Mylène Farmer’s “Timeless” Concert Recording

Mylène Farmer and I have come a long way.  When I first started working as a management consultant, I was posted to Paris and worked at my client site. At times, for months. I would stay in a hotel, which contrary to what some may think, it is not really that much fun to stay for long. There is a home. And there is a hotel. The two are distinctly different.

Every morning, before having my shower, I would turn on the TV and listen to the latest music videos. Mylène Farmer was on MTV all the time! I did not know who she was but I like her music. I love her videos. Whenever I hear of her music many years from then, I feel as though I am being transported back in the late nineties, Paris, La Défense, Société Générale, champagne and cheese, and more.

And more.

And that breakup. It was Paris. La Défense. Long story short, my then-girlfriend sent me a letter informing me of a breakup. There was heartache. Sleepless nights. And there was Mylène Farmer.

Mylène Farmer and I have come a long way. I was used to listening to her music on my Sony Discman. Paris metro. Singapore MRT. Hong Kong MTR. I don’t understand the lyrics. But I am drawn to the emotion. While I was working in Paris, I even bought her music videos on LP’s (Laser Discs) knowing very well that I did not have an LP player (back then, no YouTube I think). My ex’s family had one though. But because of the breakup, I had the LP’s but I could not watch them. Years later, I bought the DVD version of the LP’s. I have no idea why I bought the DVD’s back then. They are still unwrapped, I think. That sense of owning something tangible.

Fast forward to today, there is YouTube. I did not expect to find her 2013 Timeless concert on YouTube but I have. The resolution isn’t that good and I was prepared to import a Bluray version of her concert from France to Singapore. I was hoping to find a trailer. I did not expect a full concert.

Mylène Farmer is 57 years old this year. At the time of recording, she was 52 years old. She looked young and radiance. She put up a stunning performance well connected emotionally with her music and the audience. I don’t know all the songs she sang. But I know enough to hum along. The stage was amazing. There were dancing robots as well. She arrived at the stage as though she has stepped through a time machine. And she left as though she was on a rocket leaving many fans at awe and in tears.

 

We’ve Moved to Tiong Bahru!

23 years of relentless hard work here in Singapore, I would say that this is well deserved. My wife and I have moved to somewhere near town. From our new home, we can see the central business district. To reach the office is a mere four train stations away. I am still living the dream. Right now, it still feels unreal.

We don’t have children – God’s plan, not ours. We don’t have someone to pass our worldly possession to. My wife and I just have each other. We could keep on saving. Or we could do something nice to ourselves.

My wife has picked the location and the property. I have refrained from making any investment decisions. Because so far, I have been pretty bad at it.

While this new home is more than twice the cost of our old home – comparing square meter to square meter – I am happy with my wife’s decision because Tiong Bahru reminds me of my birth town Wanchai in Hong Kong. It is so convenience. Everything I can think of is just within either walking distance or a very short drive. Traveling to Orchard is just 6 to 8 minutes’ drive. To be honest, I am still struggling to justify the need of a car. Perhaps I shall convert it into a weekend car and save some money.

I have always enjoyed blogging. I am not sure since when I have stopped. Now that we have sorted out this big milestone of ours, I am looking forward to rekindling my old hobbies – one by one.

On Your Wedding Day – A 2018 Korean Movie That Made Me Fall in Love & Heartbroken Once Again

I am a big fan of the Korean actress Park Bo-young. I don’t have access to many Korean TV-series here in Singapore. But through Netflix, I have watched Strong Girl Bong-soon and Oh My Ghost. She is by far one of my most favorite Asian actresses of the recent time. So when I read that her latest movie On You Wedding Day was out in August this year, I hit the local cinema websites every now and then in anticipation of a Singapore release. Happy me, I have managed to catch it yesterday.

It is a love story that spans from teenage to adulthood. There is a bit of flashback here and there. The movie has four parts to it. Each part tells a story of a particular period when the two lovers fall in love only to realize that timing always gets in the way. From the audience standpoint, it is so obvious that the two are fated to be together. Yet, circumstances always draw the two apart.

Watching On Your Wedding Day has drawn out many of the past fond memories from within me. It has also temporarily opened up old wounds too. In any given relationship, timing is so important. On a hindsight, life is full of could-have-been. Unfortunately, when we are in a relationship living the very present, there is no hindsight. So we fall in love, make some stupid mistakes, perhaps say or do the wrong thing, perhaps do not say or do the right thing, etc. We hurt someone emotionally, may have even scared the one we love physically. All of a sudden, you find yourself on your knees, begging for that one more chance. And you and him/her and the people around all think that this love affair has to continue. It has got to. It is destiny. It is meant to be. Fated.

And then he/she says, “No. It’s over” with a sense of finality.

You wonder why.

The people around wonder why.

We stop breathing for just a bit, taking in this new twist in life. Surely, a decision can be reversed, can it not?

On a hindsight, if we could erase out a few episodes of life, perhaps move the timeline around just a little, things would have turned out so different.

But we can’t. So we find ways to heal and we move on.

Back to On Your Wedding Day, thank you for making me feel like shit again and to reminisce on what I should have long forgotten.

 

HK 2014 Day 7 – My Family And Last Day Of Our Holiday

My four-year-old niece Bethany is extremely competitive. As it turns out, I do have a thing or two to learn from her.

Ever since she is aware of the concept of gender (one day she returned from a child care center saying boys have long long things), her instinct has taken over. When she was at her younger sister’s age, she was very much attached to me. Right now? It is all about girls power. She forms a team with my wife so as to beat me in all front. If I were at her age, I would have met her head on. Now I play along. It is a win-win.

Today was all about racing. So Bethany and my wife ran ahead of me as the group was heading towards the train station. Whenever she looked back at me, I always pretend to make an effort to race. When she was not looking, I casually chatted with my mother in walking pace. My dad, as always, was miles ahead of us reaching the station way before we did.

Then we made a wrong turn and having to make a u-turn. Which means all of a sudden I was way ahead of the girls power duo! At that very moment I was curious on how Bethany would react. That sense of wasted effort, so much disadvantaged when she was leading the race all the time. She did not think. Instinct has taken over. I could sense that fire of determination written all over her face. Without missing a single beat, she grabbed my wife’s hand and screamed, “Run!” even as I turned away and pretended to capitalize on this very advantage. I let the duo ran past me, of course. I hope Bethany has learned an important lesson in life to never give up. I too am very much inspired by her. She would enjoy watching Formula One with me when she has grown older.

My niece Lydia

My one-year-old niece – Lydia – is a natural charmer. It is impossible not to fall in love with her in first sight. She would all of a sudden gesture a flying kiss to a lady nearby. The stranger would first be taken aback (how cold real life is, come to think on it) and then reciprocate with a big smile. Lydia would then wave and say bye bye. Those who are briefly touched by her good gesture would agree with me that she is indeed a little angel on earth.

Inspiration Lake, Hong Kong

Because the police was clearing the areas where protesters had camped, we headed to Lantau Island and have avoided town. We did not enter Disneyland. That would have cost a bomb. Instead, we have visited the Inspiration Lake nearby that comes with a pretty decent playground. In fact, all the playgrounds I have seen in Hong Kong are pretty decent, built for kids of various ages in mind. Unlike the basic tiny ones we have in Singapore.

A playground near Inspiration Lake

In the evening, we popped by an Indian / Western restaurant at Tong Chong – a town next to Disneyland and a stone throw to the airport. My cousin works there as a bartender. It is hard to describe this cousin of mine. He is the youngest in our generation. While he may not have done particularly well in school, he has inherited his father’s trait of being extremely sociable. He holds his liquor well. He smokes like his father does. He says the right thing to make everybody happy. He cracks jokes. In short, he is a party man.

Today I get to see another side of his. He came all the way out from his restaurant duty to meet us at the station. The walk took a quarter of an hour. He handled the kids extremely well. Knowing nothing in the menu would suit a one-year-old, before he started work at four, he bought fish porridge from a shop nearby and has it heated up once Lydia was awake while we were having our dinner. He carried Bethany to the bar area and took her for a short tour of the kitchen. He even offered to pick up the bill, which we politely declined. I wish I have more time and opportunity to bond with this cousin of mine. But our paths seldom cross. Such is life.

Tomorrow my wife and I will return to Singapore. My sister and her family will stay on till next Wednesday. Cynthia and I both think it is a brilliant idea to have a family holiday like this one. Since my mother will be the only one to send us off from the hotel, at the station, we bid our goodbye to my dad. My dad seldom talks these days because he is too old to hear properly. But words are not necessary. His teary-eyed expression said it all.

Another view from Inspiration Lake

The First Ever Formula E!

Formula E cars

So I have watched Formula E from the Internet, didn’t know what to expect. I mean, I am an avid fan of Formula One. Formula series to me is to push the frontier of technology that will one day be commercially viable on road cars. The future is going to be cars running in clean energy. Hence, there is much relevance in Formula E. A few random points for sharing.

  1. Like Formula One, Formula E has formation lap too! But it is excruciatingly slow probably because cars are trying to save on battery.
  2. These cars as you can imagine run very quietly with some really high frequency motor sound. It is very strange to watch a Formula E race. Like some kind of back to the future movies.
  3. First race was in Beijing. A street circuit. 25 laps in total, which is kind of short compares to F1.
  4. Somehow these cars look fragile to me. Some cars did retire. Minor accidents here and there. And then … OK, I shall save that to the end.
  5. Many familiar names on the grid as some came from F1 racing background.
  6. There were two woman drivers on the grind, which is unheard of in F1 sport. For that, I am impressed.
  7. The cars are very much the same. It is about … not tire management but battery management when it comes to race winning. And driver skill primary, of course.
  8. There are some good racing too, since it relies more on the driver’s skill to overtake.
  9. The highest speed I have seen was around 170 kph. Well, my Honda Civic 2.0 has gone faster than that.
  10. I think the battery power is 150 kW (~200 bhp), from what I heard the commentators said.
  11. Pit stop is weirdest thing in Formula E. Because one battery can only last half a race, a pit stop involves a driver driving into his or her team’s tent, get out of the car and jump into a second car with full battery! I think there is a mandated 1.47″ pit stop whereby the drivers cannot go faster (or be penalized). A driver can’t really jump another driver over pit stop. However, he or she could be held up by another driver who exits the tent too early and has to slow down on the exit lane. What?!
  12. FanBoost is another weird thing about Formula E. Fans – yes, you and I – can vote for our favorite drivers and the top three will get a temporary boost of power from 150 kW to 180 kW!
  13. The point system is very much like Formula One, except whoever set the fastest lap of the race gets 2 points. That gives incentive to unfortunate drivers who are a lap or so down for whatever the reasons to get back out and race.
  14. The last few lap of this Beijing race was super exciting. It was Nicolas Prost – son of the legendary F1 driver Alain Prost – leading the ePrix followed by an ex-F1 driver Nick Heidfeld. Onto the very last lap and the very last corner,, Heidfeld made an overtaking move from the inside. Prost instead of conceding the position banged onto Heidfield’s car and Heidfield’s car threw over the curb smashed onto the barrier and landed upside down. Amazing that Heidfield was OK. Then Lucas di Grassi, another ex-F1 driver snatched the win.
  15. Next race is two months later, in Malaysia.

Daydream

Today is definitely a day of daydreaming.  The thought and the possibility of leaving this company to join another one are intoxicating.  In my mind, I have already planned out the entire serious of events: the lunch interview, the negotiation (if any), the drafting of the letter of resignation, the breaking of news to Choong Yong (difficult and personal), the breaking of news to Peng Yong (easy and business), the last four weeks with my beloved project team, and the breaking of news to this team of mine (tears and hugs).  I find it impossible to focus without thinking too far ahead.

This morning, I have come to the realization what I love to do best – to work in an environment full of crisis.  What I then do is to go in, put the house in order, and then go off.  Now that the project is stabilizing and most of the unknowns have been taken off the equation, the project is turning a little bit plain to me.  Probably because I feel much needed when things go wrong.  When the weather is good, I feel redundant.  Therefore, time for me to go into coding, time for me to sharpen up my technical skills.

Physical: -0.27
Emotional: -0.97
Mental: 0.46

Swamped

It has been exactly three weeks which I have not been writing any diary.  Surprising how time flies and how much I have lost touch with my inner self.

So what has happened in this three weeks’ time.  A lot.

In terms of work, it has gone quite okay.  Or more correctly, more bearable.  But in terms of my love life, it is still in a mess.  Last night had a minor argument with CC.  She doubts if she is still the most important person in my world.  And of course she is!  Think about all the sleepless night because of her.  But work really gets in between our relationship.  How sad it is.  I just hope that it will turn better as time goes by.

Edit 2008.05.12: Now that I read this, it is interesting to see how I am just not able to see something that is so obvious right in front of me.

Flying to America

Saturday, woke up early in order to pack up for my US trip.  Stepped out of the hotel after midday and took a taxi to CDG airport.  And there I go, I have to fly again.  Called up my family at the business lounge.  Always nice to talk to family.

The flight was about eight hours.  I still think that Singapore Airline is the best so far.  As for the Air France business class, it was not at all that fantastic.  Kind of a bit disappointed.

Today was pretty cloudy in US.  So not a very nice day indeed.  It was just as depressing as Europe.  The funny thing is that I don’t really feel that much as compare to what I have imagined.  This really puzzled me.  Guess when one travel too frequent, everywhere is just the same.

Colin left me a message and when I knocked onto his room, he was not in.  Kind of disappointed and as I have missed the dinner hour, I have to go to the Social Centre and had my pizza.  By the way, the American beer – Honey Brown – is pretty good.

Left a message in Colin’s room and we met at the Social Centre.  Throughout the night, he was very tired and we didn’t get to talk much.

Feeling kind of lonely.  I miss JP again.

Shame on Me

Shame on me!  Shame on me!

I have completely lost my self-control today.  Apparently, today we were supposed to kick off the Spot Advice SIR but both Mohamed and Claude were busy doing something I don’t know.  But I was very angry.  So I taught Willie everything in one day.  Report Writer, Stored Procedures and so on.  And I return to my evil self towards the end of the day and made Mohamed very very angry.  For that I deeply regret.

Why do I always mess up every relationship?  Why can’t I have a long term friendship.  I thought I start afresh every time I change environment.  But that is not happening.  Am I born to be a loner?  But why?  Why?

Watched a show called ‘Crucible’.  Very dark movie.