Saturday, June 13, 2009

Jazz and erhu do gel

What comes to mind when you think of jazz? A rendition of blues, swing or syncopated rhythms? For me, I’ve always stereotyped it as elevator music or music that can put me to zzzZZ. Now what about Chinese orchestra? I’m sure the image of erhu, pipa, guzheng clanging operatic or traditional music would surface. I got a taste of the combination of both last night at a concert, yes both. The ensemble of two groups of musicians showed me how grossly outdated and wrong I was with my stereotypical opinion.

Our local Chinese orchestra performed jazz pieces together with an American trio jazz band at the concert. With cleverly arranged pieces, they proved to the audience that eastern and western music do mix, erhu and jazz can gel. As the erhu, pipa, and recorder soloists took turns to spar with the jazz band, this audience who went in on a free ticket couldn't stop applauding at the end of every piece. I could see that not just me and the other audience were enjoying the performance, the musicians too were having a ball of a time themselves playing music they don’t normally play. They even performed a classic Bach piece, Prelude in D minor and I loved that arrangement the most, almost wanting to jump up to give them an ovation but too shy to do it because no one else did.

I have to admit I went to the concert half-expecting to fall asleep but the performers didn’t dish me any single moment of boredom. I was totally enthralled by this rare, untypical performance. It’s not just the audio-visual enjoyment I experienced but the revelry of different cultures putting aside their differences, coming together in the sharing of what was common to them, their belief and love for music. If only we humans could apply this to every aspect of our day-to-day living. I do hope to see such a day in this world, in time (or lives) to come.

Five thumbs up for this marvelous performance!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Insanity, any purpose?

A granduncle whom I’ve never met died a couple of days ago, at age 66. He’s younger than my dad. I know very little about this relative, whatever that I know about him, I heard from my mum. He was the youngest child of my great-grandfather. According to my mum, this granduncle was very bright and being the youngest, he was doted on. Unfortunately, he developed some mental problems while studying overseas. He had to come back and I presumed his condition must have been so serious and no one could take care of him that he was placed in the mental hospital, for more than 40 years I estimate. He didn’t die from an illness in there but choked to his death.

When my grandma was still alive, my mum did accompany her to visit him at the mental hospital. Besides them, I think his sister was his only other visitor. Surprisingly, despite his insanity, he actually recognised them. Back then, he was already gorging down the food they brought him so I guess it didn’t come as a surprise to anyone when the hospital said he choked and died.

I’m just wondering, what is god’s purpose in making a person experience insanity and locked up almost all his life, practically forgotten by his family members? Is an insane person aware of his mind? What could he have learnt from being mad that can help him in his journey of life?

Am I thinking too much again? Ok, just ignore me. I’m not mad…not yet.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Which is worse

I wrote this on my mac:
“Which is worse? Knowing what you want in life but not being able to have it or not knowing what you want in life at all?”

I was planning to write a huge chunk on why I think the latter is worse but I walked away from my computer to do something in the kitchen and when I came back, I saw this:
“I don't know.”

My 10-year-old niece wrote that. Don‘t you think the answer was brilliant? Age does not necessarily assure you of the answers in life. A ‘don’t know’ mind does.

Just live for goodness sake.

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