Monday, 31 December 2007

O Christmas Tree* - Johnny Cash

I've always had a Christmas tree as far as i can remember. And i've always loved it. Every year as a child i'd look forward to putting up the tree. Without fail, every year me dad would buy new ornaments for the tree. So much so that our tree was just chock-full of ornaments!!!! Some branches also began to give way - partly due to its age (yes, we in M'sia have fake trees which we reuse year after year). But that never stopped me dad from buying new ornaments every year.

As i think back of our old tree groaning under the weight of all the ornaments, i find a wonderful picture of me dad - who gave me something special in me childhood days, and who's love is best depicted by how much he gave and he gave, and he never stopped loving right till the end. In the same way, it reminds me of my heavenly Father who loved us so much that he gave us Jesus.

As i see Christmas trees this year, i see love. I see Jesus. That's the real meaning of Christmas!

p/s - check out me Christmas Tree list here.

*Taken from his album, Country Christmas which was released around 3 years after his death.

Last Christmas* - Wham!

Prologue: OK - better post up m X'mas posts before the year rings in!!!! Dun forget to check out me Christmas Countdown post in me other blog here.

Christmas came and went. It was wonderful, praise God! But not as good as the year before. Dun get me wrong - i dun wanna sound ungrateful but i still can't get over how wonderful last year's Christmas was!!!

I couldn't help but reminisce about wat happened last x'mas - and why it was so special, and will always be the most special one for me.

Back then, just before the x'mas holidays started, i was working at the cafe on campus. This meant that i had my fill - and more - of good old x'mas meals! Yup, i had so much turkey that i got sick of it!!!! The weather then was pretty mild and i used to sit out in the open air enjoying the cold crisp wind, eating me turkey and watching life go by on Square 3.

But no, that's not why x'mas was so special then.

A most memorable event was the Carols on the Square organised by the Christian groups on campus. It was a great time. Everyone loves singing carols!!! And it was my first experience caroling in winter! I had both me hands in me pockets and got someone else to share the carol sheet with me. It ended with some hot snacks - drinks and meat pies!

But no, that's not why x'mas was so special last year.

I had to work on x'mas eve - all the way till x'mas day! But i din really mind. Most of me mates werer back in their home countries. I kinda like going in to town and walking along the streets all decked up with x'mas decos, hearing carols being played, seeing people enjoying the holidays and doing their shopping. Come 12 midnite, it was a most diffrent experience for me too. The restaurant was closed oredi and the cooks prepared a lavish x'mas dinner for us staff - all chinese people. So when the clocks struck 12, we were wishing each other - in Cantonese! "Ah Man, sing tan fai lok!" :-) We had a nice time!

But nope. That too is not the reason why it was so good.

Had a very British x'mas morn too. Went to church for the service and then later was invited by Marcus for an x'mas lunch. Marcus is a brilliant host, as usual. But it was something else that took place during lunch - even he did not know about it. I had a call from back home. And i received the best news ever!!! I just starting shedding tears of joy! It was the best x'mas gift EVER!!!! I remember later that day i was busy texting me mates about the wonderful news and how they all shared with my joy!

And that's why i'll always remember last Christmas.

*The biggest selling single in UK chart history not to hit #1. It peaked at #2 in the Christmas season in 1984. #1 was taken by "Do they know it's Christmas?"

Drive you home* - Garbage

Jamie: It's my favorite time of day, driving you.
Aurelia: [in Portuguese] It's the saddest part of my day, leaving you.

*Taken from their 3rd album, Beautiful Garbage, i only just heard this song - and am liking it a lot!

Call me irresponsible* - Michael Bublé

Moi: So you finally went out wif her...

I was itching for all the juicy details

Me mate: Yeah (nonchalantly)... No biggie.

Moi: C'mon. Spill! Every single detail!!! Muahahaha!

Me mate: Really, it wasn't much. It was alrite.

I waited in silence for more...

Me mate: I really dun know, man... I mean, she's nice and all...

Pregnant pause

Moi: But....??????

Me mate: Well, there was no chemistry. Ok. Very little.

Moi: What the heck were you expecting? Heavens opened and heavenly hosts breaking out into hallelujah choruses????

Me mate: No la... but honestly, i dun think she's the one for me.

Moi: Oooo... so you were considering her!

Me mate: Yeah - that i dun deny. But now i'm having doubts.

Moi: Man, you're complicated. She's nice, isn't she? And she's kinda hot too!

Me mate: Yes, yes, without a doubt! But there has got to be more than that!

Moi: What more do you want?

Me mate: Like how i feel when i'm with Kelly...

Moi: No, no, no, no, no, no, no....

Me mate: wha...?

Moi:, no, no. And NO!!!!

Me mate: I knew you'd react that way.

Moi: Of course i'll react that way! You know how i feel bout her!

Me mate: Hey - she's a wonderful person, k?

Moi: I'm sure she is - but she is off limits to you!!!!

Me mate: Watever...

Moi: Look, mate. I'm serious here...

Me mate: Ok, ok, ok.


Me mate: Is this the story of my life? The one i'm not interested is right there for me. The one i'm interested in, i'm not allowed to go after her.

I din know wat to say so the silence resumed.

Me mate: But i feel soooo alive when i'm with her...

I nodded sympathetically

Me mate: And she makes me laugh!!!! and i just love that mischievous glint in her eyes whenever she's... she's....

Moi: I know. i know her too. Prolly just as well as you know her. I love that mischievous streak in her too. But you know very well that nothing you start wif her will end well. We've been thru this before...

Me mate: Yes, yes, yes! Arrgghhh!!!! I must vote you to be most likely to be the voice of reason... whenever i dun wanna hear it!

Moi: Sori, mate...

Me mate: No, it's O-K. I know you mean well. I do. It's just...

Moi: What?

Me mate: Wouldn't it be nice if i could just stop being reasonable and be impulsive - throw caution to the wind, and just live for the moment? Can't i just be irresponsible???

Moi: Of course it would - but eventually, you'll have to hit reality again. I mean, really hit reality. Then is it worth it all in the end?

No reply meant that he agreed.

Me mate: Maybe it's the forbidden...

Moi: ...fruit syndrome - theory - reasoning. Watever. The fact that she's off limits makes her all the more attractive, isn't it? Just like Eve having all the fruits in the garden but yet she longed for the one that she was not to eat. Do you think she enjoyed it? And even if she did, how long did that feeling last? Do you not think that she prolly regretted it for the rest of her life - which mind you, was a really, really long time!

Me mate: I hate you.

Moi: Yeah, i love you too, mate!

Names changed to protect identity

*The title song of his album of the same name. Perhaps the most famous version is by Frank Sinatra. The song also won an Oscar way back in 1963.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

The trouble with love is* - Kelly Clarkson

Love can be a many splendored thing
Can't deny the joy it brings
A dozen roses, diamond rings
Dreams for sale and fairy tales
It'll make you hear a symphony
And you just want the world to see
But like a drug that makes you blind,
It'll fool ya every time

The trouble with love is
It can tear you up inside
Make your heart believe a lie
It's stronger than your pride
The trouble with love is
It doesn't care how fast you fall
And you can't refuse the call
See, you got no say at all

Now I was once a fool, it's true
I played the game by all the rules
But now my world's a deeper blue
I'm sadder, but I'm wiser too
I swore I'd never love again
I swore my heart would never mend
Said love wasn't worth the pain
But then I hear it call my name

The trouble with love is
It can tear you up inside
Make your heart believe a lie
It's stronger than your pride
The trouble with love is
It doesn't care how fast you fall
And you can't refuse the call
See, you got no say at all

Every time I turn around
I think I've got it all figured out
My heart keeps callin' and I keep on fallin'
Over and over again
This sad story always ends the same
Me standin' in the pourin' rain
It seems no matter what I do
It tears my heart in two

The trouble with love is
It can tear you up inside
Make your heart believe a lie
It's stronger than your pride
The trouble with love is
It doesn't care how fast you fall
And you can't refuse the call
See, you got no say at all

(Kelly Clarkson, Evan Rogers, and Carl Sturken)

*The final single from her full length debut album which basically flopped. It was featured in the soundtrack of "Love, Actually".

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Can't make you love me* - Britney Spears

And then, there's another kind of love: the cruelest kind. The one that almost kills its victims. Its called unrequited love. Of that I am an expert. Most love stories are about people who fall in love with each other. But what about the rest of us? What about our stories, those of us who fall in love alone? We are the victims of the one sided affair. We are the cursed of the loved ones. We are the unloved ones, the walking wounded. The handicapped without the advantage of a great parking space!

Iris (from the movie, The Holiday)

*One of her lessor known songs from her "Oops!... I did it again" album.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Twelve days of Christmas* - John Denver and the Muppets

So far, this has to be the carol of the season for me!

I've always been fascinated with this carol ever since i was a wee little boy. I loved the way how the song counts down with so many different gifts - and the change of tune during the 5th day to break the monotony.

This song first surfaced this year when i was teaching me Criminal Law students about this landmark case where there were 10 Lords of Appeals sitting - and i was like, "10 Lords of Appeal - hhmmm... sounds like a line from the 12 Days of Christmas". And just like my every other joke i make, many din have a clue at wat i was talking about!!!

Anyways, we were going back home from Jeram Besu the other day when this new version of this carol came on. I was trying hard to decide if i was more irritated or amused at it. Unfortunately, we din get to learn the artist's name.

The part of the song that goes "On the ___ day of Christmas my true love gave to me..." was sung in the traditional slow manner. Then the remaining of the line describing the gift was sung in hard rock style with distorted guitars rifts and drums and all!!! The really cool part was the "5 gold rings" part. Each time it came to that part, it was done in a different manner - 12 different styles. Cool. On one occasion, it was replaced with the refrain from "Frosty the Snowman"!!!!

I concluded that i enjoyed it but if i heard it again, it'd be tedious.

The funny thing was that a couple of hours later, i heard another version of it - the John Denver version with the Muppets!!!

And that wasn't the end of it - still another hours later, i heard the best of the lot - it was brought to me attention by one of me students. And i absolutely love it!!!! :-)

Here it is - trust me, it's worth the wait to listen to it (if you have slow internet connection):-

*Apparently, John Denver appeared with the Muppets in a Christmas TV Special in 1979. But i dun know if they sang this during the show or not.

For your eyes only* - Sheena Easton

Here are 2 letters i sent to The Star. Somehow, i doubt they'll get to see the light of day so i'll reproduce them here:-

Who threw the brick???

I was shocked when I read the article, "Charge Dropped" reported on the front page of your newspaper dated 18 December 2007. It was because the reason given was that the AG did not know "...who threw the brick which injured policeman Dadi Abdul Ghani". This means that it is essential for the prosecution's case to show who was the one who threw the brick. It also mean that it is so essential that without such knowledge, "the fairest thing to do" is to discontinue the charge.

The question that begs to be asked then was why then were the 31 charged initially for attempted murder (an offense which prevents them from being released on bail) when the AG did not know who threw the brick? Does this mean that it is possible for the prosecution to charge citizens in court without having any evidence/proof that the accused actually committed the actual act of the crime?

I always thought that the police and the prosecution would have completed their investigations and have the evidence and proof needed to support their case before charging anyone in Court. It is scary to think that one may be charged for an offense where the prosecution does not know if he/she actually committed the act. Where will the evidence come from?

And the second one:-
I am a little confused after reading the article, "Samy Vellu happy murder bid charge against 31 dropped" reported in your newspaper on 18 December 2007. In particular, the relevant part of the article which causes me confusion is as follows:-

"I am very happy the courts freed some of the detainees of all charges while bail was given to the other detainees," he said in a statement.

"He (Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) has shown his caring nature and responsibility as a prime minister for all races," he added.

This seems to imply that the Prime Minister has a part to play in the court freeing the detainees which granting bail to others. Surely that is not right?
*From the movie of the same title, this was the only Bond song to feature the singer is actually seen singing it during the credits!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

One more chance* - Madonna

It's the X'mas hols!!! Feeble cheers...

No, dun get me wrong. I dun know who were happier - me students or me, when we finished our last lectures for the semester. It's just that there is so much to do in these 3 weeks that it's not much of a holiday for me. I prolly have to cancel me plans to go down to Singapore next week - to help me students with a moot competition next year. Oh well...

The end of the term usually is the time when people look back - especially if the end of the term coincides with the end of the year too. Was spending some time looking thru some students' blogs. The year 2s were looking back at their full year together. The year 1s were reminiscing the few months they had shared. I feel so happy for them - and very envious, of course. They have their whole lives ahead of them - and i believe the best is yet to come. Wait til they go over to UK and live together, travel together, discover themselves... together! I just wish i could turn back the clock and join them! :-)

To me, the best times of one's life surely has to be the student days - and if one had the privilege, student life in Uni.

Someone was rebuking me the other day for always looking back to me Uni days, longing to be back there again. It doesn't speak very well of the people in me life now, she said.

Dun get me wrong - being back home has been a blast! I've had wonderful mates around me. Sure, you begin to realise who yr real frens are - and altho i'm sad to discover who are not me frens, i've been blessed wif so many true frens. God indeed has been good.

Work is just getting better and better! I'm bonding well wif me colleagues and hanging out wif me students. I love wat i'm doing.

But yes, i confess - i still long for those days. At times - more often than i would like - I still wish i wasn't back home. But before you judge me, hear me out. I have reasons for feeling that way.

And yes, one of the reason is that i long for those good ol' days again, when i can be a carefree student once more. Like the advert for the toy shop goes, i dun wanna grow up! Can i not be like Peter Pan and live young and free in Neverland?

Still, having said that, i acknowledge that i've been privileged - more than most. I have had 2 bites at the cherry. I had a blast during me undergraduate days. And recently, i got to relive it again albeit as a post-graduate. And i'm thankful. Perhaps it is finally time for me to grow up?

In any event, this is not the main reason why i hate being back home. The main reason? Well, that's another story for another day.

For now, let me live vicariously thru me students' experiences and reminisce of the good old times. :-)

Undergraduate days (i shud try to scan more pics in - yeah, it was that long ago and we din have digicams back then!!! Just the other day, i had a blast of a time wif an old mate as we looked thru our old photos - and laugh at our hair and clothes(!) and the good old days!

Post-graduate days

*This is a little known song of hers - i dun think it was even released as a single. But i love it - just vocals and guitars at first, with a cello coming in later.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Rhythm is gonna get you* - Gloria Estefan

I enjoyed the choir prac last nite. There's something about being on stage that makes one feel so alive. Well, at least that's wat it does to me. unfortunately, the same cant be said about some people in the choir.

It just leaves me speechless how one can be singing on stage an upbeat and joyful song, and yet remain emotionless and absolutely static!!!!

I guess everyone is created differently? If that is so, that explains why i find it hard to understand how one can listen to music and remain unmoved, both emotionally and physically. It leaves me flummoxed. Yes, i'm the kind who looks like an idiot when stuck in me car in a traffic jam - my head will be bobbing to the music like a drunk pigeon. People will see me mouth open and close like a goldfish as i sing me heart out. Other times, i have to wipe tears from eyes - or even pull over to avoid having an accident.

So back to the prac we had last nite - so fun! For the few of us at back at least. We finally added some movements (not choreography) during an uptempo song. Inspired by our "movement director", me mate and i were the only 2 at the back, dancing with one hand in the air, spinning round high on the wooden platform we were standing on - i think much to the chagrin of the church deacon overseeing us!!!

Maybe that's another reason why some members are so "stone" - we are after all Asians, and Christians - brethren, even - one of the most conservative denominations!!! Dancing? How dare they!!!!! I remember many many years ago, a few of us were hauled-up by a church leader for being involved in some harmless dancing during a birthday party of one of the youth leaders.

It was as if indulging in an activity like that would make us all lose our Christian identity, and lead us all down the path of the pagans...

At least i'm glad to say that such sentiments are not voiced so loudly these days. Leaders getting mellow? i for one believe that music was created to let us express ourselves - emotionally, spiritually AND physically.

On top of all that, it is fun!!! Some of the best memories i have of me life in Essex includes that nite when me flatmates and i danced the nite away on the kitchen benches (the ceiling was too low for us to dance on the tables), and another nite (early hours of the morning, actually) when i danced for joy alone in the streets! Those were the days... :-)

Yes, i love moving to music. And yes, i still intend to take dance lessons. If only i can find the time...

At the very least, it is very therapeutic. If you dun believe me, you shud try it sometimes.

Sadness is easier because its surrender. I say make time to dance alone with one hand waving free.
Kirsten Dunst character in Elizabethtown

*From her multi-platinum album released in the late eighties, this song hit #5 in the US Pop chart. Who can forget the infectious "Oh eh, oh eh; oh eh oo ah" start to the song and remain still?

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer* - Jewel

"So have you started your Christmas shopping?" me mate asked me over teh tarik yesterday.

What X'mas shopping? We need money for things like that, rite?

But i did go and look for some goodies for me students the other day, seeing that yesterday was the last of term and we're on X'mas break now - Woo hoo!!!

I wasn't sure wat i was gonna get - something cheap(!). Prolly some chocs. But the moment i walked into Cold Storage and saw it, i knew i had to get it.

I got this:-

It's so cool!!! And it was just nice for me 15 students in me Family Law class (yeah, the Year 1s had to settle for normal candy canes - look at it this way, they'll get to spend another X'mas with me next year).

So this candy cane pack thingy came wif 16 canes, 16 fluffy red noses and 32 "eyes" wif some bendy wriggly green thingies as antlers!

So in between preparing for their last lecture, i was busy glueing on the eyes and noses!

So it was X'mas gifts distribution yesterday. More than once, someone commented that i was like Santa, dressed in red (and green tie), going round distributing candy canes! Hey, i felt some X'mas in the air! Finally! :-)

So, that's it. The end of me first semester. What a brilliant time! Truly am so thankful to God. While i'm so so glad to finally get some sleep (proper sleep - not 2 hour cat naps here and there), i must say that i'm beginning to miss me students!

At least i'll be playing futsal wif some of them later! :-)

*I love her version! It's a capella!!! On a side note, some students were trying to guess wat was my "Christian" name and when i told them that it has something to do with X'mas, one suggested "Rudolph"!!!! She then went on to "Frosty". What the...??

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Sorry seems to be the hardest word* - Blue and Elton John

So me mate is mad at me for something i did. What shall i do????

Hhmmm..... got it! I'll just make light about the whole matter, joke bout it, laugh over it and make silly remarks regarding it!


OK. That din work too well, did it? What else can i do????

Yes! I'll threaten to commit suicide if he still feels mad at me. That shud work!

*Much later*

He din seem seem to find that amusing either. What is his problem?????

OK. Here's the new game plan - i'll spread the word round among his frens, making it seem to them that he is being totally unreasonable. Maybe tt'll embarrass him sufficiently and he'll forget about the whole matter.

*Much, much later*

Dang. He told his frens the truth and they agree that they'd be mad too if they were in his position.

So how now? Maybe it's just best if i pretend that i din do anything to him. Maybe he'll just forget about it one day and then things will be alrite then.

Maybe not... but what the heck la! What's his freaking problem anyways???? Does he think he's the only fren i have? Why is it that i have to be the one doing everything??? What more can you ask me to do????

*No. 1 in the UK and in Europe for many weeks back in summer of 2002, it's their second single from their second album.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas* - Johnny Mathis

Excerpt of a letter from a fren in London:-

"Yesterday and today there has been a white frost on the shed roofs, very much in keeping with the Season."
Wish i'm there...

Frost over the grounds of UoE (November '05)

Frost on the bolts (of the dividers by the highway) - Christmas '05

*He recorded this in 197 but it wasn't heard often until it was featured in the movie Home Alone 2. Now where did i put that show? It's time to watch all them X'mas shows now!