...putting something on YouTube, so if you are a little bit curious:
Selamat hari Merdeka to all Malaysians!
About 9 days ago, I was once again at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (DFP) to witness another show of good talent. Initially, when I bought the tickets when it was first advertised at the DFP box office about a month earlier, I knew absolutely nothing about Preservation Hall Jazz Band. All I knew was that a jazz ensemble was going to play at the DFP, considered as a slightly more premium event than the regular shows, so I thought it was worth going for. I didn't want to spend more than I had to, so I bought the RM 40 ticket, which for a person like myself is already expensive enough as it is.
They played twice, once on Saturday and once on Sunday. I bought tickets for the 8.30 p.m. concert on Sunday. I was there at about a little more past 8.10 so I waited around the enterance to the hall, as everyone else was doing. A lot of people were early, I guess that's testimony to how much they wanted to see Preservation Hall.
Band photo on the front cover of the concert programme (Note: Two were not present, person second from left & person standing third from right)
I got a little surprise when I bumped into that girl from church. I'd seen her before, said hi a couple of times and probably had a few short conversastions but I'd forgotten her name. Nonetheless, I went over to say hi and had a little chat before taking my place in the auditorium.
The RM 40 seat I got meant that I'd be somewhere towards the front on the left, but not too far away from the middle. I thought it wouldn't be the best place, but I would soon discover that it was probably one of the better spots. I just forgot that when a band is playing, its better to be somewhere towards the front, not the back.
The lights went off, with the beautiful dim of the purple lights on the ceiling, then the spotlights came on, a dash of indigo and blue, as one by one each band member would walk through the stage enterance playing their instrument. They would bring us back to some very old school jazz, a vintage performance of what I would see as a work of original art, not diluted, pure.
I remember that throughout the first few numbers, I just couldn't stop smiling. It was that different kind of pump of music that would make me feel happy and just enjoy what was happening on stage. You wouldn't feel it as a formal affair, but you could just imagine yourself being at a jazz club, a festival, anywhere really. What you'd feel would be a sense of relaxation and a fair joy at the same time. Its not an experience I've had before I believe.
Intermission at the DFP at the lower foyer
Not only one member would sing but four, and it was just great to see the unique individuality of each one. One was cheeky, one was accented, one was classic and one was vintage. I'll admit though, I really liked the voice of the band leader, Mark Braud who plays the trumpet. Although of course he is not but his voice reminded me a bit of Frank Sinatra and it was definitely a pleasant sound to the ear.
Their showmanship was superb, and it wasn't just about their technical skills, but the way they would grab the attention of a crowd. There were so many times that the crowd or sections of the crowd would laugh because of the way they'd put some humour into songs, not as a parody, but something that just fit in the mood. A lot of credit has to go to that Lucien Barbain, who was just so cheeky and just really entertained. I don't think if I said that he's outspoken, that it would be a risky bet. His performance of 'Shake it and Break It', I truly enjoyed, probably one of the best of the night.
There was a 15 minute intermission and so the crowd took a little breather before going back in to continue being mesmerised by anything they were doing on stage. It was probably one of those rare times in the DFP where people would actually, cheer, laugh and clap along to the songs on show, a different feel but you would never say it was inappropriate or disrespectful to the DFP.
There were so many times after the show when I said, "I really should have predicted that," when Preservation Hall played their last number and it was none other than the one and only 'When The Saints Go Marching In'. Being a familiar song, the crowd clapped and sang along and the bad even led a human train right out onto the lower foyer of the PETRONAS Twin Towers.
They played on for a good few minutes before ending it there right next to the place where they would be signing autographs. I hadn't realised it, but after exiting the auditorium and getting down to the lower foyer to take photos of the band that was still playing, I had put myself in a good position in the line for getting autographs, and I didn't let go of that opportunity.
Preservation Hall signing autographs
I'll say that it was a pretty good night and the next day, it all seemed rather surreal as I passed by that foyer on the way to the lift lobby of the office, almost as if magic happned last night and it was now all gone. That's all right though, because I have something to remember them by.
Seven men, seven signatures
For those who didn't have a chance to go or have no idea what Preservation Hall Jazz Band is all about, I suggest you take a look at this. Cheers.
Certain conflicts in my mind have seemed to have gained ground in the battle against my personal resolve. Today, I'm going to write something about it.
I think everyone has this certain trait where we keep opinions about other people to ourselves and there are a number of reasons for it. One of them is that we know, or at least we feel that even if we tell people, nothing really good comes out of it. Another is maybe that person is relatively close to you and that putting it out for show and tell would just complicate things further. Sometimes its because that person is popular and you may fear that the consequences of speaking against outweigh the benefit of saying what you feel.
Question: Do I then encourage people to openly talk about people's faults?
Certainly not, I would not tell anybody to do something like that. However, there seems to be a problem. When we don't say things or share our innermost thoughts, they stay inside. That doesn't seem to be a problem, but the fact is that these thoughts start to expand and fill up more of our mind and heart than it should. It waits and hopes for the body to release it somewhere else. If not; in due time, that thought is going to make something explode and that is going to make a mess.
In fact many a time, it doesn't even have to 'explode' to destroy us. Even in the process of the expansion of the thought of that person you hate, it eats at you. As you begin to entertain that thought, it becomes a more frequent process and it just grabs you, making it ever so hard to let go. Anger is not easy to contain and no one needs a lesson how to unleash the wrath of their heart.
At the end of it, one of two things happen. One is that you may explode, bursting out with word and action, finally igniting the flame that you hope will engulf your target and destroy it. The other, is that you may implode, where nothing really happens to the other person but you just hurt yourself with the hate and sadness that linger within.
Here's where my story comes in. Sometime towards the middle of the year, I felt very dissapointed with quite a number of people. For me at least, it was quite disheartening and there are two things I felt, sadness and anger. I felt betrayed and this was not for the first time either. The sadness came for a while, but it was the anger, the bitterness that lingered on much more.
As I said, there were two things that could happen next, one would be to explode, the other to implode. I chose to implode because my mind told my heart, "There's no point, even if you shout and scream at them, nothing will change. What's done has been done. Just keep it to yourself"
Unfortunately, I never thought of letting go, because I felt it would've been so unfair to let it go just like that. I harboured all of the black emotion and it damaged me a fair deal. My friends noticed, they saw and did nothing. They hadn't a clue. My mind began to drift, to dream and think of ways I could hurt them, embarass them, even murder them in the worst way possible. That is how deep and dark my mind is willing to go if I force it there. However, I wouldn't find it in me to do any of those things.
Somewhere along the line, I realised that (and this is a continuous process until now) that it wasn't worth it. I only hurt myself and damaged myself the whole time. Never once did I feel satisfied with my own hatred. That's when I decided, whether I felt like it or not, to forgive. A few of these people that I hated have explained themsleves over time. Although I felt that part of their explanations were rubbish and unjustified, but when you forgive you acknowledge the weakness of the other person.
Recently the cycle began to take place again against one person, but thank God that I've been reminded that I too am a sinner and should forgive as I have been forgiven by Him. I have to admit that I've been guilty of being like the Pharisees in the bible who were so self righteous and showed no grace to those who were less than perfect. I believe this is what I'm learning, to forgive, especially when I don't feel like it.
I thought I'd like to write on something else before I get into what I mentioned in the preview; something a lot lighter.
It was a Thursday evening, and I'd just met up with my father before going back from Twin Towers. We were just about to walk out of the office lobby when suddenly, a hand comes over..
"Excuse me, do you know how to get to the top of Twin Towers?"
I turn around and I see three guys, a girl and an excitingly curious atmosphere. Four tourists faced us and they really wanted to get someplace high up in the twin towers. They'd just found out the tickets for the skybridge had just run out.
They were clever enough to ask, "Do you work here? Perhaps you could help sneak us up somewhere up there?"
Another funny question they asked, assuming they could get high up twin towers was, "Can we jump? I have a parachute."
My thoughts: *lawl*
They were pretty dissapointed to know they couldn't get up there because for most of them, it was their last day in KL, except for the girl who would leave the next day. I told them that, if they wanted to go up to the skybridge, they should queue up really early in the morning.
They'd heard about that too. In fact they told me that people said, sometimes other people queue up on one day to buy tickets for the next day! I didn't even know that happened. I do know that tickets sell out really fast. Usually around lunch time, I'll already see the sign that says something like, "NO MORE available skybridge visit tickets available for today."
They were a pretty friendly bunch of people. I guess most westerners or people that look like westerners are outgoing enough to approach people and be very nice and friendly with them. You can always tell that its different with Asians.
They asked us where Trader's Hotel was because they'd heard some good things about the rooftop bar. My father gave them some directions as how to get there since it is so so close to Suria KLCC.
The four of them were pretty grateful to have a little help from us. They even wanted us to go for drinks with them. Some of that conversation I still remember:
"Yeah, would you like to come and have drinks with us?"
Note: For those who are naive, drinks in this context don't exactly fall in the teh tarik category if you get my drift.
"Oh, I see, this man has a ring so he's married. He has to go home maybe, his wife is at home. But you! You don't have a ring. Ah, maybe you can come with us, have a drink eh."
My thoughts: *LAWL*
"Oh uh.. no, I've got work to do at home... so... yeah." (Until now, I wonder why I lied, maybe its because I was too shy to say I don't do much alcohol, and that I'm not a 'bar' person, other than the fact I had to follow my father home and he wouldn't approve anyway.)
"Oh, ok, never mind then. Thanks anyway though."
It ended there, exchanging handshakes and we left for the car park and they to Traders Hotel. I did get to ask them where they were from though.
I guess that ends my tale of three Brazillian boys and a French girl. I guess they probably ended up somewhere here:
Some may already know, I headed down with a bunch of people to El Sanctuary resort at Malacca for a three day camp, although it was more like two days for me because I took the night bus instead of the afternoon one.
Anyway, I got lost trying to find which chalet I was in. Even when I did finally find my chalet, I ended up sleeping in another one, hahahaha! If you want to know, meet me, I'll explain, haha. Fellow chalet mate Wai Nyan even called, he was probably worried I'd been abducted, hehehe.
Quite a fair bit happened over Saturday, which was the main day for the whole camp since it was a three day affair. There were a number of games, mainly outdoor. I think the one I enjoyed the most was one of the shortest, that they called the death crawl. I was supposed to be carried by Jo, who's got the same weight I do, but we failed to keep my balance when I was on his back three times. I was thinking.. "Oh no... why is this happening, I don't see this happening to anybody else, "
I wasn't very keen to be the cause of failure you see. Actually, nobody would be. Then I think Yap just suggested for me to carry him instead. Without wasting more time, we did just that, and I decided to go at a medium pace, just to make sure I didn't drop (if you drop a person, you have to start from the beginning again, the distance is about 10 metres I think, or slightly less) my partner. I just managed to grab the marker string before my partner dropped to the ground, so that was all good.
There were a number of sessions done by Ps. Victor Wong. I think two of the things that I remembered the most was the life of David, and the similarities between himself and Saul that I would've never really thought about and also about the whole topic or idea of backsliding which was pretty good.
God did show me something through that camp, I won't put it here though, but its something I'll probably share with Hearts United, so yeah, you guys from Hearts will know soon enough. It was a good time of learning, a good time of a little more fellowship with the people around, whether it be with the less or more familiar faces.