Great Hong Kong Escapade of 2001

Hilariously embarrassing stuff: thought I’d might as well put my travelogue from the Great Hong Kong Escapade of 2001 here. Don’t take the past for granted! Oh yeah, a year on, I have to doubt the authenticity of my hurly burly thoughts and apparent experiences, so don’t take everything at face value, except for the epihpanies, heehee.

RE: I love you all [Sun, Nov 4, 2:13am]

In case I don’t come back, better say this now! Also the effect of listening to early Faye Wong in the middle of the night. Among others.

Thank you thank you thank you, thank you all for putting in patience and affection with me, thank you for talking to me, thank you for being around, thank you for not hiding behind the mask we share with the rest of the world.

What do we have to give but each other?

“He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it.” -The Great Gatsby

“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
And straightaway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I do believe; help thou mine unbelief.” -The Gospel according to Mark

RE: Survived the flight to HK [Tues, Nov 6 2001, 12:50am]

Mebbe i should stop writing so late at night, so embarrassing.

That this was Zhou Jie Lun’s first series of concerts was evident, but let it be on the record that the kid has a voice that can serenade the angels. The Real Thing. And that these songs had sprung up from his own soul elevated the experience to the high heavens.

So, the verdict (more for me than anyone else) is that i do not regret having crossed a sea for this ‘virginal’ effort (at least not yet), and that i know that i am not going to do so for any other musician (that i know of).

A funny thing happened to me on the way to Alice’s home– a sudden crowd converged at the exit to catch Mr. Zhou on his way out, and for some reason most of the fans (who are crazy, man) missed the genuine article speeding past in a people mover. Meanwhile, yours truly managed to place herself accidently next to the vehicle’s chosen route, and ended up making her traditional ‘monkey face’ at the beaming artiste. Ta-da.

Had a humungous headache while wandering Causeway Bay today, perhaps it was the result of hunger and thirst. Cured by panadol and Alice’s ‘cure-all finger technique’. And gossiping.
Okay, bye. You are still my loved ones.

RE: This could turn out to be the most important day of my life [Wed, Nov 7 2001, 1:16am]

Day 2 in Hong Kong. And i have never felt life this way before.

Some people might have known what music is all their lives. I just found out today. Maxim Vengerov, Maxim Vengerov. When the concert, and the four encores finally ended, my head was in a whirl, my heart was in my mouth, and there was a heat thumping away in the very center of me. I have never felt this way before. What happened?!

I couldn’t help it, i had to let the tears fall down on my way home. I was panting, my breath was heaving to a marcato beat. Why was my heart pounding so hard? The first words i could form were these: I know now, i know now that we don’t have to fret over impossible dreams, we don’t have to muse over our superiority, mediocrity, inferiority. No matter how gifted, how blessed, how mundane, or how mucked up we are, the most important thing we can do in our lives is to make sure that everything we do comes from our hearts.

I had never known true beauty till this night.

What is truth, what is beauty? I have my answer, i have my answer tonight.

He used the violin to pour out his heart, his soul into the audience. You just had to allow him in. A miracle happens when someone is able to go beyond the obvious barrier, is able to employ a tool made by human hands, and offer his gift, a wordless hymn to life, to love, to death, to humanity.

So now i store away this heavy burden. No, i can’t. We have to be as living waters. Something is altogether different in everything that i hear. What i allowed in as ‘music’ is now stale, chaff, a brittle shell. It is not simply melody, lyrics, production, arrangement, voice, instrument, song. I hear stories, histories, cruelties, loyalties, lies, honesty, love, hate, faith, cynicism, bitterness, sweetness, joy, despair, and then i hear music as if it’s for the first time, anew, and i know, i know beyond a doubt that i have been unlocked in some baffling way.

I still can’t articulate this madness. With every stroke on the bow of his violin, i was made to feel as if my heart was crying out, in joy or pain or sorrow, i don’t know when, maybe all at the same time. I could be having a nervous breakdown, to all intents and purposes.

So what’s going to happen now? So all of a sudden, there’s an earthquake in my life. Big effin’ deal. But, oh. This could just then be a message in a bottle, some blind gesture to try and say how the scales have fallen from my ears, not my eyes, and that i now, at last, know what music is, what it can do, how-when-why-where-what, and that i have, oh Lord, fallen in love with what is ‘music from the heart’. (isn’t it strange when hollywood turns out to be right?)

So make your own music, blow your own horn, march to the beat of your own drum. That’s where, that’s when you will know truth and beauty, and, could it be? That that’s the secret of life? This could all be rubbish, of course, a madman’s last ramblings before flinging himself off a cliff. So, forgive me if i have wasted your time, and thank you for your well-worn patience. And please be warned that i am going to try my darndest to live and give my life with whatever passes as honesty to me. It might all end in a shambles, or a red splat on the pavement, or whatever, but please hope for me.

And, please, let my family have the first priority in calling Woodbridge.

ps: Alice is a very good driver. F1 standard.

Oh boy, am i going to regret posting this

RE: Day Three: Full of Grumbles [Fri, Nov 9 2001, 1:18am]

I write this the day after.

Peony Pavilion: weird show. Definitely not a masterpiece, but a showcase. For whom or what, i can leave to your imagination. Rie Whatshername deserves her best actress award from Iforgetwhere. Yang Fan, what did you think you were doing? Ahhhhhhh

Breakfast at Peak: yummy but expensive. Nice lighting in the ladies. Nice view. Nice tram ride up and down.

Festival Walk: i like the Gadget Shop. I have the heart-shaped clothes pegs to prove it. but you need money in HK, all the more evident in this place. an escalator links City University to the largest shopping mall in hk! the HMV in HK plays a much better role than in singapore, but let it be known that we should be immensely grateful for the book and music shops we have here. Immensely grateful.

Beverly Commercial Centre & Rise Commercial Building: the Far East Plaza of HK, but cooler, better, more original (because it is the original?). the many small shops there began as budding enterprises of design school students, and has erupted into something more overtly commercial. I shall find the latter word increasingly apt. Great stuff, not-so-great prices, but I suppose you pay for the originality and ‘quality’. A decidedly more ‘grungy’ part of Tsim Sha Tsui, summing up for me what HK is about.

Neway Karaoke: ah, remote-controlled karaoke, we meet again. But where is Tao Jing Ying, where is Wu Yue Tian, where is S.B.D.W? Suspiciously familiar, have we met sometime before? recommended only if you lean towards the HK music scene. I am insatiable.

Taxi: proves once and for all that Singaporean drivers are mostly mediocre. Swift on the sharp turn!

RE: Last Day, I am Home. [Fri, Nov 9 2001, 1:36am]

Alice and family: good host. Me: bad guest. For the record, I managed to break something of Alice’s for good measure. And leave a big box at her place (accident).

‘Disasters’: didn’t find everything on my list, managed to ruin some things I got after unpacking, keyed in the wrong sim card PIN and so now my phone is ‘locked’, what I did to alice (see above), tummy ache, bad airline food, people kept cutting in front of me at the airport queues, HK airport clearances take terribly long, haven’t started on exam revision. I spent too much on too weird. cham.

Good: everything else. My day of grumbles wasn’t so bad on hindsight (except the part where alice was tired out). not young anymore. what a convenient excuse. I met Vivian today, she looks like a right professional now, an accountant. quietly elegant. alice’s mother is very very kind. my mother’s colleague is very very kind. service in HK getting very good, very impressive.

Still, in the end, my Singapore, y’know. money is too important in HK. like we’re any better, is it? I think it’s not that we haven’t ‘got there’ yet, it’s that we are a different people, in a different milieu, a different perspective on how the world should work. I’m thankful we don’t have to treat burglaries and beggars as the norm (both not allowed to be by law, terribly enough), even though there is desperation here as well.

Am I getting antagonistic, or controversial? I don’t know if I’m ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, I just feel gratitude for being a Singaporean. I’m not saying a word against HK-ers, I’m talking about different drives. sometimes the newest craze, gadget, thingamabob, building, car, starlet, can only go so far. what’s left? you can’t shop away your sadness at Joyce, but you can wave it away with a platinum credit card. where do the ideals, the sadness go?

anyway, I’m home now. dislocation from your history, your memories, your landmarks, your friends, your family, your haunts, may be an exciting process, but it can give you such an ache. not saying we shouldn’t try it out, but i guess we should remember why human beings establish homes in the first place.

that’s all, folks. i might take all this down pretty soon, once I come to my senses, so I hope no one’s bothered to check here this week! kekekekekeke.


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