Saturday, September 29, 2007

Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma

Got this book in India in June. Its just published this year and gives detailed background to Burmese political history and background. That and also details about The Lady's dad Aung San takes up about nearly half the book. The other half is a detailed account on Aung San Suu Kyi's life, her upbringing, her marriage, education in Oxford England, her children and then her involvement in politics.

She had foreseen that she would one day have to leave the comfortable family life in the UK to help her people. She's had many opportunities to leave Burma and lead a normal life but chose the noble path instead and continues to be present in Burma for her people.

The book also details the appalling atrocities that the army has carried out on the people and especially the minority ethnic groups.

Its a good read and definitely timely now.

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"genetic mix..."

finally got a new electric guitar about a month ago, its a modest one with one a single double-humbucker.   But its an ibanez with a nice feel.  The fret board is pretty smooth and nice to the touch.  Action is pretty low so that means the fingers don't feel raw after playing for long stretches.

Its suppose to be composed for some science open house for my colleague to present slides with.  But because I was in such a relax mode to compose it since it wasn't suppose to be in the album, I think there were some creative juices that flowed into the song.  I decided to work on it abit more after I felt I had used too many GB loops in the song.  So I changed the second part so that there was a chord change!  The first version didn't have one cos it was suppose to be like some short jingle for powerpoint slides.

Spent the better part of 1am to 3am to add in some stuttering guitar leads but overall I am quite happy with this.  Its quite a feat to play the guitar half-asleep.  I remember going into the room and getting ready for bed at 1.30 and then waking up to add more guitar parts.... until 3 am.  then Josh wakes up 5 am tearful and says he can't fall asleep so we moved to the couch outside and camped out....  eventually he got some sleep but woke up bug-eyed..

So this song is dedicated to teeming life in the sea and the world, the Burmese and also to the poor japanese man who died in Burma.

Thanks to Ivan for tips on layering the guitar leads and most of the fancy stuff I know on Garageband.   Also thanks to Siva for reacquainting us... viva la Ang Mo Kio Sec.  Several more songs to go before the album is complete.  As expected Ivan's been prolific and providing a good balance to the album as it shapes up.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"Did you feel the tremors?" - Part 2

I was watching Makansutra on the Asian Food Channel when suddenly I felt the TV screen with Seetoh eating his chengtng swaying. He had just mentioned that the chengtng he was eating from that shop was not sour, so the ingredients were of high quality.

I thought it was a giddy spell, as I have had one two many meetings these few days. But having experienced the swaying buildings before in March this year (see this post by me and this post by Otterman), I knew it may be another tremor. I could definitely feel the sway, so I asked the wife, wassup? She was listening to snow patrol and suddenly felt giddy and then we saw the one of our kids' bag hanging on the doorknob sway. And then the building swayed a little again.... So we decided let's just walk down stairs bringing the kids who thought it all fun. So before I could feel paiseh about it, I met quite a few block members hanging around the pavement and looking at the buildings. The ground floor of the flats across the junction were also gathered some people who were also looking up at the buildings.

Called Siva, because he would probably be online and being so Web2.0 savvy could check out what was happening. I remembered also that he knew where to check in real time the websites that reported earthquakes, but he didn't answer handphone, so called Ladybug who was at a seminar/class but didn't feel anything even though her friend later said the projector screen was shaking... Finally got Siva and he checked up the useful USGS site to tell me that it was a Sumatran earthquake measuring about 8 in magnitude. Check out his first post today about it here and the second one on how to report tremors.

Check out also Leafmonkey's extensive and interesting perspective of Singaporean's reactions to the tremors.

Later our upstairs neighbour recalled that she was trying to put her baby to sleep when felt the bed moving, so she listened out to see if there were anyone in the block screaming, a measure of how serious the situation was and then went back to tuck her baby into bed.

Here are some pictures at Sengkang. By this time the crowd slowly petered out.

One of the families brought down a suitcase.

By this time, the crowd was petering off and I was relaying to them Siva's news that it was a sumatran earthquake.

extra notes

Jen said she felt giddy cos maybe she had been too busy with her flu and work

Siva said that he felt giddy cos he thought he was fighting off an infection and overworking on lectures

I said I felt giddy because I thought, that's it, must be the many meetings I have attended this week.

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Sea anemone

"Sea anemone" is dedicated to seashore life and preservation of the coastal environment--- also to my wife cos of the late nights I kept with this and the kids for sometimes neglecting them....

Just managed to put the finishing touches on this one. This is a rather technical piece , at least for me cos it the focus was on the melody that is more structured than I can normally handle.. and it was planned to repeat quite a bit. Hopefully it sticks like a splinter into the listeners head. Also, the lead guitars are at the forefront- a little intimidating since I am so used to being in the rhythm part of the band... Made the improvements from my other songs based on comments from Ivan.

For this song, I started with the chords and the beat in Garageband and then started to mess around with a few melodies over the tracks. Its a bit plastic cos it doesn't have the sit at the void deck or by the beach kind of feel "seashore days"or "starfish" have but its a bit neater and cleaner and something one can tap the feet to.

It took a while to finish this cos there were other things in the way... the usual... have to eat and go out and work and stuff like that. But got things done nocturnally. Didn't like the way it was so repetitive I finally put in a verse with different chord progression to save it - that really too a bit of time.

Hope to do about 8-10 songs by the end of the year to compile an album called "Seashore days".