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Thursday, April 29, 2010

delay Time: One Year

All right, this is the blog entry that I put up a preview about. Check it out:

A couple of days ago, I received a phone call during my Corporate Ethics lecture. It was from an unfamiliar land line number. The number starts with '+603', definitely from KL, who could it be? I wondered for a moment if it was from one of my parent's office.


A lady replies, "Hello, is this a Christon Emang?"

"Yes, speaking."

"Hi, I'm from Siemens Malaysia.."

I was about to interrupt but I held back and let her continue.

"Actually, this is about an industrial internship. Actually my higher manager would like to conduct a telephone interview with you. You're going to undergo internship right?"

"Well, actually, I've already finished my industrial training last year already, hahaha."

Surprised, she says, "Oh really? Oh, I thought, because it says here your internship starts in 2010."

"Oh no no, I guess there must be something wrong with the dates."

"Ah, I see. Well anyway, thanks then."

The moment I heard the word Siemens Malaysia, I thought, "Oh please don't let this be about internship."

Actually, I'd wanted to have my internship at Siemens Malaysia because their office is RIDICULOUSLY close to where my mother works. Not to mention, it is much closer to home than PETRONAS Carigali's head office in PETRONAS Twin Towers.

Khye Shin had interned there, and also a famous UTP student, good looking girl charmer by the name of Dean that Khye Shin met. I heard generally good reviews about working there so I was hoping for a chance in Siemens but I never got any form of reply, until today.

This is so absurd, how could they get their information wrong? I'm positively sure all the resumes I sent out to all companies I had applied for were the same. As it is, one IT company did call me up at the right time, not ONE YEAR LATER! Sigh.

To be fair though, interning in KLCC was more advantageous to me in terms of cost, as silly as it sounds. I could find better and cheaper lunch food within walking distance of the KLCC area compared to Phileo Damansara, plus I had the chance to hang around a shopping mall during lunch hours, haha!

Still, I would have liked to join Siemens Malaysia. I guess some things aren't meant to be.

Monday, April 26, 2010

say Yes One Last Time

I receive a call from an unknown number. I pick up the phone to hear an unfamiliar voice. I know this person but I hardly talk to him at all. He asks me to join him and some others, but I have my doubts. I'm busy. I'm in my final year of studies. I have enough to worry about. Like any other person with a request, he tells me to think about it. I put down the phone.

For a moment, I am excited. I begin to recall certain memories. A single phone call makes me rethink a decision I had made long ago. Then, I rationalise to my own reality again. I don't have any ambition or purpose. The reason that for what I did before is totally missing from what I've been asked to join. I begin to think about the time I would have to put in, the sacrifices that would have to be made that I wasn't keen on doing. Still, the idea of it was still enticing.

A few days later, I receive a text message from him asking me for a firm decision on his request. I had prepared a very long and elaborate text message to explain my reason for declining his offer. I scan through the message again, making sure my reply was exact and polite. I keep looking through the unsent message over and over.

Finally, I just discard that message and reply "Yes."

That, effectively led to my participation in UTPs Euphonious 2010.

With my inclusion, the band Sour Stripes had six people, myself, Shawn, Marvin, Yap, Xuan Hui and Hafiz. I began to feel something I'd been accustomed to, but it felt different. Different people, different music was one of the reasons that led me to say yes to Shawn. It intrigued me as to what it could be like to work with different people in music. Ultimately though, the main reason I said yes was because I thought to myself, "Just one last time, its the last one you can join. It's your last chance, you won't get to do it again."

Along the way, Witton and Timmy came into the picture and a band that had some serious ambition was beginning to form. Shawn and Marvin were very clear that they wanted to enter the finals. I was indifferent about it, I just wanted to try and enjoy my music and just help Shawn out.

As practices went on, I saw that the band was very driven to do well, and that's one of the reasons I like Sour Stripes. Technically, the band was capable to do something good as well. It was something both Witton and I talked about several times. I still wished it would've been with Seven Sweet Surrender, but I have to keep myself in the present, not the past. I found myself actively involved, taking initiative on certain things. It seemed that I finally believed in this bands ability to play some good music, maybe even enough for me to have a chance to play in front of a large crowd at the Chancellor Hall.

I was a little but not totally surprised at our inclusion into Euphonious finals. I knew that we'd done well and we hadn't shown any nerves on stage even though we went on right after Salmah and the Swingers who one of the judges predicted would be an outright winner, and he was right of course.

We worked again to try and make something special. Ideas went round again trying to do something more than we did previously, and Aerosmith came into the fray. After one round of practicing I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing, we almost decided to change song. I voted to change it.

Still we stuck with it, and we went through with it. Come Friday, it was a little nervy because we hand't had the chance to really do a soundcheck as we would've liked but there wasn't much we could do about it. Backstage while Threnody was playing, we just told ourselves repeatedly just to enjoy with high fives going round.

Aurora, on an acoustic set was our first song of the night. I just let myself loose, doing what I know how to do, not holding back whatever I intended to express through the way I played. I see the cameras coming for me, I respond. I don't know if I'm on the screen or not but I just do whatever I feel an entertainer should do. Another pre-chorus comes where we attack and I jump back a bit and lean as I get into the feel of it. I take a peek at my other band members, not sure if they're as active as I am in this song, but I just go ahead.

Aurora ends, and our cover on Aerosmith begins. I make space for myself, but forget to adjust the cymbals to my preferred positions. The song begins, as the cellos play the ever familiar intro. As the song goes on, I realise the crash cymbals are too far away from me, and I played numerous misses. Mistakes creep in, and we all knew where they were but we continue anyway. Witton comes in with his solo, putting in something melodious that isn't fast but complements the feel of what we're trying to express. Hafiz gets the crowd to sing along before the band comes in again to finish what we started. The song reaches a final climax at the end, I jump and end it there.

I know personally, that's the best I've played in any performance I've done before and I'm glad I was able to do it then. Listening to the announcement of winners was nerving. I was hoping that we'd be at least 5th. Bands eligible for 1st, 2nd and 3rd are eliminated one by one. I went ecstatic when they announced 3rd place because we knew we were either first or second. Salmah and Swingers got first, deservedly so. They looked so prepared in every aspect of their show and I enjoyed it. Its not something I'm jealous of because in music, you should be able to appreciate what others can make as well. That's the reason I went to shake hands with Seven Sticks before Sour Stripes went to perform and congratulating the people I met from Stereopop for a good show.

Over supper, we're just a bunch of happy people who are very satisfied with what we've been able to achieve. We played some nice music, enjoyed ourselves and were even rewarded for it in prizes and generous complements from several people. I'm a very grateful man. Thank you God. =)

Friday, April 16, 2010

last One Picked

I remembered searching my house because I wanted to listen to one of my favourite pastimes. I couldn't find it and accepted the probable truth that I'd lost it somewhere, especially since I hadn't been keeping track of it for quite a while. Sigh.

Just a few months down the road, it was all forgotten. I was listening to other things and I'd never given thought to that album. Anyhow, I was attending my church prayer meeting one night. Then Chee Lim took something out of his bag that was very familiar. I thought, "Hey, that's my CD!"

He handed the album over to me, and said that'd been with him for quite a while now. I forgot how it got around to him but still, I was pleased to have found a long lost companion.

Until today, I still remember my first encounter with them. I was probably about 12 or 13 years old, walking around the music section of MPH bookstore in MidValley Megamall. I was browsing through some of the albums on display and I caught hold of a band name that ended with [k].

It seemed pretty curious, so I took a closer look at it:

It hadn't the brightest of colours, neither was it the most attractive album visually, but the name sounded catchy. Superchic[k]. In my mind, the name suggested it was some kind of pop rock band. I took the album over to the listening counter and gave it a try.

Being a person that likes happy things, I enjoyed the catch pop tunes and electric guitar riffs going on in there. A girl vocalist in a band was something I hadn't heard of at the time, and I thought it was pretty novel. I bought the album there and then. That's the first ever music album I remember buying.

Two girls, one lead vocalist, and another playing rhythm guitar.

Like any music I enjoyed, the CD would loop countlessly on the home stereo over and over. A little more research into the band on the internet made for an interesting story. It got me to appreciate the band for the reason they were playing music.

I've told a fellow band mate in Sour Stripes who asked me about the reason I like Switchfoot so much, it's the same reason I love Superchic[k] as well. They go out there, creating music with the purpose to inspire life, to bring people forward from the place they're in, to uplift and not to drown in sorrow. I've always believed that's what music is for.

Out of all the music albums I've bought, I have more Superchic[k] CDs than I do of any other artist. Buying music is rather rare for me, since its so expensive. Still, I thought it was worth it, somehow I believed in the potential of their music. The subsequent releases after the album I first bought showed hints of greater things, but I was always left a little disappointed because I always felt they could be a lot better than that.

Then, they came out with the album Rock What You Got, which really got me going and I felt, "Finally, they're getting there!". That album got them nominated at the Grammy's, only losing out to Toby Mac, what an achievement.

That was in 2009 if I'm not mistaken. Who would've thought that seven years before, Superchic[k] would expect to be a Grammy nominee? Strangely as a fan, I don't feel happy for them as much as I am proud of them. Its kind of like watching your favourite indie band rise to the point where you feel they're truly being recognised for their talent after so many years.

Once I'd gotten back the album from Chee Lim, I listened to it again, reminiscing over one of the first few albums I enjoyed. That got me searching for them online again, and I found out that they were just about to release their new remix album (some are actual remixes, some are redone tracks from previous albums + a few new songs).


It's a good production, trust me. Take a listen. =)

Monday, April 05, 2010

first And Last

The only times where I've used that phrase in my life was when I went to a bad place to eat for the first time. I'm sure you're familiar with the statement, "That's the first and the last time I'm going there."

All this time, I've only ever heard or used that phrase in a negative sort of way. That's all changed however, because of something that happened a couple of days ago.

My band played at Euphonious on Saturday night, and the results were announced the next day. What I found out then was that the band I'm in, Sour Stripes has passed the preliminary round and will be playing in the finals at Chancellor Hall! Initially, I wasn't too sure of our chances although I felt that we did play some good music out there, comparatively.

The official results released on the Euphonious 2010 blog.

I've always wanted to perform at Chancellor Hall, and I'm very thankful that that Sour Stripes has handed me the opportunity to do just that. This is the last Euphonious I'm able to join, and I've already participated in every single one that I could have. It feels very nice to end my Euphonious efforts over the last three years this way, with a personal farewell performance from my perspective.

This should be the first and last time I'll ever perform at Chancellor Hall. It wasn't a dream of mine, but it certainly was one of the things I've wanted to do during my time in UTP. I'm looking forward to 23rd April.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

the Girl On Guitar

Last night, I attended the Motorola Charity Night in UTP organised by Child-Provision. The event promised a night of entertainment, with a hundred percent of the proceeds going straight to the benefiting charities selected. The event was aimed at being a pretty big one as it was held at the Chancellor Hall, where all the large events in UTP happen such as convocation and the finals of the battle of the bands competition, Euphonious.

The largely promoted part of the event were the performance of three local artists, which to me was quite impressive for a UTP event, with both Vic and Daniel from Malaysian Idol coming over, not to mention the very sweet and soothing Liyana Fizi.

However, when I went, I decided to sit upstairs near the stair exit. I wanted to see how well the event would go, if it would really merit me staying for the whole thing. I actually wanted to leave a little early because I would have band practice later in the morning. I needed rest.

I actually went alone, using the ticket Mei Fang passed to me, since she wasn't able to attend. Still, when I got there, I bumped into a couple of friends, so I decided to sit with Jenny and Lee See on the upper deck.

A lot of performances went on, and I was especially happy to see some of the disabled people perform during the night. I have to agree that the best charities are the ones that let the people get involved and not just treat them as if they are totally helpless. It lets them know that they can contribute and so I was certainly soothing to see people on wheelchairs play the harmonica or do a simple dance to the tune of YMCA (the only bad thing about that is that YMCA reminds of the Village People, lolololol).

There was a magician act as well, seemed a professional one too. His performance was quite long, lasting perhaps a good solid 15-20 minutes or so. Many tricks of his were quite impressive, many of which didn't seem simple to do at all. Pulling out five gift boxes out of a paper bag that should only hold about three was pretty impressive. I'm sure the kids that were there loved it, and the magician's interaction with the crowd was good as well, keeping the fun and friendly atmosphere.

Also, there was a short sharing session by two parents of a disabled child. I can't quite remember what the condition was, but I think it had something to do with liquid in the child's brain or something like that, and the doctors said that the child's motor skills would only reach about 20-30 percent and the child was still just a baby. They shared their heart and it really does reminded me how fortunate I am to be in good health.

After a few more items, the first feature performer came out, Vic. You could almost sense the 'Chinese pop' feel of the concert when all the girls started screaming. I'll admit, he's a decent performer, and it was nice to hear him sing. It was quite funny though when he sand Bad Romance by Lady Gaga. Still, it was a fine all round performance from him, and it was nice for him to acknowledge the event and encourage people to be charitable even if I wouldn't know if that was just an act or not.

Still, I wasn't hung up on that however, because this was the person I'd been waiting for the whole night:

Liyana Fizi with her Martin & Co. guitar came onto the stage together with her accompanyist. To be honest, what attracted me to this event was her, so I was very happy to see her play. When she sang, you could just feel the serenity and of her voice. Anyone who was there when she was performing would have surely felt that her voice was very sweet and gentle, very heartwarming. Her songs are quite mellow, so not necessarily everyone would have enjoyed it, but I know that I did.

After, her performance, I started to walk back to my room, deciding that was enough for the night and that I should get some rest before going for band practice at 3.00 a.m. in the morning. On the way back, I remembered something, I recalled that I'd read online somewhere about a girl who'd brought her guitar for Switchfoot to sign at a concert.

That's when I thought to myself, "Why not?". The dillemma was whether to let her sign my guitar or my guitar case. In the end I decided on the guitar case, because my Taylor is just too personal for me for someone to sign it. When someone signs your instrument, it doesn't really feel like it's totally yours anymore. So, yes, I actually walked all the way back to my room, climbed up the stairs to my room to get my guitar, grab some liquid paper and walk all the way back to Chancellor's Hall to get her autograph on my guitar.

When it got to my turn in the queue to meet her, she was definitely stunned to see me put a guitar case on the table, when I guess most people were using the cards on hand. You could definitely see the surprised look in her face, and it was nice for her to stand up and shake my hand and say, "It's nice to meet you."

This is what her signature looks like:

The only regret I have is that I wished she could have signed it even larger, at least two to three times bigger. I actually stayed around until after the autograph session to see if I could catch Liyana again, perhaps talk to her for a minute or two and get her to put a BIGGER signature on another part of my guitar case. Unfortunately, that didn't happen as Child-Pro ended the session and accompanied her out. Still, it's nice to meet people like Liyana. She seems gentle and polite. According to Felix, most professional Malaysian musicians he's met are like that, nice people, hehe.

I just wish, I'd be able to see her play live once with......

John Mayer. =)

Friday, April 02, 2010

ask Me

I saw Witton putting a link up on his GoogleTalk display message, which is rather rare. I decided to click on the link and I was pulled to a very simple website, which to me makes a lot more sense than something like twitter.

It brought me to Witton's profile page on www. formspring.me. It's a very simple website, comparable to those like twitter. The function is entirely different though. Instead of typing in what's happening to you at the very moment, you answer random questions that are asked to you by the community. You don't have to have a formspring account to ask a question (depending if the person being asked allows anonymous questions).

I personally think it's a pretty interesting way to get to know someone other than figuring them out on facebook. It's a nice and simple method for you to see how your acquaintances respond to questions or for you to answer questions that people wouldn't usually ask you over a lunchtime conversation.

I've made my account:


So if you have anything to ask me about, just ask away! I can't promise I'll give a great answer for every question. Like everyone else, there's information that we need to keep to ourselves sometimes. Still, don't hesitate to ask, it won't hurt you to. =)

So, once you're done reading, click HERE.