Saturday, 21 April 2012

Sam – Olivia Newton-John

I had to work and she didn’t. so I drove back home from a gluttony whirlwind trip to Ipoh. But even though I was the only person in the car as I travelled down the NKVE back to PJ, I was not alone!

You see, I had Sam with me! Yes, Sam Hui was singing to me and as he did, memories of many people came back to me and kept me company all the way.  

These memories went back so far that it brought me back more than 30 years ago when I was just a kid and listening to the music that my grandma would listen to. I remember vaguely how she would explain to me what “半斤八兩” meant! I still remember the cassette that she had:-

Years later, when I was working late at Toyota (where I worked temporarily before going to do my Masters), I put on the same song loudly – much to the amusement of my colleague who was a Malay lady. But she did recognize that it was Sam Hui!!!! If you dun know what song i'm referring to, take a listen to it here and i'm sure u'll recognise it immediately!

When I listen to the theme song of Aces Go Places 2 “跟佢做個 Friend”, I will be brought back to upper primary School when the movie was just released.

I have the DVD of this and still enjoy watching the movie again!!! The Chinese New Year song, “财神到” would take me back to Colchester – more specifically, spending Chinese New Year there, the 2nd time when I spent it away from home. 

That was the only CNY song I had in my hard disc and it was played on a loop to simulate some CNY festive cheer in an otherwise sad circumstances (being away from home for CNY).  

The very CD that I was listening to was actually bought during a road trip with KC, an old fren – and we met up with one of my old Uni mates when we were at Ipoh and she took us to buy the CD! It was pretty memorable – and she insisted that we stayed over at her father’s bungalow that night when we were there. The CD accompanied us for the rest of our trip. =)  

The CD also accompanied JT and me when we went travelling – up north and down south. I remember the specific parts of the lyrics from various of Sam’s songs that he pointed out to me which he found to be amusing. We had a lot of laughs too as his fast songs were pretty entertaining and some were downright amusing. And as I listen to those songs again, I recall the fun trips I had with JT – to Penang, to Genting, to Tioman. =)

Listening to Sam’s song will no doubt bring back memories of his concert! I blogged about it previously here. Well, truth be told, the concert wasn’t that great – but the build up towards it was!!! We were all so excited about it and we psyched ourselves up really well. We – four of us – would be out together in a car and listening to his songs and singing along! There was once when we went for a Church meeting together and even though we had already parked at the carpark, we were still sitting inside, still listening to the songs! Some of our other mates were wondering why we din seem to want to get out of the car!!!  

As I travelled along that expressway singing, I remember singing along with me mates. Those were the days… =)  

As for “十個女仔”, it never fails to bring me back to my practicing days when the office went out together for a Karaoke session – and one of the lawyers sang this. 

I remember vividly what happened when the song was sung. One of the partners was explaining to our office boy that the song was actually mocking women (exact words – “Lagu ini memperlikan kaum wanita”). When it came to a part where Sam sings the word “Hallelujah”, the senior partner cracked up in surprise and amusement!!!

There were other small random memories here and there, about how some frens explained some of the songs to me. One fren went to great detail explaining “話知你97” – which was written to encourage the people in Hong Kong at that time who were worried about HK being returned to China in 1997. In his song, he basically says that he is not really bothered about it and there is no need to fear it. Instead, they still just carry on – a happy-go-lucky attitude – and do what they have been doing all along. Here is the song - with subtitles!!!

That’s one thing which really makes him special – his songs were written to the ordinary man on the street, dealing with very down to earth matters. Some are quite frivolous (like his Canto remake of “Pretty Woman” which ends up really really funny), others tell interesting stories, most deal with everyday issues – studying, playing mah jong, friendship, life in general.  

His style of writing is very colloquial – honestly, I can never understand Cantonese songs as they do not write songs the same way as they speak the language! But along comes Sam and hey, I can understand most parts of his songs!!! I’m sure he has touched and amused and brightened up millions of people’s lives in all these years. 

It’s amazing how it has come all the way and thruout my life has played some part, large or small.  

So as I travelled on the road to take me back to PJ, I ended up on memory lane which took me back to my old house in section, to Colchester in the UK, meeting up again with people like my grandma, my Malay colleague from Toyota, the lawyers from my former firm, Jit Tat, my primary school frens, etc.  

And today, when I listen to his songs, there is a new memory – of listening to his songs together with my wife when we were travelling back from PD recently.  

So Sam – thanks so much for everything!  

*This song hit the no. 1 spot on the US Billboard Easy Listening chart way back in 1977.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Let me let go* - Faith Hill

Saw this on one of my former student's FB wall:-

Had been going thru some difficult time in the recent weeks - thanks to... never mind. Maybe it's best that i dun talk about it. Not here, anyways... Suffice to say, some individual has caused some grief - not just to me but to a lot of people. It has been hard to let go of the matter. It is made harder cause the person not only did not apologise but did not think that he has done anything wrong! 

 But i'm thankful to God for the people around me who have been helping me and praying for me.

This little quote just reminded me how silly i was to let it get to me in the first place. In some ways, i wish i din care so much - but then, i wouldn't be me, would i?

*My favourite song of her's! But not the album version - the one used to be played on the radio.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Crash! Boom! Bang!* - Roxette

When I watched the trailer, I had a bad feeling about Battleship. Just an excuse to have another Transformers movie without the Transfomers?

But I noted that some people said it was actually quite watchable. And we were sold when they showed a clip of the movie as a promo on Fox TV (after an episode of The Walking Dead).

So we went to watch – expecting it to be a fun action packed alien versus ships movie. And tt’s what we got!

If people are complaining about the storyline, then I wonder what kind of people they are who go and watch this movie for the story!!! This movie does not pretend to be anything but a crash boom bang movie! And they deliver it. Quite well, I must say!
If you see an earlier post, this was not one of my anticipated movie this year. I do not rank it as among the best movies I have watched – but certainly, I am not ashamed to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed the movie!

We (me wife and i) had some fun laughing about the movie too – like I pointed out that the movie proved that women are multi-taskers!!!! Look at Rihanna’s character – first, she was the one manning the cameras which gave us the first glimpse of the floating alien vessel. Then in the next scene, she was part of the recce team sent out to check out the vessel. She was the person manning the gun on their little boat. Later, we see that she is the one manning the missiles launched from their destroyer. Out of all the crew members, she seemed to be the most overworked one! Lol!

And when they went to check out the alien vessel, me wife was commenting how come these 3 people will not die??? I simply replied that they can’t die because one of them is John Connor of Mars and the other is a famous pop star! The 3rd guy? Well, they needed someone to “drive” the boat!!!

I also wondered out loud if it was part of Rihanna’s contract that in every scene she appears in, she must be wearing some headgear? You never see her without one – even when she jumped into the sea, her cap was still on!!!

Anyways, the effects were satisfying – nothing ground breaking but it did the job (i like how the HSBC building came down) – and the sound was pretty good (watched it in a Digital 2D cinema). I liked the Japanese character and the homage to the Battleship boardgame was interesting! I also liked how in the end, they had to use a WWII Battleship together with all the veteran sailors to take down the aliens.

I got what I expected and perhaps a little bit more! So no complains about this movie! =)

*The second single from their album of the same name, released when i was studying in London.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Insecure* - Nikki Flores

Saw this on one of my former students' status update:-
"The need to come across as superior serves only to highlight your insecurities and every single flaw. Maybe it is time to look into the mirror and for the first time in your entire life, see who you really are".
Well said! So true, dun you think?

*Taken from her debut album, This Girl.

Monday, 16 April 2012

I'll be there for you* - Bon Jovi

This morning, we were considering the account of the 2 disciples walking to Emmaus. Basically, it was a couple of days after Jesus was brutally crucified and executed. 2 of his disciples decided to travel to Emmaus and along the way, they met up with a stranger. At first, they did not realize who it was – but this stranger explained to them how the death of Jesus had been prophesied long ago in the Old Testament. It was only when they stopped and decided to have supper when they realized that the stranger was none other than the Lord Jesus himself!

You can read the whole account here.

One can only imagine what must have been going through the minds of the 2 disciples – the distress and hopelessness they must be feeling as they travelled along. It was probably the darkest times of their lives. They must have been also stressed and worried about the uncertain future.

Some might think that it was because of that they could not recognize Jesus – not until he started to break bread with them.

I was thinking about this very familiar account (in fact, I once acted as one of these 2 disciples in an Easter play) – and I began to think that we are a lot like these 2 disciples. We too face troubles, uncertainties, fears, and at times, hopelessness. We must feel so alone. We all had our journeys up to Emmaus and know how it feels.

But in those times, I am reminded that Jesus had been with me all along the way to Emmaus. Even though I have to admit that I did not realize it. Just like the 2 disciples, they did not know that it was Jesus who was with them every step of the way. But this does not change the fact that he indeed was.

Perhaps this could have been the inspiration of the author of that famous “Footprints” where when he looked back along the paths of his life, he could see the prints of Jesus walking alongside him – and when things got worse, Jesus carried him through.

To me, this is a wonderful reminder that no matter how dark the days are, how dreary the journey is, how tough the road to Emmaus is, Jesus is there walking the same road beside me, all the way.

He'll be walking with us as we travel along our own road to Emmaus!

The account also reminds me that in these tough times, it is important – no, in fact, essential for us to take time to “break bread” – to remember what he has done for us. And when we do that, we will surely find our eyes being re-opened and see Jesus before us.

*Their no. 1 hit song taken from their 1988 album New Jersey.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Ten thousand angels cried* LeAnn Rimes

It rained yesterday. It always seem to rain on Good Friday - and i'll always think of the lyrics of this song:-

Stillness filled the Heavens, on crucifixion day.
Some say it rained, I don't know if it's true.
Well, I can just imagine ten thousand angels cried
That would seem like rain to me and you.

The angels all stood ready to take Him from the tree
They waited for the words from His voice.
And when he asked the father why has thou forsaken me.
They watched the saviour die of his own choice.

I've never seen ten thousand angels cry
But I'm sure they did
As they stood by
And watched the saviour die.
God turned his head away
He couldn't bear the sight
It must have looked like rain
When ten thousand angels cried.

As the sun slipped away
The skies turned to grey
And when Jesus gave his all
That's when the tears began to fall

I've never seen ten thousand angels cry
But I'm sure they did
As they stood by
And watched the saviour die.
God turned his head away
He couldn't bear the sight
It must have looked like rain
When ten thousand angels cried.
It must have looked like rain
When ten thousand angels cried.

*Her version of this classic Crhistian song

Friday, 6 April 2012

Top of the world* - Shonen Knife

Last nite, I had to apologise to me wife - she had to go to sleep first as i was planning to stay up to finish a book i was reading! So after saying our prayers, i left her to go to sleep and went back to finish my book. No prizes for guessing that it was a Jeffrey Archer book!

Just like the previous Archer book i read (A Prisoner of Birth), this book really got a hold on me too!!!! Archer is such a wonderful storyteller!

I have vad this book for so long - one of the few novels that i bought as it was really cheap. So i have not gotten down to read it. I have been renting books all along and finally, i decided to take a break from the other books i've been reading and start on this. It was like driving in an expensive sports car after using a Proton Saga for so long!!!!

This book is about a man called George Mallory. He has a passion - climbing mountains. Simply because they are there! And his ultimate goal was to be the first man to reach the top of the world - Mt Everest! Yes, this book was set in the early 1920s.

The books starts of with a prologue - where we are told that Mallory's body was found on Everest. They however did not find his wife's photo that he carries with him. Someone cheered over this. It took us over 50 chapters to understand the significance of this!!!!

So even tho we are introduced to Mallory knowing that he eventually meets his untimely end on the mountain, it does not spoil it for us.

Archer is simply brilliant as he takes us to meet Mallory as a young boy and follow his story as he grew up and eventually ended up at the top of the world. But did he make it to the top? Well, this is all revealed only in the last chapter...

It was to my pleasant surprise that the book was based on a person named George Mallory! And yes, he loved climbing and was trying to be the first man to reach the top. You can read about him in Wikipedia here.

Still, Archer tells the story like a master! To some extent, i could identify and put myself into the story - just a little bit. When Mallory was in Cambridge, when he travelled to India and when he struggled up the mountain. Well, i did made up Mount Kinabalu which is around half the height of Everest!!! =)

I was hooked on it and each nite, i had to reluctantly put it down to go to bed. Last nite, i *had* to finish it - and i sat alone in my dining room, reading and crying.

Can't wait to get my hands on the latest Archer!

*Their alternative remake of the Carpenter's classic.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

All by myself* - Eric Carmen

I really dun mind going to a eating joint and having a meal all by myself. In some ways, i quite like it - but that's for another post. One of the things i like to do is to watch people and wonder about their lives.

The strange thing about me is that i feel sad for some people when i see them eating alone. Like today. There were 2 incidents - i was waiting for my car to be fixed up so i had breakfast and lunch and tea all by myself. Doing work, of course!!!

First was when i had breakfast at McDonald's - and there were a few elderly men eating breakfast there on their own. So i started thinking if they were all alone in their own world. Were they single men - so no children or grand kids to keep them company? Or their families are not interested in them? Or widowers? Unfortunate enough to outlive their partner but to go thru life on their own? Or did they drive their families and frens away - and now they live their remaining days here in regret but just too arrogant to do anything about it?

Then later, as i was having tea at Lotus, there was this really young guy having probably his late lunch. If he was in a school uniform, i would prolly think he could not be older than Form 3!!! But he was dressed like those typical salesperson - shirt, slacks, black shoes. He ordered his food in a polite soft voice and proceeded to make a phone call.

I then though about whether he loves his job or not... prolly not. And i'm so thankful to God that i'm doing what i want to. But poor fella - having to go around in the hot and humid weather everyday. How much can he make? Did he also lived his life in regret - not studying harder? or in bitterness - not being able to have the chance to do what he wants to. Perhaps he had to leave school early to take care of his family? Then i thought about the pressure he must face - as a young man living in the Klang Valley, it must be sooo difficult to make ends meet.

But the happy note about this dude was that he obviously had someone special in his life as he carried on chatting away on his mobile (as mentioned, he was a soft-spoken guy so i couldn't really tell what he was saying) thruout his entire meal. so he din really eat the meal on his own.

I wonder what do people think when they see me eating alone? But perhaps, no one else is as busybody as i am... lol!!!

*His hit back in the mid-70s. The verse is based on the second movement (Adagio Sostenuto) of one of Sergei Rachmaninoff's piano concerto.