Monday, 5 October 2015

20 Years On - Don't Look Back in Anger

20 Years ago, I was just a teenager. And Oasis, a Brit-rock band, had just released their stellar album: What's the Story Morning Glory? So this is their song, that was the anthem of that year. I remember my schooling days. I was a nerd in school, glasses perched on my nose, with a bad case of acne. Never popular with the girls. One of my classmates, Syazwan, passed away a few years back. But that's another story...

Then I grew up, went to university, and formed a band called the "Blues Brewers". This song was a staple at our jam sessions. We had four of us: Myself, playing rhythm guitar; Ng Han Lern (Han), playing lead and vocals; Julian Foo (Abracadabra), playing bass guitar; and Damien Loong Tng Ian (Pearlboy), playing drums. Fun fact: We met on IRC. We played at SS2's Jam Studio and Jalan Gasing's Black Widow Studio. We participated in a few BotB competitions -- Battle of the Bands -- but nothing came of it. Maybe it was our blues slant. We played the blues.

Everything quietened down when Han Lern went off to Australia. I didn't even have broadband Internet in those days -- I was on dial-up. TM Net's 1515 was slow-loading and the WWW was known as the World Wide Wait. But the other two guys were based at APIIT (it had broadband) and they kept in touch with him. I met Han a few times after that, at his house in DJ. He got his architectural degree, told me that they loved his "goreng" style over there. And then he got married with a Thai lady architect, and then we lost touch.

Then just about 2 months ago Julian (or Jules, as we used to call him) messaged me out of the blue. Damien had passed away. I could not believe it. I thought that we would get together again someday to play songs. That we'd jam again. Maybe this song. "So, Sally can wait..." Then I saw Damien's Tribute page on Facebook, which his brother had set up. I looked at his FB profile. (I had kept in touch with Julian only.) Damien had become a health freak. Scuba diving. Marathon runner.

I remembered how we used to have tea in the open air square in SS2 after jam sessions. Han with his Dad's big 4WD. How Damien used to furiously break his drumming sticks and Julian tried basslines inspired by U2 and the Police. And Han used to shred the axe in the studio with his "solos" long after the rest of us had gotten ready to move on to the next part of the song. (It was almost like a soliloquy, that guitar and him.)

Here's another Oasis number for you, Damien.

And here's another Oasis number for my former bandmates, Han and Julian. I want to ask them: What's a wonderwall, guys? Twenty years on and nobody's any wiser. But the drone chords sound good, so keep those fingers on G and D and play away. Let the ominous basslines do their work.

And here's a bunch of Oasis songs for old times' sake.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Sometimes it hurts to play the fool

Sometimes it hurts to play the fool
When you shout at me, I try to be cool
But please remember that I'm human too
And sometimes I start feeling blue

Sometimes it hurts to play the fool
You say things that are not true
I tell myself, we'll work it through
If you could calm down and see my view

Maybe it's true, that I'm a fool
And that's because I've chosen you
Beat me well and beat me good
I think I've finally understood

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Hey, How Are You?

Today, the shopkeeper downstairs of my office asked me, "Hey, how are you?"

I looked at her and said, "I'm OK."

She asked again, "Are you well nowadays? Any problems?"

I replied, "It isn't whether I'm well or not well that's most important. It's whether I can do what I have to do, that's more important."

She thought about it. "Yes, you're right."

"In the end," I said, "it's whether we can do our job that really matters to our clients. And in the end, it's whether they want to pay us that really matters to us. If we work, and they pay, then we will all be fine."

She smiled, and nodded her head slightly.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

End of Year Musings

The end of the year is coming. Yes, it isn't December yet, but as 2014 draws to a close, it will be a good idea to think about what will happen in 2015. Here are a few thoughts that have been weighing on my mind recently.

At the moment, I am doing some part-time studies. I hope, as every part-time student must hope, that the studies will be successful. Part-time students are at a disadvantage compared to full-time students in the amount of time that they can spend on research, reading, etc. It does not help that full-time work is what pays the bills, and for me, that means as a sole breadwinner (until my wife begins earning again), I will be at a disadvantage. Full-time students are more likely to be supported by family or a scholarship; in fact, scholarship providers are more likely to view the young and unemployed as more suitable candidates for their scholarships.

Yet, part-time students have their advantages too. Being in industry, I am able to rely on my network to test ideas and even fish for new ideas. It also helps to open doors when I visit people as a professional, rather than as a student researcher. Finally, being in active practice as a professional enables me to see and experience first hand the problems facing professionals in my industry. Now, if I could only convert my day-to-day work into ethnography and some kind of observation, I would have my fieldwork all laid out for me. That, of course, remains to be seen...

I have been planning a podcast for a while now. Yet, the lack of jingles and inability to make music has been scaring me off into thinking that I do not have what it takes to make a good podcast. A good intro, a good out-tro, and even little tunes to signify changes in sections. ... I thought that they were the most important part of podcasting. But that isn't the most important part, I think. Interviews with the right people are. Quality equipment is. I have purchased the Zoom H4n, and an Audio-Technica microphone as well. Not being content with that, I also purchased the iRig Cast. All that's needed now is identification of a good topic area, a list of questions that will help interviewees along, and a letter to approach potential interviewees. I am an army of one -- for now, at least. With time, it will gain listenership (hopefully) and things will get better.

I am inspired by This American Life, but I think I am not a reporter who tells stories like Ira Glass. I am inspired by the HBR Ideacast, but I think it will take quite a bit of effort to approach writers and professors. I quite like 93.8 Live's Slice of Life, but I don't know if my voice is as inspiring as the voice on the radio. We'll see how it goes.

Other stuff & Work
Having more kids, improving the business, renovations to the office. All these and more. But work, as always, comes first. Work is the source of income; work is also the source of pride and my place in society. If work fails, everything else is secondary. Work shall set you free. I have no doubt of that. So now I go back to work.

Giveaway of the Day

Giveaway of the Day