Friday, December 30, 2011

32 ;)

Thats gonna sound scandalicious in a few years heheh. So here i am awake for my 6 am flight only to find out its been delayed 3 hours. So i thought might as well post the birthday post. A month ago i discovered that my passport photo today looks much younger than the one taken 5 years back. Illusion? Nah being at peace with urself n being able to make urself happy without wanting someone else to make u happy sure helps. Travelling on the bday is one of those things ive decided to do as what more can give myself than the joy of doing what i love ;)) Life is To be lived as fully as possible. Be proud of your choices, stand up for your rights and most importantly live your life. ;))) V-Eyez Imagery My photography blog V-Eyez Imagery on Facebook

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sacrifice

People often tell me the silliest things. Oh you’ve got so much money, no responsibilities and you can do whatever you want whenever you want.

Sometimes I smile sometimes I get annoyed truth us I want to tell them.

All I want to tell them is I challenge you to live one day of my life in each of my 31years! For only then you’ll know what all I’ve done to achieve and be someone.

To be a dancer and singer I sacrificed every single Saturday Sunday of my life since I was 8 till 25 years old to go for classes. When we were old enough to take the bus we used to sit 3 hours in a bus to get to class every weekend!

To be the writer and employee in the position I am today, I’ve spent countless of hours working late, working weekends, working to hit my deadlines just so I can go on holiday and gone through the craziest people and situations.

To become the artist/photographer I am today I have sacrificed so much time, money, health and more just to become good at what I do.

Its 2 in the morning and I’ve just finished my own work for the day after working the whole day at the office till 8pm. I don’t have weekends, I work most of them, either I’m editing or shooting. To go for one of my holidays I have to work non stop so I can finish all my deadlines.

So it amazes me when ppl think my life is easy. Yes it is much more easier financially now but work wise this is the busiest ive ever been and the most tired I’ve gotten.
No one gets living in your means, everyone wants the latest gadjet, the branded clothes this and that but no one wants to work for it. I have only lived within the boundaries of my own financial limits. I used the same old phone for 6 years before I finally change it. I now use the cheapest phone on the market simply because smart phones are too expensive and not worth the money and the packages are daylight robbery. Instead because I needed to be in constant contact with people, I got the ipad which I saved money for and got the cheapest 3g package.

I am a bloody proud cheapskate, I buy stuff on bargains, I know the best deals and would have done enough research to get them. I upgraded my pc in stages using the same monitor for some 7, 8 years till it finally died on me and only upgrading the hardware and software when ever needed. I don’t believe in brands unless its electronics that too I wouldn’t buy a brand if they’re overpriced no matter what the fanboys say.

I started working in the height of recession in 2001 for a super small salary and I still managed to make ends meet and no I did not live off my parents. Heck I’ve been supporting myself and more since then even after my dad passed on. I never got a bonus in my life till 2004 that too it was a basic one. Every single thing ive purchased or spent has been in cash so that I don’t have to borrow from anyone. I used to say every single sen I could to get them and that’s how I bought my first camera.

I saved money to go on holidays. I don’t drink not just coz I don’t like the taste, simply because its such a waste of money. I don’t gamble, I don’t smoke, I eat when needed, I buy whats necessary.

I’ve lived a frugal, hardworking but happy and wonderful life for I posses the most important thing I am satisfied with whatever I have at that moment. I aspire to be more but I have never wanted what others have and that has made all the difference.
Stop spending on unnecessary stuff, don’t buy big amounts on credit, pay up your credit card bills but not if it means you don’t eat but party like crazy. Have a balanced life.
So stop telling people oh you have so much and learn to live in your means.

I never was crazy rich and still am not but I am one bloody hardworking person who knows how to live within her means.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Thank you

A fore note – I wrote this weeks before during Thanksgiving after reading the letter by Joe. The wonder of this note is I’ve had more amazing opportunities and experiences in the last few weeks and once again I am thankful to everyone ;)

Joe Mcnally one of the world famous photographers I’ve had the rare opportunity to meet wrote a beautiful post on the things he was thankful for. It echoes my own sentiments as I’ve written many times, notes of thanks for the many things in life be it good or bad and I think it’s long overdue that I write another one.

Thank you for all the opportunities I’ve had in photography, the people I’ve met, the amazing opportunities to meet extraordinary photographers who are even more outstanding as people, the friends I’ve made, the photos that have moved me, the experiences I’ve learnt and many more than comes my way.

Thank you to all the friends and the people who have loved my work and continue to spread the joy to their circles of friends. Thank you for letting me be a part of your memory and treating me like family. Thank you for believing in me. Years down the line I want those photos to represent you as person and most importantly a cherished memory of love and happiness.

Thank you to everyone who thought of me when they saw an opportunity present itself. Regardless of the outcome your positive thoughts and actions have been a great encouragement for me. I am forever grateful and indebted to your kindness.

Thank you for all the wonderful travel opportunities I’ve had this year and the one’s to come. Travel is an addiction I inherited from my father and I am ever grateful for the experiences it has taught me.

Thank you to my IT experts and Equipment experts, yes I do like being poisoned and your advices and help has been an amazing support.

Thank you for the never-ending work, it’s a boon to a workaholic like me.

Thank you to everyone who has loved my work enough to drop me emails or personally found me to tell me, the million likes, favourites and words of appreciation. I truly cherish all of them. It’s an amazing feeling to wake up to all this everyday ;)  

Thank you for showing the light in the weirdest situations.

Thank you for the setback that put into perspective life’s priorities.

Thank you for teaching me to forgive but not forget.

Thank you to the worlds greatest artist - nature for your inspiring beauty and magical art work.

Thanks you for the bounty of rain and sun although I do have a preference for rain ;p

Thank you for all the choice of food we have, for there are many who have no choice.

Thank god I was born here for there is no where I would rather live or be a citizen of.

Thank you to all those people who are neither friends nor family who have shown me kindness and care. For all the times I was walked back to my car in my parking lot, my ever supportive and scary mechanics ;p, the various waiters and waitresses of the restaurants I frequent who treat me with extra care and provide me with entertainment, my dr’s who have taken the time to hear me out; drivers, middle people, coordinators who have been a helpful lot; the ever helpful hotel staffs, the awesome masseurs I’ve met this year, my tailors who create my whims and fancies, my printers who print and give me outstanding work every time, the stores who bring in essential stuff that I need and want, the service industry lot who get asked silly questions coz I want silly things ;p, Canon’s awesome service and ability to calm anxious me, Airasia for the cheap flights and lovely stewardess who don’t think they’re queens and you’re their subjects; Thank you everyone.

Thank you for all the wonderful music and dance I’ve had the opportunity to listen and watch. Music and dance moves me like nothing else and I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to experience them.

Thank you for all my friends good and bad. The good for being such supportive shoulders and for the fun and laughter, the bad for proving to me my actions are correct and I’m better off without you. Peace is not underrated.

Thank you for all the criticism, back stabbing, brick bats and unkind words for you are my biggest encouragement. I work best in the face of adversity, for your actions and words will only fuel me to do better and for that I am ever grateful. I am where I am today because of you.

Thank you for the undying inspirations that drive me to do the craziest things. Thank you to the people who have learnt to trust me in my craziness. You have no idea how much it means to me.

Thank you for filling my soul with dance and music. Thank you for that opportunity to not only perform but to present one of those million ideas in my head that would have never had seen the light if it hadn’t been for such opportunities.

Thank you for all the sadness, fears, problems, blocks, disappointments and more for without them I wouldn’t be me. I am stronger only because of this.

Thank you for all the love for life is nothing without it.

Mostly thank you to god for always being there, in my tears and laughter. You have always been a strong support and I’m not sure whose faith in who is much stronger for everytime I think this is just too much you lift me up with your little miracles. 

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tsunami - the dance




Early this year I was inspired to dance after watching a show. At first it was going to be a solo piece and as I was thinking of what to do, anger became the focus of my emotions. As I was looking for a story it slowly dawned on me to do Tsunami from the view point of mother nature. What started out as a solo piece became bigger and bigger and finally emerged as a group dance.

Tsunami starts with the evolution of mankind as mother nature dances and guides the birth of humankind. After a full cycle of life where she guides them, she returns to her meditative state. For a while they follow her path and soon they break away to create chaos in the world. We cut trees for no reason, we hunt animals for the joy of it and we kill our own people for greed and power. 


Each time we do this, we are hurting mother nature herself and soon she boils in anger, anguished by the pain of seeing her own dead she erupts into the Tsunami.


Chaos reigns as mother nature terrorises land with her waves. As fast as it started it suddenly ends and she returns to her meditation only for the cycle to continue.

Choreographer and Dancer - Visithra Manikam


Dancers 


Cheryl 
Laveenia 
Thineswari 


Music: AR Rahman
Mixed by: Aravind AM, Chennai
Video by Jasnita 


'Tsunami' was performed at KLPACs Short & Sweet: Dance from 12 - 15 October 2011 at Pentas 2, KLPAC, Malaysia.




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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Deepavalli Nalvalthukal



Deepavalli Nalvalthukal


Ehlorukkum ehn inniya Deepavalli Nalvalthukal
Happy Deepavalli everyone ;)




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Monday, October 24, 2011

Dancing to the light



Sometimes I forget how much I love being on stage till I’m there dancing.


Sweet


The costumes, the light, the makeup, the transformation into character, how can I not like dancing?

The week long dance programme is finally over together with all its drama. The drama didn’t really affect me as I knew it was going to happen but what was surprising was the number of people who knew it was going to happen. Now that was surprising and I so wish someone had told me earlier. Seriously like one person? Arggggg well at least it provided laughs and disbelief for some ;)

But it was the actions of everyone after it that touched my heart. KLPAC went out of its way to ensure things ran smoothly for us, so many people had lovely words to tell us and most importantly it helped us get over things fast and focus on our dance.

Anger

The dance has been choreographed to be different each night as parts of the dance are about the channelling of emotions in the drama style of Bharatanatyam. Since the dancers weren’t trained in the style, I took essences of the dance and created a piece that is neither contemporary nor traditional. It’s fully traditional in concept just not in execution but neither is it contemporary or fusion.

I had wanted a very specific look for the dance and I must say each gal looked like a devi with her red kunkumam shinning on the forehead and their red hands blazing in the light. And our black skirts with red underlining twirled and twirled just like I wanted them to occasionally giving the audience a glimpse of red as we did our turns.

Chaos

This was my second Short and Sweet and I truly love the festival simply because it brings so many people together and you meet such lovely people. The Aswara dancers are so talented yet such humble people. Medula touched us with the story behind his dance. So were the zombies from a local Univ I so cannot remember now. We had lovely roomies once again with ours being the out of the world room with the Kazakstan dancer, our Brazilian group and us with our Indian dance.

The moment we finished dancing we’d head straight to the green room for dinner as we could never eat before our dance. That’s where we would meet and talk with the rest of the dancers. Oh since we share the room with the other bigger hall as well, we ended up meeting with the lovely group of sweet old men of the quarters and sean ghazi and a few more people. I must say he is pretty cute ;p

Conversations in the green room ranged from silly nonsense to conversations on how art can heal. Art can definitely shape you to be more confident and mend many things. I am who I am thanks to all my years in the art world.

Cute

I think our biggest fan was the husband of our sweet Kazakstan dancer, everyday he will tell her something about our dance or notice something new and the next day she will relate all of it back to us. From the emotions to the choreography to the lighting, he had so many praises for us. We finally met him on Sunday when we were there to watch the gala night and once again he was full of praises. 

Sexy

To me emotions are a very important part of dance. The audience needs to be able to feel the emotion of a dance and that’s why I am absolutely satisfied with the results. The first night I was standing out there looking for the director, someone stopped me to tell me how powerful our dance and message was, then they showed me their voting slips to show that they were supporting us. Every night someone stops us to thank us for the thought provoking dance. One Chinese man stopped one of the gals and told her
“at first it was so simple, and then you gave me a scare and then when I realised the message it made me so sad and I understood the pain,”

Another couple said “our concentration was so great it was as if we were living each character”

 u and your girls evoked every emotion in me at the show..it was remarkable..im still in awe!!well done!!

Some people would applaud us as we walked out to go home and thanked us for the experience.

Others would give us smiles of acknowledgement.

So many people have wanted to know where I got the inspiration or how. That is a story on its on and I shall leave it for later.


Dancer

Of course to carry on the conversation I’d ask people were you scared? Some would admit it but some wouldn’t. The tech guys were the best they’d be like are you adding more screams? Isn’t it scary already? Heheh for that I added my own scream into the dance coz it needed to be done and also to scare the people who were watching it everyday. The first night the gals got a shock when they heard it even though I had already pre-warned them about it. When we came out the other dancers were wondering was the scream recorded or live. Yeah it is one loud eerie scream of pain. The second night I drained myself with the scream.

The dance was physically and emotionally draining. Each of us had a role to play and we each lived it for that less than 6 minutes of the dance. For me I felt the pain of the loss each time a death took place and that’s why the scream was one of such pain. The anger that followed was in effect of that pain. I remember I checked with the tech guys if I was sitting in the right spot for the light and he goes oh yes we saw mother earth boiling.

People walked up to my mom and asked for our contact as they want the dance to be performed again. I’m truly honoured but I will only be open to performing it again if it was a dance programme or an event that matches the message of the dance. I do wish it could be performed again as the environmental message of the dance is so strong and it’s been done in such a simple manner anyone will be able to understand it.

Most of our friends and family turned up on Saturday so it was like a party for us and for the cast itself as the gala night finalist were announced that night. As soon as curtain call ended, we said our hi’s to everyone as the cast started dancing away at the centre of the stage. That’s when we spotted our monkey boys (which one of my gals wants to bring home – lol) and I called the gals to the dance floor to join them. We were gonna do a kuttu on the dance floor to some pop song ;p

The moment the phrase we were waiting for began we dashed into the centre much to the delight of the group who roared their approval only for the light to come on as one of the monkey boys went tsunami tsunami – tsunami masuk je lagu stop (the moment tsunami came in the music stopped) ;p

I had told the gals earlier lets pack up early so that we can go outside and join our friends and family. So the moment we were done, we headed back in to pick up our things only to find some of the cast inside our room waiting to say goodbye to us. Yes I think we were generally liked by all since we were always laughing around. Each time we were waiting for our turns, we’d wish good luck to all the groups and they vice versa. That’s why this was such a beautiful time.

People were still waiting outside as we got out while I went to get our brownie. I had ordered the most amazing brownie from my friend as a treat for the gals and our friends and family but once again I had forgotten the spoon so I was wondering how to give it to them. At one point someone wanted a group photo of us and wanted us to give our scary stares and scream. I said are you sure you want a scream and they all replied yes. So I said don’t tell me I didn’t warn you ;p

On the count of three, the gals and I roared and for a moment the whole foyer went silent ;p

Good times indeed. ;)

As people finally started leaving, I found a makeshift spoon in the form of a tiny coffee spoon and we finally had our brownie party. People couldn’t believe how good it was as in a matter of minute ¾ of the brownie was gulped down by all.

So another year another dance. I am extremely proud of the dance, what it means and how it has come out. Once I get it running on youtube, I will post it up with the story behind the dance, its inspiration and the message.  


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Sunday, October 23, 2011

eight

I dreamt of dad today.

Not once but twice funny coz I don’t dream and very rarely remember them.

The thing is today is 8 years since he has been gone.

Maybe he thought I’d forgotten him.

But then how would I not remember when I’ve never forgotten him.



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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Getaran Jiwa





Getaran jiwa
Melanda hatiku
Tersusun nada
Irama dan lagu
Walau hanya sederhana
Tetapi tak mengapa
Moga dapat membangkitkan
Sedarlah kamu wahai insan
.
The stirring of my soul
Overcomes my heart
Arranged by the notes
Of rhythm and song
If it's only modest
Nevermind
Perhaps it could stir
Realise all you mortals

Tak mungkin hilang
Irama dan lagu
Bagaikan kembang
Sentiasa bermadu
Andai dipisah
Lagu dan irama
Lemah tiada berjiwa
Hampa

Never will they vanish
Rhythm and song
It will bloom
It will always linger
If they be seperated
The song and rhythm and song
They'll be soulless and weak
And empty



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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tsunami

In the shadows

I think I have always been a dancer.

There’s this photo of me as a toddler wearing this cutesy white bell bottomed pajamas and grinning away into the screen with my super curly locks framing my face. I look like I was dancing and posing for the camera.

Dance is like a meditation for me only instead of sitting in one place, I’m moving to the energy of the music and dance.

In prayer



Somewhere mid of the year, I had been toying with the idea of choreographing a dance piece when I was inspired by the moody music of a dance showcase at an open stage performance. A thought formed into my head and it slowly grew at first as a solo only to grow in size as I put in my imaginary dancers into their place in my vision.

By then I knew the piece was too big for the stage it had been initially conceived in and so I looked at my options at showcasing it. I had two ready places – one a festival I was initially excited about but was slowly hating and the other at my favourite place in KL, KLPAC. With time and persuasion (or more of blackmail from the director) the piece found its home as I submitted my paper and got accepted.

Hehehe I went for the first meeting and asked so does this mean we’re in? And I got the answer I would think so which was followed by that golden email which meant I had to find the music and choreograph the dance. Yes I need to have an end before I can begin.


Then came the frantic search for the song to fit the mood I wanted. I spent two days trying to find the song. I knew what I wanted but didn’t know if it existed, my heart said it did and so I dashed to my favourite music person Aravind, who within hours sent me the song that has now successfully haunted 5 women to do crazy stuff on stage. I’m not sure if the kid knows how vital the song is to the choreography and with his magic editing it became even more amazing. I owe you a treat! ;p

Music in hand you would think the choreography would be easy right? No it doesn’t work like that. Music, art, choreography all needs inspiration, you can’t just start like that it takes time and in dance you need to know your dancers and work according to their skills. By the time the choreography emerged, the vision in my head had changed so many times it’s become something totally different from the first spark.

But it was only when I met everyone at the first rehearsal that it fell into place. Every week that we meet, it gets stronger and more beautiful and each person has their own strength.

Ah but first I must tell you how I found my dancers. I posted my requirements on FB and was looking around when 3 of my friends separately asked me about it (and probably regretted the very next moment as) and I immediately said yes to all three. The third was the funniest coz all she did was ask and I said yes you can join and jumped in my chair gleefully. I had my five dancers! ;p

Two of my dancers have never performed on stage and I’m so impressed with them. The first time one of them did the second half, I was stunned with disbelief at the energy and what they were doing till I had to tell them pace yourself don’t get injured. ;p The other two are seasoned dancers so it’s not surprising to see them do well. But I love the combination of the group as everyone works together to help the other, practices (even though I bully some about it) diligently, are constantly thinking of it and most importantly everyone is excited.

It’s been such a wonderful time watching all of them dance and dancing as well. The truth is at the beginning of the choreography I was telling myself and another friend that this might be my last performance as a dancer and maybe I should retire as building my stamina every few years once is super tiring and not to mention the lack of time on my side at this point. But thanks to the gals and the whole dance itself, I’m back to enjoying myself and I’m raring for the next even though we’ve not even performed this one! ;p 

Last Sunday we gave each other names okay wait we got given names – so there’s psycho, cute, sexy, dirty and mama.     

It’s a dark, dark dance, if you must know. A total opposite of what we performed in 2009. But the best part is the team at KLPAC remember us from 2009 and are pretty excited to see what we have in store this time. Oh and we get disco balls ;p hehehe

Dancing is quite an interesting experience, at first you’re honing the steps and you go on repeating the dance in a pretty mechanical way. Only after the 10th full dancing session will you be able to fully bring out the emotions as you’re no longer wondering what the next step is.

There we were at the foyer of klpac as the haunting humm resonated through the halls. I walked into the centre of the stage and the music took over. As I sat there on the dias waiting for the drama and reacting to the actions on stage, my heart could feel the emotions of the scene taking place in front of me though I had my eyes closed with just enough open for an idea of the cues. Each time I reacted to those cues, the anger in me built up and the hair on my arms started tingling as I got goosebumps.

When I got up to wake the chaos in my dancers I could feel the vibrations of the anger as we transformed into beings waiting to destroy and as fast as it started it ended and we were done. And so my vision is complete and is awaiting its staging as we hone our skills and work into the magic of the haunting music.

While we’re taking part in a festival which is also a competition, I told the gals from day 1 enter this only coz you want to dance and not coz you want to win. I don’t care if we win or go to the finals, this will be an experience you will not forget as you will dance your heart out there.

So this will be my offering for Devi for Navarathri this year. We are evoking Kali ma in one of her forms as Mother Earth. May god bless us and let us dance our hearts out each night, without fail and let fatigue only brush us with its long fingers while the goddess vibrates in us.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Anang Malaysia sebaka tebu

I never got the fuss about Merdeka (Independence Day) and Malaysia day.


That’s because from the day I was born till today I’ve only known Malaysia as my country where we have 14 states. Never have I seen myself as better or more superior just coz I lived in the peninsular away from the Eastern states of Sabah and Sarawak. To me we were 14 unique states with our own slangs, traditions, culture and people united by one country.

Perhaps being born and having lived all my life in the capital of Malaysia has helped as 90 percent of the people I know are from another state and apparently mostly from Perak! ;p

I used to have a theory that if I threw a stone it would drop on an Ipoh person, recently upon doing a survey on my Facebook Profile I realised I’d need to change that to Perak since everyone seemed to be from some town in Perak without counting their respective spouses!

Now that I have successfully diverted the article to something else as usual let’s go back. ;p

Yes I count myself lucky to be in the capital as I have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people from all our states and learnt bits and pieces of their culture. Yes we’re a tiny country but each state is unique let alone the towns. I am determined to put a foot into each town in Malaysia by the end of my lifetime. The problem is I keep finding favourites and returning to them.

The thought of a barrier of states has never occurred to me. To put it in a corny way, every Malaysian is a brother or sister to me regardless of race or religion.

But I understand why it’s a fuss. We just celebrated the 54th Merdeka and in a few days we will be celebrating the 48th year of the formation of Malaysia. The truth is for people like me Sabah and Sarawak may have gotten a latter independence but they have always been a part of us right from the start so how can we separate them from us when they have always been us?

I was inspired to read about Temenggung Jugah @ Tun Jugah the other day by my big boss. Now my big boss is super inspiring, well both of them are. He’s been telling me about wanting to send this message out for over a month now because he is so passionate and positive about being a Malaysian. He even knows this legendary man and his family personally. They now run the Tun Jugah Foundation which educates people about the Ibans. The other day he walks in and tells me what he wants me to write and research. This man’s knowledge is just outstanding, ask him about anything and he would probably know and here we are complaining of not having time!


Now I vaguely knew Temenggung Jugah from my days of reading history at school. I’m a history buff and I remember I loved this part of our history as we were finally rid of the sultans who were all named Mohamed 1 to million! Imagine trying to remember which Mohamed given I have a bad history of not remembering names that’s getting worse? Plus it made more sense to me as this was our history.

Anyway while researching for a quote by him, I found two that I absolutely love. There is very little information about him actually which is really sad. The man refused to wear a suit in all his meetings with the last of the British Governors who ruled Sarawak and was always seen in his traditional clothes.

idup ka nyawa dulu. Udah urat tegap, baru kitai ulih bejakuTemenggung Jugah
Give life to yourself first. Once your foundation is solid, then you can talk and act.’ – Tun Temenggung Jugah

“Anang Malaysia sebaka tebu, manis di pohon, tawal di hujung” - Tun Jugah @ Temenggung Jugah

Malaysia should not be like the sugar cane, sweet at the head and getting less and less sweet towards the end -
Tun Jugah @ Temenggung Jugah

For Tun Jugah @ Temenggung Jugah, the man who was key to Sarawak joining Malaysia, he wanted to ensure the formation was not like the sugar cane. I believe Malaysia has seen its fair share of up and downs but the sugar cane remains sweet just like Malaysia.
I went on a merry-go-round looking for his autobiography and a few others. There’s also Datuk Amar James Wong Kim Min who sadly just passed away in July 2011. He’s another man I would love to read.

Guess what it’s available on Amazon but not in the book stores here and the distributor is ignoring my emails. Bah! I’m sure I can get it at the National Library but I really want to own these books and read each book on our history from the eyes of these leaders.

Whatever anyone wants to say, groan or complain take it somewhere else, I love this country and years ago while in a long distance relationship I knew then that I would never leave for good, I may travel, work for short stints elsewhere but this is home, this is where I will live and protect till the day I die.

To all my fellow Malaysians, let’s continue keeping the sugar cane sweet as we are all Malaysians and no matter what happens, we are ONE nation.

Happy Malaysia Day everyone.

Ps: Anyone knows where I can buy these books in Malaysia?



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Monday, September 12, 2011

Yesterday was 9/11.


I wanted to write something but my Facebook Feed was filled with mixed messages, the usual racists buggers spewing hatred and the usual ones posting memorial messages.

Yes I have racists buggers as friends. Definitely not my close friends, it’s just I haven’t come to the point of telling them off. I’m legendary with the people I tell off and no I’ve not regretted it. Life’s really peaceful nowadays after being liberated from them.

It’s been 10 years but I know the pain is unbearable for many, the memories unforgettable.

Here I am, a so called non affected person but I can remember every single thing I did in those two days. I can remember watching that man fall to his death, I can remember watching the building fall, I can remember feeling the pain of sensing the death of so many. I can remember looking through every single image the media spewed.

I don’t care which side you are on, I don’t care who you support, I don’t care of the politics behind it, people lost their lives both on that day and the war that commenced in retaliation.

Why is this 10 years relevant? Coz life has not been the same since. The airport securities, the reverse hatred, generations who grew up hating another religion just coz they placed their emotions above rational, a generation of Muslim children grew up being taunted by people, families were displaced, a decade of sadness for many, the fact that nearly every country in the world had lost a citizen that day.
The Star ran a story about Muslim children who grew up in the wrong decade.

We lost three Malaysians that day. Who could forget the story of Vijayashanker who could have escaped had he not returned to help his boss.

I have friends whose parents were supposed to have been on one of the doomed flights. That day thought us that life is not about rushing through, life is to be lived and if you’re late or you miss a flight it’s not the end of the world it could have just been a blessing in disguise.

But it’s today that personally affects me. I used to work next to the Petronas twin towers. One of the most beautiful sights in KL, I never get sick of looking at it or photographing it. Imagine not having it in our skyline anymore, today 10 years ago it could have happened.

The next day after watching a repeat of the nights events I headed to the office solemn and still in disbelief of the events that had unfolded.

Sometime later we noticed people walking out of the twin towers towards us. It took us sometime to realise that there was a bomb scare at the Petronas twin Towers. We looked at each other, not a word was spoken and we continued staring at the PC. I knew no one was working as everyone was scared of what might happen. I remembered smsing my then bf and telling him to come online. That’s when I told him what was happening and that I was scared.

He was the only one who knew how scared I was. I called home just to talk but never said a thing. Everyone was still in shock at home from yesterday. I sat there praying and hoping today wouldn’t be my last day and it would just be a bomb scare.

Thank god it had been just that. Did life go back to normal?

Not really, 10 years down the road my heart still beats frantically for what could have been.

So imagine what those who were there on 9/11 feel today.

No matter where we were, it affected all of us.

God bless the souls that were lost and the families who are still at lost. 



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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

54


Malaysia turns 54 today ;) 

Happy Merdeka to all Malaysians and Happy Birthday Malaysia ;)

Now I'm supposed to be packing and doing a lot of other things today but here I am finally editing videos and excitedly posting them. I had written this post way back then but never got to posting it. it's kinda usual these days so read it as it was told that day. And watch the video ;) My first edited video with the 5dmk2 ;)

I think I live in the most awesomest town. There I’ve said it ;p

You see I’ve been accused of loving my town a tad bit too much but then I’m not lying you see. It does have awesome food and you get everything there for great prices. But what I love most is the whole laidback feel and the people who live there.

People here are seriously hardworking. They’d hold jobs at the university, then have their own business on the side while lending a hand in their communities and their own religious movements.

What I really wanted to write about is the boys from my area. Now they’re typical Indian boys, naughty and flirty and full of Indian movie Bandha (think Rajinikanth) – the typical Macha.

But here’s the thing you would not expect from them. If there’s a temple function, these boys may not turn up to pray but they will be there to clean up, cook, help with the food preparation and finally to serve the food.
They’re all part of the local Youth Club which was set up by my uncle to get these boys to channel their energy in the right way. The boys pool their money to host the last evening before the temple thriruvila (festival) in our town.

I never miss going for their ubhayam (prayers) just to watch them and bask in proudness. Each year they pick representatives from the club to stand in front and be the ones who get to carry the idol around the temple. It is so cute to see those boys turn up in their veshtis and blink in embarrassment. They’ll pull their veshti to the left to the right and then when their eyes meet someone they know (which is probably everyone) they blush away. This is probably their first time ever wearing the veshti.

After the prayers these boys will start serving food with outmost efficiency. Be it as a buffet line or in a sit down style where everyone sits in rows on the floor. Nobody gets left out, everything is cleared in time and the service is done with sincerity and humbleness.

Yesterday afternoon during lunch, the boys were getting bullied by this aunty sitting next to me. She kept teasing them is this yesterdays food? Eh why you giving her more appalam than me? At one point my mom, me and the aunty ended up putting one boy on a merry go round of refilling our drink glasses. Not once did they sulk or get angry, it was all smiles and laughter and teasing protests.

The younger boys of our town look up to them in awe and wait for their turn to be able to serve. We’ve all done our time, once we get too busy with work, the younger boys take over and we watch with glee and pride.

Weekends before and after festivals the youngsters of the town will turn up to clean the temple. When I was younger I was one of them. I remember one year they wanted kolams painted all across the cement floors of the temple, so three of us who normally put the kolam turned up to paint 10 huge kolams around the temple on a Sunday morning. Throughout the day someone brought us food and drinks so we wouldn’t run away without finishing our work. Not that we would have.

All the temple brass items are usually gleamed by the community folks. Before big festivals the ladies of the town will turn up to cut the huge quantity of food. Let’s just say no one ever goes hungry in our town. That’s why on such festival times we’d have foreign workers turning up as well and we never decline them. 

Everyones welcome to turn up as long as they behave themselves.

The best part everyone will patiently wait in line (ok most of the aunties don’t) to wash the plates and cups so that the temple folks don’t have to do it.

Last night as the chariot made its way across town, the boys were out in full force to help out and mostly have fun. We had already done our prayers in the temple itself but wanted to go chariot chasing. That’s where you hop into a car and stop people to ask where they are.

At one point I stopped the car and went boys where’s the chariot. They replied back “akka its at that corner.” The courtesy and the manners are always there. Of course the boys aren’t saints, they break rules, tease the gals (they are boys you know), flirt and such but they do know how to respect elder people and everyone in general. Just don’t pick a fight with them, the whole town might turn up in support for them.

They had set up a pantal or booth at one of the locations to provide food and drinks for the people walking with the chariot. The boys were dressed in their best and had decorated the place with coconut leaves and decorations.

By giving the boys importance, we had created a system to ensure they were an integral part of the community. It’s a simple theory trust them with responsibility and they will perform. Don’t undermine naughty boys, they just want attention, you can always talk to them nicely and trust them. Eventually they will become better people.

So to the boys of my town, I am so proud of you – you guys are awesome ;)  





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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Covers

For the last few months people have been raving about Shanker Tucker. Now Ive been meaning to write this for sometime now but didn’t have the time.

Here I am sitting and listening to "O Re Piya / Rolling in the Deep" - Shankar Tucker ft. Rohan Kymal, Brendan Susens-Jackson on a loop since this morning.

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipNB-ijxHiI&feature=player_embedded

 

Now the reason I’m listening to the song on a loop is not coz of how he merged them but it’s because of the amazing voice of Rohan Kymal. Like the lyrics of Adele’s song

 

You had my heart inside your hand
And you played it To the beat

 

He had my heart in his hands. I woke up today to fall in love with his amazing voice. Oh and I love those amazing guitar riffs in the song.

 

But the reality is in this second based on the youtube videos both Shanker and Rohan are cover artists.

 

In Shankers case he has sound knowledge of music, is a brilliant producer because he continues to pick the right singer for each song and he has introduced us to amazing singers like Rohan and the Iyer sisters and a talented instrumentalist.

 

The only instance I have seen his creativity as a composer is in this less listened to original song by him "Night Monsoon" - Shankar Tucker, Amit Mishra.

 

This is seriously amazing it feels as if you’re listening to the monsoon itself but sadly it has less hits as it is a more classical piece and most of the people listening to his songs are looking for the familiarity of the covers he has been doing.

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnyDwXmxwac&feature=relmfu

 

 

Take for example this cover of Micheal Jackson’s by Harmonize Projekt 2. It is a cover but wait till you get to the guitar riffs and the dude blows you off with his amazing skills moving away from the original composition and exploring the raaga and then as easily moves back to the original composition and we’re back to MJ.

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-XINPCPoq0&feature=related

 

Here they have a perfect singer however the chorus to me borders on irritating so there’s no way I’m going to loop this. This is a talented band but they have the problem most bands have they can’t do all covers and need to come up with originals or have people nitpick on them coz it will be evident.

 

Of course this would be irrelevant if they were one of the thousands of amazing Filipino bands worldwide ;p

 

So why isn’t the merging of O Re Piya and Rolling in the Deep not great? Simply coz Shanker has identified that both songs are based on the same raga platform and merged them.

 

Here’s the original by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5awZ9sOTA54

 

 

It’s amazing but the arrangements use more classical instruments so the general public perhaps have not heard it. People like me who don’t follow the Hindi music scene definitely have not heard it.  Listen to the song fully it gets better and better.

 

So how is a cover singer different from a cover director. It’s the originality of his voice that makes all the difference. With his voice Rohan has created a different experience to the song and the credit goes to Shanker for picking him. Like I said Shankers a brilliant producer.

 

Only time can tell if Shanker can truly be a creative composer or continue to be brilliant producer. He has a movie album coming out – let’s see where that goes.

 

I’m going back to looping Rohan ;)

 

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