it be. Let it be.

Crazy. Crazy. Crazy. Just about sums up the last two weeks. Crazy stuff at work and thesis. So much on my mind, so much I could grouse about. But I think the Beatles' song which best describes me (according to the Facebook quiz I took this afternoon) kinda sums up my sentiments now. Let it be.

First up, annual review. I know that a lot of friends and even family were wondering if I would end up ranting about the last semester, from emails with caps and exclamation marks from a colleague, threatening emails, to thinly veiled 'advice'. But the review went without a mention about this, mainly from my part. I do not see the point in revisiting some issues, especially since I just want to move on and look forward to my teaching assignments next semester and I'm grateful that my request to be taken off the module went through. :) Anyway, no loss on my side, though I was a little traumatised during the episode and I've turned out stronger and more savvy for it. Am working with two v interesting modules: intercultural comm and culture industries, which have garnered very good ratings, yea! Am looking forward to familiar faces in the LTs come next month.

Homecoming, which I had enjoyed in the past years was also peppered with some behind the scenes stuff. The questions and insinuations made me uncomfortable, even though they weren't targeted at me directly. Some of those who were there could see some of the stuff behind the scenes. My stand on workplace politics in general is to listen if it comes along and not comment on it, esp if you were not directly involved. I do not see the point in adding fuel to fire if it's based on hearsay, esp if it affects another person. I think that rumors and hearsay can take on a life of its own and mutate to a v ugly state, even if it wasn't initated with ill intentions. But I do agree with some observations made at Homecoming that a lot has changed since 2005 and it does make me nostalgic. But change is inevitable I guess and we deal with it in our own ways. So, no more questions abt some stuff during Homecoming, coz my answer will be the same: No comment.

IRB was also driving me nuts, and the irony was that I was applying for an exemption! It irks me when others do not do what they are supposed to do or know what they are supposed to know, that they are more interested in shifting responsibility to others that would come back to them in the end. In the end, the IRB department was much more helpful and precise in what I lacked and what I needed to give them. I spent more all nighters getting the information out ASAP as I felt that I had wasted/lost weeks in the whole silly ding dong mess. Better to roll up my sleeves and sort it out myself.

But on a lighter note, I was glad to see T for her bday... she is looking lovely, with the nice haircut and all! Although she is also a mummy to be, she drove us to satisfy our pork cutlet craving!! haha. Also checked out Ion with her but the poor ventilation put us off as the smell of stale food was lingering. I think that my fav food places at Ion are Provence... love the wassants and curry donut and Watami, a casual Jap dining place. Food is not bad at Watami, prices are reasonable and the service was impeccable... queue was long but I managed to get a seat for my mum and myself just before the crowd came in. Was also glad to meet some of my ICM batch at Homecoming, but the turnout wasn't as good as last year, some did not know about it?! But I left soon after and did not get to linger as I was hitching a ride from T. :)

About my thesis, am glad for the support that my sup has given me. Even though she can be exacting and doesn't mince her words, I appreciate her workstyle and I think she knows tt I'm feeling a lil low these days as well. Ha.

And Mel's wedding on the same week as Homecoming, seemed like a mini Homecoming as there were familiar faces from school who did not manage to make it for the actual Homecoming. Met S, G, A, N, possible familiar face like J who had just came back from Copahagen that very day and still made it for the dinner! Spent the night catching up with S and N, S is as sweet as always, taking food for me, his photos for tt evening were lovely; and N was sharing some of hers as well, and that babe was a brilliant conversationalist - we chatted a lot that night, she is working at Warner Music and totally loving it! The wedding was very Mel, Bollywood flavour, sweet, simple and heartfelt. It was cool to see her hubby, her "Swedish Meatball" do the Singaporean Yum Seng. He even did a gig with the best man, which was not half bad as well! Will totally miss her when she goes over... more incentive to pay Sweden a visit! :)

With National Day around the corner, I happen to make an observation. 8 Days did a write up on how familiar Singaporeans are with our pledge and they went out to do a poll. Most of us, according to the poll, know the pledge, though there were a few who did not make the cut. I tried it myself... and after nine years of not reciting the pledge, I still managed to get it right! :) But I had a feeling that it would not be the last I would hear of the pledge issue. Therefore it did not come as a surprise to me today that this year's National Day celebration will have a section dedicated to reciting the pledge and that all radio stations' progammes will be affected as well. I do not know how well the public will respond to it or how many of us will actually recite the pledge in our homes but I do think that it is very interesting that the government is focusing on the pledge.

As a part of nation building, the pledge does play a very important role in terms of a nation's identity. And a lot of people do identify themselves as part of a nation when they espouse the qualities in their national pledge. Like democracy and freedom for US citizens. The pledge, if recited in mindless repetition, will remain what it is: just a paragraph of lofty words. Only if we understand and believe in the values present can we begin associating ourselves to the country. I think that it is interesting that the government is taking this step in nation building, not too in your face but at the same time, the focus on the pledge may make some of us take a second, better look at our pledge, which most of us have recited in school, during the mornings, when we are still half asleep or preoccupied with other stuff.

The weekend is finally here! After a hectic, crazy week, which I have tried to get more work done and cancelled on some dates (sorry peeps!), I keep to the bunch which drop a line from time to time and let me sort out my thoughts, and family which keep me grounded. This included my first tennis lesson with cuz JK, where the coach managed to teach me a lot, from the way to hit the ball to learning to some steps in getting the ball, all in the first lesson, yea! My ball was all over the place, but am glad tt with my hand-eye coordination I managed to get the ball over the net, though I kinda pity the nice guys who were playing at the court next to us. I think they were pretty nice about it, considering how often I interrupted their game. Some of my hits even went over the tall fence which separated the courts, yikes! Too much acceleration in the wrong direction, ha. But he felt that I had potential and was eager to teach me more... my right arm is kinda aching so we shall see. Quote of the evening from the tennis session, between JK and me: "Funny don't cure ugly." ;) But the session did help to relieve some tension.

A song which I really like and upon checking Wiki, realised that this was one of the Beatles' last song and that there was a lot of tension during the production of this song. How apt. ha. Was talking abt the Beatles with N during Mel's dinner as well and it reminded me of this movie Across the Universe, plot was kinda blah but the entire soundtrack of the movie consisted of Beatles songs... even some of the lines in the movie! An interesting concept. The video is a clip from the movie, Let it be was used as the background for the war and street violence aftermath scenes, where the world seems to have gone crazy and nothing makes sense anymore, and the only thing left is hope.

To a better August, with new beginnings and familar faces! :)

Let it be - The Beatles

When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree,
there will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see,
there will be an answer. let it be.

Let it be, let it be, .....

And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light, that shines on me,
shine until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music, mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Let it be, let it be, .....

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Weekends. :: Thesis :: Half-Blood Prince

I've often wondered: are books/films a reflection of what we are or what we might be? Sounds rhetorical, as we are the ones creating books and films. But can books/film reflect the worldview of a select few to the masses and thus influence them?

The last week has been brain crunching time, with me doing up the references for the sup, which is good idea on her part, given the number of revisions; also submitting applications and exemptions. Been working on my methodology as well and I like this part of research as it is original work and I get my hands dirty with thinking up methods and ways of improving sampling. I dun mind hard work, in fact, I relish it, knowing that it is put to good use and it's a good test of my mental dexerity.

Friends do not know the details of my research but they have played a huge role in keeping me sane. Ok, actually keeping me addicted... haha. My fab five introduced me to Citadels, a strategic card game... shan't go into the details, but it was addicitive enough to keep us up playing all night! Unfortunately we can only indulge in this during the weekends, where we play till the next morning. The planning, strategising and to some extent, second-guessing each other's game and strategy. Somehow I believe that first time beginner's luck is at play as well, which explains how I managed to edge in a couple of wins. Playing against friendly opponents in a wonderful atmosphere of comaderie and hospitality (ok, the homecooked food and vintages helped as well). :) But as my schedule gets busier, we shall have to play by ear. But good times peeps, good times. Helps as well tt I work on my thesis at night, which helps me stay up during the games. J got a new game last week - Saboteur, looking forward to another session to try it out!

Got my bridesmaid dress last Sun... after an all night Citadel session... and it was great meeting the babes for the fitting session, received positive feedback for the dresses, looking forward to the wedding in Dec and other occassions to wear the other dress I bought... hard not to when everyone was gushing over it... Helped in my already wavering mind... haha. As mum wld say, I'm young only once.... might as well make the best of it. ;)

C and I got the tics for Half-Blood Prince last Sunday for today. I had managed to read the book before the movie and was thus duly disappointed when I saw that q a few of the most significant scenes have been cut out.

Even characters like the Minister of Magic were not included, scenes like the school battle scene weren't included, as well as the sloppy job on Dumbledore's death... what happened to the funeral?! I was looking forward to that actually... Also, existing characters were quite bleah, especially Ginny, I thought she was more spirited and sassy in the book and previous installments? Even new characters were more subdued, I felt they could have further played on Greyback?

But then again, it was two and a half hours and they probably decided to focus more on the BGR aspect: Lavender Brown was a hoot! :) I also felt that besides the choppiy flow of he movie and the fact that we have been waiting longer than expected for this installment, the audience expected more from the movie. On a more positive note, I felt that this installment was definitely more dark, with this sense of heaviness. And while watching the movie, I felt that the sense of bleakness does reflect to some extent the heaviness inside me, because of the crazy events recently... and in the light of the Jakarta bombings on Fri. I was surprised when he told me on Fri when we met for another lesson that after a period of relative peace, it has happened again. Kinda makes me understand y more friends are not in favour of having kids. At times like this, craziness set in and nothing really makes sense anymore. To quote Arthur Weasley in the movie. "Times like these, dark times, they do funny things to people. They can tear them apart. "

And it is in these crazy times that we need inspiration to go on. Although it sounds incredulous to derive hope from children literature (again that point is debatable), I feel that it is during these times that we need hope. Children literature like Harry Potter depicts the world as not always bright and cheery, that dark times do come, but at the same time, it conveys the message that we all need hope and it is the hope that good will ultimately prevail, even though that may not always happen, that keeps us going. Along the way, we learn that what is right or wrong may not always be clear, that circumstances might force us down certain routes and we might be stuck in situations where we do things against our wishes (ahem... Snape), but in the end, it helps to have our own moral compass and accept the bad stuff while cherishing the good stuff... like dropping by to check out 1 Caramel after the movie! Highly recommend the place for cakes and tarts... hope they come out with macaroons at some point! Pics up on FB soon!

Very tempted to go on a trip with a friend at the end of the year. He's been v accomodating and he knows the country well enough... but still, there are other stuff, including finances and other stuff to consider. He's been a good friend through the recent tough times and it's rare that we find travelmates with whom we can relate on so many levels. Am sorely tempted, but we shall see how it goes. Hmmm.

Am in a greedy mood... will thus post a song which came up in a dicsussion during last Sat/Sun Citadels session... thanks S for remembering the singer... din realise that it was such a popular ktv song, re the response from ex students and ktv regulars when I posted this link on FB. Enjoy. :) Also crazy busy week ahead, more crazy busy than usual, with lessons, appointments, a wedding (can't wait to meet S n G! ) and lotsa stuff to take care of, with Homecoming next Sat.... do come down if you can make it! :)

古巨基 情歌王 (劲歌金曲2) 歌词
(Forever love 王力宏)

(两个人的烟火 黎明)

(如果.爱 张学友)

(童话 光良)

(很爱很爱你 刘若英)

(我愿意 王菲)
我什麽都愿意 为你

(好想好想 古巨基)
好想好想 好想好想

(明天我要嫁给你了 周华健)

(不得不爱 潘玮柏/弦子)
i love you

(阴天 莫文蔚)

(飞机场的10:30 陶喆)
baby baby baby baby
O baby baby O baby

(那么爱你为什么 黄品源/莫文蔚)

(你怎么舍得我难过 黄品源)

(爱我别走 张震岳)

(让我欢喜让我忧 周华健)

(原来你什么都不想要 张惠妹)

(用心良苦 张宇)

(祝福 张学友)

(吻别 张学友)

(把悲伤留给自己 陈升)

(征服 那英)

(听海 张惠妹)

(味道 辛晓琪)

(我怀念的 孙燕姿)

(领悟 辛晓琪)

(月亮惹的祸 张宇)

(我们的爱 FIR)

(你把我灌醉 黄大炜)

(眼泪 范晓萱)
oh 眼泪
oh 眼泪

(情非得已 庾澄庆)

(你是如此难以忘记 梁朝伟)

(心太软 任贤齐)

(Forever love 王力宏)
forever love forever love
forever love
forever love
forever love

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Smile :: I'll be there

Watched the MJ memorial serivce, was especially touched by Brooke Shield's eulogy, not so impressed by some of the performances of MJ's hits. I think it finally hit me during the service, seeing the casket and all, that the King of Pop is really not with us anymore, though his music will. Saw how affected some of his close friends in the business were, sombre faces on the stage at the finale act of We are the world-Heal the world. Some of the eulogies described Michael Jackson in terms of his music, most of them, as a person and how outside the his life as an entertainer, he tried to lead a normal life, in spite of his prodigious talent. More than once, his child molestation allegations were put down and refuted, drawing applause from the crowd and a standing ovation from daughter Paris.

Gave a talk to freshies yesterday, they seemed a more subdued bunch but I think the enthusiasm from their seniors will rub off them. :) Saw a lot of student camps going on when I was in school, not letting the rainy weather put a dampner on their activities. Also reminded me of the good old times when I was an undergrad.

Met A in school yesterday, we chatted for a long time. Dun remember actually talking to her one on one. I know tt she was there to play the role of the mediator, but I think that enough is enough for me. I hate it when my tolerance is taken advantage of. We agreed to keep the conversation between us, because I do not owe anyone an explanation. I think A was resigned as she left and I had already told her to not invite me to anymore gatherings if it puts her in a spot. It wasn't easy to say that but I dun want to put her in a spot. She's a great pal and I know that without meeting all the time.

Met B after that - serendipity!! We had a good talk, updating each other on our progress in our writing... I think he has a lot of good ideas coming up, talking to B is always a pleasure! Broached on the touchy subject as well. Shall not elaborate out of respect to his wishes. He could see that I was feeling really down about it, affected as well. Meeting him helped take my mind off things some.

Decided to hang out in HV for drinks with J who came down after work. We talked about everything and anything. About toxic relationships and friendships. About the MJ memorial, which he did not watch because he wasn't ready. It helped to talk things over with him and his advice and perspectives comforted me some. We also did a lot of fun stuff like people watching and counting up the number of what ifs at Wala Wala. Received smses from friends thoughout the day which comforted me a lot as well. Friends and family often tease me for giving others the benefit of doubt, though I think I've learnt in the past year to give up on others who are not worth it, L thinks that we should learn how to protect ourselves better, which I agree, though I seem to be lacking in this. Read this quote a couple of days back which made a lot of sense to me, not just in romantic relationships, but also in how I deal with other relationships as well.

"Someone once told me that the power in all relationships lies with whoever cares less, and he was right. But power isn't happiness, and I think that maybe happiness comes from caring more about people rather than less..."

Still feeling pretty mixed after yesterday's sessions, but many friends dropped me a line which helped take my mind off things - working on my thesis helped too! T put it perfectly when she said that I now know who my true friends are. My weekend is packed with Citadels sessions, thanks to S!! Also going bridesmaid dress shopping on Sunday with my 2 BFF, yea! Hope to squeeze in a swim if possible. Also hope to do the photoshoot with B before school begins. :)

Was wondering which of the two MJ songs in my title to put up today - decided on Smile, because it's a song I can relate to these days and it was MJ's fav song. J said that this song reflects me to some extent! I did not realise till the memorial service tt it was originally featured in Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin's last silent film. Imagine, a tune written by Charlie Chaplin! My favourite takes on this song are by Nat King Cole and Harry Connick Jr.

Michael Jackson (1958-2009) - Ben

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, whats the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, whats the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Black or white :: Rock my world

Since my last entry, within a span of two weeks, so much has happened. The passing of Michael Jackson on the 26th of June, as well as Roger Federer's epic match and ensuing triumph at Wimbledon which cemented him as the greatest tennis player of all time last weekend. On a personal front, lotsa stuff happening as well, am moving along for my thesis, coping with the bad news about my mum and some worrying stuff abt myself. Some close friends had to make some tough decisions and we made time to talk through some stuff.

Really busy on the social front as well, met up with some friends I've not met up in years like L and other friends like L, T, Y, S. doing new stuff with old friends, getting involved with a BFF's wedding prep for later this year. Am so excited!! All the meeting up with friends and celebrations over good food and drinks have taken its toll on me... I definitely have a visible bump now, argh. Will try to be more restrained when partaking the merriment.

After all the stuff these two weeks, it really struck me how life has its turns. No one expected the King of Pop to leave us in such a sudden manner. I've never been a fan of MJ but his music has accompanied me through my life. As a young gal, I loved songs by the Jackson Five and his works in the 80s... to some songs in the early 90s. From the slow songs such as Ben, You are not alone, Heal the world, The girl is mine, Man in the mirror, I'll be there, Childhood, to his fast number such as Bad, Thriller, Smooth Criminal, Black or white, Billie Jean and Blood on the dance floor. No matter the botched cosmetic surgeries, or child molestation allegations, where the victims have since come out to say that they were put up to it by their parents - with his passing, he was one of the greatest if not the greatest music artiste around. He revolutionised how music videos were made in his time, made mini movies and epitomised smooth moves on the dance floor. An artise in every sense and aspect of the word, he created a craft out of his music and was involved in his music. Music was his life and he deserves respect for that.

We have lost a music great this year and his loss will be felt for many years to come. I think that his music is one of the few to really cross countries and boundaries - from Japan to Russia to the States, he has fans everywhere. And he was one of the music greats who was socially conscious and espoused this in his music - Heal the world and The earth song for environmental conservation, Black or White and Man in the mirror for social issues.

Recently, I've a mix of friends who are going through highs and others, lows. Some work-related, others, personal issues. I've also met up with friends who are getting hitched, others meeting a new significant other, and other good news. Am also dealing with some news on my end. Am glad that my friends also practiced discretion when we met up. Not all showy but in their own subtle way, I understand and appreciate them taking time out for me and they know that I will do the same for them. I've got some interesting words from L the last weekend when we met up: "It's not about right or wrong, but rather, whether it is wise..." and my mum "Good people, bad people, we all live under the same sun." I think that things have changed a lot since the breakup last year, that maybe I have changed a lot, when it comes to handling relationships and other things in life. But the constant that remains are friends who are always there for me, looking out for me in their own way. Thanks peeps, you know who you are. :)

Will be talking to the freshmen tomorrow, meeting up with A and B later in the day, as well as working on my thesis - moving on to my methodology, yea! Counting the little victories to keep me going. Also, tennis lounging with the fab five over the weekend has got me intrigued with tennis... again, but am already working on my picking up something new... ha. But my thesis will remain my priority for this holiday! Can't believe that June was over so soon!

My perennial fav from MJ, also because I've a pet hammie of my own. :) MJ's first song when he broke away from the Jackson Five to go solo.

Michael Jackson (1958-2009) - Ben

Ben, the two of us need look no more
We both found what we were looking for
With a friend to call my own
I'll never be alone
And you, my friend, will see
You've got a friend in me
(you've got a friend in me)

Ben, you're always running here and there
You feel you're not wanted anywhere
If you ever look behind
And don't like what you find
There's one thing you should know
You've got a place to go
(you've got a place to go)

I used to say "I" and "me"
Now it's "us", now it's "we"
I used to say "I" and "me"
Now it's "us", now it's "we"
Ben, most people would turn you away
I don't listen to a word they say
They don't see you as I do
I wish they would try to
I'm sure they'd think again
If they had a friend like Ben
(a friend) Like Ben
(like Ben) Like Ben