music to the ears

If I were to keep comparing myself to others, with others, I will never be happy or find peace within. Yet this is how our society is like, forcing us to rank overselves with our peers, draw parallels and comparisons even amongst friends and family, and I get sucked into this cess pool, driving myself deeper into misery. We can’t help it, in a place where information is so easily and widely available, whether or not we actually want any access to it or not. So sometimes, ignorance really is bliss but then again curiosity gets the better of us, which then kills the cat, and us, along with it.

Nobody likes an unhappy person, because negativity perpetuates itself and it loves company. I am trying to become happier, to delight in the things that can bring a smile to my face, to let go of comparisons, not to ignore them, but to acknowledge that they are an inevitable part of life and that everyone is blessed in different ways. When I finally am able to come to terms with that, perhaps I can indeed become lighter, in all senses of the word. I can never make enough money, become too successful, be smart enough, and so on and so forth. The crux is contentment. Which will be my point of contentment?

Music had made a quiet exit in my life. I used to be plugged in to music on my daily commute regardless of how long or short the journey, and through whatever means I get introduced to songs new and old. But somehow somewhere, I stopped. I don’t know what’s the latest tune making the rounds on the airwaves and I don’t even listen to radio anymore. Just check out how old school my music player is.

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An iPod Video, maybe a 4th generation? I can’t remember but it has its history and is easily more than 5 years of age. Its battery life is surely waning and I don’t know when it will decide to fail (again) and die. I don’t have a back-up of the stuff in it because most of them weren’t mine to begin with. As I charged it and turned it on today on my way to the office, the familiar tunes were indeed music to the ears. How I have missed having it, not the recent K-pop that had arrested my attention for a while, but the lilting and haunting sounds of the UK bands that I so missed.

BIGBANG Alive Tour in Singapore! the experience.

It has been a long wait. Since when news first broke that Singapore is included as one of the stops of the Alive tour, to when I got caught in the online frenzy to purchase tickets for the concert, it finally happened last Saturday night at the indoor stadium.

I hate queuing, especially when the queuing makes me perspire. I swore to myself that this would be the first and last time I’d do this, queuing for an hour just to get to the standing pen. Now, I think I will eat my words. For them, for Bigbang, I will willingly do it again if I could relive the same experience. Throughout the whole 2.5 hours when the lights first went off at 7:15pm to the thunderous screams of the entire stadium, I was totally in fan girl mode as I joined the rest of the mosh pit in screaming and waving as the boys energetically covered the whole stage area. Where we stood at the side, we saw them so often so close we started to become delusional that we were the favoured side but of course that couldn’t be true. I know it sounds really silly, and some of my friends will probably roll their eyes and scoff at me for being childish in idolising pop stars who are so much younger and whose songs most of which I do not even comprehend. But my friend taught me to be true to myself, and cast aside what the world at large, scratch that, what people around think of me. Personal interests are like what they are, personal to each and every one. We don’t impose our thinking and likes or dislikes on someone else, so there isn’t a reason why someone else should make me feel bad just because I enjoy K-pop and admit to being a fan. Life is tough enough as it is to live in, we don’t need to make it harder for ourselves by trying to live up to another’s standards or what they expect us to be.

So this was the only picture I took while I was in the indoor stadium. The rest of the time, I was completely enthralled by the songs and the atmosphere, and constantly nudging my friend to work her camera to take photos/videos of the going-ons on stage. I didn’t take note of the track list, but it is available online on other sites if anyone is interested to google for it. They started of course with Alive, the intro track on the Alive mini album, one of my favourites off that album, and then started the concert with Tonight (the song that first got me interested in them), Hands Up, Fantastic Baby (that just somehow grew on me although I didn’t like it that much initially), and so on. I love the entire concert even if I didn’t know all of the songs that were performed. Somehow I think being in the mosh pit made the whole experience more highly-charged and enjoyable and of course it was quadrupled or more because it is Bigbang on the stage. Ok, I am starting to ramble and I think some of you have already been through my animated raving of how amazing I thought the Alive concert experience was.

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And this is how the back of the T-shirt that I wore looks like! The front read “GD”, in a similar triangular design. J’s T had this on the front and back, but with this smaller at the back. And thanks to my cousin Ven for asking if I wanted to get T-shirts printed, and her friend for designing these! Initially, I thought it would be weird to be wearing these, because in the last few concerts that I had attended locally, I don’t really see many people wearing such attire that bear the name of the band, etc. But this concert was so different, there were so many concert-goers who wore T-shirts of a variety of designs, some from the Alive concert that they probably purchased at the venue on that day, or they were wearing T-shirts from other concerts elsewhere or something. Maybe they also customised their own T-shirts like we did. Anyhow the whole concert mood was there, and it was great to be basking in the atmosphere of the crowd, fans of Bigbang, also known as VIPs! ūüôā

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Something not really related to the Alive concert, but anyhow after the concert was over we decided to head somewhere for a late night snack and drinks, to fill the now-already empty stomach and quench our parched throats, after 2.5 hours of non-stop action in the mosh pit of the Alive concert! And featured in the picture is also the BB official crown lightstick that we got online. Unfortunately the one that I had wasn’t functioning properly, but it didn’t affect my enjoyment. Yes I am a VIP and am an even bigger fan of the band’s leader, the one and only GD! It has been a week but it felt like the concert was just over, and now I am suffering from withdrawal symptoms.

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helsinki vantaa airport

No, this post isn’t really about the main airport of Helsinki in Finland. I just thought of using it as the post title for today, that’s all. But in my defense, I do have one picture of the departure hall of the airport when I was flying out from there one night, one cold, rainy night.

When I got to the airport just before 9pm, I was wondering if the airport was even opened because it was deserted and appeared devoid of any activity. It was after looking around briefly that I spotted one open check-in counter to deposit my luggage, then prospected around again to look for where I could scan my handheld stuff. It was that empty. With the airport staff working at that time, including one open convenience kiosk and one cafe, I presume that there must have been less than 20 persons around in the whole outside area of the airport.

Anyway, the inside wasn’t any much better. There are plenty of shops inside, but they were almost all closed by the time I was inside. I had a short dinner/night snack at one lonely little cafeteria, before proceeding to the passport control, after which there were slightly more shops that stayed open for the benefit of¬†passengers on the¬†international flights but it was still sad. I guess a lot of airports in the West are like that, because I don’t recall ever feeling this way in Asian airports. Or maybe it was just the timing, if I had been at the, say Siem Reap International Airport at odd timings, there could also jolly well be just a handful persons around.

Ok, enough of Helsinki Vantaa. Let’s move on already.

I had a wonderful weekend, I think it kind of depleted me of every single ounce of energy I could ever have in me! Weekend started with drinks that began at Kandahar Street all the way to Sentosa! It wasn’t the volume of alcohol but the distance covered. We were looking for a place that was recommended by a friend’s friend but then ended up feeling the place to be too ‘hippy’ for us. So we trooped along Haji Lane, Arab Street, before finally going to WitBier at Kandahar Street. It isn’t a bad place to chill at, a tiny little pub chock full of whom I guess are regulars, and they serve a really wide variety of European (mostly Belgium I think) beer, with a small selection of bar food, but if you are into fries and luncheon meat fries (called Porky Fries), here’s where you might want to check out!

Was a little miffed though because we were served by a new waitress who was on her first day, and she wasn’t able to be very helpful in answering the questions we had, and then she got our orders wrong. We ordered a bucket of 5 bottles and she served us two pints (in glasses) and said yes when we asked her to confirm that was what we ordered. It even went as far as us asking if the bottled beer were poured into the mugs and she still said yes. We should already have picked up on that and asked another waitress but we didn’t and it was when a second waitress asked if we wanted another round that we realised the mistake.

After that we went to SkyLoft, which I talked about in the previous post.

Then Saturday! The day I had been waiting for for a really long while… Big Bang Alive Concert in Singapore! I was out during the day, so by the time I went to queue to get into the standing pen area, just before 6pm I think, I was already exhausted. Consider the weather and us having to queue more than 3/4 way around the second level of the SIS, before we were slowly being led down the steps and finally into the arena. It wasn’t a long wait though, as the concert started just 15 minutes after its supposed start time. For 2 and a half hours from there, I never stopped screaming and jumping, and of course gawking at the boys. It sounds really cougarish, but I don’t really care, because that was just how great they were and they were so close, in such proximity with us that we were just about two arm lengths’ away. I wished of course I could then have limbs like Mr. Fantastic and reach out to grab them! More on the concert later.

Sunday was another concert day. This has been two hectic weekends for me, a far cry from the languid days I was having while on the business trip in Finland; of course work wasn’t slow but the pace there generally seems so much more relaxed. Attenedd Keane’s concert at the Max Pavilion at Expo, and recalled that the last time I watched a concert in that area was Lee Hom’s Evolution concert, way back in… I don’t even remember anymore! The sound system was crap but the concert was fabulous, even if this time I was so far from the stage and there were a number of songs I was unfamiliar with. Besides, I spent about half the time sitting down, and another half standing because they were performing my favourite songs, or because¬†my view¬†was blocked by the person in front.

Two very different concerts on two different days but I totally enjoyed myself on both occasions, I love the sound of Keane, like how I like some UK acts, like Suede and Coldplay. They have this quality in their songs that just distinguishes them from American bands somehow, maybe it is the way they sing i.e. the accent? I don’t really know but all in all, they were great that night and I silently berated myself for not taking the effort to ‘revise’ the songs before I attended the concert. I would have enjoyed it even more if I could sing along with them all the time!

Formula One Night Race

I never really considered the prospect of watching any of the F1 races, not when they first made their way onto our shores in 2008, and not even now when they are into their fifth year. I thought it would be rather pointless sitting at the sideline in tolerance (or not) of the heat and noise, and not being able to see anything other than bright colours of the race cars zipping past at speeds of 200 kmph or more.

Well I was partly right. But even with just that, and on a night where the excitement was relatively muted because it was a qualifying race, the live experience of seeing the cars in action and hearing the thunderous roar of these high performance machines was quite unparalleled.

One of my friends had a pair of complimentary tickets (yes yours truly is the el cheapo sometimes) for the Padang grandstand and asked if I’d like to attend and of course I said yes! Ok maybe not so emphatically because we all know how much I love our classic tropical humidity, but I thought it might be a great experience and since the weather has been a little kinder these few days.

So here’s how the ticket looks like:

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I didn’t bring a camera along so I didn’t take any photos of the track or the cars from where I sat, not that I think my reflexes would be quick enough to capture the cars in motion. But the view was splendid, with us being in the third row. There were three qualifying rounds with cars being eliminated each round but the final one sealed the deal for which driver would have the privilege of starting from pole, which is considerably important for our track that is supposedly a tough one for overtaking. Not impossible but tough. I haven’t been following F1 these few years so I was really lost as to who’s in what car, I just saw the Ferraris, Red Bulls, McClarens and whatever flying past and the atmosphere was wonderful I can only imagine how electrifying it must be on race night itself.

After the qualifiers ended at about 10, the Ferrari challenge came on but we didn’t stay on for that. We went back onto the Padang where hordes of people congregated and waited for the concert to begin at 11.

We do have quite a beautiful night view, especially from the Padang that is boxed in from each side by skyscrapers, this being the CBD side of it.

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Maroon 5 burst onto the stage promptly at some minutes past 11 and the crowd just went wild when we heard the first sounds of coins being slotted into what would be a payphone, one of their hits. It was an hour of non-stop entertainment from Adam Levine and co., and he proved to be quite the crowd puller as the women went crazy over him and even the men got so high when popular songs like This Love, Won’t Go Home Without You and Harder To Breathe, amongst others, were performed. The part I liked most was when after a short break they came onstage again and sang She Will Be Loved, acoustic style. The entire field sang along for that song, and even guests of Swissotel were all perched on their balconies listening in to the concert. The response from the crowd beat that for their final song Moves Like Jagger, probably because that is more difficult to sing along to, or perhaps everyone was just too caught up dancing to the catchy tunes of that song. It was fantastic seeing everyone enjoying themselves so much and we certainly had a great time despite it being a little muggy sometimes and second smoke marring our enjoyment momentarily.

The stage setup was pretty amazing and it easily trumps other stages in some concerts I’ve watched. You can just think of how much money went into this whole F1 business. But I was glad I went and am really grateful to my friend for the ticket and an excellent night out!

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at this moment, i am alive

Yippee!

It felt surreal, that each click I made brought me one step forward. One-time lucky; online sale opened at 10am, and I got this confirmation in my inbox from SISTIC with a time-stamp of 10:04. I wasn’t so lucky with SJ, because back then I tried for 45 minutes with many back and forth clicking at SISTIC with an amplified amount of frustration, before I got myself 2 (instead of one) pairs of tickets, one of which was an extra that I sold off eventually anyhow.

Thank you Lord! Thank you everything and everyone for making this work for me!

 

Alive!

I was wondering last week if I should join the pre-order for the album. I wandered into HMV one Saturday morning after class to check out Tablo’s album for Ilsa, since I was anyhow waiting for the time pass before the appointment at the hairdresser’s.

It wasn’t only until the last day of the pre-order that I went to HMV again, this time since I was killing time before meeting a friend, to join the pre-order. It was actually quite pointless because the album would then be launched/available the next day. On the collection day, I saw that they still had stocks for the album anyhow so the pre-order was actually unnecessary.

So this was what I got…

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I like the concept that they had for this Alive album. I must admit that I’m not big on buying CDs because as much as I would like to support original music and copyrights, I really do not enjoy having to keep tonnes of CDs and their sleeves at home where space is a perennial problem. Of course sometimes it is worth buying the album for the sleeve if I am a fan but other than that, I much prefer things to be in soft copies. The only reason for having these CDs would then be a back-up say when my digital files fail me, which have happened one too often and then I would have to build the library all over again.

This is Big Bang’s 5th mini album, and it features 6 songs, along with an intro track called “Alive” that lasts all of just 50 seconds. I love the intro track and I love most of the songs in this mini album that I wished it was longer. I don’t get the concept of mini albums mostly because I think I am paying the full price for an album but only getting about half of the songs that a typical full album would contain. But ok, I decided to get it anyway, my very first Big Bang CD! The CD comes encased in a metal frame that made it really heavy, and there were 6 designs that you could choose from. I guess the 6th would be one without any of the members on it, or maybe with all of them on it, I don’t know.

I have heard Blue a few times online when YG released the MV before the official album launch, and heard snippets of the other tracks, and finally Bad Boy which also had an MV released. Honestly, I am not really feeling Bad Boy; it isn’t bad but it isn’t amazing either. Blue was much better, even though I have not checked out the translations of the lyrics, I liked the melody and the feel that the song gave me, a little bit like Love Song, but as what some have described, exuding a more matured feel. The other tracks were good too, based on my first listen of the CD, and Daesung’s solo Wings, is also commendable; after all he has the best vocals within the group so it isn’t hard to imagine.

Big Show 2012 just concluded in Seoul last night after a 3-night concert, and I was really disappointed I couldn’t make it for any of them, partly because I asked my friends about it too late, and also because I have work commitments coming up soon.¬†I hope I will be able to catch at least one of their shows on their upcoming world tour, anywhere.

Someone Like You

It’s easy to understand how Adele’s Someone Like You got so popular. I cannot remember when was the first time I heard it but I was officially introduced to it, or rather, got to know who sang it and what its name was, one night while I was at Wala Wala with the UnXpected band singing on stage.

The melody is friendly and sounds simple enough, yet those piano chords seem to have a haunting quality that perhaps coupled with the lyrics, make for a radio hit. Incidentally, Adele’s 21 is highly-raved and won many awards including the Grammys this year which was just last month. There are various other songs in it that are great too, and depending on your preference, Someone Like You may not necessarily be your favourite. I listened to the album once on a flight and recalled there were some songs that I liked, one of which was Set Fire to the Rain.

Anyhow, as I listened to Someone Like You, I grew to like it more but as with most songs, they can become an overkill if you start to hear them everywhere. I’m not a radio person but those times I have sat in someone else’s cars and a lot of times I’d hear this song, sometimes when I am out shopping or dining in some places, I’d hear it too. And this is not restricted to Singapore… I remembered I was in the shuttle that I booked to go from San Francisco Airport to the apartment that we’d rented for the week, and I heard the song too. However, as the broadcast frequency decreased, I think my like of the song will start on the uptrend again.

This song came a few years late. I was wondering, if a few years ago, if I’d heard this song, how I might have felt. Perhaps hearing it each time may just bring tears to my eyes and induce a stab of pain in the heart, with lyrics that so aptly describe how I would feel then. But that was then, and then this is now. Years on wounds have healed and we have all moved on. When I listen to this song, I don’t have any particular feeling of association with it. It just comes across as a nice song that is sang by a really wonderful voice.