Tuesday, November 30, 2010
tonight is gonna be memorable, at least for concert-going chinese pop music lovers and audiophiles.
for the first time ever, a local audiophile/pop act is gonna combine narration, guitar, voices and audio-visual into one exciting package that is bound to thrill your aural and visual sensory.
hosted by a very sensitive, emotive and pretty DJ, ying ying of 988, she is gonna provide narration to some of the songs, with visual images to enhance the impact, leaving roger, winnie and jeffery to concentrate on what they do best - making beautiful music.
it is all gonna happen tonight and tomorrow night at NBT.
tonight is already packed to the brim. so if you miss it, you can try wednesday night. you can call me direct at 012-2083790 to reserve seats.
Monday, November 29, 2010
we work so hard, we are so poor.... sometimes, all we seek is a genuine compliment or a pat on the shoulder to tell you a job well done.
sadly, malaysians are not known to be vocally appreciative....
still, we have supporter like this one to make our day once in a while!
Been meaning to comment on a lot of your blogs but never seem to find the time to do it. Would have preferred to do it on your blog but as you can see I don’t think the length of my comments would fit.
Anyway, so much has been said about the dwindling sales of CDs and music in general due to piracy and unauthorized sharing. To me, I think there is nothing much that can be done to stop the decline. In Malaysia, it is even more hopeless. Don’t they even dare start talking about P2P. If they have the slightest concern on piracy, start with those selling pirated copies openly in shops and pasar malam. You tell the police they said is not under their jurisdiction, you tell the local councilors they say is not under theirs as well. You tell the ministry of trade….how to tell them ah? I also don’t know. So these pirate continue to make millions out of blood and sweat of those who made those music possible. I have seen pirated CD shops opening a few doors away from a police station (check out the one in Taipan USJ – about 10 shops away from the police station). When you see situations like this, you know it is hopeless.
The other issue is the buyers. People in general will always buy the cheapest goods. That is plain economic sense. I never blame those from the poor buying pirated CDs. Everyone has the right to listen to beautiful music. I guess that is what radio is for. But unfortunately, most radio stations today play crap music but let’s leave that for another time because that is another long story. What I cannot stand are people who drive Benz and BMWs buying pirated CDs. Here you are blaming the government for increase in crime rate and on the other hand, you are directly supporting and sponsoring the businesses of the underworld. Who do you think the pirated CD business belong to (Come to think of it…someone up there might have a piece of the pie… that’s why the lack of enforcement)? To be honest, I used to buy pirated CDs when I was younger and more naïve. Now, if I can’t afford it, I will just have to try to catch them on the radio.
On the internet part, I really don’t think there is much you can do about it. The internet is a double edged sword. It brought to the world accessibility to information at almost no cost to the user. Information consist of news, journals, books, recipes, opinions, movies, music and even porn. All this information did not come freely. Someone actually had to write them or produce them in some way or another. But why is it available freely on the internet? The music industry is not the only one who is facing dwindling sales of its physical form. Newspapers are selling less. Books are selling less. Even TVB is selling less I think. You can actually watch TVB dramas at the exact time they are launched in HK. No need to subscribe to Astro on Demand. That is what a lot of my peers do. As much as I disagree with the practice of P2P, I really do not think there is any way to stop the exchange of information on the net. Stopping P2P is not going to work at all. There are just too many workarounds to bypass it. I would even go to the extent to say that stopping P2P is just a waste of time and resources and something said to please the industry so that they can stop complaining about the pirates. What more with our gov’s ability to properly implement policies.
All said, please do not misunderstand my intentions as I am totally on your side. I love the music you make and I hope you will be able to continue making lovely music for years to come. Nowadays, the only gifts I buy for any occasions, be it happy or sad, are your CDs. I know its not even a drop in the ocean but so far all those who I have introduced your music to have professed their love for it. Whether that will translate to increase of sales, I wouldn’t know.
I am not trying to be a smart ass as I am sure you have thought about a lot of these things but do you sell your music on Itunes or other online music stores. I know the music don’t sound as good and the quality will suffer but that is where people buy their music nowadays. What I feel is that you need to take advantage of the net. You will lose some but I think you will gain more in the end if it is properly executed. Like your blog, I am sure you have obtained a lot of publicity through it. That is where I bump into your music in the first place. And furthermore, like what you said, those cheapskate buggers will never buy another CD in their whole life. I would think, they will rather not listen to music rather than fork out money for it. So these people do not actually affect your sales. What needs to be done is how to make your music more accessible to those who are willing to pay for it. That should be the focus. I know it’s all easier said than done and I know you will most probably say that hey… its easy for you to say when you are not the one loosing money but I feel that is how the reality is. The only thing I can do is try to spread your music around (by buying more of your CDs of course) and hope that will get more people to start buying for themselves.
Anyway, I wish you all the best in your future undertakings and by the way, congrats, on the launched of the Bossa Princess. Already ordered the milestone and can’t wait for the Bossa Princess to hit the stores. I actually prefer to buy it direct from you because I know you will get better margins (I know its just a few RM and its silliy of me to think that it will make a difference) but I find that it is actually faster to get them from the stores. I guess your online purchase Is basically to serve those people at places where they do not have CDRama orand overseas customers. Furthermore, if the record stores can get better sales from your albums, they will dare to commit more in future. Also reserved a spot for the coming gig at NBT. I took your previous advice. Go for the second show. Its normally better because they would have sort out some of the issues they face during the first night. Haha.
Enough of my rants. Thanks for listening and thanks again for bringing wonderful music to the masses. Your work and passion will not go unheard or unappreciated.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
"love scale", (first song in the music player on the right side) first sung by double take's mia palencia, is a great song composed by roger wang 10 year ago when he was taking a shower! you can read all about the origin of the song in roger's "milestones" cd special booklet as he explains in great details what inspired him to write the song..
Friday, November 26, 2010
an article in star today about stopping illegal downloads.
we do agree that stopping peer-to-peer file sharing will in the certain extent help to lessen the damage but in the long run, it won't eradicate illegal downloads.
these are our counterpoints:
1) other than p2p sharing, you can share your music/movies via rapidshare, yousendit and other file sharing services. there is no way for ISP to detect or stop this channel of sharing. even if malaysian ISPs successfully curb p2p sharing, the downloading population will migrate to rapidshare and other 3rd party sharing services in no time.
but we do agree, stopping p2p will lessen the damage to music labels and copyright owners, but only for a short time.
2) the cheapskate buggers who download illegally as part of his lifestlye would never ever buy another cd or dvd. so no matter how your curb him, he will find ways to continue his hobby. he would never ever buy originals!
anyway, it is a good move, eventho' it is not enough.
we are so very proud of the finished products of brasileiro and milestones. without the slightest of doubt, these are the two best looking albums we have so far. you can tell we don't stinge on packaging and design.
let it be known that this is the solo efforts of one man, with plenty of tears, sweats, pains and sleepless nights.
let it be known that this is the fight of one man against the tide of industry.
we are exhausted but we are damn proud and satisfied.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
we are at the crossroad as far as music industry is concerned. the format war continues, cd is fast dying, music servers are growing in popularity, online download increases pervasively and exponentially.... no music label is making money and many musicians are suffering.
we are not sure what the future holds for us.
but it is festive season we are in now and we shall put aside all these gloomy vibes and revel in good spirits and good music, shall we?
both the brasileiro and milestones are open for online reservation now!
as usual, both are imported cd pressed in hong kong's major high-end cd replication factory, sony dadc. we won't compromise for quality, that's why we insist on imported cd.
the retail price for brasileiro is RM49.90.
the retail price for roger wang milestones (double CD) is RM56.90
bonus: if you buy both of these albums, you only pay for one shipping for one cd!
for those who want to buy at cd stores, please head to popular cdrama, starting next friday 3rd december, 2010!
important: please direct all email inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
here's the important steps:
1) account for deposit is POP POP MUSIC 514271338499
2) send email to email@example.com
3) for local buyer, regardless of mode of payment, please add the following poslaju (local EMS) charges depending on where you are:
- kuala lumpur ---- > RM5.72
- peninsular ---- > RM6.00.
- sarawak -----> RM8.60
- sabah -----> RM9.20
- singapore ---> RM13.00
- australia -----> RM13.00
- united kingdom -----> RM20.00
- USA ------> RM25.00
- canada ---> RM25.00
for overseas buyers, we only accept paypal. our paypal is firstname.lastname@example.org. additionally, you have to add Rm5 for paypal fee.
if you have doubts or queries, please call leslie at +60122083790.
thanks for supporting pop pop music!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
7 more days to 2v1g's performance at NBT!
those who are still undecided on whether to go or not, here's 5 reasons why you should go:
- first time ever we are working with 988 DJs who will be providing their voices via narration. so it is not your ordinary gig!
- the show is going to combine voices + guitar + narration + video. it will be a super show full of "feel", with aural and visual sensory excitement!
- a special guest will make his/her debut at NBT!
- roger wang's latest album + brasileiro z yan album will be on sale
- free posters of roger wang and zyan will be given away during the gig
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
mp3 music player
words from roger wang:
I launched my first album in November 2000. It was a humble independent effort with no backing from a record label, distributor or management. But it started an important journey for me.
This is a very meaningful release for me and I hope you will continue your support by adding this album to your collection.
For online ordering details, please write to email@example.com.
the cd is RM60 inclusive of poslaju postage to anywhere in malaysia. actually total cost is more than RM60 but roger and pop pop have decided to absorb the extra. how nice of us ;-)
just pay via maybank2u/cheque deposit/interbank transfer to our maybank account: POP POP MUSIC 514271338499.
this classic from anita mui had us teary-eyed over and over again. such beautiful lyrics and melody. don't we miss her?
are music lovers a bunch of emotionally sensitive wimps?
not really but we are ultra sensitive, aurally, especially to legendary works that contribute to the progress of music. we are respectful of musical works that shaped the culture of its time/era.
and this one, in particular, overwhelmed us with nostalgic emotions.
[legend] is the 5-CD compilation of the 5 all-time-greatest cantopop legends, who happened to have left us one by one in recent years. they are anita mui, leslie cheung, wong kar kui (beyond), roman tam and danny chan ( 梅艳芳，张国荣，黄家驹，罗文，陈百强)
they don't need introduction so we don't do it here.
there was a time in the 70s and early 80s when cantopop was in its glorious best and TVB drama serials ruled the airwaves; or to be more exact, the videotape business in malaysia! those were the days of VHS and betamax. chow yun fatt and dodo cheng were household names, so were these legendary singers.
and music from the above legends were kept in audio cassettes, well before CD was invented.
re-listening to the music of these legends bring tears to our eyes. why was that cantopop of that era could be so memorable, musical and pure? why was that the idols from that era have so much more charisma, character, showmanship and longevity?
priced at merely RM65, this imported 5-CD compilation comes with special book (with many precious photos!) compiled by Ming Bao Daily that pays tribute to these 5 legends. let us warn you that the local pressing don't carry this book so boycott it!
yes, memories like these should be kept in lock and keys, because they are so precious that they cannot be stolen.
if you only buy one CD this year, make this the one.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
we are a fan of eason chan but we don't buy all his albums. not all are good, at the rate his produces his albums.
but the latest one, "taste the atmosphere", is pretty awesome.
the best singer in the chinese music business, eason has reached a stage where he could experiment and do all the stuff he wants at his whims and fancies.
this is particular free-spirited and experimental and we like eason this way, instead of singing the bore-us-till-kingdom-come kind of cantopop k songs. the music here is new age, chill-out, jazz and bossa, pretty daring for cantopop.
the best song is a wickedly funny song with a funny swipe on gungfu master "ip man" and it is done in bossa nova style! eason sings fantastic bossa nova!
this is good, buy it!
Saturday, November 20, 2010
a lot of faye wong fans don't like others to cover their idol's songs. to them, such act is sacrilegious!
if it is not because we are pretty confident that zyan can offer something different, we would not have dared to take this challenge.
fact is, "coyness" is one of those songs that gets the loudest cheers every time zyan sings it, whether in chinese cafes or other occasions. so it is natural that we include this song in the album.
we adopted a minimalist approach for the arrangement, but without making it sound like another 2v1g song. so roger wang uses two acoustic guitars, one steel string and one nylon string, to give the tonal contrast. he uses a slow bossa nova beat to convey that sensuousness of rhythm.
we love zyan's voice tone in the song, it is the only song in the album where she uses this tone. kind of sweet, demure and crystalline without over-doing it. very very nice.
it is one of the two ballads in the album, so ballad lovers, please treasure it!
Friday, November 19, 2010
last night kee thuan chye (great veteran journalist/playright/poet) was interviewed on BFM 89.9.
he requested to play "tanah pusaka" by the solianos (he got the permission from us) cos he said every time he listens to this song, it makes him cry. he especially likes the jazzed up version by the solianos.
"biar putih tulang, jangan putih mata", he said the words moved him a lot, every time without fail.
we could hear him choked with emotion when he spoke about this song.
really, this is the impact of music on people and we are so damn proud that our music moves kee thuan chye to tears.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
we present to you the second single from the album: romance in the rain 【灑灑雨】 (check the player on the right)
composed by a very talented singer-songwriter, worm, who is also a close friend of zyan, "romance in the rain" is totally unconventional of chinese pop music. heck, it does not even sound like a chinese song!
just like us, worm doesn't quite subscribe to the typical commercial stuff that's flooding the chinese radio stations. worm digs bossa nova and he is a big fan of antonio carlos jobim, the father of bossa nova.
over the years, worm honed his skills on the guitar playing bossa nova tunes. when zyan sounded to him that she wanted to record a bossa album, worm immediately offered to compose a song for her.
the moment zyan heard the song, she bought it instantly! it doesn't need much persuasion, "romance in the rain "is a good song, albeit very unconventional and very un-chinese but we love it all the same.
even arranger, tay cher siang, loves it. he took a very interesting approach in doing his arrangement. there is a lot of interplay between the double bass and piano, and the clarinet parts really add colors to the song. the beginning and the ending of the song are creatively done: it starts with thomas (the clarinet player) blowing "girl from ipanema"and ends with xiong (the guitarist) singing ad lib in portugese!
zyan does not need to work hard on this song because it is right up her alley. she uses a light and breezy tone to convey the feel-good vibes of the song. the song is about drizzles and walking along the beach with boyfriend and her dog... so you get the drift, it is kinda sweet, light and romantic.
we are very proud of worm for composing this kind of song for the chinese music market. it spells audacity and guts. we also love the way zyan sings it.
how about you?
Saturday, November 13, 2010
we have purposely deferred talking about this controversial topic: computer as source (CAS) or high-res downloads, which are related interchangeably.
many audiophile labels (whatever that are left! cos many have closed down!) and even pop labels, are facing this greatest challenge: to allow/offer high-res downloads or not to allow?
for the non-technical among you, high-res files are typically 24bit/96Khz (or 192Khz) audio master files, which are also called studio masters and theoretically they sound the best, now that we have music servers to play them. (note: studio masters cannot be played on the typical cd players). in contrast, what you hear on your commercial cd is downsampled to 16bit/44.1khz, obviously less resolution and understandably would not sound as good. please also note that audiophiles who buy music servers are not the least interested in ripping a cd and getting the same 16/44.1 specs. to them this is still low-res and compromising!
over the last couple of years, the audiophile world has been excited by the promise of the best sound from high-res files being played by computer or music servers. some major audiophile music labels like chesky and linn have, for the past 3-4 years, been offering high-res downloads at a modest fee.
many traditional music labels (even major pop labels) have been pressured to follow the bandwagon because nobody is buying CDs now so the only way to survive is to milk money from the only remaining group of customers - the audiophiles!
check what's happening here: hong kong major pop label golden typhoon has just recently engaged mastering engineer kent poon to remaster 3 pop titles (leo ku, justin lo and william so as pictured) and issue them as high-res data files on the dvd-r. this is totally shocking and bewildering, to say the least.
why is it shocking, you may ask?
studio masters are the intellectual property of the music label. this bold move is akin to revealing your programming source codes when you sell your software to your client! to sell the studio masters at the peanut price of HKD250 is completely baffling and suicidal!
second, because they are computer files, they can be shared among your friends! so one person buys it and he can pass it to all his friends. effectively, you may sell one copy but you lose 10 customers.
we know those enthusiasts who have gone the music servers way are going to scorn at us and say: you have to change with time, selling high-res is the only way to go, blah blah blah.
let's not even argue about the sound quality of high-res downloads on a music server (we personally haven't heard such a setup so we would not comment, lest we offend this bunch of users) but put yourself in our shoes (music labels) and consider the following critical issues:
1) if you offer online high-res downloads, what happen to your local and international distributors (and retailers)? you are killing their businesses! if we do that, our biggest retailer, cdrama, will immediately stop ordering from us! because now everyone is downloading from your site, borderless, and nobody needs to go to record shops anymore!
2) online high-res download has the possibility of reducing your maximum sales because the computer files can be shared.
3) and most importantly, the studio masters are your intellectual properties, your top secret, your livelihood, your blood, sweat and tears. you don't spend RM100K on a production and sell the whole works for only RM100. it is silly, stupid and suicidal. what if it lands in the hands of pirates?
4) the only way that makes sense to a music label is: if the titles are already at the tail-end of the sales cycle, i.e. it has been in the market for at least 3 years, then it may be justifiable to sell the studio masters, like most old classical titles or back catalogs.
there are many more repercussions of this suicidal move, that many users of music servers would not realize.
we urge you to stand on the side of music label and be more understanding.
chasing trends is one thing but not being to build a sustainable business model is an entirely issue altogether.
we would share more about this contentious issue in our next post.
we are pretty confident that solianos "pusaka" will do reasonably well in malaysia but how about at international level? it is never easy for malay pop to break into international scene.
therefore, we take the audacity to promote the "pusaka" album as the manhattan transfer of malaysia or some sort of "the weavers: reunion at carnegie hall", an audiophile classic, eventho' the solianos will be humbly overwhelmed by such lofty comparisons.
never mind, marketing is marketing. we need to be gung ho and audacious!
we are strategizing our marketing plan and branding of the solianos, so that people will know what kind of style they carry even without listening to their music.
another great news, a malaysian celebrity has agreed to lend his voice to the album. as to what kind of "voice", we will keep the cat in the bag at the moment but we guarantee that you will like his voice!
Friday, November 12, 2010
let's us introduce you to the first song in the brasileiro album : autumnal night, a classic of bai guang. [look to the panel on the right, click the play icon and you are on!]
before we even talk about how zyan tackles this song, let's credit the arranger, maestro salvador guerzo, for his masterful work. there is a story to this arrangement. ador initially did a brilliant big-band arrangement which had us screaming in joy, but due to the need of having 8 musicians and the associated costs, we asked ador to redo another version, which is the one you are listening now.
ador employed "a double bossa" arrangement style which gives the song a very rhythmic foundation that will make the listener sway with the music. the acoustic guitar intro, played by nick from aswara, is quite a magical intro. pay attention to ador's brilliant saxophone solo (sorry, it is not found in this edited version, you have to get the album la!) , this alone is worth the price of admission! ador's sax has the burnish tone similar to sax legend stan getz (that's why many regard ador as the stan getz of malaysia!) the tone is intoxicating and sensuous to the ears. not many sax players can blow like this, we assure you.
another signature and brilliant style of ador's arrangement (fans of ador would know this!) is the attack. the attack adds drama and contrast to the song. coupled with rizal soliano's dynamic drumming, this attack is very evident in many passages in the song. ador uses even more dramatic attacks in the solianos "pusaka" album. only arrangers of great skills can devise attacks in the arrangement, this we can assure you.
those who love tay cher siang in jz8 album will be even more impressed with his playing in this album. cher siang plays less and more sensitive, it is obvious that bossa nova is right up his alley. many have commented that cher siang's playing is true virtuoso, world-class standards. listen to his piano in this track and you would agree. in fact, cher siang's piano is the one of the main selling points of this album.
our bossa princess has a way with oldies, despite her age. she sings with a deep tone that oozes maturity and sex appeal. there was once she sang this song at a function and an auntie came to the stage and praised her profusely!
stefano, the producer, wanted zyan to maintain a rhythmic sway while delivering this song. it is a sweet song about longings. zyan sings it with an ease and confidence that is positively convincing. we definitely could feel zyan's sweetness and happiness in her voice.
recording wise, this is also one of the best recorded tracks in the album.
with all these reasons, we made it the first song in the album!
next week, we would premier another song, a local composition titled "romance in the rain" 【灑灑雨】, a great bossa nova ditty that truly carries the brazilian vibes....
Thursday, November 11, 2010
let us tell you something: those who have the privilege to hear the "pusaka" recording so far, have nothing but praises for the album. they all said something big in gonna happen to the solianos with this album...
with the solianos, you either get it or you don't. if you get it (most of them are above 35), you would be going gaga that such fantastic talents finally release an album of great significance. if you don't get it, no amount of explaining or convincing will help.
it is hard to profile the kind of people that would dig this album but basically you have to live the era (early 70s to late 80s) to know what malaysia was going thru, culturally and politically. you would probably be studying in english medium schools before the government changed to malay medium; you would have lived thru the golden era of RTM (hiburan malam minggu and bintang RTM!) and listened to at least a couple of top malay pop albums by p.ramlee, sudirman, freedom and sheila majid. it is a very malaysian feeling, very very anak malaysia feeling.
that's why believe that "pusaka" doesn't need much marketing. it will sell by itself with word of mouth and inner circle networking. but of course, we want every malaysia to listen to the music, that's why we are planning for a big-scale marketing campaign.
we are almost done with "widuri" and we tell you, the vocal harmony is absof**k**lutely out of this world! ador's arrangement for the vocal harmony is the best so far with this song and we simply can't get enough of this song!
as stated, "pusaka" is our swan song before we take our sabbatical. it is going to be our proudest moment to date simply because the music is the most malaysian and most relevant to us.
a lot of things are brewing here and we are accelerating at breakneck speed.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
what an oxymoron - high-class pirate!
we just have a tip-off from our supporter in penang that even pirates nowadays have gone classy in their musical tastes!
she found pirated copies of 2v1g and jz8, paraded alongside olivia ong, susan wong, stacey kent and emi fujita!
we are flattered, at the same time, would like to salute the pirates for being discerning and tasteful.
to make a total mockery of out it, according to our supporter, olivia ong was doing a promo in the same building!
local hifi blog, hifi-unlimited, gives a full thumbs-up to jz8, 6 months after its release.
better late than never... i am sure lydia chew and cher siang would be glad to know that the album is well accepted in the local audiophile community.
we don't do it very often but once we do it, it is a special occasion.
2v1g is back to NBT for only the 2nd time since its inception in 2008!
besides playjng a vastly new repertoire, the presentation format will be totally different (it is not just singing and light bantering like a normal gig).
add another very special guest to it, you would have a show that promises to take your breath away.
time: 9:30pm - 12:30am
presentation: 2 sets of 45-minute each, 15-minute interval
cover charge: RM40
NBT reservation line: 03-21423737 (after 5pm)
make your booking now! please state which night you want to attend.
capacity is only 100 max so it is extremely limited.
you need to be really kiasu if you don't wanna miss it!
note: 6 albums will be on sale on the venue: 2v1g-1, 2v1g-2, jz8, love's tapestry and the latest brasileiro z yan and roger wang "milestones" collection. autographs and posters will be given away!
Sunday, November 7, 2010
we were the pioneer in 2nd hand cds more than 10 years ago with our extremely famous and ultra cool store, music exchange, once located in jalan walter grenier, at the back of lot 10.
amcorp mall has become the successor of this subculture in recent years. with its multitude of hifi shops and its now-famous flea market, it has become our favourite haunt on weekends.
despite the increasingly endangered value of cds, 2nd hand cd stalls have mushroomed in the flea market in amcorp mall with many peddlers selling a wide variety of used cds.
at our last count, there are more than 10 peddlers of used cds in amcorp but only two or three are really good, with genuine hard-to-find titles.
one that recently surfaced is this stall owned/manned by this young chap by the name of jimmy.
he has many rare titles, mainly chinese and canto pop cds, which are extremely hard to find. his price is reasonable too. we have grapped many gems from him since he started his stall 3 weeks ago.
this is one of the gems we picked: mavis hee [許美靜] EP, when mavis hee is so famous in hong kong. i could have paid more han RM50 for this but i got it for half the price!
jimmy looks like a sincere guy who knows his music but we have warned him that he must not get greedy when his customer base increases in due course!
if you still collect chinese cds, jimmy's stall is a must-visit on saturday and sunday when the flea market is on!
we will cover more interesting used cd stalls in amcorp in due course.
Friday, November 5, 2010
the year was 1988. i was in singapore. i bought a book called "the teenage textbook" by adrian tan, a then law undergrad. it was the cheekiest and funniest book i have ever read. it became a cult hit in singapore. there was even a movie adapted to the book.
more than 20 years later, i found this speech by adrian tan (must be in the late 30s now) in facebook.
the reason why i share with you is because: i live by every word that adrian tan is preaching. it is positively motivating and inspiring. better than reading tonnes of motivational books, at least for me!
Written by Adrian Tan, author of The Teenage Textbook (1988), was the guest-of-honour at a recent NTU convocation ceremony. This was his speech to the graduating class of 2008.
I must say thank you to the faculty and staff of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information for inviting me to give your convocation address. It’s a wonderful honour and a privilege for me to speak here for ten minutes without fear of contradiction, defamation or retaliation. I say this as a Singaporean and more so as a husband.
My wife is a wonderful person and perfect in every way except one. She is the editor of a magazine. She corrects people for a living. She has honed her expert skills over a quarter of a century, mostly by practising at home during conversations between her and me.
On the other hand, I am a litigator. Essentially, I spend my day telling people how wrong they are. I make my living being disagreeable.
Nevertheless, there is perfect harmony in our matrimonial home. That is because when an editor and a litigator have an argument, the one who triumphs is always the wife.
And so I want to start by giving one piece of advice to the men: when you’ve already won her heart, you don’t need to win every argument.
Marriage is considered one milestone of life. Some of you may already be married. Some of you may never be married. Some of you will be married. Some of you will enjoy the experience so much, you will be married many, many times. Good for you.
The next big milestone in your life is today: your graduation. The end of education. You’re done learning.
You’ve probably been told the big lie that “Learning is a lifelong process” and that therefore you will continue studying and taking masters’ degrees and doctorates and professorships and so on. You know the sort of people who tell you that? Teachers. Don’t you think there is some measure of conflict of interest? They are in the business of learning, after all. Where would they be without you? They need you to be repeat customers.
The good news is that they’re wrong.
The bad news is that you don’t need further education because your entire life is over. It is gone. That may come as a shock to some of you. You’re in your teens or early twenties. People may tell you that you will live to be 70, 80, 90 years old. That is your life expectancy.
I love that term: life expectancy. We all understand the term to mean the average life span of a group of people. But I’m here to talk about a bigger idea, which is what you expect from your life.
You may be very happy to know that Singapore is currently ranked as the country with the third highest life expectancy. We are behind Andorra and Japan, and tied with San Marino. It seems quite clear why people in those countries, and ours, live so long. We share one thing in common: our football teams are all hopeless. There’s very little danger of any of our citizens having their pulses raised by watching us play in the World Cup. Spectators are more likely to be lulled into a gentle and restful nap.
Singaporeans have a life expectancy of 81.8 years. Singapore men live to an average of 79.21 years, while Singapore women live more than five years longer, probably to take into account the additional time they need to spend in the bathroom.
So here you are, in your twenties, thinking that you’ll have another 40 years to go. Four decades in which to live long and prosper.
Bad news. Read the papers. There are people dropping dead when they’re 50, 40, 30 years old. Or quite possibly just after finishing their convocation. They would be very disappointed that they didn’t meet their life expectancy.
I’m here to tell you this. Forget about your life expectancy.
After all, it’s calculated based on an average. And you never, ever want to expect being average.
Revisit those expectations. You might be looking forward to working, falling in love, marrying, raising a family. You are told that, as graduates, you should expect to find a job paying so much, where your hours are so much, where your responsibilities are so much.
That is what is expected of you. And if you live up to it, it will be an awful waste.
If you expect that, you will be limiting yourself. You will be living your life according to boundaries set by average people. I have nothing against average people. But no one should aspire to be them. And you don’t need years of education by the best minds in Singapore to prepare you to be average.
What you should prepare for is mess. Life’s a mess. You are not entitled to expect anything from it. Life is not fair. Everything does not balance out in the end. Life happens, and you have no control over it. Good and bad things happen to you day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. Your degree is a poor armour against fate.
Don’t expect anything. Erase all life expectancies. Just live. Your life is over as of today. At this point in time, you have grown as tall as you will ever be, you are physically the fittest you will ever be in your entire life and you are probably looking the best that you will ever look. This is as good as it gets. It is all downhill from here. Or up. No one knows.
What does this mean for you? It is good that your life is over.
Since your life is over, you are free. Let me tell you the many wonderful things that you can do when you are free.
The most important is this: do not work.
Work is anything that you are compelled to do. By its very nature, it is undesirable.
Work kills. The Japanese have a term “Karoshi”, which means death from overwork. That’s the most dramatic form of how work can kill. But it can also kill you in more subtle ways. If you work, then day by day, bit by bit, your soul is chipped away, disintegrating until there’s nothing left. A rock has been ground into sand and dust.
There’s a common misconception that work is necessary. You will meet people working at miserable jobs. They tell you they are “making a living”. No, they’re not. They’re dying, frittering away their fast-extinguishing lives doing things which are, at best, meaningless and, at worst, harmful.
People will tell you that work ennobles you, that work lends you a certain dignity. Work makes you free. The slogan “Arbeit macht frei” was placed at the entrances to a number of Nazi concentration camps. Utter nonsense.
Do not waste the vast majority of your life doing something you hate so that you can spend the small remainder sliver of your life in modest comfort. You may never reach that end anyway.
Resist the temptation to get a job. Instead, play. Find something you enjoy doing. Do it. Over and over again. You will become good at it for two reasons: you like it, and you do it often. Soon, that will have value in itself.
I like arguing, and I love language. So, I became a litigator. I enjoy it and I would do it for free. If I didn’t do that, I would’ve been in some other type of work that still involved writing fiction – probably a sports journalist.
So what should you do? You will find your own niche. I don’t imagine you will need to look very hard. By this time in your life, you will have a very good idea of what you will want to do. In fact, I’ll go further and say the ideal situation would be that you will not be able to stop yourself pursuing your passions. By this time you should know what your obsessions are. If you enjoy showing off your knowledge and feeling superior, you might become a teacher.
Find that pursuit that will energise you, consume you, become an obsession. Each day, you must rise with a restless enthusiasm. If you don’t, you are working.
Most of you will end up in activities which involve communication. To those of you I have a second message: be wary of the truth. I’m not asking you to speak it, or write it, for there are times when it is dangerous or impossible to do those things. The truth has a great capacity to offend and injure, and you will find that the closer you are to someone, the more care you must take to disguise or even conceal the truth. Often, there is great virtue in being evasive, or equivocating. There is also great skill. Any child can blurt out the truth, without thought to the consequences. It takes great maturity to appreciate the value of silence.
In order to be wary of the truth, you must first know it. That requires great frankness to yourself. Never fool the person in the mirror.
I have told you that your life is over, that you should not work, and that you should avoid telling the truth. I now say this to you: be hated.
It’s not as easy as it sounds. Do you know anyone who hates you? Yet every great figure who has contributed to the human race has been hated, not just by one person, but often by a great many. That hatred is so strong it has caused those great figures to be shunned, abused, murdered and in one famous instance, nailed to a cross.
One does not have to be evil to be hated. In fact, it’s often the case that one is hated precisely because one is trying to do right by one’s own convictions. It is far too easy to be liked, one merely has to be accommodating and hold no strong convictions. Then one will gravitate towards the centre and settle into the average. That cannot be your role. There are a great many bad people in the world, and if you are not offending them, you must be bad yourself. Popularity is a sure sign that you are doing something wrong.
The other side of the coin is this: fall in love.
I didn’t say “be loved”. That requires too much compromise. If one changes one’s looks, personality and values, one can be loved by anyone.
Rather, I exhort you to love another human being. It may seem odd for me to tell you this. You may expect it to happen naturally, without deliberation. That is false. Modern society is anti-love. We’ve taken a microscope to everyone to bring out their flaws and shortcomings. It far easier to find a reason not to love someone, than otherwise. Rejection requires only one reason. Love requires complete acceptance. It is hard work – the only kind of work that I find palatable.
Loving someone has great benefits. There is admiration, learning, attraction and something which, for the want of a better word, we call happiness. In loving someone, we become inspired to better ourselves in every way. We learn the truth worthlessness of material things. We celebrate being human. Loving is good for the soul.
Loving someone is therefore very important, and it is also important to choose the right person. Despite popular culture, love doesn’t happen by chance, at first sight, across a crowded dance floor. It grows slowly, sinking roots first before branching and blossoming. It is not a silly weed, but a mighty tree that weathers every storm.
You will find, that when you have someone to love, that the face is less important than the brain, and the body is less important than the heart.
You will also find that it is no great tragedy if your love is not reciprocated. You are not doing it to be loved back. Its value is to inspire you.
Finally, you will find that there is no half-measure when it comes to loving someone. You either don’t, or you do with every cell in your body, completely and utterly, without reservation or apology. It consumes you, and you are reborn, all the better for it.
Don’t work. Avoid telling the truth. Be hated. Love someone.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
thanks for those who voted in the cover selection!
never had this blog received so many comments :-0
looks like the overwhelming winner is cover #3.... many testosterone-driven male confessed that they chose cover #3 because it shows the princess' frontal... gee, that's naughty of you!
however, we have a not so good news for you....
many sharp observers (audiophiles mostly) have pointed out to us that cover #3 looks too similar to olivia ong's "a girl meets bossa nova 2" album cover above!
let's us state honestly that our photographer doesn't even know who olivia ong is so the resemblance is purely coincidental.
the creative team (mango creative) has decided to use this as a back cover instead. so the main cover will be cover #1 and cover #2 (cover with the least votes) will also be used as the cover for the booklet.
so all three covers are used, albeit in different places!
thanks to all the votes, comments and feedback, you have been very constructive!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
all our albums so far have been self-financed, except for some minor sponsorships from one or two hifi dealers for the mastering fee.
since these last two albums (brasileiro and solianos) are significant "milestone" projects, we have decided to ask for sponsorship more aggressively.
sad to say, it has not been very successful. we are not sure if the economic climate is bad or people just don't see values in sponsoring an album. even if the money we ask is so miniscule, they still find lots of excuses to turn us down.
we guess the main reason is that we don't network enough in the right circles. most sponsorship deals are sealed because of friendships and networking. we know mostly it is barter trade or in-kind sponsorship. the local chinese music industry likes to inflate sponsorship figures, we think it is a lot of b-s.
fortunately, we are not poor buggers. we just need extra money to lessen our burden so that we can spend it on better packaging or print more posters and flyers. sponsorship or no sponsorship, nothing can stop us from marching on with these two projects.
we are getting to the tail-end of this fantastic journey. solianos "pusaka" have 3 more songs before we wrap up the recording.
with such a great portfolio (7 albums under our label), next year will be spent on promoting our stable of artistes to do more events, gigs, concerts and functions.
time to harvest, so to speak.
truly we are enjoying every minute of our work. dang, it doesn't even qualify as work. it is all fun and satisfaction.
in our next life, we still want to be music producer with a cool label, never mind that we struggle along the way.