I am sick of you

Hi Purple Python, I am officially sick of you. I see you every day and you haunt me so much in my dreams to complete you that I had taken on some characteristics of the person I am not by losing myself completely in you. I detest you, and when you scream for my attention I want to slap the living daylights out of you. You are the marathon race I ran for nine months that soon, to be birthed into a monster for the world. As much as I had tried to tear you apart from me, you had penetrated into my pores like the sun. I hate you. Be gone. Get out of my body. For I will publish you and ensure you will be apart from me so I will never ever together with you again.

Outsourcing and Delegation and the Pursuit of Happiness

In the Effective Executive, I learnt that an executive can perform the functions of 200 people. Given the automation of technology, this is true. Given the easy availability of outsourcing – this is true too. I find most of the work I perform is automated by processes and are on scheduled releases. For example, I could schedule to release my blog posts every week. I could write five posts in one day and set it on an automated release schedule. I could effectively delegate someone to write my blog and release it too. But that’s not the point of my blog as it is a personal blog so that would entirely make no sense to outsource something I enjoy doing, so I keep myself on this task.

But there is many things I do not enjoy doing – like repetitive work. They are functions that could be automated. The number of vendors that I have engaged this year is astonishing even to myself, my phone rings non stop on some mornings by vendors – banks, deliveries, appointments. My calendar has a recurring automated prompts to do weekly tasks or monthly routines. The more I engage with the concept of time, the more I find that my time on earth is too short, and too brisk for what I want to truly accomplish. I have be content that I will only produce a fraction of what I would like to do in this brisk stay on earth.

Even the countries I will potentially be able to visit is limited by my actual life span. I met an American tourist in a cafe in Beijing who said he had visited Greece 30 times. He is 72, divorced with no children. I wonder if in my later years I would try to repeat my fond memories by revisiting the same location. Or will I be contented with a lifelong companion with a house by a lake in my later years, doing gardening and keeping ten cats. Or will I even have family members or friends in my later years, or will I be able to dance the way I do now. In times of my quiet contemplation of life, I look to my grandparents for solace.

As much as I could outsource and delegate the functions of my life till I could spend each moment in the pursuit of pleasure, I am met with the existential crisis that still, the greatest fulfillment I find joy in is to bring out the best in others around me, and to perform in my dance and song.

When I watch my grandparents, in their advanced years, traveling on cruise ships and visiting casinos to spend their solitary remaining years – I am filled with a kind of despondence that one day I may meet this end. Will I be indulgent in seeking for temporary highs from my winnings by an electronic machine? I have a romantic ideal that I will spend my remaining years writing books, painting and drawing, and if I could move my limbs, still dancing to no nights end. But it will all be too lonely if I had not found a companion by then. For in one’s advanced years, it is no longer about young love, but an old familiar love that one is content to have by their side in their moments of joys and sadness.

My third book is almost ready at this stage. I wonder if I look back at my life now 50 years on, I may have a few hundred published books by then, maybe I will be well known, maybe no one will remember me. Maybe I might disappear from the face of earth without a trace for history is continuously rewritten by those who want us to believe in their truths instead of the real truth of what it is.

I will never stop writing the truth for it is my duty and service to humanity to only speak the truth and no less. Even if I lose my popularity for revealing the true nature of what it is, I am willing to sacrifice my egoistical self to be secure and safe. Why will I be lesser than what I am? Or be dishonest with myself when I could, in full honesty, life my live to the accords of the highest fulfillment of what it is meant to be?

I choose to be myself.

What is Your Unique Voice in Dance

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 1.41.07 amWhat is my unique voice in dance – it is an art of storytelling through the movement of our bodies. Our bodies are our canvas on which we can unfold our artistry in non-verbal communication. Most communication does not reside in words but in actions. Dance, like language, has an extensive vocabulary and by extending our knowledge of dance styles and repertoire we can develop our bodies to move to the music in a way that is distinctive to our personality. By attending classes by different teachers from different dance backgrounds, our dance vocabulary increases, and a number of moves we can execute to various music take on a new form.

Dance is about releasing one’s soul from the constraints of our physical body. Dance allows us to touch the spiritual side of our being. To immerse in dance, we have to engage our heart and soul in the beat and rhythm and lose ourselves completely to the music. The music is the master, our bodies are slaves to the bliss. In performance art, dance and theatre are similar artforms, in the sense that a dancer engages the audience into their performance and the audience feels inspired to start dancing along.

Partner dancing, however, is about dancing with a partner. The audience does not matter. It is about connection and chemistry of two different dancers coming together to paint a shared canvas to the music. It is possible to dance with anyone, even with someone who had not learnt dance. It’s about adapting to the scene partner. In theatre, we call the person who is interacting with us the “scene partner”. We have to ride on each other energies to deliver a dialogue. Partner dancing is about the dialogue between bodies in a non-verbal communication. Chemistry can be cultivated over time, and the connection is about engaging our fame and core. The more one dances with different types of partners, it increases the dancer’s adaptability to the stylistic choice of movements – and expands the usage of dance vocabulary that could be executed – from simple basic moves to complicated figures.

The fundamentals of dance are the baseline of what differentiates a good or great dancer. It isn’t about having more flashy moves or styling but it is about maintaining core fundamentals – poise, balance, core, flexibility, strength. Like being athletic, a dancer can take it professionally or nonprofessionally by choosing to train their fundamentals daily and keep to a diet and fitness regime. The main instrument of a dancer is his body. A dancer has to listen to his body to prevent injuries. A dancer has to understand their body to stretch their imagination to execute moves one day at a time – dancers aren’t born, they are made.

Dance is a meritocratic sport, the more time and effort one spends on practising with regular coaching and feedback, the more expansive the dancer becomes. There are no limitations to the art of dance, it is a lifelong learning process. Dance trends and fashions fade in and out, but once a person reaches into the heart of being a dancer, they will forever be a dancer.

In my dance, I aim to communicate my soul song to fulfil on love and beauty to the world. I want to inspire others to dance and partake in the joys of life with no limits. I want others who watch me be freed from their constraints and join me in my endless pursuit for self-actualization in freedom and happiness. I hope that one day, in my idealism and utopianism, that people from different cultures will dance together and end all wars and suffering. For we have a shared humanity and there is no need for violence when there are enough resources for everyone. For this, I will dance to the end of my days.

 

Random Rambling Musings of The Picture of Dorian Gray

Penny Dreadful

Some quotes from The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde that is stuck in my head. I had finally finished the book after reading it over a period of a few months and I did a marathon stretch of reading it on a flight in between napping and reading. Much of the book is implied, and one has to guess what happens between the lines.

The procurement of sensations and replicating those sensations of pleasure.

From ugliness one can find beauty.

She had everything and I had nothing.

I had reevaluated my soul while reading the book, and from my revelations, I had found the ugliness of my corrupted soul and salvaged it from the brink of its demise. There were many of times I felt like Dorian Gray when I looked at the portrait of my reflection in the mirror. I wanted to slice it, cut it, kill it. There was so much angst that I abhorred myself deeply that I hated the way I looked. I no longer feel this way about myself this year. I had found my happiness in the pursuit of the arts and literature. I had fuelled my wanderlust by travelling to historic places and immersing myself in the theatre. When in London, I watched seven shows on the West End in one week. When in New York, I watched a line of shows at Broadway. When in Beijing, I watched the acrobats perform death-defying moves that could send one crippling should they fall by accident. I watched them perform world class acts like Cirque du Soleil in an amusement park. An artist can only create and further their own art by continuous exposure to other arts. My schedule is filled to the brim that my assistant thinks I am the reincarnate of madness.

It is true that it may be frivolous to indulge in endless travels and pursuit of the meaning of life. Looking at the hallways of the forbidden city that probably once upon a time, they walked through the same stone steps to serve the emperor of China as a scholar-official, and took the imperial examinations to be entitled to a lifetime of servitude to the country. That we had left the motherland to explore the world in Chinese junk boats. That I had inherited the same genes of exploration that I am unable to stay in one spot for too long without feeling an incessant compulsion to climb a mountain or swim in the azure sapphire waters of a Greek island. That I may never settle, that the future is uncertain. That my goal of becoming a published author of three books as I had always wanted to do in my life since I was a child – is almost at its final fruition.

What is the future? I have no clue. I had achieved so much before the age of thirty, that one may look at my track record and wonder how is it even possible to be so diverse in one’s rate of artistic production. I had lived my life on the edge of an adrenaline high fuelled by caffeine and lust. Lust. That’s the dirty word that is disguised by passion. My passion for life is ruled by my lust for life. I hunger so much for the very things I know I can’t have, imaginary worlds that I can never live in, and create realities for the future so they may not walk or suffer in my footsteps. In my ultimate exploration of my soul, I had acted in a solo production of over a hundred videos for five years running, written in all honesty about my insights into my three novels, danced the truth of my emotions in my poetry and movement. I had given myself completely to my art. At the end of it all, I may never be recognised or remembered. I may be forgotten like a speck of dust in the insignificance of this universe.

But I still do what I do each day in hope of a better tomorrow. This is my promise, and the reason I keep myself alive and well. To fill the world with my eternal sunshine of love, beauty and knowledge.

Sensory Memory Notes

Dancer Sensory memory is the underlying element of method acting. During classes, our coach told us to tap into our past memories to bring out a certain emotion into the monologue. It has to be hidden, and not revealed to the audience. The audience cannot know which memory we are tapping on to bring out the characterisation and emotional undercurrent and inner fire to the performance. It is a underlying inner life that is unique to the actor. Hence two actors when given the same script, will enact the scene entirely different from each other based on their sensory memory that they bring forth to the performance.

A question was posed – how does a child actor tap into his sensory memory when he has not experienced life in it’s entirely? It boils down to authenticity. In method acting, the general rule is not to tap into any sensory memory that happened the past seven years. It is no wonder most actors hit their prime towards their thirites – leveraging on their sensory memory that they had gained over the course of years.

I had made the mistake of tapping into recent memories when I started out my YouTube channel and it seriously messed me up. Now, I no longer tap on recent memories, but the allowance is that we are allowed to tap into recent body sensations (pain, cold, pleasure, hot). When I write my books, I use the same technique in writing. I will repeat the motion of my characters while writing. Eg: Picking up a fork. I will imagine picking up a fork to cut a fish. If my character has to do a vigous workout and then start a dialogue. I will do the same, do a walkabout and a workout and go back to writing the dialogue to get the sense of how a person speaks after a workout. If I am unable to act out a scene, I will watch videos of actors enacting similar scenes or tap into my sensory memory. I would say Purple Python is the best book I had written as I had only learnt to apply the techniques I learnt over the past few years and crystalise it into a complete narrative.

I am glad to have been given a rich chaotic teenage life that I can tap on to write my works and enact my rebellion. I am no longer that crazy, or full of madness as I once was. I would say I had reached a pretty zen stage of my life where my number one priorty is my family followed by my friends. They ground me and stablise my random bursts of creative energy. Without them, I would lose my balance. They help me find myself, and regain the missing parts of my identity to form a complete whole me by just accepting the way I am. I was never able to dance the way I do before – only this year I had finally unleashed my inner soul song to be the passionate dancer that fires the dance floor.

Yesterday someone called me a “beast on the dance floor.” I was being filmed dancing. I am getting filmed regularly by dance patrons, as they watch me across the floor. To admit, I had never receive this level of “dance” attention since actively competing when I was a teenager. Only now, I had rediscovered my inner fire and happiness in dance. That I dance not to applease others, or be someone else that I am not. But to dance is to be myself, and dance for my own self actualisation, and the greatest enemy is myself. There is no one else who can stop me from being the dancer that I am. For this, I am able to be completely at ease even when dancing in front of thousands of people, it’s a completely natural act to me. The nervousness disappates and I am at one with the universe while on stage.

Living the Life I Love

Every waking moment, I get to write, dance and film.

This is the life I love. There is no other life that I will trade for than the one I have now.

I had never imagined that it would be possible to pursue such diverse interests, but the internet makes it possible.

To explore my life to it’s limits, and beyond.

To create and chase my calling to the far ends of the world.

Somehow my personal legend has lead me here, and when I diverge from it, I feel lost.

The moment I am back on my path, everything makes sense, no matter how nonsensical it may seem what I am doing right now,

It is all linked to fulfilling on what is of importance to me.

Some days I feel like I am like the boy in The Alchemist, walking through the desert in search for a treasure.

The sweet visions of an oasis drifts in and out of my memory as I walk through the desert storm.

Some days I am digging in the sands, my hands and knees are bleeding, but yet I am digging for my treasure in front of the great pyramids.

I know that if I don’t follow my heart, I will be unhappy.

When I am unhappy, I can no longer write.

But as long I follow my heart, and chase my dreams, travel the world, and respond to my calling.

It will all make total sense.

As of now, my calling is to film an independent film based on The Scarlet Queen next year.

I will take a one year break from writing the fourth novel to the Hourglass Series and focus on marketing the first three books.

I am at one with the universe as I write this, and for this, I had finally found peace and tranquility in my heart.

Part of Me Lyrical Dance + Lyrics Interpretation

Sometimes I think
That maybe, long before we were born
We shared
One life
Because even when our bodies are apart
It feels like our hearts are side by side

There is a line of thought that we have a soul mate – we shared one body and spirit before reincarnation on earth and that body split into two – male and female. As soulmates belong to the same body in their previous life, and in meeting in this life the affinity and connection feel like “hearts are side by side.” Physically, soul mates can be apart and still feel each other heartbeats. In this line of thought, it is stating that love and affinity can transcend distance and time.

I always, always
Hear
A voice calling my name, my name
Please don’t cry anymore
I can feel your love

There is another thought – which is we can hear our soul mate from a distance. In their distress, we have a sense that we need to be there for them. It is unspoken communication beyond the physical, going into the spiritual. It is almost telepathic. I had experienced this level of affinity with my best friend, and we are telepathic in our communication. That by being deeply connected and bonded with a person, you know what the person moods and emotions are even from a distance.

At some point I realised
That we were born apart
And because of that
We probably feel incomplete
As we pray for the same happiness
We’re carving the same wounds into our hearts

The key lyrics here is “carving the same wounds into our hearts.” What does that mean? There are opposite ends of emotions – happiness and sadness, pain and pleasure, love and hate. With intense love, comes intense loathing. This is the price of love, that there will be arguments, there will be wounds, there will be scars. It is all in the pursuit of happiness. When things are not right – there will be incompletions. I had mentioned in my previous post that in ancient China, the belief is that reincarnated lovers are those who had incompletions in their past life to be reincarnated into this life to face the same tribunals to make things right or they will be reincarnated again in a karmic cycle.

I’ll keep, keep calling
So that you never, never
Forget
Please don’t cry anymore
I won’t leave you alone or anything

I always, always
Hear
A voice calling my name, my name
Please don’t cry anymore
I can feel your love

I’ll love you
Forever, forever
I love you, you
Even if time
Changes everything
I’ll still love you

Sometimes I think
That maybe if we’re reborn
We’ll share
One life…

Interestingly the end of the song lyrics, she mentions being reborn by sharing “one life”. Which means two souls meet again and form a bond to become one complete whole in their next life. This song is a beautiful portrayal of what a soulmate means in the metaphorical sense. It is not physical to us to see our souls, or feel souls or even prove or quantify love, but the very emotion and affinity that is there between lovers could very well transcend the physical in the literary sense is what makes love beautiful to seek for.

 

Song and Lyrics by Ayumi Hamasaki.

Coffee and Biscuits

Every now and then when my thoughts are still and quiet.

Before I sleep, and the moment I wake up.

I will visualise the aroma of my grandmother’s homemade coffee.

She brewed a fresh metal flask of coffee every morning.

She will scoop five tablespoons of freshly grounded malaysian coffee beans into a sock.

Pick up the handle of a kettle, and pour boiling hot water into the sock filter.

She would pour out the brewed coffee into a metal container before pouring it back to the sock about three times,

then she would cover it and leave it on the countertop for five minutes.

All this time, I would be sitting on wooden chair by a circular marble table in the kitchen, watching from the distance.

She walked with a slight limp on her left leg towards me and open a tin of biscuits and put some biscuits onto my plate.

Then she would pour a two full mugs of coffee. But she would serve my coffee while she left her mug covered on the countertop.

I would dip the large squarish yellow biscuit into the coffee to soften it before chomping it down. The coffee was sweetened with condensed milk and had a bitter aftertaste like dark chocolate. I would savour each bite slowly as my grandmother washed the dishes. After I finished my meal, I would run to watch television for the usual 10am cartoon show. Then, my grandmother would sit by the marble table with her coffee and biscuits while watching me from afar.

Years later, she is still with me in my thoughts and memories, and everytime I feel down or upset, I would go to a malaysian coffee store and purchase a cup of coffee. But no coffee tasted like the one my grandmother made, they made me think of her, but nothing in the world could replace the love and care and dedication she made to serving my meals every morning before herself. She made sure I was taken care of at every step of the way, and placed herself second in everything she did in relation to me.

I never saw or realised this when I was younger. I used to think she was annoying when she called seven times a day to ask if I would be visiting her, and she would be dead soon. I never understood she had dementia and could not remember if she had called just before. I never understood her love, nor did I see that I was her favourite grandchild and I was female, she didn’t care if I could not carry on the family surname for my dad only had one descendant.

Sometimes I want to write her a letter to express my gratitude, and I am lost for words as I could not speak or write in hokkien as fluently as I could in english. I wonder if she could read my heart, or hear my song as I write these words. That I miss her so much. I miss her coffee, her touch, her expression of love towards me. There are only so few people in the word that I would ever meet in my lifetime that would show unconditional love. She was my grandmother, and my one and only grandmother. If anything at all, she saved me from the blink of disaster during my dysfunctional teenage years, for her love was constant like the waves of the sea.

Slowly, she lost her mind. She would stare blankly into space while she lied in bed from day to night. She could no longer recognise my cousins, me or my relatives. She only recognised her caretaker and my uncle. She would call for help like a child to be fed and bathed. She jerked her body when she was cold. It was painful to see her deterotiation over the years as she became frail and skinny. We lost her to dementia.

When her coffin entered the furnace, it struck me that the very person I was running away from was now the person I wanted most in the world. I wanted her hug and to see her jovial smile once more. I wanted to hear her laughter and her voice as she spoke loudly to my relatives. I wanted her to call out my name. It’s been three years since she had passed on, but my heart longs and pangs for her love. Although I could not understand a word she said, all her actions communicated her love for me.

I miss her coffee, and no other coffee could ever replace the one she made.

A Performer in Theater Arts

18156170_10156061021902195_8029908303624107521_oThe very first role I got as a lead actress was when I was 14 years old in a school play production. It was a grueling intensive that I spent my summer holidays reciting lines and doing exercises in front of large groups of people. The coach would reprimand me on the spot in front of others, “if you forget your lines, we will replace you,” was the echo of his words that haunted me in my sleep. We dedicated hundreds of hours to perform at Victoria Theater. I was finally on stage in a lead role at a young age. The school play was advertised in the news as the theater could seat a few hundred people.

My mother watched the performance. This time, she was the audience and I was on stage. She was usually on that very stage I was on, performing her classical piano pieces, leading a choir and being a prominent musician in the scene. This sudden reversal that my mother was now at the audience supporting me was a revelation that I am all grown up. I had taken my baby steps on stage by giving flowers to musicians after they played their piano pieces. The musicians gave me a hug and carried me off the stage mostly, as I barely crawling and half walking. The audience clapped for the musicians and my mother. I was a tiny little flower girl walking next to their knees. I enjoyed the shared attention they got and relished in it.

When the play I acted in ended, the audience stood up to give a round of applause. This time it wasn’t for any musician, it was for me and my troupe. It was deeply satisfying I was now performance ready. I lost my stage performer virginity that night. My mother drove me home. She commented my make up was thick, and that I could make improvements to my hair. Nevertheless, she was beaming in happiness. She shared with her friends, “Oh, my daughter was the lead actress at Victoria theater. She is a dancer too, and appeared on television.” None of her friends could believe my mother, looking like she was barely in her 30s had a daughter, let alone a daughter who was established in the arts scene, like herself.

Fame came too quick and I was too young to handle the attention. I was mostly stalked in public to the point I had no more privacy in my life. Everywhere I went, unwanted attention from my fame followed me like a shadow. I got bullied in school for being an actress and dancer. I acted on some side roles on television, and after the shows were aired, my schoolmates would make fun of me and call me nasty names and whisper behind my back with suspicion, “Oh that girl is an actress, she was on telelvision.” They distrusted me for being a public figure and I sat mostly alone during recess time and no one wanted to be my friend. I fell into a deep depression and was sent to the school consellor, who initiated a transfer for me out of that school.

After transfering to another school, I excelled in humanities and developed an introverted personality whereby I spent inordinate amount of hours dedicating myself to writing essays and reading books after books. To the point my teachers would read my essays out aloud in class and set them as example essays to follow. Although I no longer appeared on stage or danced, the attention now shifted to my writings. I registered averral.com in the year 2007 and this blog is now live for ten years.

My writings were mostly filled with sadness, despair and I channeled most of my energies into and poured my heart into my words for I could no longer dance or act and be accepted for who I was. I avoided attention, the stage and the public. I am now making a dramatic return to performing live on facebook to overcome my fears and to conquer my past – which continues to attack my mind. I will eventually move into the direction in performing live in front of large audiences, and finally embracing who I really am – a performer in theater arts.