Saturday, 30 December 2006

Christmas Musical

Events: Christmas Evangelistic Event; Christmas Meeting
Venue: MGC
Time: 23 Dec 2006, Saturday, 7.30 pm; 25 Dec 2006, Monday, 10.00 am

So Christmas is over. And the play is over. Hmm.

I was grumbling about it so much before the thing but now I feel like I actually miss doing it. Hmm hmm. It was quite fun la. With all the interesting remixes Mark came up with, especially the Elvis one heheh. Anyway, I really learned some stuff throughout the process of the thing, and I think my piano skills have enhanced a little bit. At least now I know that I can play something other than simple arpeggios and those *bom-cha-cha things on the piano.

I'll try to put up the script when I have the time... and mood. Time is not a factor haha. Then it'll be easier to understand what we did that day. It's also a good way to remind myself that MGC is not made up of people who are totally tone-deaf and talentless.

When Mark told me Uncle Ivan approached him to help out with the play and that he needed the choir to do some singing thing in between, I went:
Huh? What choir? We don't have a choir!
Total doinkness, in short.

Anyhoo, it turned out well, and it helped me see that I really should change my negative melancholic attitude and just believe that the people of God can do something for Him just because He wants us to. I should stop limiting the church's ablilities because in doing so, I'm actually limiting His power.

23 December 2006, Morning of the Event - 11.00 am

Mark changed the script.

The singing (we had 18 songs; not the full song la, just part of it for some) was still the same, meaning no changes in songs, and the sketch was unchanged, but Mark added some other stuff in the narration. He initially adapted the idea of the script from Sin Lan's Christmas book, but then decided that it was too Christian, plus the transition from one scene to another was just too abrupt and awkward. So he adapted some stuff from his NOC script (sis said so wahaha) and adjusted here and there. He also added the narrating part from "A Child is Born" by Johnny Mathis.

So Shaun and sis went to church with the other actors to practice cuz they hadn't even finished the scenes yet. It was then that sis messaged me with some urgent messages about the play and called me to tell me to inform the choir members that we wouldn't have time to go back and bathe etc (practice at 4pm) and to bring their clothes and other essentials since there were major changes to the script.

I called Livia and Qi to tell them. Ah Zheng picked up the phone when I called the house, and he went to wake Qi up (alw seems to be sleeping... like a cat! Wow maybe that's why she always meows! ...What's with the woofs then?). Of course Qi couldn't wake up and so I heard him scolding her wahaha (wanted to laugh but I thought someone might hear me ahem), and when she finally came to the phone, her replies consisted of virtually only "uh". I think that's how it's spelled anyway. Basically, she sounded like she would go back to sleep and forget everything I told her. And since sis emphasized that the 4pm practice was crucial, with a capital C etc., a terrifying thought passed through my mind for an instant. No, not a thought. More of knowledge.

Sis would kill me if Qi forgot.

As any sensible scared-out-of-her-mind person would do, I messaged Zheng and told him what I told Qi. His reply was:
Oh. Ok. Do you want me to tell Ah Qi ar?
Doink. Did Qi really go back to sleep and not tell him about it? It's not like anything really bad would happen if they didn't bring their baju there right? It's just that they'd have to go home and they'd be late for the event and sis would freak out only mah. Err. Ya. Hmm. Anyway, I told him that I'd told her, so that was the end of it.

Marcus also called and told me that he was the songleader. And then he told me the songs some time later. Some last-minute-ness on the delegating by the coordinator, according to Marc.

23 December 2006, 3.00 pm

I had a look at the new script sis brought back. Lots of narration in between, and there were some parts that the choir was supposed to recite. They'd really need to practice. There was simply no time to memorize the thing. I was thinking: Wah so they hold the book and sing? So ugly...

Next, I had the inkling that Mark would want me to play some background music during the narrations. He'd already asked me to think of some Christmas songs to play. Jeez... I only play. I don't think of what to play. That's always been my problem. What I did for the last play was the same also. I just played what Mark and sis told me to play. I didn't have to think of what to play cuz they'd decide for me. I got worried about this. Sis comforted me with:
Just ignore him la.
Oh ok. That's easy.

Sis asked if I wanted to go practice with Marc at 3.30 pm for the singspiration. I said:
That means I'll have to go...
We glanced at the clock. 3pm. Our house is 30-45 min away from church. Sis:
Err... now.
Hmm. So tak jadi la.

23 December 2006, 4.00 pm - Pre-Practice

Mark assigned the readings pretty quickly, and soon everyone had their parts marked out on the booklet he'd printed out for everyone. Very nice booklet.

Some things happened on the way to church and in church la. Stuff like:
  • Thought of the mics on the way to church. Thought they might be with Unc Anthony cuz he brought lots of stuff back from the Children's Hour Christmas Party the night before. WRONG! What about Unc Rod? Party was at his place anyway. WRONG! Finally found out that they were with Unc Tony. But he lives so far away... so had to ask him to come before 7.30pm with the mics. In the meantime, sis asked Mark to drop by Unc Rod's house to pick up the 2 mics that belonged to him first.
  • Lin (Alto) had to go back to SUFES to give her supervisor the key
  • Geng Yi & Kevin (Bass, Bass) messaged and said they'd be late cuz cleaning up Ju's place
  • Zheng & Derk (Lights) suddenly disappeared when practice was about to start. Yik How had to take over temporarily. Switched back to Derk when he came back.
  • Ju & Unc Anthony (Alto, Tenor) didn't appear until 3/5 thru practice cuz of the flood at his house
  • Auntie Tina (Alto) quit the choir cuz of the flood at her house
  • Mark (Director) was late for practice cuz of the booklets weren't done yet
  • The projector was missing cuz Unc Tony took it home with him after using it at Unc Rod's place
  • There weren't enough sockets to plug the church mics in
  • No tinsel (vitally needed for the play) - Zheng had to go buy
  • Lights for the choir weren't working out, so had to take out the 2 pendaflour lights so that we could turn on the set and have only 1 light on the choir
  • Had to write chords for the musicians at the last minute cuz didn't know Marc wanted the full band
...and all sorts of other things. As sis put it: Everything and anything that could go wrong, went wrong.

We had a group prayer before practice, and sis cried while praying. It all seems so mild now, but at that point, I really felt that everything was just so messed up, and I didn't really believe that we could pull it off. I really hate doing things like this. I mean, it's not that I'm not a last-minute person la, but this was kinda too last-minute. And I knew that every single one of the people gathered at the piano to pray, including me, had done something last-minute. I couldn't help but wonder which person's last-minute job would cost the success of the play. If it was me, then I'd feel horrible. That's when it became really obvious that it really wasn't the time to point fingers at other people's mistakes, and that the only way the event would work out was if God Himself made it work out. Would God choose to bless us with a smooth, non-cacat event? Or with a lesson that leaving Him out of His own work will never work out?

I don't know what the rest were thinking, but I think Mark and sis and I were thinking the same thing: We can only do our best now. The rest is up to Him.

23 December 2006, 4.00 pm - Practice

As expected (and as feared), Mark wanted me to play something during the narration. He planned the thing with me until Scene 2. Then we had to start practice, so he told me to hentam. I couldn't really hentam cuz of what I said above la. And also cuz of the complications that materialized because of the piano's muffler system.

Piano Clinic! (Copy Eyeshield haha)
A typical piano would usually have 3 pedals:
  1. Left Never really used it, and no one really told me about it, so from what I observe, I think it's just to produce a staccato effect on the keys. In short, it's the opposite of the sustain pedal. Rarely used.
  2. Centre Muffles the sound of the piano. Rarely used.
  3. Right Sustains the sound of the keys. Always used.
Problem is, the church piano's muffle pedal is an odd one. It wouldn't muffle the sound even if you step on it with a 1 ton shoe. The only way to muffle is to put down the muffler bar inside the piano (on top of the hammer butts). The bar has 2 pieces of cloth hanging below it that will rest on the hb and muffle the sound by being a barrier between the hb and the strings that they hit. (The piano works based on the hitting of hb against the strings; therefore it's considered both a percussion and string instrument)

Mark said the music was too loud during the sketch (they weren't using mics). I tried touching the keys lightly, but it was still too loud. So I had to use the muffler bar. But during the singing and narration, I had to lift it up again. And since I have short arms -_-|||, I had to stand up every time I wanted to lift the bar. If it were only that, it would still be fine. But in between, I also had to flip the pages of the booklet. And since every section needed a different background song, I needed time to scan through the next section before playing so that I wouldn't play the wrong stuff. All different keys somemore! At that point, I also hadn't decided what song to play yet, so I had to think and play and flip and lift at the same time. It was really a sit-stand-flip-play-think time for me. I kept making mistakes like playing the wrong song, playing in the wrong key, and not playing when I was supposed to play.


A pianist is useless when she can't play.

23 December 2006, 7.15 - 7.40 pm

Nobody was really there yet, so I took this time hastily down less than half of my dinner and change. I also went scouting for someone to help me with the piano. Criteria:
  1. Long arms
  2. Alert, sensible, and with at least a little bit of music sense... if don't have then nvm la...
  3. Been to most of the practices, especially the last one
Sin Lan would usually be my first choice, but she was one of the actors. Yen Mei was singing. Shaun and Sharma were acting. Marcus was singing. Besides, he can be pretty blur at times. Haha. Not saying that I'm not blur kkkkk. Sis was the conducter. Derk was with the lights. Adrian was the powerpoint person. Lin was also singing (She has short arms anyway muahaha)! I can't ask Seok Ling!!!!

I scouted and hunted, and finally I decided that the only person left was Ah Zheng. But wasn't he supposed to do the lights or something? Eh? Turned out he was totally free. So he ended up as my crucial assistant.

23 December 2006, 8.00 pm - Jeng Jeng Jeng!

I took the games time to outline and highlight what I was supposed to play. I thanked God for the games time when I could finally cool my head and do some planning. To my horror, Jess only planned one game, and so one game it was. And that game was a pretty short one. Thankfully, I finished the thing. Well, sort of. It was so cakar ayam I was afraid I wouldn't be able to read it during the play.

After the games, it was immediately our turn. And we were all, wut... so fast... cannot...
Something like that la. I was like that anyway. But it didn't feel as awful as before la. Zheng came over and said:
Time for some page-flipping action.
Dot dot dot.

After Scene 1, Zheng relaxed and said: Good, good. It's very good.

Really? I felt I'd started too fast for the first 2 songs. No time to dwell on that though. I only had a brief 15 seconds a capella narration part to prepare myself for the next scene.

Anyway, things went as planned, and maybe better than planned.

The choir sang in tune! And so berperasaan! Marcus usually looks so distracted when he sings, but when it was time for his solo, he was so ber-feel. Sis said so la. I was too busy looking at the next section to look at the choir. One of the only times I really looked at what the choir was doing was when Unc Anthony sang his solo. Cuz I needed to follow his timing and it was a pretty slow and out-of-time kind of rendition, so I had to read his lips. Wahhhhhh so emo man! Esp the "a baby born one blessed nightttttttttttttttttttt" part wahahahahhahahahahaha.

Oh ya. When Mark assigned some sentences to Qi, she said it so mati-ly and so tak-emo-ly. But sis told him to give it to her anyway cuz she was doing it on purpose.

Wah. She actually said it properly. Except for some parts where she was nervous la.
Computer stuff will be old even before you get it out of the box
Wahahahahha! And she smiled! She smiled!!!! I saw her million-dollar smile when they were singing "My Christmas Gift" on the "stage". I was playing, but I turned and told Zheng: Qi's smiling! Qi's smiling!
He looked startled, then immediately took out his handphone and snapped that very rare picture of Qi with the ends of her mouth curved up haha. Oh, and she swayed properly too.

Yen Mei also did very well with her solo, and the Geng Yi-Yen Mei-Kevin part went well. Actually only Yen Mei and Geng Yi doing the duet, but Geng Yi can't sing in tune without someone there to guide him (Yen was doing the 2nd voice), so Kevin (standing beside him mah) had to sing the song into his ear while GY sang his part. Hence the trio.

The sketch was really hilarious. Jeremy was especially expressive. He always practices sambil-lewa-ly, but when the real thing comes, he pours his heart and soul into it. Shaun played the dumb one at first, always asking what this was for and what that was for. But he developed into a more intelligent being haha. After that he was the one who found this and found that in the ornament box. Sharma and Sin Lan did their parts very well, and everyone's voice rang loud and clear! The audience laughed most of the time during the sketch ^^ I laughed pretty much too la haha.

23 December 2006, 8.00 pm - Post-Musical

What made me really happy that day was the fact that Seok Ling (best friend) kept her promise and came for the event. At 7.40 pm somemore! Late la, but not technically cuz everyone else came around that time also. In fact, she was one of the earliest. Hmm.

Kathy (former classmate) and Yong Qiang (fencing club prez) also came. Was really surprised to see those two. Adrian invited them both. I felt a little ashamed that I didn't invite Kathy myself. After all, we were from the same kindergarten, the same secondary school class, and for 1 month, from the same F6 bio class. I guess it was cuz I'd invited her before in the past, and she'd always not turn up, except for once in F1/F2, when she came for Sports Day or something. I shouldn't have given up like that. That day, I realized that I'd given up on virtually all my friends, except Seok Ling, and that mum was right when she said I'm always sticking to my old friends. I should be going out into the field to be a fisher of men, but what am I doing picking on the same fish-man (hmm) all the time?

I'm glad Adrian invited them, cuz I really got closer to them that night. I've never really said anything important to Kathy, except a few polite remarks and expressions. Although I worked with Yong Qiang for Hari Ko-ku (our clubs merged), I didn't talk to him after that, and I could barely bring myself to give him a polite smile or wave when I saw him. He's a very nice person, and I wonder how I could've thought of him as a scary (he's the fencing club prez! Tikam people wan noe) and unapproachable person. He's actually quite funny haha.

I always thought that I can't mix with people and the only close friends I'll ever have is Seok Ling, and some of MGC people. But sitting around the table together like that helped me see that I can make friends, and I can make close friends, if I just overcome my shyness and negative perception of people.

In Conclusion (Finally, right? Haha)

All in all, I'd say that God chose to bless us with both a smooth event, and a well-needed lesson about how we are supposed to live for God as His chosen people.

We are citizens of heaven and ambassadors for Christ. Live with that dignity.


*Bom-cha-cha is mostly MGC pianists' playing style which I think no other church's pianist use cuz I've never seen anyone use it. Are we simply using a unique style or we just outdated? Hmm.
*Staccato is a jumpy effect

Saturday, 23 December 2006

Look at Ken

He's sleeping so soundly. Not a care in the world on the little face.

Isn't it odd how we, grown people can go to sleep and still look like we're burdened with a great load of care?
Isn't it odd how we've lost the ability to really fall asleep?

Why is it that the little ones seem to be so much happier, and so much more free?
Why is it that we look at their "troubles" and "cares" and say: "What do they know?"
Why is it that we seem to have bigger "troubles" and "cares"?

Is it a rule that as we grow bigger, our problems do the same?
Is it real? Or is it just psychological?
We think that children were never made to shoulder cares and problems.
It is when we look at children who are pushed by their parents to excel that we say "That shouldn't be"
It is when we look at standard 1 kids who go for tuitions that we say "They're too young for tuition la"

Back to the matter at hand... Is it the result of a chain reaction?

People think that as we grow bigger, we should do bigger things, take on heavier responsibilities and produce greater results. Consequently, we strive to do better, to produce the desired results. What happens is we take on those burdens just because people expect us to.

Is the question really whether children should be carrying burdens?
Or is it whether we should be carrying so much at all?

Is the size of our problems really what differentiates us from children?

Is that why Jesus said in Matthew 18:3 ~
Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
We usually take it to mean that we must be humble and teachable, devoid of our own selfish interests, but couldn't Jesus have meant something else as well?

Remember what He said in Matthew 6:34 ~
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
How strange... Most of what I remember now, as a student and as a Christian and as a person, stems from what I learned as a child.
Can it be that we actually learn much more as children than as "big people"?

How is it that I could quote the Little Mermaid's lines perfectly before she even spoke them, whereas I can't even properly quote a single line from the tv ads that I see everyday?

And so strange how sometimes we get the feeling that we learn more from children than they do from us.

Is that why we're born again as spiritual babies instead of shooting straight to "mature" Christians?
After all, most of us are already grown people. We've got lots of experiences under our belt, haven't we?

Is it because God knows that we learn more as children than we ever will as adults?

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

"The One" Tag

This is Eugin's tag. I refuse to use the original title of the tag, My Perfect Lover. Firstly, as Eugin rightly said, there is no such thing as the perfect lover. Secondly, the word "lover" in Middle English means someone you have illicit love with. Thirdly, I'm not looking. The word "my" makes me sound a little desperate and romantic. I am not a romantic. I'm just a sentimental person with a soft heart *cough*. And I am most definitely not desperate. So there!

Anyway, I'm supposed to list down 8 points about "The One". Oh, I'm supposed to state the gender first. Of course male la.

  1. Someone who can properly be the head of the family and guide me whenever I'm confused in my spiritual walk. A devoted Christian, to be precise.
  2. Someone who is not a hopeless romantic (because then he'll expect me to do something hopelessly romantic for him, which I can't, because I'm not a hopeless romantic).
  3. Someone who can correct me without sounding condescending or insulting me.
  4. Someone who can tame my argumentative nature by simply being so peaceful that I don't want to be so argumentative, NOT someone who gives in to my every complaint and argument just because he doesn't want to upset me.
  5. Someone who lets me know when he's hurt by the things I say and do without being pitiful.
  6. Someone who knows that he doesn't need to do big things to make me happy because he knows that little things like computer mouse boxes make my day.
  7. Someone who lets me know what he likes and dislikes simply because he knows it means a lot to me.
  8. Someone who replies my sms-es and at least gives me a miss call when it's his turn to end an sms exchange in which the need to sms just to say "ok" or "yes" is unnecessary.

"The Fours" Tag

Pei Ling's tag.

Four things not many people know about me...

  • I'm a sentimental person. Really la. What's with that skeptical look?? Contrary to popular belief, I'm the one who keeps all your birthday cards and sis is the one who chucks them all away as rubbish.
  • I get drunk easily. And I mean easily. My cheeks get really red and if I'm playing the piano, I play nonsense. I get drunk after 10pm when I'm out of the house or doing an assignment in the house. For the record, I don't take alcohol. This drunken phenomenon is usually triggered by a bite of cheese-cake or a sip of plain water. Geez... I wonder what'll happen if I actually drink more than a sip of wine on Sunday...
  • I can't tell the difference between sweet and sour stuff.
  • I EAT SAMBAL! I do! I do!
Four movies I could watch over and over...
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Lion King
  • Swan Princess. I love Disney movies. Does anyone else have the desire to state the obvious?
Four places I've lived...
  • Old house in Taman Asean
  • Current house in Bukit Katil
  • In the toilet, probably. Once I was in there so long sis thought I'd died in there.
  • I dunno... how do you define "lived"? All living organisms need to eat, breathe, and sleep right? I eat, breathe and sleep in the car. Does that count?
Four TV shows I love(d) to watch...
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway?
  • St...ree...t
  • He-Man. Haha. Seriously. I loved He-Man. He looks silly now, though. Hence the (d) after love, I suppose.
Four places I've been on vacation...
  • Kevin and Mel's house in Johor! Loved it!
  • Ah Mah's house! Loved the time we rolled the mattress up and crawled through it pretending to be explorers trapped in a cave. We turned off the lights and it was veryyy dark. Wonder if hell's like that...
  • China. Didn't understand what the tour guide was saying. Loved the hotel bathrooms though.
  • See Kheng and See Han's house in Singapore. Wish I could remember more about the house than the computer though.
Four of my favourite foods...
  • Taman Asean wan tan mee
  • Fried rice
  • Chicken cooked in black gravy
Four places I would rather be...
  • Heaven
  • I love Malaysia. I love Malacca. There's no place I'd rather be. Other than the one above.
Four favourite songs (this hour)...
  • I Don't Know About Tomorrow
  • Not That Far From Bethlehem - Point of Grace
  • Days of Elijah
  • Part of Your World - The Little Mermaid
Four people I tag...
  • I refuse to tag anyone. Because I'm a nice person. Muahaha.

Monday, 4 December 2006

Briefly, I Speak

Yen Mei has the photos on her blog, so I'll wait till later to write about it. So many surprises these days. So tired haha. But fun la. Especially since I get to drive!

Anyway, I finally understand what a tag is, or more precisely, what it means to be tagged. Dumb dumb hor. I really didn't get it when Pei Ling said she tagged me and so I must do the tag. I was like, har? What's a tag? Do what?

Then ~ a few days ago, Eugin tagged me. THEN I realized what a tag is. Hmm. Now that I know, I see that it's actually not a very good thing to be tagged ^^; Anyhoo, I'll do Pei Ling's first, for the sake of fairness (too odd to use the word "justice").

Before that, I went through Ling's old blog site, and I clicked on the people links there. I clicked "Andrew", and I read his funny blog.

I'm gonna quit blogging. I'm not made, correction not trained to be a blogger nor do I have the vast experience to spice up this space. Pro blogging is just so, out of my league. Looking at a different perspective, blogging, for normal people, may give reasons like "to update my friends". What "friends"? Why not just call them out and catch up? Friends who read and just shrug it off. Haha. Other lala-fied bloggers, most people have no idea what they're yapping about. Posting "fill in questionaires 2000", such lame-ness I see in them.

Who actually reads them anyway?

However, blogs with rich content and stuff. I stress on rich content. By all means, continue your wonderful work. It's interesting. Might get to learn a thing or two. Might I add blogs with passion and interest, great photo(graph/shop) skills. People who love what they do. Those are good stuff. Not blogs who complain about things. That's like what I'm doing now, cursing you average bloggers. Haha. No offense intended (or do I)

Good night people. Gun me down. I'm living in a hut near you. Rawr. You'll never hear from me anymore.

or I could start posting really good materials. heh, just a thought

The quote link on my browser is gone cuz of the stuff Blogspot did the other day, and I'm too lazy to clear my browser cache again, so I'll just do some lazy stuff with the quote up there. But the point is, both sis and I thought it was really an amusing post. And we noticed he had many months' archives already, so we went, wut... now only decide not to blog sumore?? Haha.

It's 12.09 am already. I'm supposed to go swimming with sis at 8am tomorrow and then go to SUFES to practice the christmas songs with Lin at 3pm. Haiz. Long day. Not much time to do my math. Not that I was overly eager to do math la.

So I promise I'll do the tags sometime soon, and also post about Ju's birthday surprise. Kinda going through writer's block nowadays. Maybe I'm using too much brainpower on playing the piano for the choir. Haiz. Stressful la.

Talk later. Buhbye ~

Saturday, 2 December 2006

Ju's Birthday Surprise

Yesterday, um, today, we went to Ju's house to surprise her. I'll update later cuz now I've got to learn up a new song in time to teach Marcus later. But all I've got to say about yesterday's, um, today's, experience is...


Updates later.