Wednesday, July 1, 2009

this blog is no more

i have moved operations to

now with more...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

redeployment and reinforcements

i'm currently working on a migration over to simply because i think it's time for a change.

there's a certain excitement in the air as i embark on quite possibly one of the biggest blogging overhauls in my six year stint as a blogger. it's gonna be bigger, it's going to cover a range of themes that have been swirling in my head, and i hope to bring them to fruition.

it's how i envision the future of establishing a presence on the web, and brings together the footprints we leave behind on the web.

ahahaha, but i shoot myself in the foot by building up these expectations, so i'll just leave it as "when i make the port, you'll know."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

what has love become?

it was Mother's Day today, and i love my mom. i love my family, and i'm incredibly blessed to have them around me.

in some sense, i grew up without the dysfunction, or the abuse.. and while i might think these are the ideals, there are plenty of people who don't grow up with that sort of nurturing.

and call me idealistic, but to me, all it takes is just one story of un-love, and the reality of this crazy mixed up world hits me like a tonne of bricks, that no matter how safe we are, we live in a fallen world.

now i understand that not everyone feels this way, but i do.. and it grieves me, and yet i know i'm hypocritical when i bury my head in the sand and pretend that it isn't there.

i guess i'm rambling and i'm not trying to change the world or anything. but i am trying to change my world, and my sphere of influence.

curse this rain, it blinds my eyes

as i was driving home in the rain just now, it felt very unfamiliar. not because we haven't had any rain in Singapore for awhile, but i think it was because of the modern convenience of always being under shelter when it rained.

sure it was an unearthly hour of two-thirty in the morning, when usually i'm nestled in the warmth of my bed, but this 'being in the rain' episode left an impression on me.

how we manage to carve our space in this modern life apart from the natural elements of this atmosphere. rain isn't a bad thing, plants and animals thrive on it. but we've somehow seen it as an inconvenience and hide ourselves from it.

yet we know that rain is a valuable contribution to our ecosystem, yet we put a distance between us and it. as long as we harness the might of torrential downpour and don't have to deal with the perceived 'ill' side effects, we're happy campers.

and i suppose the modern condition is one where instead of going with the flow, it's ingrained that we can shape this world to our specifications. we can shape this world into our own image. but what happens when six billion people believe in the same thing?

six billion self worshiping gods on one tiny planet that is covered by seventy percent water that we have yet to inhabit.

there is so much we still don't know.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

the ebb and the flow

So while i haven't been updating much these days, mainly because i don't see a need for this blog to be a diary of sorts anymore. i suppose my blogging habits have changed, as perhaps my lifestyle and thinking has shifted too.

i've been noticing a similar trend with my friends as well, and maybe with the entire ecosystem.

i think there will always be bloggers, but one thing i've notice is the rise of blogging networks that behave more like online publications (Mashable, Techcrunch, Readwriteweb), and really have achieved a sort of critical mass for influence and timely news.

i find personal blogging to be mainly more of a niche now, and yet they will maintain their audiences because of the opinions they have and share.

the entire ecosystem is so vibrant and fragmented at the same time, that i wonder if it's near humanly possible to ever join those dots.

maybe those dots will never all really be joined, as much as we as people will never all really meet every single person in the world.

yet we all add to this ecosystem we call The Net. we all leave our footprints in this virtual world, we breathe its same air of ones and zeros, and exist as people or ghosts. interacting or watching, this is a medium that increasingly doesn't act as any physical comprehension, but virtual opportunities abound.

So Sally Can Wait!

the question is, if you die in The Net, do you die in the real world?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

satalite transmission

Just pinging the blog just to let it know i'm still alive.

Busy juggling work, life and blogging. i think i've been failing miserably. Still trying to get my other blog up to speed too, but that's failing miserably as well.

Ah well, such a miserable existence. my bit of pessimism to the Net.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

so i'll grow up, just to have you here with me

Everybody has a price. Today i found out what mine was. It's called the negative value..

You can't buy me if you haven't appeased my soul, but you can definitely make me feel like wanting to put myself up for sale.

i dipped into my savings to pay off some of my bills. i was supposed to have savings this month, but now i don't. it's not a good place.. i know the next few months of my salary's going to go back into my savings.

it also means taking stock of where that money goes. all those little things i overlook when we pay bills together, that little extra i cover when someone's short, those lunches i help pay.. they all add up.

and now that i need to be accountable to my own accounts, i'll need to grow up and do what i need to do, for those days when i have no one else to rely on but myself.

i give a lot, it's just part of my nature.. it's how i value the fleeting tangible in sacrifice for the eternal intangible. but even that has taken its toll on my maturity, and i'm stunted to being who i think i should be.

grow up i must, value my own value more i shall.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

slow media to be enjoyed by the wayside

The world spins on its axis in twenty four hours.

We expect our news much faster than that these days. While i'm on Twitter, i get real time updates from my fellow human beings halfway across the world. I am twelve hours ahead of them. Not counting the things I get to read of blogs, news sites, video sites and pictures.

I guess it can be perceived that the world is getting smaller, or as Thomas Friedman says, The World Is Flat.

I say, learn to slow down every now and then. While the earth keeps spinning, perhaps twice as fast these days in the social media universe, there is a whole other world that still sticks to the same 24 hours we've always had.

You want to achieve work life balance, unplug yourself and start appreciating the world as you know it, not just through the social media's lenses.

Social media is best utilised to achieve a pulse on trends, communities, ideas, connections. but it backfires when you face an information overload. I think our brains can take it, but..

you also have to train your brain to not just consume information, but actually derive some value from it.

It's not just about how much you consume, it's how you interpret data, apply it, make it work for you, your counterparts, your businesses.

And that's why i still value "slow media". when you sacrifice speed for a great media product. a craft, where time and energy has been invested to make something easily understood so that MORE may understand and enjoy.

So what is slow media?

Image credit: Crackskullbob

For now, I'll define it as media that has large investments in time, energies, manpower, conceptualisation, production and even channel planning to maximise exposure to said media product.

Slow media can be social media. Slow media is purposeful, intricate cuisine, as opposed to fast food.

Fast food's a quick fix, fills your stomach, perhaps rough around the edges, not made from the best ingredients, perhaps even for mass consumption but with little value.

You just feel satisfied, and better about yourself and your surroundings when you consume slow media without rushing through it. when you come out of it, knowing more, eager to tell your peers just where you had this gastronomical epiphany.

And that my friends, is how i see "slow media". I guess the fact that i'm about to start looking for lunch had something to do with this post.

Monday, April 13, 2009

no pictures in the cloud

surreal. how i haven't typed in here for so long. it's so easy to just shrug it off really. after a hard day's work, or just the whizz bang of too many rehearsals going on, or the day to day meeting ups with friends.. and the ever pertinent question "what do you read this blog for?"

this blog doesn't really have a niche, so in that sense there really isn't a target audience. and in that sense, i guess you don't really grow an audience when your content isn't constant either.

i'm sorry if you've been visiting regularly the past six years and all of a sudden, i just make the excuse of being too busy to blog.

but 'tis the truth, it's hard to maintain a blog when you're spread thin. there are ways to discipline yourself to blog regularly, but i guess i'm not that disciplined. though i ought to be.

and i never thought it'd be this way, but typing in your has sorta become unfamiliar.

updating twitter on the other hand is super simple, and i think i've been maintaining my online presence through the use of facebook and twitter more than this blog.

but i suppose there's a lesson in all this, and that is.. there are pros and cons in whatever channel you choose to engage with your audience in, but if you want to be a good social media practitioner, you have to keep engaging in some form or another.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

point form #2

Argh.. somehow i can't think of any better way to send life updates to the web except through point form. Too much Twitter? Anyway, i hope to be disciplined again and come back to long form posts. but here are some highlights from the past two weeks

1. Hosting another Open Room, this time more as our way of giving back to the community. Really glad people enjoyed it

2. Attended Blogout 2009 and met Joel Postman and Yongfook IRL! (in case you don't know, Yongfook was one of two original inspirations to start blogging.) Kudos to The Digital Movement for organising a great conference for social media practitioners and bloggers alike -)

3. Leeson appeared on Live n Loaded, Season 1 Episode 8. Great catching up with The Fire Fight

4. Leeson have also started sharing our music online, you can stream or download the Speed Dating EP tracks for free at our Bandcamp page. The banner was designed by Patlaw, so thanks and hearts for that!

5. I started working with a great team for publicity for my church's Easter celebration. We've put out two pieces of guerrilla content and one video. Also trying stuff online with our blog: 3 Days

6. Also trying to get church project management with the use of a wiki. Seems to be working out.

7. 23 Ogilvy-ians in Singapore we selected for Masterclass. It's a 360 Brand Stewardship training programme meant for juniors. We just went through week 1, so that's about six more weeks to go. I like it, and my group mates, so just hoping to have fun, learn lots and do our best.

8. Also accompanied Unfluff to SMU on Thursday who presented on research tools for social media students and had a fruitful QnA session that tackled what we do on a daily basis.

9. Getting up to speed with season 2 of The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Started loving a Shirley Manson song and have an uber crush on Summer Glau.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Things to love - let's start a movement!

so i tweeted just now, and i realised that my hashtag #thingstolove is pretty unique. No one's used it yet (me first!).. and i thought maybe i could start something with my online peers.

instead of complaining, let's create a Twitter repository of the things we love and hashtag them!


So here's the deal, every time you tweet about something you love, remember to add a #thingstolove behind it!

i think it'll be a rather healthy way to spread joy on teh internetz

Monday, March 9, 2009

point form.

1. attended Blogout 2009 on Friday. learned a lot.

2. coffee and shopping on Saturday. bought two new Muji shirts.

3. big family lunch and jamming with Leeson on Sunday.

the last place in the universe.

y'know what? i love my blog. it's not the best designed, nor does it come as the authority on any given situation. it's nothing like the blogs i recommend to clients that perhaps have a specific communications goal in mind, but at the end of the day, it's mine.

even if this blog does not take part in discussions that shake our industries, or enlighten readers with recommendations, this blog first and foremost, is me exercising my voice.

i don't expect you, the reader, if you happen to be passing by, to be influenced by my writing. there are other blogs for that, but this might not be the one. some days, it is, when i discuss pertinent issues, but on other days, this is my black text on white. it's me creating meaning from nothing but my personal take. my experiences that have shaped the day, week, month or years. this is simply me, attaching meaning to a portion of the internet, this is me renting a room from google. if google grants my existence, then i simply exist as a reflection of my physical self.

leaving footprints in this virtual world, finding a way home, leaving a mark, signs of life that i do exist, even if it's an avatar.

and that my friends, is what no one can take away from you. whether you have an audience of 6 billion, or just yourself, if you blog true to yourself, you'll always have something to blog about.

human beings make meaning, it's how we exist, for if the mind is naught, then save us for empty husks.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

it's a mixed up journal

my light is still blown. i actually replaced the bulb, but it still won't light up. my guess is something to do with the circuits. probably ask my dad, he's the engineer in the house.

learned a bit about life while climbing the ladder fixing my light bulb. i actually have a fear of heights, and between the last rung and the final flat portion of the ladder, there was a psychological barrier preventing me from stepping on the top of the ladder. however, pragmatism forced me to step onto the last step, and.. while at the same time breaking past my fear, i also found that the highest point of the ladder had the largest base area to rest my body weight.

i guess some things in life, you just don't get a sense of. there's fear in the shaking, in the unknown, but only when you put yourself into that experience, in some cases, there was nothing to be fearful of in the first place.

Monday, March 2, 2009

my little vampiric crush (Review of "Let The Right One In")

few films leave a lasting impression on me. i love film and movies.. and by an impression, i mean i start to remember quotes, watch it multiple times and study a scene's lighting, mis-en-scene the film's post production quirks rather carefully that might boarder on maniacal.

Låt den rätte komma in (Let The Right One In dir. Alfredson, T, 2008) was one such film.

Overall the film was just what my heart needed, about a somewhat morbid, yet pure and fatalistic love between a 12 year old boy, Oskar, and a 12 year old looking girl, Eli, who's actually a 200 year old vampire.

innocent proposals by Oskar asking Eli to be his girlfriend, unknowing of the painful baggage carried by a being such as Eli. Eli, a creature fraught with a secret so terrifying that it's a miracle that she allows herself to actually love him too, despite the consequences of such selfishness.

in the end, what really stood out for me, is how vulnerable the two lead characters are. in a gripping scene where Oskar mocks Eli's vampiric limitations as a means of coping with the betrayal of not being told her dark heritage earlier, Eli demonstrates her own determination to make them work out, and quite literally exposes herself in such a vulnerable and imperfect manner, following their reconciliation.. only a master film maker like Alfredson could evoke this much emotion in the span of a three minute scene.

little nuances like playing on the vampire lore that these creatures are unable to enter a person's home uninvited, Alfredson uses such common knowledge to poetic effect by demonstrating the precarious glass wall that separates the two young lovers, only to tear it down and leave you gasping at the frail beauty that ultimately weaves this entire piece of filmic art together.

in a brief image of Eli, bleeding from her eyes and ears, a creature so powerful yet surrendered to the idea of loving a mortal boy, it was a moment when i fell in love with a character so fatally wounded by previous hurt and injustice and yet strong enough to try again. to me, this is what the film is ultimately about, not happily ever afters, not about having the right recipe for love to work. this film takes the worst of the human heart and what it's capable of, puts a frame around it and let's you find beauty in the brushstrokes.

Oskar and Eli are just two young lovers trying to figure it out for themselves. as their relationship grows through the film, you grow with them, laugh with them, cry with them.. and feel afraid with them. i cannot think of anything bad to say about this film. the gorgeous swedish winters, a soundtrack that is another piece of art by itself.. it's so profoundly beautiful that you get beautiful fan-made trailers like this:

3:16 - 3:22 was the moment i fell in love with Lina Leandersson, the eleven year old actress who played Eli.

five outta five.

Friday, February 27, 2009

things that have been keeping me busy

1. i changed the width of my blog, sidebar and header wrappings. now my youtube videos do not get cut at the edges, and i learned that the body wrapping of my blog is 500pts, my sidebar is 230pts and the buffer is 10pts. my header also has a width of 740pts so it's flushed. Read This to do the same.

2. i changed my blog header, and i edited the image using Picnik. the image i used was an old photo i took when i was in Melbourne in 2005. it looked like this:

Overcome and Overstep The Mark

to this.

Overcome and Overstep The Mark

i think it gives the blog a bit more character, soul and creative direction about what it's all about.

3. Busy uploading Leeson tracks to a secret project

4. Watching 1938media. visionary who sees past the "social media" echo chamber.

5. Jamming with Suchness re-incarnation tentatively called "Shelves". Training the ability to play bass and sing backup at the same time.

6. observing a Twitter revival in Singapore. Possibly due to the prediction i made in May 2008 about the iPhone.

7. discovered "Technoviking" and youshouldhaveseenthis

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The New Public Relations Agency

originally posted on The Open Room

Here's an interesting report done up by ZDNet, a news site / blog that covers the beat in the Technology industry. It's called "Is Social PR For Real? Which Agencies Get It?"

A timely article, with some great research insights from internal PR directors / managers followed by chief marketing officers / vice presidents of marketing and small business owners as some of the world's major economies start slowing down and anybody in a decision making position is held even more accountable on the budgets that they spend.

More than ever, Return On Investment (ROI) will be a deal breaker and a key tenet to effect real change to any business or organisation.

Do good communications practices ultimately affect your bottom line? You bet it does! In today's increasingly mass commodified and audience fragmented world, reaching your audience and having a relationship that transcends transactions builds customer loyalty, advocacy for them to tell others about you. You want to be that 'go-to' resource when a customer has a need, and you want to sell them the best possible product that you have to better their lives.

But this isn't really about that.. we're going to talk more about some of the insights found in the ZDNet article.

These were some of the key points i picked out from the report:

1. Agencies do not fully follow through with what was promised during a new business pitch.
Only 20% strongly agreed and 18% agreed that their agencies achieved this. A vast majority 30% somewhat agreed and a good 26% agreed with the claim.



I suspect this also comes from the 'fluid' nature of social media, or perhaps a lot of it comes from over-promising and making unrealistic strategies and tactics. While everyone is hungry for new business in these times, more should be done to keep both clients and agencies accountable on deliverables with accountable measurement.

2. Agencies do not necessarily understand how their communications work past getting news coverage and actually affecting a client's business
Yes, something we can all be guilty about. Good public relations is more than just generating news coverage (quantitative), but it is about projecting a positive image of the clients you represent (qualitative)



In our line of work, both qualitative and quantitative share equal importance. But as audiences become extremely fragmented, it's harder to see media as mass communications anymore. I think a smart move any of us can do, is to think very strategically and produce quality content to the publics that matter first and foremost, before trying to reach the world. Pool your resources together to communicate the things that matter, to the people that matter.

3. Clients really expect agencies to know social media

This is great! 78.8% of clients understand the importance of having a social media campaign and expect their agencies to know it as well! While I hesitate to say that agencies should know more about social media than their clients, I'd like to think that it's not the knowledge gap in a new medium that allows an agency to work with its clients, but MORE about how the agency is a valued partner and comes up with workable social media campaigns that understands the industry their client is in, what drives their clients business and then HOW social media can work for them and their customers.



4. Clients know enough about social media to get by
This is another good sign. About two years ago, clients and agencies were starting to experiment with social media. Today, a good 39.8% know enough to get by, and 37% have a good grasp about how social media will contribute to their business. Nothing gets me more excited when I speak to clients who do not just name drop social media buzzwords, but are actually talking about strategy, credibility, transparency and forming relationships with their people that matter.



5. Clients would like free social media training
A good 46.5% said they would attend if they didn't have to pay for it, and a good 35.4% said they would attend regardless.



While ZDNet recommends it would be in our best interest to not charge for training sessions, from an agency point of view, media training for clients usually comes at a cost. I believe social media training is equally important. Public image isn't nurtured overnight, same thing as a social presence. Your avatar can be considered your public image on the social net, and such training is a worthwhile investment and accelerator if you don't have time to pore through all the myriad of "How-To" posts from blogs.

But, i'm willing to see the flipside to this. It's just one more thing to pay for isn't it? Perhaps possible ways forward is to package this as part of a programme, keeping costs lower. In business, I guess most things are negotiable.

(And who says we don't give away anything for free? Check out Ogilvy On Recession, a free resource of insights and thought igniters on how to work smart in the downtime.)

6. Most agencies recommend the tools to drive social media
Worrying. 29% of clients agree somewhat that agencies make the tools the centerstage when it comes to social media / PR campaigns. Add 14% that agree and 8% that strongly agree, that's almost a total of 51% of agencies who are trying to pull a fast one with shiny, free applications created by other people to get new business.



Once again, it's not the tools that drive social media, they are the means to an end. What ultimately makes a campaign successful is the strategy and content that netizens get, and perhaps a close second, the relationships that at least get you into the door to pitch a story or idea.

In closing, it's great to see more clients stepping up and understanding social media. Having that knowledge allows you to see through an agency's smokescreen of buzzwords, fancy charts and overwhelming statistics.

Then it's the agency's turn to show clients just why we're so great to work with. Whether it's through strategic acumen, industry knowledge, media relations, creative ideas, professionalism and accountability. A working relationship doesn't have to be purely transactional, but a valued relationship that sees both parties growing as our audiences continue to grow as well. Y'see PR2.0 isn't about the social media, it's about the culture adopted by both clients and agencies responding to a changing audience.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

time, all the long red lines

So my bass playing duties have seen me going back in time. one playing with the ever excellent kevin mathews whose past work included the watchmen and popland. now if you didn't know, Kevin's an accomplished songwriter who was at the forefront of Singapore's english music scene in the nineties, and the best thing is that he still pursues it after all these years.

he currently plays with his band "The Groovy People", of which i share bass duties.. and i think it's a great privilege and honour to be a part of this group, where we get to listen to Kevin's stories about the scene before, and his extensive knowledge of pop culture.

donald so kindly took pictures of the gig we played last saturday, and more can be found at his multiply site.

And since we're on the subject of Singapore music from the nineties. i recently started jamming with a guy called Noel who used to be in a band called Suchness.

We're forming a sort of re-incarnation of that band, and are currently rehearsing a bunch of songs that have not been recorded for more than ten years. it doesn't sound like any of today's music, but probably closer to the alternative music scene of the nineties. it's nice, i grew up listening to such music, and.. i feel like i'm a teenager again, helping to write and arrange songs that are representative of that era.

and so.. some people wonder why i busy myself with playing in so many different projects? do i get paid? where's the reward in pouring yourself into projects like these?

the reward my friends, is meeting and befriending you wouldn't otherwise meet.. speaking a certain musical language and ultimately contributing just a little bit more to history and writing some bits of it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

slow down idiot, slow down

the weekend's finally here! i'm so happy.. perhaps it's got something to do with playing a gig with kevin mathews tomorrow at the Esplanade Outdoor Theater. and although i've played a fair amount of shows and this one should be no more different or special (because they all are), i'm looking forward to it for the simple reason that we've been practicing as a band for about six weeks now, and playing a show is almost like giving birth (or so i imagine).

the birth of ideas, the fruition of your labour.. in a simple life these things do give me some element of joy, and i want to look forward to things like that.

Who: Kevin Mathews and the Groovy People
Where: Esplanade Outdoor Theater
Date: 21 Feb'09
When: 8:45PM

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Listen, Listen, Listen

And even if the words don't sound right,
I will love you till the day my heart dies,
till the day my heart dies.

And even if this ain't the right light,
you're prettier than anything,
you're prettier than anything that I'd
prettier than anything that I'd write.

There's something in the way our lips touch,
there's something in the way we're stuck together
and they don't build love like that no more.

You said you'd like it when the thunderstorms came,
said you'd like if the thunderstorm just
pulled you piece by piece away.

- wintersleep

Video: Thesis by gotfuji
Music: Listen Listen Listen by wintersleep

Sunday, February 15, 2009

artificial lights

the sun is setting, and i was just staring out my window. i don't get a view of the sunset, but if i turn my head to the right, i can make out its brief shape as it sets over the highway that sits outside my room.

in the distance, there are children playing, and they remind me of my childhood, when i used to play with my cousins and parents.

we don't do that much these days.

we're all grown up. my cousins, my parents and myself. i don't know if i miss it. i have my toys, i have my friends, but they're such brief moments of respite because i know the responsibility of adulthood is still out there, out of my room, out of the gate that protects my apartment. it's out there.

and as the sun starts to set and i finish looking out the window, i crawl back into my room filled with artificial light, music playing from the iPod. a momentary reminder of a band that recorded some brilliant music in a studio somewhere in the world, yet i've never seen them perform live.

i do wonder what this world holds in store for me, and i do wonder if i'll ever grow up to be what i was supposed to be.

supposed to be. that's a bit of a conundrum isn't it? it reveals that i don't think i'm doing what i'm supposed to be doing. perhaps so, but life is getting shorter and shorter for second chances, and society isn't too forgiving of people who haven't really found their place in life.

i suspect a lot of us feel this way, yet we give in to what present society expects of us. but what do we expect of ourselves? for some of us, there is a higher calling, or some of us are our own gods. but at the end of the day, we tend to give in to self-preservation.. but i'm beginning to wonder if there's something in sacrifice.

if we were to sacrifice the safety and predictability of those that have gone before us, and best practices, and all the things that made our societies great and followed our own path.. where would we end up? how far does this rabbit hole go?

oh, and if i fall asleep, never wake me up..

comfort in the sound

i've been playing bass for more than ten years now, and if you know me enough, i've got quite a collection on my hands. none of the rare stuff, but enough to let you know that i take this hobby very seriously.

some of that joy stems from rendering my services to multiple people. whether it's with leeson, my main band, i am involved with church, Kevin Mathews and his groovy people, and quite recently, a power-pop band called 'Shelves'. i think more than ever, in the last 5 years, bassplaying has allowed me to meet some very awesome people, and it doesn't look like it's gonna let up.

a lot of that joy comes from playing with these folks.

Live N Loaded Auditions

Live N Loaded Auditions

Live N Loaded Auditions

Live N Loaded Auditions

They're my band mates since 2004, some of them i've known since 1998.

if music defined my life, then these guys have played an integral part in allowing me to express myself.

music is a strange wonderful thing. for some, it's in the background, for others it's identifying with what's coming out through the words and lyrics. for me.. well, it's all that, and more. it's friendship, catharsis and discontent all rolled into one. i won't say it's given me reason and purpose in life, but it's at least offered direction, and a lot of joy. and maybe that's enough.

Friday, February 13, 2009

different and not the same

it's a warm stuffy night in Singapore today, but i have the air conditioner running. it feels good, sitting on my bed, typing this out while listening to Ryan Adams. i'm only doing this because i have to, before the clock strikes midnight and everything falls apart.

it's been a massive week, with work and picking up my bass for three consecutive days that started on thursday and ending tomorrow. just glad i finally have a day to sleep in, recharge and feel better when the week starts again on monday.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

defining moments x worthy of love.

we all have something that defines us. i guess this became apparent after i did that "25 things" meme, because in some sense, i was trying to find stories that would help define who i was to you.

but i guess we're all trying to do that in the things we do. if i were to think of a few things that would help define me to you, if say you met me for the first time, i'd say something like:

"i play bass in a local band, leeson. i also have a job with Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence Singapore. i think media, technology and design and three key elements to a more enlightened future. i'm interested in the tension between digital and analog, and here are some pictures to show you what i mean."

First Weekend of February 2009

and so you see what i mean. what happens when you take all that away.. do i still have any value to this world, this society, this group of people i call my friends and family? is my intrinsic value any different if i had a different set of interests that defines me?

i'd like to think that we're all worthy of love, despite how we choose to define ourselves, despite what the world says we are, despite the perceptions that people heap on us when they meet us, despite who turns the other cheek or who loves us back.

i'd like to think we're all worthy of love, because it's the only way we can let love in, and define our response.

First Weekend of February 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009

making sense of it all.

did you ever get the feeling that this world was stark raving mad?

suddenly i am envious of my parents, and the people from that generation.. as they get closer to retirement, i wonder if there are less things they worry about. they've earned their keep, they have a home to nest in, they're covered by insurance.. by all accounts.. life begins after you're sixty.

but those of us here.. it's just beginning. we're starting to leave the nest, we're fending for ourselves. we're slaving to the machine just so we can build toward a future that is uncertain.

there's so much doom and gloom with the recession, with what everybody's saying about the future. everyone's so concerned about the markets, where the next opportunities are, where we should invest in, where we should commit our time. i'm starring as they rush past me.. i'm deciding too where the next big thing will be.

and we shuffle on, whisking our feet into the concrete pavement, keep spinning with the world, yet the world itself is oblivious to us.

how did it end up like this?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Rehashed - Twenty Five Quirks

Seeing that there's a content drought on my blog, i decided to rehash a meme i did on facebook last night.

1. I have 4 basses. One's called Oren Ishii, and another is called Isobel. Then I stopped naming them because it felt weird giving names to my instruments and I was afraid of being labeled a loser.

2. I actually started playing guitar first, but was asked my my church leader to switch to bass because I couldn't keep time with the guitar. Yes.. it's ironic.

3. The first non-worship song i learnt was Wonderwall by Oasis. I think the Ryan Adams version is so much better.

4. I'm such a tech geek now because i grew up without broadband or a console after the Sega Megadrive. I think I'm either overcompensating or making up for lost time.

5. I've always had a thing for thick glasses and checkered shirts way before any of this became popular.

6. I secretly wished I were a cowboy who could play really good country music.

7. I studied science all the way till university, where i switched to an arts major in media studies. I think that's why i have such an empirical approach toward humanities based theories.

8. i believe that art cannot be created or destroyed, and can only be transferred from one form to the other. Another piece of evidence toward my science based education.

9. I still haven't written a complete song. They're all just bits and pieces of guitar riffs, chords and lyrics in different parts

10. I used to be 10KG lighter

11. I used to swim in Junior College

12. I finished my SOC in 9:35 after i fractured my toe at the balance beam.

13. I've been out of course from OCS twice. I eventually became a signaler.

14. I really like Hardcore music, and i might have gotten full sleeves if I didn't rebel against rebelling. (like how you rebel against the status quo by being alternative, i rebelled against rebellion by sort of being part of the status quo with very subversive thinking and ethos.. break the system from the inside.)

15. i really wished there were giant robots.

16. i would be a giant robot pilot.

17. have i mentioned that i love giant robots?

18. Regardless of the medium, i tend to choke up whenever i see planes fly off into the horizon. Especially if they're war birds.

19. i also choke up when the cavalry arrives just in time.

20. John 17 is my favorite passage in the Bible.

21. My dream is to open a little Italian restaurant with red checkered tables and 7 tables of 4. Business would be constant and self sustaining.. and i'll form a jazz band in my retirement and write great songs like Joe Henry and Ryan Adams.

22. I came close to trying Acid when i was in Perth because my singer asked me if i wanted some. I told him I was driving that night.

23. Reading "Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy" changed my life and the way i viewed literature.

24. I have a very low brow sense of humor which is very very very dry. It's my big up yours to pretentious farts who only believe in laughing at intellectual jokes.

25. Two statements i've taken on as mantras in my approach to music. Both were mentioned at a SubC 2000 gig during the Anaconda set.
- "You don't have to dress punk to be punk!"
- "Less talk, MORE ROCK!"

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

everyone is going home.


so the lunar new year came and went. i had a good break.. it was a good time to catch up with a lot of family and friends.

in time, so many of us are leading our own lives, we don't have the luxury of being in school anymore and being constant in each others lives. what's more, with my friends who live or are going overseas to continue their studies, we're all gonna just keep growing and i can't be a part of it.

i don't know what's making me keep this blog alive.. i know i won't share the intimate details of my life, i'm posting more thought provoking stories on singularity industries, and i'm definitely getting lazy when it comes to typing in here. maybe i'm just tired..

maybe at it's heart, i just don't seem to think that typing in here reflects my life anymore. you know? that feeling that what you're doing on the outside doesn't represent the inside.. it's such a fake sensation. i wonder how some of us do it though, not just with blogging, but with life.

that we use this world as a stage and act out facets of our lives that we hope for the desired response from the audience around us.

"i want to be beautiful.
i want to be smart.
i want to be accepted.
i want to be free.
i want to be loved.
i want to change.
i want to be respected."

and there is no real response to all these slices of life. we're always looking out for ourselves.. yet at it's heart we're constantly looking for that validation from an external source, or from our loved ones.

i guess what i'm grappling with right now, is a purpose to this life. it's a new season of being in my late twenties i reckon. back when i was in school.. it was relatively simpler, the stakes weren't so long term as well. pass my exams and projects, do my best when it comes to bass playing, in the worship team and band.. and in that regard, it was "easier" to see what God's direction and purpose for my life was.

then suddenly i've graduated, and spent the last two years working. but for what gain? what profit? and the thing is, this doesn't end till the day i retire.. does it?

the world tells me to work for the future, for my family even perhaps.. noble aspirations definitely.. but my zest for life is fading at an alarming rate.. even if it has been on the backburner for awhile.

even when i play music, either listening or making music.. there's a part of me that goes.. what's the point? it'll just be a hobby, we'll never make it big.. the joy of creating new sounds just becomes an unrewarding two hours spent with my friends in the studio. don't get me wrong, i have a great time hanging out, laughing, and for a moment, these brief glimpses of joy distract me for a while.

but ultimately, i feel myself fading fast and increasingly disconnected from what my purpose in this life is.

i know i could make myself feel better by sharing photos of my new supersampler application for my iPhone , or talk about the fun interesting bits about my life.. but this goes beyond that..


i guess i really am looking for a sort of validation and direction in life. that this will be alright, everything will be alright.. everything's going as planned.. some things are still worth fighting for..

i think too much, and i have lots to be thankful for. I KNOW THAT, and i am.. but there's always something more, something deeper that gives this life meaning. and i'm either blessed or cursed to have to think that way, to unlock this mystery or break the meaning of existence down to it's most empirical form. i can't help it, it's the way i was wired.

Ozymandias: "I did the right thing, didn't I? It all worked out in the end."
Dr Manhattan: "In the end? Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends."

i suppose i was born with an infinite gap in my soul that only eternity can fill.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

so this is the new year, i don't feel any different..

maybe my age has caught up with me. i don't know, but i've been caught in situations where i have to reveal my age quite a fair amount of times just this month. not that i'm hiding behind anything, but the frequency of this social play makes me think of what the numbers mean.

twenty. seven. this. year. well. actually. in. september.

i'm really still twenty six. you might think it's just a number.. but twenty seven is a rather iconic number when it comes to rock and roll history:

kurt cobain, jimi hendrix, janis joplin, graham parsons, jim morrison.. they all passed away at twenty seven. and i used to joke that i too would go like these icons at the grand age of twenty seven.

and now.. i'm just nine months away from actually being that age.

i guess i used to associate being twenty seven with a sense of accomplishment. people who were at the peaks of the musical careers.. that when they passed, history can't help but remember them for their stunning contributions to culture. in a sense, i also misplacingly see them as somewhat lucky, that they don't have to deal with the come down after such a high. but then again, so many of them killed themselves in one way or another.

but back to "success". i guess there have been some. working in one of the best worldwide public relations agencies, specialising in a relatively new field of communications, Leeson has already played Baybeats, i'm sort of meeting and making friends with people in the local music scene.. and yeah.. wow.. i'd never thought i'd be this "grown up".


but i couldn't have done it without the grace of God. it's not that i was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, for every single one of those moments i'm proud of.. it's involved a lot of work and dedication, struggle even.. with people and even wrestling with God to make sense of way i was in life.. when i couldn't really see how it was all gonna end up. but the refreshing thing about completing your journeys and trials, is that you can look back, take stock.. see what you did or didn't miss out on. but to be able to complete a journey, to be encouraged when it seems like you're the only one facing struggles, when you're alone in your fight.. those are times when God's with you.. through the good and the bad. in fact, you don't keep fighting because you want to get something out of it.. but you go through it because it seemed to be the right thing to do.. and you felt compelled to get through it. i think that compulsion comes from knowing God, and having faith that what you're doing is the right thing.

Monday, January 12, 2009

all the kings men.

after yesterday's bout of catharsis, it feels a lot better to "own" this space again.

blogs are great communication tools, but ultimately, if they aren't personal.. they aren't really engaging.

i think different blogs serve different purposes, and for the purpose of harmless? bananas! it'll always remain my personal communications tool.

if you know me, at least in the past year or two, you'd have noticed that i love a genre of music called "alternative-country". in fact, two of my favourite artistes would be Ryan Adams and Joe Henry.

there's something about America that's always fascinated me.. probably because of all the cartoons and TV i used to watch, add to that, the music, literature, fashion and culture.. and you might have gotten an American-phile in me. unfortunately for would be marketers who try to sell me stuff.. i tend to be rather subversive in my lifestyle choices. hence, it's always been a case of sticking it to the man, and then developing into a loathing of mere hippie / empty punk rock promises.

but somehow, this genre of country music has captured my imagination. i can only speak like an outsider looking in, for i never grew up on a farm, or the suburbs, nor have i seen or lived the mountain ranges or the iconic streets and hole-in-the-wall bars that these singers croon about. yet, perhaps it's because of that fishbowl i constantly peer into, that i'm so enamored by it all. the undue love i place upon this piece of art, only because i cannot identify with it.

still, they sing songs that are so ridiculously universal.. emotions down to the commonest denominator, that even a city-dweller like me longs for the yearnings that these singer-songwriters sing about. some place in the past that they still hold on to, or brings them happiness.. some place in the future that they hope for.. all the while that while i will never be a part of it, they always invite me to keep on observing.

and with that i am content.

Time is a lion - Joe Henry

If you fear the angels above while you sleep
Then I'll be the blood, you paint on your door
Your dream is a worry that nothing will keep, but
time is a story and there will be more

Your dream is a worry that nothing will keep,
but time is a story and there will be more

and death in disgrace can seduce anyone
that needs to believe there’s judgment at hand
or God may be kind and see you like a son, but
time is a lion when you are a lamb

Or God may be kind and see you like a son, but
time is a lion when you are a lamb

The years see the best of intentions and greed
they come without shame, they'll leave you with some
men become old when their hurt becomes need, but
time is a lover and your time is young

Men become old when their hurt becomes need, but

time is a lover and your time is young

The sun is a soldier, out crawling the hills
setting fire to every house that’s in view
lighting the ruin of my hope and my will
till I’m like a shadow and I’m falling on you,
crawling on you..
Oh you know how I do..

So sleep here with me and I’ll keep you close
for now while i try to live up to you
You can’t see the challenge of this I suppose, but
time is a dare and I’m trying to

You can’t see the challenge of this I suppose, but
time is a dare and I’m trying to

time is a dare and I’m trying to

Fix it - Ryan Adams & The Cardinals

What makes them walk away, after all these years?
These years are burning in the hard way by the lessons from the tears
I know it’s not a game
But it feels like losing when someone you love throws you away

I’d fix it
I’d fix it
I’d fix it
I’d fix it if I could
And I’d always win
I’d always win
So you can always win the in end

How easy was it for you making those plans you made?
Before I became someone for you you know to try to dislocate
But, I know it’s not a game
But if feels like losing when someone you love gets up and walks away

I’d fix it
I’d fix it
I’d fix it
I’d fix it if I could
And I’d always win
I’d always win
And you’d always lose

Look what I did to you
Look what you did to me
Fixed it
I’d fix it, id fix it if I could
And I’d always win
I’d always win
I’d always win in the end

Let it Ride - Ryan Adams

Movin' like the fog on the Cumberland River
I was leaving on the Delta Queen
I wasn't ready to go
I'm never ready to go
Twenty-seven years of nothin' but failures and promises that I couldn't keep
Oh lord I wasn't ready to go
I'm never ready to go
Let it ride
Let it ride easy down the road
Let it ride
Let it take away all of the darkness
Let it ride
Let it rock me in the arms of strangers, angels until it brings me home
Let it ride
Let it roll
Let it go

Loaded like a sailor
Tumbling off a ferry boat
I was at the bar till three
Oh Lord, and I wasn't ready to go
I'm never ready to go
Tennessee's a brother to my sister Carolina where they're gonna bury me
And I ain't ready to go
I'm never ready to go
Let it ride let it ride easy down the road
Let it ride
Let it take away all of this darkness
Let it ride
Let it rock me in the arms of strangers, angels until it brings me home
Let it ride
Let it roll
Let it go

I wanna see you tonight
Dancing in the endless moonlight
In the parking lot in the headlights of cars
Someplace on the moon
Where they moved the drive-in theater
Where I left the car that I can't find but I still got the keys to
Let it ride
Let it ride easy down the road
Let it ride
Let it take away all of this darkness
Let it ride
Let it rock me in the arms of strangers, angels until it brings me home
Let it ride
Let it roll
Let it go

Sunday, January 11, 2009

respectfully, i decline.

this evening had me feeling rather out of sorts. if you were on plurk, i mentioned that i was feeling hostile.

i wonder why, was it the throngs of people younger than me dressed in fine indie-threads (maybe not fine, but arguably indie-styled)? what was the insight or pre-disposition i was gleaming from their collective flocks?

i dunno, maybe there was a bout of self-loathing, of the empty reassurance we get from hanging out with our friends, and dressing ourselves a certain way to express our identity while not rocking the status quo. even if it's the status quo of our social circle.. it was the need to belong to something, or some people. and it was in the myriad of different cultures and groups of friends that i saw a reflection of my own weakness.. for dressing up a certain way, for being accepted a certain way.. for being acknowledged a certain way.. and while i wasn't active in my self-loathing.. it was there passively, eating away at my psyche..

how worthless i was, and what i feel i am for still trying.. everyday.

i don't think we were meant to live like this, yet like the air we breathe.. we find ourselves social creatures, and need to feed this frail ego of social status, and we draw our confidence in the acknowledgment of men.

i've talked about this before, and with God's help, i've also not lived my life like this, not always. yet i think at various points in our lives, we grapple with this again. not because the problem never went away, but at different stages in our life, we're being shown more and more where we need to surrender, places deep in our hearts that have not been surrendered to that one perfect love.. that we are either always changing, or learning something new.

i'm not afraid of the emotion i face, but i am afraid of the stagnation and atrophy of the heart. i don't want to be unfeeling.. because it is a lonely place, where love nor hate exist. it is a plane of "un-love" and stagnation. it is an absence of God, not the burning fires of hell that scare me.. and put me in my place. in fact, it's not fear that paralyses me.. it's an infinite sadness that spirals without end like a bottemless pit.

no. we were meant to live.

Friday, January 9, 2009

a series of self-titled debuts

a little brain fart came to me the other night as i was walking home from the bus stop.

as some background, i love to think of new band names.. i don't know why, but i think of possible band names more than i think of possible album titles. i guess it's got something to do with the inconsistency in which i record material.

anyway, i was thinking of a band name, ohaiyo. i guess it was a play on the American city, Ohio, and also a reference to the Japanese greeting for "hello". yes, stuff like this excites me.. it shapes the sound i want to come up with.. and ultimately who i might be able to work with if i were to ever record or perform with such a collective.

and then it dawned onto me, if i love playing with different kinds of music, but instead of maintaining a different band for each of my interests.. why not just have a revolving door of musicians, songwriters and performers?

we wouldn't be a band.. but more a collective or record label called "a series of self titled debuts" and each band incarnation is basically the title of the album!

it's frickin' genius i tell you.. or possibly the most stupid thing anyone could think of.

but i like it, i'd like to write music for an incarnation of ohaiyo, or the ghost of anna karina, or attaboy! or whatever ludicrous names i've come up with.

why should music always be categorised in only one way?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

the new year, it's not all that bad..

2009. why does a new year bring us so much promise? new budgets for the new financial year? opportunities? resolutions? another chance to get it right?

hahaha, don't mind me, it's just rhetorical. i too feel some of that joy, but the natural cynic in me is just.. "meh, it's just a perception of time."

but maybe that's what we need as humans, or at least being part of society.. it's common ground for all of us, we're all given the same 24 hours as the person next to us.

so yeah, i'm starting a new year.. and i'm writing in my blog only one week after the new year's kicked in.

you'll have to bear with me as the tone of this blog begins to change.. and this will basically be my self-indulgent space of expression.

all i can say, is that if you're interested in the misadventures of brian leery, then by all means, keep checking back here or subscribing to the RSS feeds. most of my thoughts on social media and public relations will be moved to, and my observations and theories about media, technology and culture will be taking place at singularity industries.

i'm not making hard and fast rules to control where the conversations take place.. it's just gonna be fluid, and you might see certain topics crossing blogs. but it's all part of an experiment, and how i want to reignite that passion in blogging.

there's no real theory surrounding this, just a used-to-be passionate blogger trying to find his voice again.

i guess this is a year of new beginnings, whether it's in music, blogging, interests, friendships and life.. i'm just trying to be more positive. i think toward the end of last year, i felt like a dark cloud was following me, and i felt i shouldn't share that because i didn't want my clients or bloggers to think i was goinig nuts.

but i think i came out the other side, and maybe i'm not gonna be afraid of what other people think of a little jaded-ness in my life.

if anything, i think that's what i enjoyed about blogging, and reading blogs.. those little insights and glimpses into another person's life. and i'm not saying that all blogs should follow my example of candor, i just think you gotta know what voice works for you. and i think this works for me.

so to recap, i'm maintaining three blogs now.

harmless? bananas!
singularity industries
the open room

so yes, 2009 will be a year where i blog more!