Friday, May 30, 2008

Things I Saw Yesterday

While I was on my morning run yesterday, I heard a rustling in the bushes beside the trail. This is nothing strange, monkeys and lizards are constantly frolicking in the jungle. But when I looked I saw a huge ARMADILLO coming out of the jungle!

I stopped to watch as this shocking beast lumbered onto the path (he had no fear of me) and waddled away. Whew, what a hideous creature!

At least in the evening I saw something more beautiful. Rohaizad and I went to the show The Architecture of Silence at The Esplanade.

This was a joint production of the Slovene National Theatres Opera & Ballet and the Singapore Festival Orchestra. I really loved the music (Mozart and Preisner's Requiems) with live orchestra and chorus along with dancers. I don't know much about dance, but the images were arresting. It is rare to see such extreme creativity in Singapore which made it all the more exciting.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Best Breakfast in the UNIVERSE!!!

Roti Prata with egg and a mug of milk tea.

Mmm, mmm, MMM!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My Eye

Very close up.

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Quick Look Back

Last summer I taught music at the Kosrae campus of the College of Micronesia.

In this busy, noisy city I am thinking back of the hours reading books on the shore, bicycling beneath the palms and singing with the angels themselves.

I didn't post any photos last summer, so here are a few snapshots...

While climbing Mount Ohma I snapped some photos of Lelu.

Looking the other direction from Mount Ohma, you can see the village of Utwe. Once I was in a boat going on a snorkeling expedition and got caught in a huge storm near Utwe. Scary stuff.

Bully Hayes' pirate ship sank during a storm in this bay (it's still there) and legend has it that he took his treasure ashore and buried it. No one has been able to find it yet; but if you ask me, being on Kosrae is treasure enough.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


While strolling through the park this morning with Rohaizad, I clicked some bug photos. Here's a dragonfly.

Same bug, different angle.

A grasshopper.

Same grasshopper, closer up. Hey, he did a little poop!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Hiking at Labrador Nature Reserve

I have a list of things I still want to do before I leave Singapore in July. One thing was to go hiking at Labrador Nature Reserve. So this morning Armando and I went there at 7:30 ... yawn!

It's not a very big place, but it has some nice views of the ocean and some pretty cool history and nature trails. The playground has a big wooden maze and this is a picture of me inside of it. I eventually found my way out.

The park is filled with battlements that the British built, such as this one upon which I am perched.

News flash: If the door has a sign that says "Secret Tunnel", it is no longer a secret.

I couldn't find out why this obelisk existed, but being a dutiful tourist, I had Armando take my photo beside it.

More Labrador Pictures

The entrance to the old Pasir Panjang Fort which was built in 1878 by the British.

I took this picture looking through the World War II cannon, and look, my reflection showed up! These guns guarded the Singapore harbor before the Second World War, making Singapore safe from attack. Unfortunately, the Japanese attacked overland from Malaya, making the guns pretty useless (except for taking artsy-fartsy photos, like this).

Posing on top of some old British battlement thingy.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Signs I Saw

So cheap that they can't even afford an A!

That'll be the day when the Singapore government subsides!

I'm not even going to comment on this one, other than to say ... HOW CAN THIS EXIST!?!?!?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Singapore Debut

This morning my music had its first performance in Singapore. Well, I had some arrangements performed by the local Men's Chorus, but that was long ago.

Some shots of the performance here:

The stage was surrounded by huge jungle vines and leaves that the students had made.

Ta-dah! The final bow:

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Fallen Idol

Last night I went to the Singapore premier of the new show, P. Ramlee: The Musical at the Esplanade.

I was excited to see the life story of P. Ramlee. He was the legendary Malay film actor and director from the 1950s through the 1970s, but I especially love the songs of P. Ramlee. I am such a fan of them that I have translated several of them into English and have all the songbooks that I can find.

So I was surprised to learn from this musical what a lazy jerk he was. Sure, he made a lot of movies, but apparently he put very little struggle or work into them. He put no effort into advancing in his career, instead he waited for others to ask him to do stuff. He promised his love to his childhood sweetheart and then left her without another thought. Instead of wooing and winning over his three wives, he let himself be controlled by them and led (apparently) helplessly into all of his marriages. Then he acted heartbroken when his wives left him because of his apathy toward them. Finally, at the end of a successful career (although he did slip in popularity toward the end), he sits in his comfortable home with his devoted wife feeling sorry for himself. Pathetic!

I have to applaud this theater company for presenting a national hero is such a negative light. It seems like risky ground to walk on. But P. Ramlee's music is great enough that it trumps the many personality flaws that they demonstrated. The most exciting parts of the evening was feeling the rush of excitement in the audience when a P. Ramlee song began to play.

How Glad Am I Not to Be on Pohnpei NOW!!!

A PLANE CRASH at the POHNPEI AIRPORT!!! Thank goodness it was only the tuna plane. But still, this means that the airport is closed. I would have a huge case of island fever if this had happened while I was there.

The last time a plane crashed in Pohnpei, they had to wait for the FAA to show up and investigate before the airport could be re-opened, but when there's a plane on the runway, you can't FLY the FAA in, so they had to wait for them to arrive by boat!

Helen and I used to kayak to the ends of the runway to watch the planes land and take off. We were nearly VICTIMS!!!

Thank you to Ben, a friend of mine in Pohnpei, for sending me these photos.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Lion & the Mouse

Here comes my next musical! The Lion and the Mouse is a children's musical opening next week Tuesday, May 20 at The Substation.

I wrote five songs for this show:
"Creatures in the Jungle"
"I Am the Lion"
"The Furry, Scurry, Eeky, Squeaky, Little, Nibble, Whiny, Tiny Mouse"
"Wait and See"
"I Need You and You Need Me"
We recorded a CD, so maybe you will all get a chance to hear these songs someday.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Random Pictures

Pretty berries growing on the palm tree outside of our laundry room.

Why does this elevator door exist?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Memories of Malaysia

You know, there are a lot of things to like about Kuala Lumpur. Now that I'm back in Singapore I've been thinking of the things I miss back in Malaysia.

In Malaysia you can buy chewing gum right over the counter at the store! Wait, that's not amazing, what IS amazing is that you CAN'T purchase chewing gum in Singapore! We just went on a chewing frenzy in Kuala Lumpur! My jaw aches just thinking about it.

Malaysia was a British colony, so you can see vestiges of British-ness here and there. Many old colonial buildings are around and they still practice strange English customs, like driving on the wrong side of the street.

The Malay language has also incorporated new English words by just writing them funnEHticlee, as you can see by the work "ticket" in this photo:

Other examples are the word "taxi" which is spelled "teksi" and the word "bus" which is spelled "bas". Can you find the two examples of English words that have been Bahasa Malaysia-ed in this photo?

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Glamorous Weekend in KL, part 1

Rohaizad was invited to be a presenter at the Cameronian Arts Awards in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday night. The Cameronian Arts Awards are like the Malaysian version of the Grammy and the Tony Awards.

We flew up to KL early on Saturday morning. Then we took the high-speed train to the KL Sentral.

We ate lunch, checked into our hotel and rested for a bit. It was so nice to be in a real city with graffiti, trash, pollution, noise and pirated DVDs. Ahh...

We had an early dinner with an actress friend of Rohaizad's who offered us tickets to the sold-out performance of your Face at the Actors Studio.

After the show we hung out with Rohaizad's KL friends in Bangsar. Such an exciting group of actors, political activists and musicians! We didn't get home until early in the morning.

In the evening we put on our award ceremony duds and headed out to the big shin-dig. Here we are waiting for our limousine (the light rail).

A lovely sunset over Kuala Lumpur.

The ceremony was held at the hotel beneath the Petronas Twin Towers. Ooo la la. Rohaizad is about to enter this temple of the arts!

The Glamorous Weekend in KL, part 2

Rohaizad hit the buffet tables straight-away and with gusto!

We spent about an hour or so rubbing shoulders with many of the performers in Kuala Lumpur. I took photos of Rohaizad with all of them, but I have a policy of not putting people's pictures on my blog without their permission, so I can't post them. But here is Rohaizad giving a TV interview. I can post this, since it was broadcast on television anyways.

The evening began with a performance by Liza Hanin and Sean Ghazi. Sean is Malaysia's Michael Buble. Excellent!

Rohaizad presented the Theater Awards. Here he is doing his duty...

The Glamorous Weekend in KL, part 3

More pictures of Rohaizad presenting awards. His co-presenter was Pat Ibrahim.

Rohaizad hands the award to one of the winners.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Scenes from the HDBs

I went up to Ang Mo Kio for some computer repair today. While walking through the jungle of high rise HDB (Housing Development Board) blocks, I snapped some pictures.

The apartment blocks bristle with laundry poles hanging out the windows.

On the ground floor of the HDB blocks are "void decks" that are often set up as community space with chairs, ping-pong tables, child care centers, food courts, etc. I really like this little corner of one of the void decks. I sat there for a while and interacted with myself.